Dr. Jeanie Bein our guest, who is a licensed psychologist and specializes in abuse, trauma, and family problems will be discussing and answering questions dealing with domestic violence and domestic abuse and how to become free from the cycle of abuse.
David Roberts: HealthyPlace.com moderator.
The people in blue are audience members.
Beginning of Chat Transcript
David: Good Evening. I'm David Roberts. I'm the moderator for tonight's conference. I want to welcome everyone to HealthyPlace.com. Our topic tonight is "Domestic Violence, Domestic Abuse." Our guest is therapist, Jeanie Bein, Ph.D., in Denver, Colorado, who specializes in abuse, trauma, and family problems.
Good evening, Dr. Bein and welcome to HealthyPlace.com. We appreciate you being our guest tonight. Why is it that we find it so hard to break out of destructive relationships?
Dr. Bein: I believe that one of the most difficult tasks of humanity, is to become free from the cycle of abuse. People get stuck in the victim role for a number of reasons. Usually fear is a prime motivator:
- fear of what the abuser will do,
- fear of being alone,
- fear of taking a proactive step.
Many people believe that they are bad, and this is what they deserve. They get this message from parents when they are children. They observe their main role models in abusive situations. This is what they know, and it is difficult to change patterns.
David: Is "being a victim" a learned behavior from childhood, or is it something that develops as a result of the fear instilled by the abuser?
Dr. Bein: Sometimes both, and sometimes neither one. Victimhood is often learned from the way parents treat their children and sometimes it happens later in life.
David: What draws these individuals into abusive relationships? On the surface, it seems it can't be attractive for them.
Dr. Bein: Perhaps they are looking for someone like their abusive parent, although, they don't consciously realized they are doing this. Often these folks feel fearful and insecure, and find a mate who can give them answers or take charge, not knowing the extent of the taking charge. In the cycle of abuse, one form of abuse is self-abuse. One form of self-abuse is being paired with a perpetrator.
David: Just to clarify here, what is your definition of an abusive relationship?
Dr. Bein: An abusive relationship can mean that one person takes another's power, or violates another's boundaries.
David: Dr. Bein's website is here.
Psychologically, what does it take for an individual to break out of an abusive situation?
Dr. Bein: In a word, "empowerment." One must realize that they are in an abusive situation. They must want to make a change. They need to make some personal, internal changes, to increase self-esteem. Some people need professional help and support to make the change. Others are able to do it on their own. Then they need to take action in the most expedient manner possible.
David: What are your thoughts about going to a battered women's shelter or someplace similar?
Dr. Bein: Sometimes that is the best answer. Shelters offer protection and allow the abused person to hide from their abuser. In some situations, it presents a practical problem, in that someone with a career may need to drop out of their job and economic support when making this change. It depends on the individual circumstances. Sometimes it is best to call the police and have the abuser physically removed, then take out a restraining order.
David: We have some audience questions, Dr. Bein. So, let's get to a few of those:
bunchie5: Don't they ever see the light and realize that they are abusing us emotionally?
Dr. Bein: A typical pattern is for the abuser to "see the light" after perpetrating the abuse. It's roses then. Often they are just as trapped in the cycle of abuse, as is the abused (not that this excuses them). I think it is more difficult for the abuser to change, and would need more professional help than it is for the abused to change.
secretsquirrel: How do you break the cycle of abuse when that is all you know? I feel so afraid and alone.
Dr. Bein: If one is afraid, alone, and doesn't know how to break the cycle, if they can't afford to seek out private help, they should go to a shelter for help. One can receive counseling at a shelter, even if they are not ready to go there to live.
Alohio: Aren't abusers normally wimps, inside? As such, how does one best deal with them?
Dr. Bein: Abusers are in a cycle. They feel abused themselves. So they need to put others down. You are right! Abusers are usually cowards when they come up against someone more powerful. The domestic abuse builds them up, just for a moment, then they feel even worse about themselves because of what they have done.