Emotional Abuse – First Appointment

I set my alarm on my cell phone last night for 8 AM,  My husband leaves for work around 7:30 AM or so and for some reason, I’ve been sleeping right through his alarm, him getting ready for work, and the car leaving.  I woke with my alarm going off and realized I didn’t feel the best.  This is a normal part of my morning though.  I feel sick to my stomach more often than I don’t.  My kids were still asleep, so I made my coffee and sat at the computer for a bit.  It takes me hours to wake up in the mornings; just not a morning person.  I started to realize though, that I was actually really nervous about the appointment.  It was the official beginning to leaving.  It’s one thing to make an appointment, nothing to it.  You can still back out, cancel, not show up.  But I did, I went, I took that first tiny baby step.  Of course, I had both kids with me, so they did some coloring while I waited for Cindy, my worker.  I also had to fill out a bit of paperwork while I waited.

Cindy was running a bit late, not a problem at all though.  It gave me some time to relax a little bit.  It wasn’t long until she called me in though.  She said we couldn’t talk about too much because the kids were there.  Very understandable.  So, we didn’t actually talk about much.  She went over what she does and how she can help me, she gave me a book and some handouts regarding abuse, the program called “Children Who Witness Abuse,” an application form for BC Housing, and a bunch of legal aid information.  She wrote down pretty much everything I need to know; when they’re available, the numbers to call, etc.  We went through the cycle of abuse, there are a bunch of different phases in it.  He shows qualities in all but 2 of them, and those 2 are about religion and culture.  We also booked the next appointment, it’s for Wednesday at 3:15 PM.  I’m hoping my uncle will be available to take me and possibly watch the kids while I go in.  If not, I’ll have to reschedule.  She doesn’t want to start with the phone sessions until she knows me better and can understand what I’m feeling through my voice, which if fine with me.

My uncle took the kids and I out for lunch after the appointment.  The kids had a lot of fun, but they always do with their Uncle Vin…or should I say Uncle Bin.  We just chatted, didn’t talk about too much on a personal front.  It was good though just to have the company.  Now that I’m back home, I’m tired, ready to sleep kind of tired.  I wanted to just go through this cycle of abuse though, for myself, and highlight what goes on in this house.  Also putting this out there for anyone else possibly going through the same thing.
Italic are what I experience in this marriage; I have also added the cycle of abuse for anyone who is unaware of what it includes.  From my experience in my marriage, this is true.

Using Intimidation

  • Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures
  • Smashing things
  • Destroying her property
  • Abusing pets
  • Displaying weapons
  • Driving too fast when angry

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Putting her down
  • Making her feel bad about herself
  • Calling her names
  • Making her think she’s crazy
  • Playing mind games
  • Humiliating her
  • Making her feel guilty

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what she does, who she sees, who she talks to, what she reads, where she goes
  • Limiting her outside involvement
  • Using jealousy to justify actions

Minimizing, Denying And Blaming

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
  • Saying the abuse didn’t happen
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
  • Saying she caused it

Using Family

  • Making her feel guilty about the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitations to harass her
  • Threatening to take the children away

Spiritual Abuse

  • Putting down her beliefs, her values, her way of being in the world

Cultural Abuse

  • Using culture as an excuse for the abuse, i.e. – “In my culture it is acceptable to beat your wife.”

Using Coercion And Threats

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
  • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide
  • Making her drop charges
  • Making her do illegal things

Using Economic Abuse

  • Making her ask for money
  • Giving her an allowance
  • Taking her money
  • Not letting her know about or have access to family income
  • Taking over control of her money

Using Privilege

  • Treating her like a servant
  • Making all the decisions
  • Acting like the “master of the castle”
  • Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles, child and parent roles

The “cycle of abuse” is as follows:

Honeymoon Phase (this also includes when you first start dating, that happy period of time)

  • Apologetic
  • Promises to change
  • Shows affection
  • Wants to have sex
  • Agrees to go for counselling
  • Shows interest in communicating
  • More attentive to family and me
  • Helps around the house
  • Gives gifts and compliments

Tension Phase

  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Sarcasm
  • Jealousy
  • Accusations
  • Fault finding
  • Controls what I do
  • Quick mood changes
  • Emotionally distant

Explosion Phase

  • Intimidating body language
  • Constrains me from leaving
  • Throwing things
  • Slamming doors
  • Silent treatment
  • Physical assault
  • Name calling
  • Swearing
  • Yelling