Verbal Abuse, Know the Signs

181288_536781536360128_1412007075_n

This is a reblog from Domestic Violence No More’s Facebook Page. I believe this applies to men as well (I know men who are or who have been verbally abused by women). — Verbal Abuse is insidious and often times, the abused doesn’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late.

Characteristics of Verbal Abuse

1. Verbal abuse is hurtful and usually attacks the nature and abilities of the partner. Over time, the partner may begin to believe that there is something wrong with her or her abilities. She may come to feel that she is the problem, rather than her partner.

2. Verbal abuse may be overt (through angry outbursts and name- calling) or covert (involving very subtle comments, even something that approaches brainwashing). Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory, and consequently confusing to the partner. Covert verbal abuse, which is hidden aggression, is even more confusing to the partner. Its aim is to control her without her knowing.

3. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. Even disparaging comments may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. But the goal is to control and manipulate.

4. Verbal abuse is insidious. The partner’s self-esteem gradually diminishes, usually without her realizing it. She may consciously or unconsciously try to change her behavior so as not to upset the abuser.

5. Verbal abuse is unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is one of the most significant characteristics of verbal abuse. The partner is stunned, shocked, and thrown off balance by her mate’s sarcasm, angry jab, put-down, or hurtful comment.

6. Verbal abuse is not a side issue. It is the issue in the relationship. When a couple is having an argument about a real issue, the issue can be resolved. In a verbally abusive relationship, there is no specific conflict. The issue is the abuse, and this issue is not resolved. There is no closure.

7. Verbal abuse expresses a double message. There is incongruence between the way the abuser speaks and his real feelings. For example, he may sound very sincere and honest while he is telling his partner what is wrong with her.

8. Verbal abuse usually escalates, increasing in intensity, frequency, and variety. The verbal abuse may begin with put-downs disguised as jokes. Later other forms might surface. Sometimes the verbal abuse may escalate into physical abuse, starting with “accidental” shoves, pushes, and bumps.

Where Did She Go?

ill It would appear that some lucky bug has come to roost at my house this month. It arrived just before Valentines Day and like a bad guest refuses to clean up after itself and leave already. I have learned from past experience that blogging while under the influence of cold and/or pain medication just causes the potential for restraining orders as well as evidence in mental health hearings. Granted I’ve written some of my best work while under the influence with my no holds barred, Can I Keep My Doctor if I said he followed me home bit being the best of them all– and of all 700 something blog stories I’ve written, THAT would be the one to go viral before I came to enough to remove it from the blogosphere.

I promise to be back at the joke writing, and whining about my lack of weight loss and having to explain to docs who use the word “moderation” in regards to my diet that I believe 1,300 calories a day is about as moderate as I want to get thank you very much so quit yer yapping at me..soon enough.

And if by some chance really bad poetry makes it way here before I am well, just know that I blame the NyQuil and hope to delete it once I come to.

Thank you for understanding.

 

What I’m Reading Right Now: Fully Alive by Ken Davis.

I am a huge Ken Davis fan. If you read my blog, you know that. I feel like I owe him a lot and I tend to gush when I talk about his impact on my life over the past 20 years.

Depression does horrible things to people. I have friends who can’t bring themselves to eat when they are depressed. HA! Not to be flip, but I don’t have that problem. When I went through my depression from 2004-2008 I went from 154 lbs to 207 lbs in just a few years. Instead of needing to lose 20 pounds, I now need to lose 60. Not fun. I’ve spent the last four years gaining and losing the same 20 pounds. To add insult to injury I have friends and family who thought taking bad photos of me would convict me to change. Nope, just made me camera-shy.

When I met Ken in 2009, he talked about how he was planning to ride in a triathlon of sorts. The dude is in his 60’s. I was 43 and in no condition to even think of doing such a thing. The photos never bothered me. Sitting in a room listening to a man old enough to be my father talk about a life change, got to me. I started following his blog. He placed second for his age group in said triathlon. He’s not depressed any more. His spiritual life is changing. His personal life is improving.

Now he has my attention.

I had an unexpected hysterectomy in 2010 and my doctor told me I HAVE to lose weight. I listened. I pursued multiple forms of diet and exercise and learned my ankle does not tolerate a lot of things. My bulimia became active again and I had to deal with that monster one more time. (Walking in victory today) I learned that walking, running, Zumba, Step Aerobics are all out as my ankle cannot handle the strain. I can however ride a bike and so I purchased my first real bike last October. I even lost 20 pounds (again) if you’ll recall. Then I got busy and gained it all back.

I got my first copy of Fully Alive in June and devoured it in three days. No lie. Loved the book. I even took the DVD to my Mom’s and we laughed ourselves stupid for an hour.  Then something humbling happened. My husband started reading the book and asking me questions about passages. “So what do you think of thus and such? I like his point, don’t you?”

I must have missed that passage.

“Oh well how about…..”

Nope..

“Did you read the book or did you skim it?”

I read it.

Hmmmm

OUCH.

My goal was to read the book. I read the book. I never allowed it to digest. I Deana, am a passive participant in literary pursuits. Nothing traversed past my brain. Sure I highlighted great tweetable quotes, but you know what – reading without gaining the nourishment intended and much needed and then regurgitating it all back to you guys makes me a literary bulimic.

Yuck.

