Friday, March 13, 2009

Building Back Trust after Domestic violence

Posted by Hannah at 3:53 AM

Emotional Abuse and Verbal Abuse can break the bonds of trust. The person that is abusing them isn't safe, and its HARD to allow yourself to trust once again.

(This is part of the Series of Emotional and Verbal Abuse your hear, feel, and see.  We are using segments of the show Super Nanny, and this family to show the different aspects of abuse.  For the full list of topics check the link.)

Now I want you to notice that Phil is once again acknowledging that he has hurt his family, and his wife with his rages towards them. The exercise is to show how his wife is having a hard time trusting him at this point.

His comment about, "I told you I would! SEE!" to his wife at the end is very telling. In small ways he feels people should trust him, because he loves them very much. They have good reasons NOT to trust him, but again he places things in his own little box of thought.

Does he mean it this time? Is it like all the other times he said he would stop? The real question is does he have the tools to handle this! Phil Davis doesn't have the tools at this point, but I'm sure he feels he has a better grasp on them.

We need to remember he may KNOW, but he does have a habit of abusing anyway.

To often I see churches telling the family that they must forgive the abuser, and to show this forgiveness to hand them the trust. They don't allow the abuser to earn the trust back, but almost coerces the victims into giving that to them. They clearly don't see how this enables the abuser. Its also not going to be the true form to make lasting changes in this relationship either.

As you watch his wife you can see that she wants to trust him. She wants this change so that he is safe, but we have to remember she has GOOD reason not to! Pushing the power play on families to forgive on the church's timeline, and not allow the fruits of the abuser's actions that would bring the healthier form is what normally happens. I have to be honest I do think that fear over divorce is what motives people. I have to wonder when they tell others to trust in God to let things happen WHY they do not allow that in this circumstance as well.

Pushing reconciliation and forgiveness before its earned is not only dangerous to the family, but enables the abuser not to have to do the hard work he truly needs to do. Separation at times scares the church, because they see it as the next step to the dreaded "D" word! We need to stop and wonder if this is the proper motive going in!

Abusers have a very hard time breaking the habit patterns they have. Its not an easy thing to do. It just like - lets say - alcoholics! At times we need to allow them to hit rock bottom before they can make that true commitment to treatment. Abusers need to make that commitment NOT to keep the family together, and because he LOVES her more than life itself! He needs to do this because this is what God would wish for him, and for him to want to be the man that God intended. Its going to a painful, and frustrating ride! He has always had his way, and he used the tools to make sure it was COMPLETELY that way as well. Those selfish motives are ingrained within abusers, and it will be hard to change that mindset. Their way is easier. The need for power is addictive, and they crave that badly.

Keep in mind that once victims do start to heal there might be a huge amount of anger they have to process. Remember emotions were not allowed in their environment, and they had to do something with them. They normally stuffed them. When the anger over the injustice and cruel acts surfaces, and feels safe enough for them to feel them - encourage it! They need to get it out! This phase will pass, and remember they were not allowed to really process what was happening before. They couldn't acknowledge it in some ways, and they used tools that enabled them NOT to acknowledge things. It doesn't mean they will live that anger all their life, but they need to know its safe to feel it for once.

Post traumatic Stress Syndrome isn't uncommon either. Most think of soldiers coming back from war when they think of this. There are alot of people that deal with this. You have natural disaster victims, rape victims, and in this case domestic violence victims. Those things can be worked on, but remember this could be a long ride for everyone. There will be alot of hills and valleys. It may takes years to bring it all together. At times people give up, and other times people just can't seem to let go of dangerous habits.

There are alot of steps to building back the trust after suffering from domestic violence.

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Anonymous said...

For me, post-traumatic stress disorder FEELS like what electroshock only LOOKS like. Another way of putting it is feeling like you're always hanging onto a live wire.

Hannah on 7:38 AM said...

Thank you for description. I think that is a good way of describing it.

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