Sunday, November 1, 2009

Domestic Violence: A Heart-Rendering Experience (2))

Frail, debilitated older people may at times be incapable of helping themselves at all and are subjected to neglect, physical and psychological abuse as well as financial exploitation. They too are no exception in this world of violence and abuse.

Patterns of Abuse and Violence

While abuse may take the form of physical violence, there is also abuse on an emotional and verbal level. The abuser, though appearing to be a powerful and threatening figure, lacks self-esteem, and by attacking repeatedly the self-worth of the person/child, he maintains a sense of power, esteem, and control. By the abuser belittling, shaming, ridiculing or verbally terrorizing the person or child with physical pain, death or the death of a loved one, he is "chipping away at the individuals feelings of self-worth and independence," until that person feels powerless and yields. Abusers also scare their victims into submission ,by the use of threatening looks or gestures, throwing objects at the victim, smashing dishes, destroying property or even showing a weapon to convey the message: "Do As I say or else!"

The power of control is the driving force that motivates the abuser. The abuser needs to always be in control of the relationship, making all decisions and expecting the partner to obey without protest. The victim is treated as that person's possession, to be done with as he sees fit. By making statements such as "You are nothing without ME.!" "You don't need anyone but ME!” “You belong to ME!" the abuser is cutting off the victim from the outside world and making her more dependent on him. The victim is no longer allowed to visit family members and friends or free to go anywhere or see anyone without asking for his permission. Eventually through fear and manipulation the victim becomes the prisoner of the abuser.

Abusive individuals often are impulsive moving frequently, changing jobs, as well as emotionally dependent on their spouse. They are also noted for being blame shifters, never accepting responsibilities for their actions. It will always be someone else's fault,
that they did what they did. The abuser will accuse the partner of having an affair with an imaginary lover, dressing in a provocative way to attract the men, neglecting him, abusing the finances, the house was not clean, the laundry was not done, supper was not ready; whatever insanity of reason that may come to his head, to justify the abuse. The pattern of attack may start with emotional and verbal abuse, but then often escalates from pushing and shoving into an outright violent display of physical force and woe to any one who may want to interfere...

When the abuser returns to reality and he views his masterpiece of brutal art, guilt begins to set in. Abusers do not feel remorse, or guilty for what they have done, but for what is visible for the world to see and the grave consequences that will follow. In plain words, they are more concerned about getting caught and being punished for their deed. Many abusive individuals at the time of the attack are under the influence of substance abuse and would attribute their acts of violence to that. The mere fact is that the abuser abuses his victims, because he/she chooses to abuse.

After the storm is the calm. Many partners deceived by the sudden change in their abuser's behavior pattern, accept the peace offerings as a display of that person's true love, and apparent genuine apologies that this will never happen again even followed up by sex. Some call this the Honeymoon period. The victims begin to relax convincing themselves with excuses such as " He really loves me", "He says he is sorry," "He says he needs me," ”He is really not a bad person," "He lost his job and is under a lot of pressure," "He's just had a bad stroke of luck lately," "It really was my fault, that he got so upset," and so on and so forth. They live in denial as they place themselves in a vulnerable state of belief, trust, and greater risk making it all the more difficult to leave the abuser.

The victim, feeling relieved that all is well, goes cheerfully about her day while the abuser given time to reconstruct his insanity, begins to form the next strategy of attack , planning situations where once again the cycle of violence will take place.

No human being should ever have to go through such a horrible existence and horrendous infliction of pain and suffering.

To be continued: Domestic Violence (3)

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