October was Domestic Violence Awareness month. Though it is now November, I believe this still needs to be posted. I'm a man, a professional therapist, and yes I promote this crucial awareness. Domestic violence can be passive or aggressive in nature, as most would attest to the media coverage of the later. This sad and pathetic situation affects young and old alike. It traumatizes children, teens and the victim's family and friends. Often men are the perpetrators, though women also carry this role more times than we assume. This area is seen in all arenas: heterosexual couples, and gay/lesbian couples, and within every social economic class. Domestic Violence not only inflicts the adults, this devastating act harms children involved as well, even if they are not "physically" harmed.
A detrimental element is education and most importantly awareness of the subtle signs to get out.
We are all aware of the more aggressive tactics of hitting, pushing, kicking, throwing objects. It is the subtle or passive domestic violence maneuvers that need more awareness.
Is your partner, or the partner of a loved one practicing the following passive tactics:
* emotionally degrading
* threatening violence
* overly controlling with money, how your time is spent
* extremely critical--name calling, belittling, behind doors, or even in front of others
* threatening to "ruin you," or " take your kids from you if you "don't follow her/his rules?"
* telling your kids that you are no good, rotten, terrible, a rotten father or mother
We must remember this list does not entail the complete manual on passive domestic violence, as there are numerous other avenues to add.
Emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence that often is overlooked in our society. This needs to be
changed and brought forth into the public realm.
In my clinical endeavors, I have witnessed the effects of both aggressive and passive domestic violence on individuals and children. Remember, children witnessing domestic violence is traumatizing to them as well. If this or a loved one is experiencing such events, direct them to womens' shelters, or hot-lines, or if needed, child protective services agencies in your area.
Men, this may be an embarrassing event for you to endure, though one that requires attention as well.
Keep trying to educate people, even after hearing excuses fly! Being broke, or living with a friend, or family member for a period of time is a start at a healthier life. One everyone deserves!
Greg Dudzinski, MS, LPC