He Said/She Said
Broken Heart Or Broken Bones?
By Sean McConnor and Winter Kelly
Oct 1, 2003 - 12:01:00 AM

BEL AIRDear He Said She Said,

I've become very close to a co-worker of mine. So close that we would spend every waking (and sleeping) moment together. We both have a strong emotional bond of sorts. The problem is that he has this way of blowing up at the slightest of issues. One day, someone simply moved a piece of paper on his desk and he went from sweet and calm to yelling and making a scene in less than 60 seconds. Today I saw the new video by Ashanti. At the opening scene of the video, it showed a dialogue that is much like our dialogue. He often says to me to shut up and to not disrespect him. I'm so close to him that it doesn't hit me as being wrong, until I see it elsewhere.

A few days ago, I saw him yelling at his dog, as the dog wasn't listening. He sounded the exact same as when he yells at me. I've confronted him on these anger issues but he blames me. I know I have my own issues, but I also know he has anger issues. My friends tell me that he will never change that he will only get worse. He tells me he is only like this with me. I broke off our relationship last week and we're both upset about it. If there was anything to do, I would do it at this point to be with him like we were. It's just I'm afraid it might lead to more anger, even though he swears he would never hit anyone. What should I do? Will he ever change? Is it just me?

Broken Hearted in Bel Air

 

HE SAID:

Dear Broken Hearted in Bel Air:

Have you seen those bumper stickers on the LAPD black and white patrol cars throughout Los Angeles? They say, "There is no excuse for domestic violence." You, Broken Hearted, have been the victim of domestic violence. Your co-worker with whom you have bonded has abused you as surely had he struck you. The pattern of violent behavior will only increase.

Your brain has leaded you in the right direction: you got out of the relationship. However, your heart is leading you astray: you want to go back. What part of the abuse do you like? Do you like being told to shut up? Do you like living in fear that one day he is going to smack you with his hand?

Your co-worker is not going to change, but you can. You can get counseling to discover why you subjected yourself to an abusive relationship and how you can prevent it in the future. There is hope for you.

Notice, I am somewhat down as I write my advice. It is because I know you are going to go back to the co-worker and subject yourself and your personal safety to peril. Good luck to you as you re-enter the world of domestic abuse. You are going to need lots of luck in the future.


SHE SAID:
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Dear Broken,

There is so much hype about 'abuse' that we seem to have forgotten what it really is. So many people are too quick to scream "abuse". You are an adult you have choices. If you really care about him, sit down and tell him that you are concerned. If he really cares about you, he will be open to face his issues since they affect you. If he does not care about you, he will not be willing to try to resolve these problems... then you will have part one to your answer! Have you thought about what your role is in this matter? What are you saying or doing to upset him? Do not be like so many people... blaming others for your actions. If you are not doing anything to provoke these anger episodes, then you have nothing to worry about. Also, you said he is your co-worker. What are you doing spending all your free time with your co-worker? If you do not have a relationship, maybe you should limit your time to an occasional outing.

According to the NCADV (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) the definitions for "battering" is as follows: Physical Battering - The abuser's physical attacks or aggressive behavior can range from bruising to murder. It often begins with what is excused as trivial contacts, which escalate into more frequent and serious attacks. Sexual Abuse - Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by, or culminates in, sexual violence wherein the woman is forced to have sexual intercourse with her abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity. Psychological Battering - The abuser's psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the woman from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.

It appears that most forms of battering start small but escalate quickly. If you are in a situation of violence, you will see things escalate. Either way, you should call and talk to a counselor at NCADV at 1-800-799-7233. Be good to yourself, because you cannot expect anyone else to.

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The Power and Control diagram is a useful tool to understanding the pattern and behaviors of abusive realtionships. Photo courtesy of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence



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