Category Archives: domestic abuse

Of Ogres and Onions, Part 2

File:Mixed onions.jpg

Red and brown onions, Author Colin © User:Colin /Wikimedia Commons /CC BY-SA 3.0

Self-hatred is not productive in the pursuit of change.  Self-forgiveness (as hard for abuse victims to accept as moderation) actually shortens the recovery time from what we may view as “failures” and backsliding.

But self-forgiveness is not a skill abuse victims are taught as children.  We must acquire it on our own.

Here are a few suggestions [1][2][3]:

  1.  Define the infraction, and identify the injured party.

In the context of attempts to move beyond our abusive past, victims are, for the most part, the injured parties [4].  We fail ourselves, and experience overwhelming shame.

The inner dialog goes something like this:

“How stupid of me not to speak up.  That saleswoman must have thought I was an idiot.  I’m sure she could tell I didn’t want the sweater.  I already have a nice sweater.   Besides, the new one is hideous.  If I wasn’t able to speak up in a department store, how am I ever going to speak up in class?  It’s too late for me anyhow.  It was ridiculous to think I could go back to school at my age.”

  2.  Put things in perspective.

Have you started World War III?  No.  Have you abused any children?  Again, the answer is no.  You have bought a sweater which can be returned, given as a gift, worn to an “ugly sweater” party, donated, or discarded outright.

  3.  Tease out the negative feelings.

You have, in a single instance, been less assertive than desired.  That can be remedied the next time.  You can visualize returning the sweater; can even memorize and practice a script.  You can buy sweaters to your heart’s content, and return them all.

And if a saleswoman is unimpressed with your taste, your demeanor, or your credit, what on earth does it matter?  The episode has nothing do with your school performance.  You simply projected your fears forward.

  4.  Be kind to yourself.

Ask yourself whether you would hold anyone else to the high standards you hold yourself, or criticize anyone else as harshly.  Chances are you are kinder to others than to yourself.

If you don’t feel “deserving” of kindness, try it anyway.  Encouragement produces far better results with abuse victims than rebuke. Continue reading

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Of Ogres and Onions, Part 1

Shrek | fictional character | Britannica

DreamWorks characters “Shrek” and “Donkey”
Copyright © DreamWorks LLC
Image courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com

“Ogres are like onions…Onions have layers.  Ogres have layers.”

Shrek, DreamWorks

Almost any American parent will recognize the quote (above).  It is from a conversation between the main character and his donkey sidekick in the children’s film Shrek.  The statement is meant to convey the complexity of ogres.

Change

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do what I hate” (Rom. 7: 15 NLT).

Change – especially change for the better – is difficult for human beings, too.  Even the Apostle Paul complained of this.

The problem is not weakness of character.  It is our flawed nature, and the very complexity with which God made us (Ps. 139: 14) [1].  Nearly all our actions have multiple layers of causation and meaning (many of these unconscious).

What this implies for abuse victims is that a single psychological insight on our part is not likely to be support an overnight transformation.

That is not to say insights are insignificant.  Even when painful, they give us better understanding of (and better control over) our lives.  As important, insights are cumulative.  If we are patient and persistent, change will come.

Expectations

Our expectations for ourselves must, however, be realistic.  Even those who were never abused encounter challenges in life, and problems achieving their goals.  It is the human condition in a flawed world.  Weight loss programs and gyms have made millions off that fact.

We must not measure ourselves against a behavioral ideal that may be impossible for anyone to attain, abused or not. Continue reading

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Rest

There is much in the world to disturb us.  We can read and watch the news obsessively, can lose sleep focusing on the pain and sorrow.  In fact, with a history of abuse, we may be drawn to distressing subjects.

But our souls, also, need rest.  Rest and peace are necessary to our healing.  The God who made us knows this.  The Bible speaks of there being a time for all things (Eccl. 3: 1-8).

Our most profound rest is in Christ.  He is our defense against the world.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11: 28).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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The Upper Hand – False Allegations of Abuse in Child Custody Cases

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7c/Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg/360px-Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg

Dependency Docket Bench Card, Ohio State Supreme Court, Source Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/item/e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99) (PD)

You are a divorced mother of three, working part-time to make ends meet.  You have custody of the children your husband expressed no interest in, even before the marriage ended.  You receive no alimony and little child support since he, also, managed to hide assets at the time of the divorce. 

Your ex and his new wife now feel custody would be cheaper.  Their ploy for gaining custody is to accuse you of neglect.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But you have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself, and wind up putting the $10,000 retainer on your credit card.

  • Although there are times divorce is the best option, divorced women are more likely than men to receive public assistance, live without health insurance, and have less earning potential [1A].
  • 29% of custodial mothers live in poverty, as compared with 16.7% of custodial fathers [1B].
  • Only 43.5% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support [1C]. The aggregate amount of child support due in 2015 was $33.7 billion.
  • Children of divorced parents are 1.5 – 2 times more likely to end up living in poverty than children still living with both parents [2].

The lengths to which a good and loving parent may be forced to go, in order to defend against false allegations of abuse are troubling [3A].

A lack of financial resources will exacerbate such a situation.  An attorney is not likely to continue with representation in the absence of payment.  Necessary psychological evaluation of a child in such a case can cost money, as well.

