anger | anxiety |  codependency | counseling | domestic violence | insomnia |
rape | relationships | sexual abuse | self-esteem | women |

Anger

Subject: anger (heredity)

INQUIRY:

You say in one of your headings that "anger" is not hereditary. I think it is possible. My father, at a younger age, had quite a temper. I, myself, have a very bad temper also. I have occasional " rage attacks". maybe from being around my father at a young age had something to do with that. O.k.,but, I have an eight year old son who I have only seen for the first month of his life, then only a couple of days in the last eight years. Not once have I ever showed any anger near him. He now has the same "rage attacks" that I experience. Also, my son is only eight years old. If it is not hereditary, why is this affecting three generations the way it seems to be? Where would the best place to start to look for help in dealing with this? I would like to be able to help my son so that he doesn't have the same problems that I have had with this. Are there any programs for young kids? He is only eight years old. Just looking for a place to start.

RESPONSE:

There's far more of what we don't know, than what we do know about the physiology of the brain. We simply don't have any solid information (yet) that shows a biological base for anger. We do see hereditary issues around the mood disorders. So, for instance, someone might suffer from anxiety, and that leads them to anger. Still, it's much more likely to be environmental. There are many reasons that children may suffer from apparent rage attacks. It's best to bring a child psychologist or counselor into the mix as soon as possible to see specifically what's happening for your son.

Subject: anger (control)

INQUIRY:

What is the best way to control my anger? My temper always gets the best of me and it has ruined my relationship with my wife. I love my wife and do not want a divorce. Can you help? 

RESPONSE:

The best way to control your anger is not to be focused on controlling it, bur, rather getting in touch with your feelings. You see, for most of us anger acts as a secondary emotion that comes from others. Something happens; we feel hurt or slighted or abandoned or afraid, etc. Those feelings are too uncomfortable for us, so we slide into anger. As a rule, men are taught not be in touch with our feelings. we're taught either directly or indirectly that it's unmanly to be afraid, to feel needy, etc. 

Generally, learning to be assertive, learning to pay attention to our other feelings, developing relaxation techniques to help us stay calm, are all good ways to reduce the frequency and the intensity of the anger. 

These are hard skills to learn alone. I'd really recommend seeking out an anger management group, where you'd be working with a few other guys who feel they have the same problem. 

You didn't mention whether you were violent physically striking out and intimidating your wife. If that's the case, you need to seek help immediately. Either way, you can't control what your wife is going to do. she may feel already that it's too late for your relationship to heal. It's imperative that you not put pressure on her. Rather, you need to take care of yourself the way I've described, and through that you may be able to show her that things between you really can be different. 

Anxiety

Subject: anxiety

INQUIRY:

I was in target yesterday and when I got up to the check line my heart started racing. There was a woman behind me, so I said I was not through shopping and had forgotten something and she could go ahead of me. I had to walk around in the store and talk to myself to calm myself down. I then returned to check out, and then same thing happened again. The store was busy with Christmas shoppers so no one notice me. I finally went out to the garden section and bought me items. With no lines or waiting I was perfectly fine. This has happened on other occasions at different stores. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

RESPONSE:

Well, it sounds like you may be experiencing a minor panic disorder. Often times when we are overloaded with stresses, some of us start feeling anxious like either we're going to fall apart, or something bad is going to happen, or we're going to be embarrassed, etc. There are many relaxation and breathing exercises that can help (some of them are on the site here). Some very good self help workbooks for anxiety and panic are available at bookstores and the libraries. As demonstrated by your behavior in the store, it sounds like you have a good instinct for taking care of yourself, and that will certainly help in working your way through this.

If the above doesn't work after you've tried it for awhile, then you may have a more serious issue with anxiety and panic. If that's so, we recommend you find a therapist or group that would help you work through whatever deeper issues are triggering your feelings. There is some medication that can assist also, but if you can succeed by using the self help techniques, you're likely to feel more confident that you can deal with things, no matter what the situations.

