Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

OJ Didn’t Mean It

December 10, 2008

Yeah right. The judge in this case is on record as saying that she’s not here for paybacks…But from a non legalese standpoint, paybacks are a bitch. ūüôā

Jennifer Hudson “Domestic Issues”

October 25, 2008

By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect, ¬†reports a history of¬†“domestic issues”.¬†

That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a ¬†terribly ¬†insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society ¬†becomes diluted.

For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old 

euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here. ¬†Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action. ¬†I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt. ¬†Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these.¬†


One out of every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every day. We need more public awareness, education, advocacy and funds to help a cause much closer to home than we might think. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic lines. ¬†It could happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter. It’s about time the legal system stopped protecting the public from¬†offensive, harsh reality and started protecting the victims of the offensive, harsh reality.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Psychscribe Quote # 42

October 1, 2008



“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.” Simone de Beauvoir

Abuse & Disease: A New Spin

July 1, 2008

Chronic illness feels like an abusive relationship. I should know, I was in one. 

I only just made this analogy ¬†yesterday. A friend was talking about a controlling relationship which her daughter, M., ¬†is stuck with until M.’s child turns 18. Every time she gets thru one crisis with the father of her child, who feeds on her angst like a shark feeds on a flailing, tasty human, calm returns and for a while she feels some semblance of normalcy. ¬†

She goes on living as if no further emotional assault will occur, and is truly re-traumatized each and every time. ¬†How could this be happening again????…..the raging powerlessness I know she feels as he uses their child as a pawn between them, a pawn in a game she cannot win.

She will not use Solomon’s sword. He would.

Jump back to me, stuck in bed again¬†with my lupus flare. Like it or not, stuck with it. My body, my life, my work, my marriage, ¬†my family – ¬†all affected by this nasty disease. Assaulted by it. ¬†And I feel powerless, and furious…. so furious…. ¬†a ¬†raging powerlessness in a fight I cannot win. A fight which will probably kill me. An abusive relationship doesn’t get much worse than that.

And then I feel better again, a semblance of normalcy is restored (key word semblance) , until the next assault by the disease.  At which point I feel shocked and traumatized that the flare has flattened me again.  Just like M. feels. 

There’s nothing we can do about it, right?¬†

Wrong, actually. I heard myself advising M.’s mom that M. needs to accept that it is what it is. He will never change. His tactics will never change. I would imagine any boxer would tell you its the punch they didn’t see coming that knocked them out. ¬†So…umm…when are M. and I going to admit to ourselves that she had a child with a power and control freak, and I have a very serious medical condition which does not go away just because I get remissions?¬†

What we both need to do is to see it coming, know its coming, but accept the breaks in between with ¬†the grace, ¬†joy and ¬†wisdom to appreciate the present. ¬†When you know its coming you can have a back up plan. For her it might be disengaging from his game and gathering ¬†the support she needs. Not to detail her victimization but to go out with her friends for a good time, ¬†or treat herself to a day at the spa. It won’t change a blessed thing about the situation, but regardless of whether she suffers or pampers herself while he does his thing- nothing else will change. So since it is what it is, I vote for pampering at such times. Nurturing herself rather than berate herself because she can’t win.

So, as is often the case, in giving my friend advice I gave it to myself. I stopped fighting this flare today and accepted the reality that I need to take a week off from work even though ¬†I HATE canceling clients. I decided to take advantage of the abusive (insert your favorite curse word here) lupus and treat myself. I mean, just because I can’t go to work doesn’t mean I can’t work on my hobbies which I never have enough time for. ¬†I can decoupage, make jewelry, plan craft projects, read, watch movies, all from the comfort of my nice snuggy bed. ¬†It won’t change anything, but…to tell you the truth… I am actually looking forward to my week off now…¬†

It is what it is. ¬†ūüėČ



Flickr banned from my blog

June 24, 2008

I had it on here because I thought that random photos appearing on my blog would add an element of interest. ¬†And until today it did. But I just saw one that is truly evil looking – a black and white photo of a woman with what appears to be a plastic bag over her face. That’s not art, in my blog. Its objectification of women to the degree of horror.

Slime Helped OJ Get Away With Murder

May 10, 2008

I will not even dignify the slime by writing his name here, or help him by promoting his book. I’m sure you noticed all the news hoopla about the tell all book. He reports that weeks after the arrest Simpson, high on drugs and alcohol, confessed to killing Nicole and Ron Goldman. ¬†He confesses to helping Simpson get away with murder by advising him not to take his arthritis medication so his hands would swell and the glove wouldn’t fit- a key factor in the acquittal.

I don’t know the law, but it just feels like this guy should get in trouble for something.¬†

I remember being so shocked when I watched the not guilty verdict live that I screamed no! and threw something at the TV. Such a travesty of justice. Worse yet, my daughter was in high school at the time, and they were watching it in class. She said the boys cheered at the verdict.

I’ve always wondered what the kids grew up believing.

Did this news story trigger anyone else like it did me?

