Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Day of Domestic Violence class

Ok so I have been mandated to go to these Domestic Abuse classes at the behest of my job. It is mandatory for them so even if the State didn't pursue it my job would have and it is for 6 months. So I am thinking like this if I am arrogant then I will not have anything to contribute and nothing to learn. So I am sitting in this class with 4 other guys and I am writing a post for something. Being basically ambivalent about the whole situation, I'm stuck here so I may as well write something cool. Anyway the counselor comes in and she is so plastic that she would make Barbie Jealous. She sat there the whole session with the most plastic condescending smile on her face but I didn't say much about anything I just sat and listened until she asked for the definition of violence. The programs Definition of Violence is:

Any attempt to impose my will on another.


After that I had to say something when she explained a scenario of a married couple in which the wife went out and blew all of the household money on frivolous activities. She asked what would you do in a situation like this and I said the proper thing to do would be to limit access to the funds or put her on an allowance where she adamantly said that was improper and a form of violence as I will show in the diagram below. Then she went on to explain the three viable choices that a responsible person is left with.

  • Negotiation: Talk out the problem and arrive at an amicable solution.
  • Acceptance: Suck up the transgression that is being done against you and live with it within yourself. (Personally I think this option is a ticking time-bomb)
  • Separation: Leave the relationship altogether.

So to get this straight if my wife and I can't talk something out and I or she is not willing to suck up what it is that the other is doing then we need to get a divorce? Automatically. That is the psychology of the west and I ask you to hold in mind that this is a capitalistic system and in theory it is just that easy, but for most a little thing called love complicates the issue. However this is what I did. I filed for legal divorce. She did this too she left me with the kids, She asked me for talaq a while back and the Iddah had passed so the problem should have naturally been resolved. The issues came into place when the legal divorce was on the table.

So after we go around the table on how two wrongs don't make a right and just leave the relationship, I'm sitting back thinking this has got to be the stupidest nonsense that I've heard, but I have an open mind because I know that I'm not perfect, but I know as a secular system it divides everything down to the individual and only the individual is important.


Now here is the Power & Control Wheel and I know that stuff is hard to read so I will include it here:

A. POWER AND CONTROL TECHNIQUES

Physical violence is the most typical form of abuse associated with domestic violence. Yet, victims suffer many types of abuse at the hands of their partners. Sexual coercion and assault are frequently part of the dynamic of a violent relationship. In addition, the power and control tactics, described below and illustrated to the right, reflect the common experiences of many victims of relationship violence. These tactics are used by perpetrators of domestic violence to maintain power and control over their partners.

The Power and Control Wheeld
*The Power and Control Wheel

Statistics show the majority of domestic violence victims are women;
however men are also victims of domestic violence

Economic Abuse

The perpetrator maintains tight control over the couple's finances and oversees what money the victim may have or spend. The perpetrator may not allow the victim to work; may sabotage any efforts the victim makes to get or keep a job and may require that the victim relinquish all earnings to the abusive partner.

Coercion And Threats

The perpetrator may threaten to harm the victim, victim's children, other family members or family pet. They may also force the victim to engage in acts against her/his will or threaten to turn the victim into the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue service or some other government agency. Threats of suicide by the perpetrator are also very common.

Intimidation

The perpetrator may try to intimidate the victim. This intimidation may occur through menacing looks or expressions, destroying property in front of the victim or by hurting or killing the family pets. Also, the perpetrator may display weapons in front of the victim as a means of frightening her or him.

Emotional Abuse

The perpetrator may use emotional abuse to convince the victim that they are crazy or irrational, thus causing them to doubt their own beliefs, experiences or feelings. This emotional abuse, in the form of name calling, constant criticism and insults, is much more serious than the occasional argument. To the contrary, the perpetrator often continually humiliates and degrades her/his partner, thus wearing away at the victim's self-esteem.

Isolation

The perpetrator often tries to isolate the victim from friends and family members. The victim may not be allowed to leave home without permission and may be forbidden from making telephone calls. Eventually, the victim can become completely cut off from anyone who might be able to help her/him escape from the abuse.

Minimizing, Denying, Blaming

The perpetrator is likely to minimize or even deny their actions even in cases where injury occurs. If the police were called, but did not make an arrest, the perpetrator may rely on their inaction to deny wrongdoing. Also, the abusive partner will often blame the victim for their violent behavior and all too often, the victim will accept at least some responsibility for the abuse perpetrated upon them.

Using Children

Perpetrators may use the children to maintain control over the victim of the abuse. The perpetrator may threaten to harm the children or to kidnap them and flee the jurisdiction. Also, the perpetrator may tell the victim that if they leave, they will have abandoned the children and will lose custody forever. The victim can also be made to feel guilty for breaking up the family if she/he leaves the situation.

Using Male Privilege

Perpetrators may treat the victim like a servant, making all the important decisions, acting like the "master of the castle", being the one to define men's and women's roles.

The majority of domestic violence victims experience some combination of the power and control tactics described above.

B. CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

The Cycle of Violence was first described by Lenore Walker in her 1979 work, The Battered Woman. This model can be useful when trying to understand the complex dynamics that occur in violent or abusive relationships. The Cycle of Violence has been described has having three stages: the tension building stage; the violent episode; and the honeymoon stage. Each stage is defined by certain characteristics. During the tension building phase, the relationship is typified by increasing hostility and stress that may be accompanied by frequent arguments and perhaps limited violence. This stage may eventually escalate to a more serious incident of violent and/or abusive behavior. It is during this second phase that injury is most likely to occur. It is also at this time that the victim in an abusive relationship may seek some type of intervention or assistance. The violent episode is frequently followed by a third phase, often referred to as the honeymoon phase. This phase is characterized by remorse on the part of the perpetrator and hope for change on the part of the victim.

Although not all abusive relationships follow this cyclical pattern, the cycle of violence can help to explain what both the victim and the abusive partner are experiencing in many instances. The victim of abuse may be more interested in stopping the violence than in ending the relationship, while the perpetrator may be afraid his/her partner will want to leave. The honeymoon phase represents their efforts to repair and normalize the relationship and may provide the victim with hope that the batterer's behavior will change. In addition, the difficulties involved in ending a violent relationship may seem overwhelming for the victim of domestic violence. Unfortunately, in many abusive relationships the violence will continue and may escalate over time without intervention.

So I do the natural thing I get home and do a self-assessment, I decide to go through all of the literature that they gave me to assess whether or not I am a truly abusive person and was I that person before all this started and why am I this way now if I have truly turned into an abusive person. I like to think of myself as a pretty easy going person, but things have happened in the last 9 months that have me completely out of my skin. So let's look at both wheels and then I will start my self analysis because I do better at these things after sitting down and writing all out.

So here is the Self-Assessment now keep in mind when you begin to study psychology often times there is a tendency to accept all symptoms of a diagnosis because in any issue you can if you are honest with yourself see some part of most social dysfunctions. So here we go.

Economic Abuse: Not Guilty all financial decisions were talked about and discussed and I expressed what I was able to do and not do and if there were obligations above and beyond what I could provide she agreed to take full responsibility for those so that she could enjoy them at that time.

Coercion and Threats: Guilty I did make threats none of them physical and my justification was to just have her back off. I did not make the threat that she says I made on her blog about taking her life. I would never threaten anyone with such a thing.

Intimidation: Not Guilty I have never done any of the actions in this category.

Emotional Abuse: Not Guilty I understand that some may feel that my desire or my open expression for desire of polygamy as emotional abuse however I disagree but am willing to talk about it. I feel that the discussion thereof only came after I was informed that it was indeed warranted and necessary to discuss. If there is anything else in this category that some may feel that I am guilty of I am willing to talk through it.

Isolation: I have not isolated her from her friends even the ones that I don't approve of I have clearly expressed my dislike of any action of my wife and she has been free to decide how she is going to use that information.

Minimizing, Denying and blaming: Not guilty of anything described in the definition.

Using Children: debatable and the reason I say that is because any gestures in that vein were made in response to similar gestures initiated from her side. Harm was never a tool however limiting unsupervised access was contemplated by both sides.

Using Male Priviledge: Not Guilty As a Muslim I realize that I am afforded great power and control over the family however this must be attenuated with Love and understanding and respect and at no point did I make my wife feel like a servant to my knowledge.


So after the negotiations broke down and acceptance was established as not an option there was the leaving and so reconciliation was attempted however reconciliation attempts only seemed to serve as opportunitys for ambush on my heart. So finally I was done and I came over with the LAST and final set of ultimatums because the rest of it wasn't negotiable and that had already been established. It was an accept or quit situation. I had already been negotiating since April so there was really no point in sitting down and talking for much further so it is not like it started with the final ultimatum. It is often asked why do victims depending on you looking at her or I as the victim just leave, well I can say that this current situation all resulted with me trying to do just that LEAVE as Peacefully as humanly possible. However it would seem the further I got the more she would try to bring me back for more of the stuff that got us here in the first place. ABUSE is not exclusive to MEN although all of the literature in this course is written that way.

Now a lot of the stuff that I suppose they will be teaching in class in the future besides if you won't budge, won't accept then divorce posture is Anger Management techniques which I already have in place. In an argument I won't talk over the other person. I will let them say whatever it is they have to say and if they feel the need to cut me off I will just start over until I either forget what it was I was going to say and leave or be patient until the other person stops ranting and then say my peace. If I get really upset I follow the Sunnah and sit down and if that doesn't work then I lie down if that doesn't work then I leave. The only person that was heard yelling that day was her even though we were arguing about the children.