Subject: anxiety and anger (BI-polar)

INQUIRY:

If a man has had a problem with anxiety (panic attacks in the family context) and this has evolved into a pattern of "ANGER/EXPLOSION" ATTACKS, which seem as "automatic" as the panic attacks did, what is the solution? Marriage conflict is not the problem; anti-depressants have only partially helped. Is this what "bipolar type 2 disorder" is , and how would a person know this?

RESPONSE:

There's not enough information to conclude anything about bipolar disorder. If this process is limited to family situations, then we're probably talking about what could be called intermittent explosive disorder. Even though the anger and violence seems as spontaneous as the panic, that is not likely. There is usually a process the person goes through from the panic type feeling to the anger, and then to the CHOICE (no matter how quickly it occurs) to act out in a threatening or violent manner.

Whatever the situation actually is here, it is crucial that the person seek professional help and look into anger management classes. If the person has actually hurt or directly intimidated family members, they should be looking for classes for battering men. These can usually be found through local battered women's shelters.

Again, nothing you've presented points directly to a serious bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder behaviors are not likely to be limited to a family situation. A therapeutic evaluation is really necessary before any professional should suggest such a serious illness.

Subject: anxiety (hormones)

INQUIRY:

does anxiety have any relation to a person's bowel movements. I find, that when I am in a nervous situation, a sudden bowel movement comes. whether it is before traveling, job interviews, or before I am to go out some place. it seems that anytime I get ready to go out, I seem like I have to go. even situations & places that I feel I shouldn't be nervous about. but, just like clock work, I’ll have to go. maybe because I am afraid that I’ll have to go once I am out. it has finally gotten too frustrating! please respond w/

RESPONSE:

Anxiety triggers hormonal reactions which can have physical side-effects such as perspiration, increased heart rate, shaking, and yes, even bowel movements. 

Stopping these kinds of natural side-effects to anxiety is difficult,

since they are natural.

We do however, have some control over our breathing, which is related to heart rate, perspiration, AND the release of hormones, some of which initiate bowel movements. Have you considered learning some kind of relaxation method? Here is a page which may help in making choices: http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/relaxation_techniques.htm 

Breathing, and other relaxation techniques are good general tools to use in any stressful situation.

Codependency

Subject: codependency (friend)

INQUIRY:

I wonder if you can help me. I have a very close friend who is like a sister to me. She really seems uptight about our friendship lately. She is married to a man who is addicted to alcohol, who is controlling and manipulating. She tells me her son who has the same exact problem as her spouse.

She is stressed to the limit, with these things, but a few weeks ago I noticed she became very distant to me, then I found out she went to see a friend we have in common, and the friend told her that she sees her as very codependent, and has been waiting for the opportunity to present itself, so she could share this with my friend.

The lady told her that our (MINE AND HERS) is an unhealthy and sick relationship, I resent this, and then my friend recently told me that I am controlling, manipulating, and prying....I was shocked to hear this, I know we are close, and sometimes so familiar with each other an example, a phone call may come in to me when I am talking to her, I take the call, go back to her, and she will ask me sometimes, not all the time, who was it? That type of familiarity.

I will admit, sometimes I may act possessive, but that’s only because we are best friends, that type of thing, and sometimes my own insecurity takes over, (It is important to me to know that I am her best friend) AND I realize that sounds childish, but that’s where I am...

Anyway, she told me that she has decided to get counseling for herself that she is codependent, and needs to talk to someone about me, her husband and her son.

My question to you is- what can I do or not do to minimize these feelings of hers???? It is not that I am on her doorstep everyday wanting her time, I am in her house for two meetings a week that are church related, she is my minister, and we have a friend-minister relationship.

Unfortunately, she is overwhelmed with her problems, her mother also just died in SEPTEMBER. I have done many favors for her, and have even helped them when they recently did over their home, I WAS there helping redecorate etc. etc. for one week every night after me working all day.