Polygamist Abuse

April 18, 2008

Ok, ok, I know there is no proof yet, no evidence, but I read Carol Jessup’s book “Escape” and I believed it.¬†The horrors she describes of beatings and sexual abuse of children, of women and children basically being slaves to the men due to¬†God supposedly speaking thru their leader,¬†were believable and sickening.¬† Women and children removed from a man with¬†no power or clout in the community,¬†being “re-assigned” to a different man,¬†¬†who would then become the new husband and father. Pubescent girls being married and forced into sex with men old enough to be their grandfathers…The favorite wife abusing¬† the other wives, and the children of those wives, ¬†with full authority of the husband. And the only way to attain power and status in the family and the community was for a girl/woman to force herself to entice the man who revolted her into sharing her bed as often as possible….thus rising in the ranks to the favored, alpha female position…

So this is their culture, this is all they know, and here is the controversy…how¬†can you take children from their mothers (we don’t have to worry about attachment in the musical chairs daddy game) in a situation like this?

How can you NOT?


Animal Abuse & Domestic Violence

March 7, 2008

Read here about why it matters. The statistics are sobering.

End Domestic Violence

March 7, 2008

produced by mikrocritter on YouTube

Has Anyone Ever Heard of SOUL murder???

February 22, 2008

I heard today about a pedophile priest, who admitted to using many child prostitutes. If that isn’t SOUL MURDER I don’t know what is. He was sentenced to 5 years. FIVE years.

Bad enough he used these poor children, working either as slaves, or to make a living on the streets, or to feed their parents, but he also passed up an opportunity to RESCUE them from their plight.

SOUL MURDER . And for that he got five years.

Guilt & Shame: What’s the Difference?

January 17, 2008

A lot of people get these two feelings confused.

Guilt is the feeling you have when you’ve done something wrong.¬† It comes from inside of yourself. Its something you may want to make amends for. It nags at you. Maybe you were unkind to someone. Maybe you broke the law. That kind of thing. It does not consume your identity..

¬†Shame, on the other hand, is something that is done to you by the bad behavior of another person.¬†It is abuse.It is usually done to children, who grow up feeling they are damaged or defective in some way. Their whole self concept is negative, because they’ve grown up thinking there must be something inherently wrong with me if an adult would treat me that way. The same thing happens when an adult is assaulted. They absorb the shame of the abuser, thus keeping the abuser in control long after he or she is gone.

Therapy can help you to put the shame back on the abuser, where it belongs, and take back control of who you are.

What is Codependence?

December 12, 2007

Codependence is a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving learned and absorbed during childhood. It happens due to growing up in a family where there is a great deal of chronic emotional pain or trauma and unhealthy boundaries. Examples of these are families where there was: unskillful parenting, a critical or non-nurturing environment, domestic violence, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, substance abuse or addiction, or chronic mental or physical illness. Just like individual people, not all families can be so neatly categorized. Codependence can happen in any family where parents are trying their best, but learned unhealthy patterns of relating.  Therapy can heal you from the past and help you to create a healthy life and identity for yourself. 

In these families there are no appropriate boundaries for the child to experience or learn. Some grow up with no personal boundaries at all. They take in all the negativity of others’ fears, attacks, anger, and criticism. Everything gets in and overwhelms them resulting in no clear sense of identity. Others grow up with rigid boundaries, never allowing anything positive inside, like love, admiration, compliments, and nurturing.

To be emotionally healthy we need to develop  boundaries which keep out the negative but let in the positive. This results in a person with healthy self esteem.

Signs of Codependence

  • You have no idea what normal is
  • Your moods are directly dependent upon the moods of the people you’re close to
  • You attempt to control people’s moods because if they feel good, you’ll feel good.
  • You must always have the approval of others
  • You blame others for your feelings or behavior
  • You have a pattern of getting into abusive relationships/friendships
  • You minimize your unhealthy relationships/friendships
  • You defend or minimize your family of origin’s unhealthy patterns of behavior
  • You “stuff” your feelings
  • You rage at others
  • You feel ashamed to cry in front of anyone
  • You feel numb when it comes to expressing emotions
  • You feel uncomfortable when others express strong emotions
  • You make yourself feel better with addictive substances or behaviors
  • You have never learned to say “no” or “that’s not gonna work for me”
  • You feel bored and empty if there isn’t a crisis in your life, or someone to help
  • You fear being alone
  • You lie rather than speak your truth
  • You lie rather than speak your truth
  • You’re afraid of authority figures
  • You don’t have a clue how to have fun
  • You are very self critical
  • You feel guilty when you stand up for yourself instead of giving in
  • You are, or love, a workaholic
  • You are a reactor in life, rather than an actor¬†¬†

Source: The Wellness Insititute

 Recommended Reading

  • Breaking Free from the Victim Trap: Reclaiming Your Personal Power by Diane Zimberoff
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Child crouched behind a wall

November 29, 2007

Hidden, though  she  wants to be  found.

Silent, though  she wants to scream.

Choking on her own  fear and

blind to the hand held out to her.

