Sunday, March 08, 2009

Entitlement, Minimize and Divert

Posted by Hannah at 8:01 AM

I'm going to continue a series I wanted to do on visuals of emotional and verbal abuse. Please keep in mind that some of these scenes could be triggering to some parties.  We are using segments of video from the program Super Nanny.  It's sometimes easier to see and feel the points when you are able to visualize them.

(I did a series of articles on this program to point out different aspects of abuse.  Series of Emotional and Verbal Abuse your hear, feel, and see to view the complete series of topics)

Points to remember:

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are real.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. No one deserves this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Abusing Authority:
Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are "the truth"); telling you what to do or not to do; making big decisions; using twisted "logic"

Do they expect and/or demand that individual family members follow their orders or wishes? Do they become angry if their wishes are not fulfilled or if what they want to do is not anticipated?

Now watch the video, and watch for the diversion to get OFF the subject using a cereal bowl.

At the beginning of this video you can tell that Mr. Davis can be very nice and charming when he wants to. I'm sure thoughts crossed his mind about whether or not maybe he should have kept the chauvinist comments to himself. "I wonder what she is thinking about me!"

Now within a women's christian setting the wife's comments would have got a tongue lashing from the group. Chances are very good the wife may not bring up the chauvinist attitude, and if she did? Well they do ask HOW he is chauvinist. They ask for examples, and with each example they tend to tear it apart about how she must be perceiving this incorrectly. "Well most men don't do as much housework, and we always do more with the children! According to the Proverbs 31 woman isn't that our goal?!" I have seen women ripped to pieces over mentioning this type of thing, because they see it has dishonoring their husband. "I would NEVER be caught talking like that about my husband! You should be ashamed!" We need to break the silence, and not ask people to stuff this unhealthy dynamic.

Granted her attitude may not be appropriate with the christian setting, but we are talking a party that came to their house to help them. It could be pretty normal to be voicing these complaints in some counseling type of settings. lol I'm not saying super nanny is a counselor okay? I was talking generally!

Once again we notice that Mr. Davis doesn't have an issue with telling Super Nanny that his responsibility is to go to work. She works as well, but per the previous video he feels its not much of a contribution because, 'she sits on her rear end all day'. She has a office job, and I guess he is a laborer of some sort.

His job is physically demanding so he really needs the quality time, and since her job is NOT - she needs to take care of things once he gets home. I dealt with this attitude myself. "You sit at a desk all day! I actually WORK!"

Now keep in mind one of the tactics when the heat is on is to divert! Divert attention off this subject, and move on to the next! You don't get resolution that way do you? Resolution isn't something you get when you deal with an abuser.

He moves on the cereal bowl that was left out for his diversion, and she tries to keep them on the same subject. Its gets louder and louder because both parties want to be heard. He doesn't want to talk about giving up his quality time, and she wants him to admit things. Diversion is a very important trait, and they do this very easily at times. They can do it the loud way - per the video - or they have softer and calmer ways.

I can hear some people say, "Just walk away!" I will show you the response to that in an upcoming video. I'm not saying this is a proper form of communication okay? I will tell you that their sense of entitlement does rear this type of frustrating conversation, because as you can tell from the previous video they walk away and say its NOT their job! In an upcoming video you will see how 'walking away' doesn't solve things either.

Now we see that this couple has already separated over some of this behavior already. I cut out part of the first of this show, and their daughter Morgan has mentioned it has been more than once. They have separated more than once over this type of thing. Each time he mentioned he would 'step up to the plate'! She loves him, and she wants this family together. She isn't certain where their future would bring them.

If we look at how most churches approach it: 'we need to stop the possible divorce'! You notice she doesn't WANT the divorce, but she wants the abusive dynamics to stop. Most victims want this, and yet when you go for help it isn't perceived like this. Because it Matters has a post about this dynamic between the couples and the church.

Abusers do tend to make promises when they KNOW they have gone to far! "I will change! You need to give me another chance! Can't you forgive me?" They wail at alter calls, and say they have fully repented...please talk to her to give me another chance! I'm SURE they mean it at the time, but the problem is they don't have the tools to stick to their promises. They slowly turn back into the demon behavior that got them into the doghouse to begin with. Alot of times they get worse, because they don't want their families to speak out again! They tend to tighten their control! You could miss your opportunity to help the WHOLE family if you aren't familiar with the traits about domestic violence within the church!