My husband went out and purchased a new bike himself. He is at the “I own a grown up bike and it isn’t a Huffy” honeymoon phase. He wants me to ride with him. I like that. I also want to really read Fully Alive, not from a passive stand point, but as an active participant. I want to digest the chapters and get the words from my brain and into my heart. Once I do that, I plan to walk it out with my husband and with you guys.

Do you want to join me?

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Many men die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.” This book is intended to wake up these people.

Fully Alive uncovers forgotten signs of life in a culture seemingly filled with the opposite. Through action steps that led to his physical, mental, social, and spiritual health, Ken Davis recounts his journey back to the land of the living and the signs of life he found along the way.

The anchoring focus is based on the apostle Paul’s quest for life, when he said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” A power greater than death is available for what we face today? Who doesn’t want a piece of that?

Filled with narrative stories, humor, and practical help, this book is for anyone who wants to live fully and wonders just what that might look like in daily life.

Many people are lurching in the twilight, hoping to sing once again…living lives of quiet desperation, searching in vain for signs of life.

St. Irenaeus said, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.” For those who have been sidelined in life, for those tempted to give up, this book screams…Live!

In Fully Alive, readers will learn how to:

  • Discover the adventure hiding in the middle of the mundane.
  • Exchange the pain of unmet expectations for the joy of living with expectancy.
  • Get unstuck and take the first step that will lead to a new body, mind and spirit.
  • Kick guilt to the curb and experience real freedom.
  • Drive a stake into the heart of your everyday fears and live again.
  • Tap into a power that will protect you whether you’re crawling through the valley or standing on the mountain top

You were made for more. It’s time to reignite your desire and live Fully Alive!  Go here http://fullyalivebook.com/ for more information.

My Back Porch, A Blanket and a Fire to Keep me Warm

Cover of "Laughing in the Dark: A Comedia...
Cover via Amazon

I made a reference yesterday about the year I lost it. Those of you who’ve known me for a while know what I’m talking about, but for the rest let me fill you in a little. Life got crazy from 2003-2004 and while trying to handle everything on my own, I eventually snapped. You might say I went through an 18 month season of sifting, pruning, and deep grief. Some of it was my own making, and some of it was not. Whatever label you want to put on that season, the end result was the same, I was diagnosed with clinical depression in June of 2004. My depression was so deep that I spent the next 12 months in what I call an emotional black out. I functioned, but as my friends would say, “the lights were on, but ain’t nobody home.”

I’m not sure when I snapped exactly. The downward spiral began in 2003. Within roughly 14 months from March of 2003 to May of 2004, I ruptured my ACL,  buried 10 of my closest friends, lost the only school my kids had ever known, among other more personal issues I won’t bore you with here, and I erroneously believed the “cure” for my grief was to take on more responsibility. Pretty arrogant hunh?

By the time my brain and denial collided, I had already spent months sitting on my back porch every night. I’ll never forget being wrapped in a blanket, chain-smoking, and staring into the blankness,  for hours at time. In the morning, I’d wake up, pull up my bootstraps and drive to work across town.  As soon as work ended, I would go back on the porch and shut down.

When I finally did see a doctor, I was pretty deep and he was ready to put me in the hospital. This is how depression lied to me, I was blaming someone for mine. A few someones actually and my response to my doctor was “I’ll be jacked if I’m going to give him the satisfaction of putting me in the nut house. I’m stronger than he is.” As if I was the center of some evil plot to drive me insane. Depression lies to us, big time. For some strange reason my doctor didn’t force the issue and we settled out-patient therapy instead.

My pride and ego got in the way from allowing myself to be hospitalized. I should have listened to my doctor — I would have recovered much more quickly.

The good news though, is I did recover. I spent three plus years in therapy, both group and private, and on medication. I learned how to be more authentic and honest with my thoughts and feelings and I learned what to watch for in case it happens again. In my case, I have not needed meds for roughly three years, but if I ever spiral again I’ll be on them for life.

Several of my friends and acquaintances have experienced depression in their lives.  I met Chonda Pierce during my downward spiral. She is a sweetheart and she writes about her own experiences in Laughing In The Dark.  There is a blogger on my page, Pastor Todd Peppercorn (You can see him listed under Pastor Blogs). He writes When I Trust My Dark Road and I read him from time to time.

I could rattle off a few more names of people I like who have been through depression, but I hope you get my point. While I was never suicidal, a lot of my friends who experienced depression were. I lost a friend to depression ten years ago, and that breaks my heart. Depression kills.

 It was during this dark season that I did in my old blogs and threw away a lot of my writings. I did that because I believed at the time that I’d never be a writer or speaker or of any worth to God or anyone else ever again.

Wow was I wrong.

I’m bringing this up today because a friend of mine posted a plea on her Facebook page — she said “You’re too blessed to be depressed is bs. Don’t say that to anyone. Ever. Please.” She’s right. It’s not true and it’s not helpful. Depression is real. It’s not self-pity. Depression hurts. It debilitates and it lies.

A local pastor and part-time mentor is seeking in patient treatment for his depression and burn out. While my heart hurts for him and his family, I admire his humility and his willingness to seek treatment. 

I do know that while I was depressed I sought God in the things of God, in myself, other people, and my work. In seeking him in the wrong places, I missed him along the way. It was only after I fell apart that I found his healing and his Grace. Today I know the hope and the healing that comes on the other side. I pray the same for for anyone else suffering today.

 I found my voice, my courage and my king in my dark night — getting help is not a sign of weakness, it’s sign of strength.

Thank you for letting me share.

Next.