I have simply been trying to be the best friend I can to her, but instead of her looking at me as a blessing, it seems like I cause her problems, and EVERYTHING I TRIED TO BE, HAS BACKFIRED, AND I just don't know how to handle this now, so your advise to me would be greatly appreciated. She feels her husband, son, and I ALL have power over her, and when she said that I WAS DUMFOUNDED, I DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WOULD FEEL THAT WAY, I AM JUST HERE AND IF SHE WANTS TO GO SHOPPING OR FOR COFFEE, I AVAIL MYSELF, I DO NOT AS I SAID EARLIER, TRY TO TAKE HER TIME, SO PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU FEEL I SHOULD DO. I DO NOT WANT TO TALK THIS OUT TO HER, SHE HATES HASHING THINGS OVER AND OVER, IT ANNOYS HER.

She told me two weeks ago, she had all she can take, and virtually told me to leave her house, which I did very hurt, the four days later on my birthday called me, wished me happy birthday, and came up to my place for the evening while I had another friend here, it was a lovely time, it was like nothing even happened, very confusing to me to say the least....

She is away overseas now with another friend and will be back in a few days, then will see a therapist, in the meantime, how do I deal with this situation, thanks for you opinion.

RESPONSE:

Your situation sounds pretty complex, but I think it can also be simplified if we look at the comments you've made, concerning yourself only: (when trying to work something out, it's best to focus on ourselves, since we really only know the other person's story completely.)

** It sounds as though you are trying/struggling to maintain closeness & importance in your friends life?

When we try so hard to listen, spend time, give advice, or work to stay close to someone, it can be the problem in itself. Healthy friendships and healthy love relationships involve SIMPLY being there, with no work (except EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION-communication is the key to all relationships).

True support is helping to enhance another's life, not "making" another's life. Support is hearing the feelings, even hearing the feelings we don't want to hear. Right now, she's shouting something like, "You're telling me what to do. Leave me alone. Stop. You're crowding me, hurting me?" These are just guesses.

She is saying she's confused, and needs help. A professional at this point, does sounds like a good choice. Give her the power to ask you for what she needs or wants from you. When we talk about power, while it can mean many things, it usually boils down to the other person feeling trapped or helpless; unable to communicate their feelings and needs to others effectively. When people feel blocked from sharing, or they don't know how to share (could be with just some people) they aren't getting their needs met. Telling someone to "LEAVE!" sounds like an indication of this, as it may be her only way to cope when she is unable (for whatever reason - and this is the key - what's the reason) to communicate with you.

Have you heard of the term, "centeredness" ? I urge you to ask yourself, are you centered? Do you feel in control of yourself, your feelings, and your future? We all DO have COMPLETE control, we just sometimes lose sight and memory of it. Being centered is a self focus, it is completely internal, and it involves a VERY IMPORTANT second piece: staying completely un-involved on an internal level with others feelings and actions. It's okay to listen, support, and care about others, but when we take it on a personal level, it's going in the wrong direction.

Relaxation techniques can help us get back in touch with the power we have inside. Have you read some of the basic information on relaxation on our site? Practicing breathing, and centeredness (yes, it does take a lot of practice) is the best advice we can give you at this point. Support your friend (listen and enhance, don't "help"), and support yourself.

Counseling

Subject: counseling (fees)

INQUIRY:

"how are fees determined for independent counseling?"

RESPONSE:

There are several factors professionals use in deciding the cost/hour for individual sessions with clients. I'll make a quick list to start as a reference:

1. Degrees & licenses held by professional

2. Experience or specialty

3. Whether they work for themselves or an agency; agencies are more fixed in price

4. Area of the country (business expense)

Some free services can be found that are just as good as paid services (these are usually found within free clinics-but are only in some cities), and some professionals will use a sliding scale for individual clients based on income of the client.

