Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Choices to Abuse, and Domestic Violence

Posted by Hannah at 10:01 AM

Economic CrisisI have been reading alot of stories about how domestic violence maybe on the raise due to our economic issues in the world presently. There are all kinds of circumstances in which could escalate domestic abuse, but we need to be realize that didn't CAUSE a person to abuse. It just gave the abuser an excuse to show their true colors.

Because it Matters was speaking on this as well.

My perspective of it from the inside at the time was that his anger was because of his stress, issues at work, because he lost his job, because he couldn’t provide for his family like he wanted to, etc. But here’s the nugget — I excused, or made excuses for, his rages and actions, based on the circumstances. This is the same thing he always did. His rage was always because I did…, the kids did…, if you would only….

Rage and other personal emotions and actions are always a personal choice. They are not something that happens to a person against their will. They choose to behave that way — even if they genuinely believe otherwise. They can choose NOT to behave that way — even if they genuinely believe otherwise.

There is no medical condition and no circumstances that excuse anger, rage, violence, verbal abuse, name calling, etc. You may doubt me, but this is a fact. It took me a very, very, very long time to learn this myself. Somehow a whole lot of other people in the world, even people with bi-polar disorder (a common excuse) or other medical conditions, manage to learn to be responsible for their behavior under even worse circumstances, without abusing those around them. Somehow other marriages, comprised of two imperfect people, manage to exist for entirely lifetimes without rage, anger, disrespect, violence, etc.

When Danni spoke about bi-polar it stuck a cord within myself as well. We had to deal with the fact my husband had a severe medical condition that wasn't ever going to get better. Matter of fact it will always get worse due to its nature. I see circumstances in which others use medical conditions as an excuse for themselves. I see spouses allowing themselves to stay in awful situations due to the fact they feel they can't even separate due to this. How would they survive? How can someone in their right minds LEAVE their spouse in that type of situation! They need HELP! I remember being paralyzed by that, because I knew one day he would need constant care. It was my responsibility as a wife to care for him. He raged because he didn't feel good, and that he was frustrated over his limitations. He was in constant pain, and because he didn't feel good....etc. BOY I had all kinds of excuses! I just never could separate the two. Abusive nature - medical condition. They don't go hand in hand. I just felt I had to put up with it due to his illness.

As the years went by I learned that I was wrong in that thinking, because of circumstances that happened directly to me. The first was the my father who was terminal. I remember a fight my parents had one day in the hospital, and both of them called me about it. It was a stupid fight, and they both could giggled about it later. Dad was on high levels of meds that caused him to be diabetic, and after a day of testing and landing in the hospital again due to his terminal condition they brought in dinner. On that dinner plate was cookie, and my father had a HUGE sweet tooth! My mother took the cookie off his tray, and my father's ugly came out! It was clear he wasn't feeling good, tired, and he was outright ticked off that she had the NERVE to take that cookie off his tray! She wasn't hospital staff - SHE wasn't his doctor! If that cookie is there HE can EAT IT! Dad was downright nasty, and my mother stayed as calm as she could. She finally told him she was leaving before she said something she would regret! His reaction wasn't good, and as she left she told him to call her when it was time to DRIVE him home - she wouldn't return until THEN!

This was out of character for both of them, and I think the stress of things just got to both of them. Mom called me to tell me about what happened as she was starting to feel badly about what she had said to him. I told her it was good she left before it got worse! She told me she had to do errands the next day, and she would return to hospital later on that day. She hoped he would be in a more reasonable mood. She wanted to make sure she was as well as she didn't want to fly off the handle again. I don't think she FLEW off the handle, but I do think she was hurt by him attacking her over a COOKIE! I just reminded her that man can 'high maintaince' when he is really sick, and I'm sure he didn't mean what he said. I knew Dad would be DYING of guilt later on that night! LOL I didn't tell her that part, but I was correct! Dad called later on that night to speak to me. Told me what a big jerk he was to her, and how she wasn't coming back the next day and HOW he deserved this due to his behavior! He went on and on about how she was the best caregiver a person could have, and my father was just dying inside over how he could act so ugly over a cookie! How she was correct about NOT eating it, but it looked so GOOD after what he had been though that day. Dad was beside himself over this behavior, and the way he spoke to me it was genuine. The next day mom showed up after errands - and Dad sweating thinking she wasn't coming - and they quickly made up!

To me that story was a normal one of the stress of illness getting the best of both of them, but both realizing it and making it better after things settled down. My father was agony over how he treated her, and you could hear in his voice over the phone. I remember mom calling later saying how he was just all over her with apologies, etc. THAT to me is a normal stress - people can be ugly and get past it. My situation was always worse, and that resolution never came. It was to be excused away, and I stuffed it to deal with as I felt I had to.

The second big trigger for me was when I needed major surgery for myself. I had been putting it off for sometime, and waiting for his health and the kids to grow older in order to do this. The time came and he did his best to make it one of the worse experiences of my life. His power and control came full force as he knew I was helpless to do anything about it. They way he treated me and the children was just downright evil! HOW dare I make him do more than he should have to, and HOW dare I get to the point where he must care for ME and the children full time.

I do remember doing something that was rather smart beforehand, and I listened as God nudged me to do so. I remember finding strength within me to admit to some people that I would need help. I didn't come right out and say WHY, but it was strong enough that people I knew personally and in business made sure they did the best they could during this time. Ladies from church came and took my kids to school and home. Other parties came with 'ready made meals' for our freezer. Everyone calls me during lunch hours to see if I needed anything. I was VP for a business organization at the time, and I remember the treasurer called while he was driving past my home. Called to check on me, and realized I needed my meds from pharmacy. My husband made sure he was coming home late enough to question if he could pick them UP or not! The treasurer did this instead, and arrived about the same time and my husband did. He thanked him for the medicine, and told him that he was sick again and soon it would 'his turn'. That reaction was quick telling to my business associate, and I noticed people were more attentive at that point as well.

I realized that there was never going to be a 'my turn' for me. I think I knew that beforehand, but I don't think I was ready to say it out loud. I remember before going into the operating room, and the staff was coming to place the IV in my arm tears started to come down my face. My mother was with me that day, and said "She never did like needles!" It wasn't the needles I was afraid of. It was the fear of what would happen to me once I woke up. My fear finally came to the surface.

YES I'm sure the economy does drive out the worse in people, but doesn't it cause domestic violence? I hardly think so. Denial and the system failing is one reason WHY domestic violence happens.Probation system failed; Roschelle Woyee died.
You read stories like this, and this had nothing to do with the economy. You read about this type of thing alot, and yet stories of how the economic woes will now make things worse. Domestic violence happens alot even when the economy of the world would be at its best. I think Danni said it best:

The abuser is an abuser because that is their choice - the circumstances just give them another chance to show it.

The economy gives them that chance. The economy it seems just give the world another excuse to stay in their denial about their choices. YES there will be more domestic violence as the economy gets worse, but choices is what makes it happen.

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