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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Living in Fear...How To Cope? Part 3

Jewel of wisdom du jour: The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself - Mark Caine

We've spoken about verbal abuse over the last couple of weeks and have genuinely explained that no one should have to just deal with verbal abuse. Everyone must come to the realization that remaining in a verbally abusive relationship is only a stepping stone to what could come. It's never been concretely proven that verbal abuse ALWAYS leads to physical abuse. But what's to say that it won't?

Physical abuse is contact between persons that's intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or harm. Includes but not limited to: punching, pushing, pulling, shaking, slapping, choking, striking with an object, locking in or out of a room or home (false imprisonment), kicking, causing someone to fall, sleep deprivation, heat or cold overexposure, burning, unlawfully restraining, cutting, withholding food or medication, and or throwing objects. That's a long list of things that can be constituted physical abuse, but that's not everything. Before we get into details why some of these forms of abuse are used, let's take a look at some reasons why someone could turn into an abuser.
  1. Early learning experiences
  2. Economic stress
  3. Feeling a lack of social or emotional support
  4. Twisted thinking of acceptable practices
  5. Alcohol or substance abuse
  6. Involvement of bystanders
Lets take the first one and we'll address the rest in the coming weeks.

Early Learning Experiences: What exactly does that mean? This is the "life cycle" of abuse. Abuse tends to run a certain course through someones life, it's not usually something they begin on their own; it's usually a behavior learned from either how they were treated growing up or how they saw their parents interact. Think about it, when growing up the people that we tend to most try to model ourselves after are our parents. And as a kid who doesn't necessarily know that his father or mother's mistreatment of the other mate is wrong, could pick that up as a learned behavior and grow up thinking that it's perfectly normal to act in such a way.

If a young boy sees his father come home on a regular basis drunk, upset about his job, and takes it out on his mother, while she goes above and beyond to appease her abusive husband in an attempt to avert the abuse...what is that child learning? Simply, that aggression and violence or the threat of violence are acceptable and get you what you want in life. This will stick with them and they'll carry it through their relationships as they get older.

It's sad to say it, but we inherit more than we know from our parents. I'm not just referring to DNA, which makes us who we are; I'm also referring to our personalities, the way in which we handle pressure situations, how we interact with our spouses, can all be considered learned behaviors whether good or bad. It's up to us as a people to stop letting our young children see these bad examples of what a relationship is supposed to be. If we do our part, our young men will be less likely to become abusive to their future partners and mates and our young women will be less likely to take the abuse as if they've done something wrong.

Next week we'll discuss more reasons that could cause someone to become physically abusive toward their mate or partner. We'll also discuss what steps can and should be taken in order to protect one's self from being abused.

Remember....."You're Worth It".

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