Breaking the Silence for Women
It’s my desire not just to help women understand and transition from their abusive relationship, and find strength in themselves, but to bring awareness and education to others, as well.
I’ve become a bit of an amateur psychologist the last several years, with focused studies in Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder—part of what’s known as Cluster B—and the abuse patterns that are connected to them.
I’m a certified member of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and have spent regular time as a volunteer at a local women’s DV shelter. I’ve been extensively trained to receive hotline calls, provide a supportive and secure environment, and facilitate group sessions with the survivors.
I speak out through social media and in my writing, so that light is shone on statistics, abusive behaviors and the psychological disorders that can lead to them, resources, solutions, and more.
Branching Out to Include Our Youth
I’ve recently expanded my awareness and education efforts to include teens, because learning to speak up, trust ourselves, and say “no” to abuse should start at an early age.
What You Need to Know
There are many types of abuse, and it’s not likely only one is at work in your world — they’ll overlap. (NOTE: Abuse isn’t always physical and violent.) Here are some examples.
PHYSICAL: Hitting, slapping, strangling, restraint, biting, shoving, burning, etc.; intimidation; threats; extreme jealousy-turned-anger; property damage (as in calculated or violent destruction of victim’s personal belongings and prized possessions); sleep deprivation forced upon victim by abuser; force-feeding or denying sustenance; enforced seclusion/isolation; coercion or the force of any intentional and unwanted/unrequested contact; rape; assault; etc.
SEXUAL: Coercion of lewd acts; manipulation; rape (ie: spousal rape – “You’re my wife, this is my right/your obligation.”); molestation; harassment; degradation; objectification; unwanted and forced games, behavior, or contact; exploitation; etc.
EMOTIONAL and/or MENTAL and/or PSYCHOLOGICAL and/or VERBAL: Constant condescension, criticism, and contradiction; inconsistent dependability; harassment; blame laying (things that go wrong are always victim’s fault); gaslighting (psychological manipulation used to cause a victim to doubt sanity and second-guess self/thoughts/behaviors); yelling, cussing, berating, name calling; forced isolation; cold shoulder treatment; withholding of affection and/or normal physical contact as punishment; dismissal or minimization of victim’s opinions, feelings, abilities, intelligence, individuality; bribery; mind games; exploitation; etc.
ECONOMIC/FINANCIAL: Abuser-controlled finances; free spending by abuser when victim must ask permission to spend and/or account for all spending; irresponsibility; theft; denial of access to assets; concealment of information; deceit with income and expenses; etc.
(Please note: These are only some examples of manifestation, and are not a complete representation.)
IF YOU ARE OR HAVE BEEN ABUSED: You’re not alone, and you deserve better. Every woman does. NONE of what’s happening is your fault. And things CAN be different. You can become empowered.
Please, find an area women’s shelter or hotline. Call on someone you trust to help you take the first steps. If you don’t have a friend or family member who can assist, reach out to a church or community center, a hospital or police department. They’ll have resources and a starting point for you. You can do this. I believe in you.
I welcome you to reach out to me, if you’re comfortable with that: jannawrites at gmail dot com.
“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” — C.S. Lewis
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” — anon
“Don’t judge yourself by what others did to you.” — C. Kennedy
Why Does He Do That?
There is an amazing book out in the world called Why Does He Do That? (Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men) by Lundy Bancroft. This comprehensive resource breaks down the varying (and sometimes overlapping) personalities, thought methods, and belief systems of abusers; defines disorders and mental illness found in some abusive men; clearly differentiates abusive behaviors from the strong traits of nonabusive men; and more. You should be able to find an inexpensive used copy on Amazon.
I recommend it if you aren’t sure whether your situation is abuse, if you suspect it is but need clear, solid confirmation and hard facts from a professional, if you’ve already left the relationship and want to understand what the hell happened and why, or, even if you’re already past the abuse but want to study the subject from your stable, safe place.
The chapters are as follows: The Mystery; The Mythology; The Abuse Mentality; The Types of Abusive Men; How Abuse Begins; The Abusive Man in Everyday Life; Abusive Men and Sex; Abusive Men and Addiction; The Abusive Man and Breaking Up; Abusive Men as Parents; Abusive Men and Their Allies; The Abusive Man and the Legal System; The Making of an Abusive Man; The Process of Change, and; Creating an Abuse-Free World.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” — James Baldwin
“We read to know we are not alone.” — CS Lewis
The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 24/7 Confidential Support
thehotline.org | 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” — Jeanne McElvaney