So ultimately what did I learn? Well looking back at the situation before everything went south I feel that the decision that I made on the 20th of April I should have just stuck with and let everything else ride. I pronounced Divorce on that day so that she would be free to do whatever it was that she was doing that I didn't approve of in peace and tranquility. Had I began the paperwork before I got home it would have been halfway done by now. However when you love someone that hard and that deeply just cutting it off and letting go is super difficult. I also learned that threats are not necessary Allah will work it out in due time in the most perfect manner. I don't think there would have been any problem if she had agreed to stick to the visitation schedule the SHE wrote out when I first began to file for divorce. It wasn't perfect, but I was willing to live with it. Now post DV charge whatever the court grants I will accept, because I know that Allah has a larger plan for us. In the future I will refrain from making ANY threats as the effects of that hot wind can be more than damaging.

However prior to that day that is where it all was. Promptly proceeding to me leaving dealing with the acceptace of something that was completely unacceptable to me. I couldn't accept what was going on so I was leaving the divorce was filed and the only problem as I can see it that landed me in this situation is that I kept looking back hoping that things would change. Praying that what I believed was true wasn't, but Allah's evidence was volumous and obvious and so I prayed for understanding and I think I am at a point closer to that today, maybe one day I will understand it all Allahu Alim. I know I have prayed for this to come to a resolution and it appears that Allah took over and is working this out in the most perfect manner.


So then they gave us some other pamphlets to read. I am posting a lot of this stuff here because A. I am working through my problems and B. I know a lot of sisters/people that read my blog are in abusive relationships. ESPECIALLY since I am so open and talk about SEX and stuff on my blog.

Time Out

A Tool to Stop your Abuse and Violence

  • Violence is a choice.
  • You must discuss agree, and practice the TIME OUT with you must discuss, agree, and practice the time out with your partner, so your partner knows what you are doing.
  • Time Out is not a solution but it will help until you get to the root of the problem.
  • Recognize your anger
    • Monitor your conflict – Be aware when you are no longer engaged in constructive arguing.
    • Monitor your body signs – Racing thought, inability to listen, flushed, headache, pounding heart, sweating palms, tense jaws, and clenched fists.
    • Monitor your self talk – Telling yourself negative things about yourself, your partner, or the situation escalate the anger. Name-calling, cursing, and commands, such as “Get off my back”, “I told you to shut up” also escalate the anger.
  • Take time out
    • Tell your partner you are taking TIME OUT.
    • Do not second guess yourself.
    • Do not get the last word in.
    • Simply say, “I am taking a TIME OUT” and leave.
  • Leave for one hour
    • Don’t drink or drug. Don’t drive. Don’t hit pillows, walls, or a punching bag (rehearsal for acting out violence).
    • Do something physical, such as walking, running, bicycling, workout, etc.
    • Do relaxation techniques, such as, deep breathing.
    • Do positive self talk, “I am taking responsibility for myself”.
    • Check out your feelings using I statements. “I feel hurt”, “I feel sad”, “I feel embarrassed”.
    • Check out what you think your partner’s point of view might be
  • Check back in
    • Ask if now is a good time to talk. Explain why you felt angry. Attempt to resolve the conflict. If you cannot resolve the conflict. Table it for another time and follow through later. If you get angry again, take another TIME OUT.

LOOK FOR WITHIN SOLUTIONS a resolution must be acceptable to BOTH parties for it to work.


Another little hand out that I thought was interesting was the Fair Fighting Guidelines.

FAIR FIGHTING GUIDELINES

  1. Remember: In a fair fight there is no winner or loser.
  2. The aim of a fair fight is a solution.
  3. Whenever either person tries to prove himself right and the other person wrong, this is dirty fighting.
  4. Be specific when you bring up a gripe.
  5. Don't just complain, no matter how specifically. Ask for a reasonable change that will receive the gripe.
  6. Ask for and give feedback of the major points, to make sure you are heard and to assure your partner that you understand what they want.
  7. Confine yourself to one issue at a time. Otherwise, you may skip back and forth, evading the hard ones.
  8. Do not be glib or intolerant. Be open to your own feelings, and equally open to your partner's.
  9. Do not allow counter-demands to enter the picture until the original demands are clearly understood, and there has been clear-cut response to them.
  10. Always consider compromise.
  11. Remember: Another person's viewpoint is just as real to them as yours is to you, even though you may differ.
  12. Never believe that you know what the another person is thinking until you ask him in plain language.
  13. Do not assume or predict how another person will react, what he will accept or reject.
  14. Do not correct another person's description of his own feelings. Do not try to tell another what he should know or do or feel.
  15. Sarcasm is dirty fighting.
  16. Never put labels on a person while fighting. For example, do not call him a coward or a child. If you really believe that he was so hopelessly flawed, you probably would not be with him.
  17. Do not make sweeping, labeling judgments about another persons feelings, especially about whether or not they are real or important.
All and all though I suppose when I finally do start talking in there I will be able to get some things off my chest. So we will see what happens next week. Well I would go on but I am sleepy now so we will see.


1 comment:

  1. SubhanAllah.....it's really hard to look at that wheel and realize that every category applies to you. That you've been subjected to each thing mentioned.....

    I'm glad you are so honest and open about your self assessment.......

    Thanks for posting this....even if it makes me sad....

    ReplyDelete