Once again I want to remind you their behavior is mellow, and I'm SURE its due to the cameras on them. If they can get this out of control on camera - can you imagine in private? They will be on better behavior due to the cameras, and it gets alot worse when the attention isn't on them.

Does his behavior teach his children skills that they will need to lead a healthy life? Would the dynamic change if the wife 'changed herself', and he didn't do his part? How do you make the children realize that this isn't proper behavior as far as a man goes without being seen as dishonoring her spouse? They have had conversations before about how this needs to stop, and they might stop for a while...but they continue as soon as the heat is off.

Abusers may be very sincere at the time, but they don't have the tools or capability to do this on their own. Their spouse or partner isn't the one that should be handling that part with them. They have their own habit patterns they must break in order for the relationship to get on healthy footing. Remember they are frighten of the abuser's behavior if they bring up something that he doesn't like to the surface. If they know they will be punished for it some how - HOW are they going to be helpful to their spouse at that point?

The victims and their children need a different type of help. They also need time once the abuser has committed to getting their own help to learn to trust again. Abusers will be very impatient at that point. That is a clear sign they have more work to do. Its called consequences, and they can learn from those. Don't guilt the family into being more open with the trust in order to encourage them. That is something they truly need to earn back, and pressure from the outside to SHOW trust as encouragement will hinder the victims growth. They need to realize its OKAY to voice their feelings and reactions. They haven't been able to for a long time, and you are asking them to stuff them again. The abuser gets the encouragement, but at what price for the victims?

Remember abusers feel an unhealthy sense of entitlement towards their family. They minimize their damage, and divert off subject matters that make them uncomfortable.

If you missed part one see below:

Visions of Emotional and Verbal Abuse - Can you feel the humilation

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2 comments: on 11:49 PM said...

This is really good information, Hannah! And showing it like this makes very good points. What a great teaching tool.

I'd like to raise a question. When the wife points out that her husband's job when he gets home is to play games and relax (however she says it) could that be labeled abuse? I think some would say it is, partly because she says it as such a put down. I personally disagree with that conclusion because she obviously has asked for help over and over, even nicely, and he keeps refusing. She knows nice does not work. If nice does not work, are her shaming comments ok or are they abuse?

To add to your comments about the Christian community's response to this couple, actually, I think if she spoke that way in front of a pastor, the pastor would get on her case for dishonoring her husband as you mention above, but wouldn't he also say the wife should be a keeper at home and stop going to work? The pastor may also see the cooking and cleaning as the wife's responsibility, and think she is the one out of line, that she is the one creating conflict. If she would just do the job God created her to do (taking care of children, husband and house, and if she wants to be rebellious and go to work, that's extra) and do it without complaint, there would not be a problem.

Anonymous said...


You raise a good point about the wife's comments about her husband. When I was in it, God convicted me that I had to do right even if my husband didn't. At the very least, comments like that would be disresectful and possibly have manipulative intent. Speaking the truth doesn't have that sort-of back-handed zinger quality to it. For me, learning this was part of the way God continued to refine me in the process.

However, that said, a wife who speaks like this is speaking out of a very legitimate need. And husbands on the receiving end, and the church, tend to present her as a "nagging" or "contentious" wife -- and we all know what everythings about those, don't we! Poor man! Look what he has to deal with! At best, the church and many counselors are going to say they BOTH have a problem -- and abuse comes off the table.

And the Word has a lot of negative things to say about a contentious woman, including that she tears down her own house with her hands. So look whose fault it is if this family is falling apart! It's right there in the Word!

But they are completely missing the point that she is speaking out of hurt and unmet needs -- literally crying out for help the only way she knows how.

What happens when a child is hurt or feeling bad? Do they very politely approach us at a convenient moment and say, "Mother dear, I am feeling under the weather. Could you, perhaps, assist me when you get a chance?" No, they scream and cry, maybe even strike out at us. They have a meltdown in the grocery store and embarrass us to death.

Hopefully, if we have a clue about parenting, we understand the clues. While we may redirect the child's behavior in an more appropriate direction, we also understand what is really going on -- and address that as the primary concern.

The church and counselors need to gain some discernment to address things like this properly. This is a cry for help from someone who has exhausted every means she knows of to correct a serious problem. It is not an effective means to accomplish her goal - but she doesn't know what else to do either. And she is certainly not the "problem" by "nagging."

-- Danni

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