But it is most important to remember this-if you're seeking help, it is much more important to find a professional who can provide you with the services YOU NEED, rather than basing your visits on the cost. The cost won't matter if you're getting the help you truly need. Finding a professional who's right for you could take some time, and a miss or two. Allaboutcounseling.com is trying to build a database to solve some of these problems in the future by gathering detailed information from professionals, so the public can find professionals more suitable to their needs. The database is new, so we currently cannot help you in this way, but hope to in the future.

Domestic Violence

Subject: domestic violence

INQUIRY:

My husband and I got into an argument last night and he threw me into the bed from across the room then punched a hole in our wall. Today I feel really confused because part of me feels like this could be a start to abuse and the other part of me is making excuses saying it's not that bad because after all I wasn't hurt. I guess I just wanted someone else's opinion who is not involved directly.

RESPONSE:

We don't have good news for you here. This isn't the start of abuse; it IS abuse. One time of this behavior is too much. Your husband committed assault against you; that's a crime. Had he done the same to a stranger, he would have already been arrested and in jail. We recognize that such an action is a crime against us if a stranger physically hurts us. It doesn't make it less a crime if it's done by someone who says they love us. When he lays his hands on you in the way you describe, it's assault and it's wrong. There can be no excuses. Whatever you said, however you may have said it, you didn't cause his behavior. He's responsible for his own actions. Those actions were totally inappropriate.

While it is not true for all men, often this behavior increases once it starts. Unless you can feel confident that it will never happen again, it also pollutes the relationship because you have to worry that whenever the two of you get into an argument, you may have to fear for your bodily safety. That destroys the give and take of any honest relationship.

We recommend that you talk further to a local women's shelter group or to someone who doesn't quibble about the seriousness of your husband's behavior. You can also check out the national domestic violence hotline. The earlier this is addressed, the more likely the chance that your relationship can heal. You don't want to end up fearing the man you love, and if he loves you, he doesn't want you to have to fear his anger.

Insomnia

Subject: insomnia

INQUIRY:

Could you please share some effective ways to combat insomnia? I feel mine is do to anxiety, usually about falling asleep!

RESPONSE:

If your insomnia is not caused by deep seated unresolved childhood issues, than the most effective methods are: developing basic deep relaxation skills you can find a workbook at most major book stores or libraries; doing mildly exerting exercise about an hour before bed, drinking some relaxing herbal teas or warm milk. You can check on site here for some relaxation techniques.

Rape

Subject: sexual abuse (rape)

INQUIRY:

I am doing a research paper on statutory rape and live in the state of Pennsylvania.

I was wondering if you could email me back and define the law on statutory rape. 

RESPONSE:

Paste the below links into your browser address line to get information on-line re: statutory rape: (statutory rape definition) http://www.house.state.mo.us/bills96/biltxt96/HB0887I.HTM

(proposed bill to change above definition of statutory rape) http://www.house.state.mo.us/bills96/bills96/HB887.htm#introduced

(on-line bills pertaining to sex crimes) http://www.house.state.mo.us/cgi-shl/webfind.exe?keywords=statutory+rape&indexname=bills96&searchin=Complete+File

A more "general" layman's definition of statutory rape is:

A teenager having seemingly agreed upon sex with an adult more than 2 years older.

Rape is non-consensual/forced sex. But statutory rape deals specifically with teenagers who weren't physically forced to have sex, but who did have sex, with an adult who is two or more years older. Two teenagers who have consensual sex (not physically forced), is not statutory rape. An adult must be involved.

Subject: rape (crisis training)

INQUIRY:

I am looking to obtain training in rape crises in Cleveland, Ohio. Do you have a telephone number or e-mail address I could contact?

RESPONSE:

Mary Brigid is director of The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and Susan Radbourne is Director of Counseling. Their business phone is 216-619-6194. They're located in #420 of the Standard Building, 1370 Ontario St. Cleveland, 44113-1701.