Unfortunately, the better funded (and less scrupulous) parent often has the upper hand.  The falsely accused parent with fewer resources may find herself or himself attempting to prove a negative not only in a custody case, but a simultaneous Dept. of Human Services investigation and criminal action. Continue reading

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Change Is Gonna Come

The performer of this Sam Cooke classic is 10 y.o. Jordan Hollins.

Known as the “King of Soul”, Cooke was born in Mississippi in 1931, and later moved to Chicago [1].  Like Jordan, Sam Cooke began singing as a young boy.  He went on to write hits like “You Send Me”, “Wonderful World”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, and “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

Cooke’s music contributed to the careers of such greats as James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.

Sam Cooke is, himself, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was, also, important to the civil rights movement.  “Change Is Gonna Come” became an anthem of the movement.

Cooke died at the age of 33 from a gunshot wound.  The circumstances of his death are disputed.  He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and National Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

To achieve peace, we must fight for justice and work for change.

But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 24).

[1]  Wikipedia,”Sam Cooke”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Cooke.

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 12 y.o. Alabama girl chewed through her restraints to escape captivity by Jose Pascual-Reyes, her mother’s boyfriend.  The 37 y.o. Pascual-Reyes had kept the girl intoxicated after killing and dismembering her mother and brother. 

See, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/girl-chewed-restraints-bold-escape-week-captivity-alabama-rcna41351.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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PTSD and Grief – Healing Through Nature

File:Early Fall in Sierra Nevada Range, CA 9-16 (29957191822).jpg

Early Autumn in the Sierra Nevada, Author Don Graham of Redlands, CA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

– John Muir

The respected naturalist and environmental philosopher, John Muir, believed that nature offers the body and mind opportunities to heal themselves [1].

Muir tirelessly hiked the Sierra Nevada, writing extensively about his experiences and ultimately co-founding America’s premier conservation organization, the Sierra Club.  His activism helped to preserve both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Mission Outdoors https://missionoutdoors.org/ and Hometown Hero Outdoors https://hometownherooutdoors.org/ are two small non-profits which share Muir’s view.

They afford military service members and veterans a temporary escape from the stress of combat or the difficulties of transitioning to civilian life through hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.  Hometown Hero Outdoors is open to law enforcement personnel, as well.

PTSD

Many of these individuals suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – an illness to which victims of childhood abuse and domestic abuse are, also, prone. Continue reading

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Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Image courtesy of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in 1891, Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is now considered a masterpiece [1].  In its day, however, the book was seen as shocking.

Plot

An early examination of rape and domestic abuse, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the story of Tess Derbeyfield, a simple country girl.

After a series of misfortunes, Tess is hired by the wealthy D’Urberville family but raped by their son Alec.  The following summer she delivers a sickly infant who dies shortly after.

Tess later finds employment as a milkmaid.  She falls in love with a farmer, Angel Clare, who is unaware of her past.

Since Angel confesses on their wedding night that he once had a brief affair, Tess tells him about the rape.  This does not go over well.  Angel views her as “impure”, and abandons her to try farming overseas. Continue reading

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“When Children Aren’t Allowed to Say No” by Cynthia Bailey-Rug

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment

“Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries. They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves. Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors. Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons. When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish. This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children. It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what. They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!…” [Continued at https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2022/05/26/when-children-arent-allowed-to-say-no/ ]

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 2

File:FerndalePoliceStop102415.jpg

Drug paraphernalia including marijuana/cannabis and a methamphetamine pipe, following a police stop in Ferndale, CA, Author Ferndale Police Dept., Source https://kymkemp.com
(PD per California Public Records Act)

We continue our discussion of the risks and benefits of a drug-based psychiatric approach utilizing psychedelics to treat anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite growing enthusiasm for the use of psychedelics, the evidence is far from in.

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – one of the most potent hallucinogens – was studied from the 1950s to 1970s in order to assess behavioral and personality changes, as well as relief from psychiatric symptoms [1][2A].

LSD was originally used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosomatic illness.  Readers may recall that the US Army and CIA, also, experimented with LSD as a truth serum.  But most early studies were not performed to today’s standards.

Across 11 randomized-controlled studies (involving a combined total of 567 patients) positive outcomes were observed, particularly with regard to alcoholism [2B].

In rare instances, however, psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can evoke a lasting psychotic reaction (more frequently in patients with a family history of psychosis) [3A].  Adequate screening of a patient’s vulnerability and prior psychotic episodes before the use of LSD is, therefore, emphasized. Continue reading

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 1

File:Ecstasy monogram.jpg

Ecstacy a/k/a Molly, Author DEA, Source https://www.dea.gov, (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“I am more convinced than ever that psychiatric medications, over the long term, cause net harm.  I wish that weren’t the case, but the evidence just keeps mounting that these drugs, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes…The inventor of frontal lobotomy…was awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing that surgery, which today we understand as a mutilation.”

-Award-winning science author and journalist, Robert Whitaker [1][2]

Recently, a number of drug trials have been conducted re-assessing the effectiveness of psychedelics for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the results of these trials have been heralded as providing new treatment options for tenacious illnesses, there are serious dangers associated with psychedelics.

Serotonin

Psychedelics act on receptors in the brain for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that effects mood.

There is some thinking that psychedelics enhance the brain’s capacity to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially following injury [3A].  But this hypothesis needs further research.

In the therapeutic setting, psychedelics cause a receptive, dream-like state during which memories are readily accessible [3B].  The theory is that this state opens the door to fresh ideas the therapist can introduce.

Unsupervised use is not recommended. Continue reading

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