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Domestic Mental Abuse - The Silencing of Battered Women and Abused Men

posted 20 Nov 2010, 08:01 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Nov 2010, 08:03 ]

For decades battered women have been accused of being
"crazy." But, what does that mean?

Is she really crazy? That is, does she truly have a
psychiatric disorder? Is her alleged psychopathology real?

Has she been told—by non-professionals—that
she's crazy? For example, does her battering partner tell
her she's mentally ill, and her in-laws chime in, like a
choir, declaring her "craziness?"

Or, has she undergone a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation
gone awry. Has her soon-to-be ex funded the mission and
overwhelmed the evaluators with his "sanity" and her
"pathological" behavior?

Silencing of the Battered Woman and Abused Man

The easiest way to silence a victim of domestic violence is
to establish that they are mentally and emotionally
defective or just back them into a criminal charge. For over
ten years I have noticed that battered women are more likely
to be silenced by being pathologized, and battered men
criminalized.

You've probably seen this in your life or maybe even
experiencing it yourself. And you probably know how
effective it is in silencing the abused. It conveniently
makes the victim the problem. And with this, it nullifies
any expectation of accountability on the part of the
perpetrator.

It's so effective that not only do the outsiders looking in
believe the staged dynamics, but the abused often buys into
it as well. Then with this, they come to believe that what
they experience is NOT "really" abuse.

Rather, they are just inappropriately interpreting what's
going on because of their psychopathology. And when
criminalized, they start to question if they are indeed an
abuser.

Cracking the Shield of the Silenced Domestic Abuse Victim

If you are questioning yourself in this way and wondering,
"Am I crazy?" "Is this abuse?" "Am I an abuser?"...Then take
a look at your circumstances from the outside looking in. Get
yourself an objective opinion about the label or charge you
have been given.

Beware, however, when checking from the outside in. Make
sure you assess your circumstances from beyond the scope of
the dynamics from which you live. If you don't, you may end
up securing an opinion that supports your criminalization or
your psychopathology.

Specifically, if you try to determine if you are an abuser
from within your extended family, your vision can become
quite blurred. And if you stay in the same circle of divorce
politics, you may not get the objectivity you seek.

Conversely, if you discover through objective assessment
that you do have a psychiatric disorder or you are a
domestic violence batterer, then deal with it. Get the help
you need before your condition worsens or spirals out of
control.

About the Author:

For more insights for domestic abuse victims, visit
http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/ebooks.php . Dr.
Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end
and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King,
Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
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