Saturday, April 05, 2008

You can stop the fights. It is very simple. You stop fighting with him.

Posted by Hannah at 11:05 AM

Sanctuary for the Abused as a good article on Reactive Abuse.

I have seen in the faith realm that many people will speak of their reactions of finally breaking and fighting back in some fashion. They react with harshness, pushing them away, hitting, etc. They felt they just could NOT take it anymore!

What is the reaction they receive? It certainly isn't one of understanding. Let me make one thing clear here I'm NOT justifying bad behavior from anyone I'm saying its normal at times. Everyone has their breaking point, and in most situations victims of abuse are told to just DO what the abuser wishes then they don't have to worry about it.

What they don't realize is the abuser is looking for the reaction, and will push whatever buttons they can to get it.

Reactive abuse is a tool that abusers use to show the world that its NOT THEM that is crazy, but the victim due to their reactions!

People will hand over all kinds of advice like:

Focus on you and what you can do do be a better person, a better wife, a better mother. You don't have to argue with him. You can walk away.

You can stop the fights. It is very simple. You stop fighting with him.

You have one person not reacting badly or sinfully. That makes things better than two people reacting sinfully.

Perhaps, after you take the focus off your husband and he sees you changing *your* behavior, becoming more loving, stopping your side of the verbal abuse, etc, you will be able to convince him that counseling would not just be another way of manipulating him. Because right now, you really do want him to go to counseling so *he* will change and do things according to the way you think he ought to, and he's probably picked up on that.

You can't make your husband stop but you can. And you are just as responsible for this mess as your husband is. Get some help for yourself before you really hurt your spouse and end up in jail for the night. He could bring charges against you and end up with the kids. You need to stop this.

To me thoses types of responses are excellent examples of simplistic advice, and means of diverting off the REAL issue and placing the burden back on the victim.

I don't think anyone is going to justify ugly behavior towards another. God wishes us all to treat each other in a fashion that we respect that we are all God's creations. To often I see people ignore that before the reality before the reactive abuse happened. Victims do have to work on themselves, but not in the way most expect them to. Learning to bend until you break, and learning to endure the abuse, and making people feel you must NOT have done something right or else they wouldn't react like this ....WELL that's denial of the advice giver!

What excuses were you handed, and how did you feel about them? If you respond it could help others understand they are not alone, and helps them see the reality of what is really happening in their life!

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Jeannette Altes on 2:27 PM said...

Interesting. I just posted on 'blame-shifting' which is what this is, in essence. To blame the abused for the abuse is to continue - contribute to - the abuse.

Hannah on 8:54 AM said...

That's very interesting. I guess you are correct - it is blame shifting as well.

Reactive Abuse to me is mininized to much. I got a letter once and her spouse was following her around and kept up the pressure. There was no where to run! He just pounding away at her! He got to the point he was in her face, and must have said something that finally broke her! She slapped him in attempt for him to get out of her face, and I would assume in reaction to what he said.

The whole focus of her counsel was on her slap. SURE it was mentioned that he wasn't on his best behavior, but her SLAP? Their reaction to her you would think that was the worse part of the day!

They told her she was now abusive as well. Personally, I think abusive behavior is a pattern of behavior. If the pattern isn't there - to me she reacted more than abused. I'm not justifying slapping, but to me there is a HUGE difference!

They also - as you mentioned - blame shifted in the example as well. How it started didn't matter - how she ended it was the focus of the discussion.

Hannah on 4:37 PM said...

Thank you for letting us know! We will come and read it!

jennie on 4:38 PM said...

In my verbally abusive marriage, I changed how I responded to him. I stopped all even marginally abusive behavior and his abuse of me got worse!

Nonetheless, it is good to learn walk away from verbal abuse and not engage.It has really helped me feel better.

Hannah on 7:29 AM said...

I'm glad that you can walk away. I can see how you would feel better as well! People do think that will change the other person's reaction, but you are correct it doesn't stop it at all.

I have had letters of people being followed, and not allowed to walk away due to force of some kind. I'm sure some people would be able to shut down completely in that sense, but others would really struggle with it.

I as well tend to walk away as you do.

Anonymous said...

And the further away you can get when you walk away, the better, preferrably one or two states away!

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