Feeling Sorry For Yourself vs Compassion

November 28, 2007

I have so many clients who come to me with¬† histories of abuse, tragedy or¬†loss. They are usually in my office for something else: problems with the kids, finding or keeping a partner in life, depression,¬† etc.¬† The list goes on and on for what we shrinks call “the presenting problem”.¬† When a careful assessment uncovers the sorrow underneath, the silent sorrow that drives the current problem, they very often shrug it off.¬† Therapist empathy falls upon a stone wall.

“I don’t want to feel sorry for myself,” they say.¬† And let me tell you, they really mean it that they don’t want to feel sorry for themselves. And I don’t blame them.¬† The words have such a negative connotation. That¬†connotation has been imposed on all of us by our¬†fast moving culture that wants people to “get over it”.¬†¬† And so such words as¬†“feeling sorry for herself”¬† evoke the image of a person who wants to wallow in misery.¬† No one wants to be that person, in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.¬† So walls are built to hide the feelings. Sometimes even from yourself.

But wallowing is one thing. Working to get through it is something else again. You have to get through whatever is behind the wall if you want your present life to improve.¬†¬†¬†Here’s the thing: you¬† have to feel it to get through it.¬†¬† It is ok to have compassion for yourself and what you went through.¬† Compassion is a feeling of sympathy along with the desire or yearning to¬†alleviate the suffering of another.¬† It is ok to extend the same compassion¬†to yourself that you would to a loved one who went through the same thing.¬† You need to have compassion for yourself in order to allow yourself to feel the feelings and walk through, and beyond, ¬†the pain.

That’s not wallowing. That’s doing something about it.¬†¬†

Women and Self Esteem

November 20, 2007

What do you like about yourself? Are you proud of yourself? If these questions make you feel uncomfortable, or you cannot answer them, chances are that you have a problem with self esteem. Why is that? Why do so many of us basically dislike ourselves? Why are we embarrassed to “esteem” ourselves?

Before answering this question, we must first define self-esteem. Self esteem comes from the inside out. It means that a woman is not dependent upon anyone else to make her feel good about herself, because she already knows she’s fine just the way she is. She is confident and aware of her strengths and abilities. She wants to share them with others.

This does not mean she is conceited. She is also aware of areas needing work and growth. But that’s ok, because she knows she’s not perfect, and she doesn’t have to be. No one is. She understands that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Self-esteem is a core identity issue, essential to personal validation and our ability to experience joy. Once achieved, it comes from the inside out. But it is assaulted or stunted from the outside in. A woman with low self-esteem does not feel good about herself because she has absorbed negative messages about women from the culture and/or relationships.

The reign of youth, beauty and thinness in our society dooms every woman to eventual failure. Women’s magazines, starting with the teenage market, program them to focus all their efforts on their appearance. Many girls learn, by age 12, to drop formerly enjoyable activities in favor of the beauty treadmill leading to nowhere. They become fanatical about diets. They munch, like rabbits, on leaves without salad dressing, jog in ice storms, and swear they love it! Ads abound for cosmetic surgery, enticing us to “repair” our aging bodies, as if the natural process of aging were an accident or a disease. Yet with all this effort, they still never feel like they are good enough.

How can they? Anorexic magazine models are airbrushed to perfection. “Beautiful” movie stars are whipped into perfect shape by personal trainers, and use surgery to create an unnatural cultural ideal. But youth cannot last. It is not meant to. If women buy into this image of beauty, then the best an older woman can strive for is looking “good for her age” or worse yet, “well preserved”. Mummies are well preserved. Mummies are also dead.

Abusive experiences join with cultural messages to assault female self esteem. Abuse is pervasive and cuts across all socioeconomic lines. It invariably sends the message that the victim is worthless. Many, many women have told me that verbal abuse has hurt them far more than any physical act. As one woman put it, “his words scarred my soul”. Women whose abuse started as children have the most fragile sense of identity and self worth.

Poor self esteem often results in depression and anxiety. Physical health suffers as well. Many times, women with this problem don’t go for regular checkups, exercise, or take personal days because they really don’t think they’re worth the time.

Relationships are impacted as well. Their needs are not met by their partner because they feel like they don’t deserve to have them met, or are uncomfortable asking. Their relationships with children can suffer if they are unable to discipline effectively, set limits, or demand the respect they deserve. Worse yet, low self-esteem passes from mother to daughter.The mother is modeling what a woman is. She is also modeling, for her sons, what a wife is.

In the workplace, women with low self-esteem tend to be self-deprecating, to minimize their accomplishments, or let others take credit for their work. They never move up. Finally, with friends, they are unable to say no. They end up doing favors they don’t want to do, or have any time for. They end up going where they don’t want to go, with people they don’t want to go with! A woman with low self-esteem has no control over her life. But that can change. These women can get help and emotional healing.

It is criticial to remember that no one deserves to be abused. If something bad has happened to you, it does not mean there is something wrong with you. The responsibility for the abuse lies with the person who chooses to hurt you. If you are presently being abused, you must put yours and your children’s safefy first. If you think you are in danger, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can choose your own identity. You can discard the popular cultural image and replace it with something real. As I read someplace once, “We are bound by our fate only as long as we accept the values that determine it.”

Nobody is perfect, but everyone is worthwhile. Believe in yourself.