Relationships

Subject: relationships and anger (marriage & separation)

INQUIRY:

Hi I'm a 39 year old man and married for the second and I love my present wife very much. We do have several arguments and caused by me most of the time. We have been having a few arguments for a little while and it seemed to get worst when we got a computer and my wife is on it most of the time, talking most of the time, I got jealous because she was talking to men> She wasn't really doing just chatting, but she tells them that she loves then, when I asked her about it she said it was nothing it true but as a person. I admit that I'm a very jealous person and she says that I'm possessive I never thought I was, but maybe she's right. We have been married for three years and have been through a lot for the three years and I guess that I always thought we would be together forever. We have separated but still live in the same house for financial reasons and we start to get close again and I blow it by being Jealous and get angry because she spends so much time on the net want to be able to control my anger and prove to her that I love her to much maybe I love too much and it makes me angry when she is spending more time with other people and less time with me whether on the internet or not. I just want to be able to have my wife back, but I have to be back to my old self and stop being this angry possessive person I have thought of killing myself if I lose her because she is special and I've lose everything before and don't want to lose it again. She sees the signs and threatens to call the police, I don't want to do it just a thought. I just can't imagine life without her. We are starting to have secrets and hiding things from one another and once was a team is starting to turn into a nightmare. We are now fully separated and I really can't handle and handled in the wrong way. She wants to have a divorce maybe unless I change my ways. Please help me understand the best way to curb my anger and ways to get the love of my wife back

RESPONSE:

Sounds like you're struggling with some important issues that can't be easily solved through the internet. It does sound like you're taking a genuine interest in understanding the problem, based on what you've presented to us. Nevertheless, I would recommend either couples counseling, or if you're wife is not interested in doing this, you need support to sort out your own issues, and decide what you need to do to take care of yourself and find some happiness. Whether your wife wants to get involved in counseling or not, It's important for you to seek such assistance. 

Self-Esteem

Subject: self-esteem (weight)

INQUIRY:

Since I had my second child nine months ago, I haven't been able to regain any confidence because of my appearance. By the time my first child was nine months old I was back in a size 6 and feeling good. Despite all my efforts to lose weight, I'm failing and I'm crying more every day. I'm accusing my boyfriend of looking at other women and comparing them to me. This is ruining what was already a shaky relationship. I can't seem to come to terms with myself. Do you have any suggestions? I don't have any money to pay for a counseling session.

RESPONSE:

The feelings you're describing are very common for women after pregnancy, so I want you to know that you're not alone. We live in a culture that puts great pressure on women to look a certain way to be acceptable. Often times a person will feel like their self-worth is dependent on it. Have you looked at our section on self esteem? There are many ways to learn to appreciate yourself, and often there are good self-help books at the libraries or bookstores that can support your effort. Your worth is far more than whether you currently fit some idealized notion of beauty--open yourself to valuing all the many parts of you.

Relationships are very complicated entities, but very rarely does their success turn on whether one partner gains some weight. Men are taught to tend towards objectifying women's bodies. It's an inappropriate but common behavior for men to look at women. Even if your boyfriend engages in some of this, it in no way signifies that he is unfavorably comparing you. You may want to sit down and let your mate know what your feeling about yourself around these issues.

Depression after pregnancy is also very common. I know you said you didn't have money for therapy, but in most counties around the country there are programs that are subsidized by public funding that will see clients on a sliding scale. It's so important that you appreciate yourself and take action to take care of yourself.

Sexual Abuse

Subject: sexual abuse (child)

INQUIRY:

My daughter was sexually abused by her kindergarten teacher at the age of 5. She was diagnosed with PTSD and is currently being treated for depression and OCD behavior. We removed her from the public school where the abuse occurred (the teacher is still there) on the advice of medical professionals and the investigating detective. We have been trying, unsuccessfully, to have her classified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act so that the school district where the abuse occurred would pay for her schooling in a neighboring public school. They have so far denied her disability (we've been told that to acknowledge it would leave them open in terms of liability -we only want her schooling paid for). She continues to have difficulties in school and at home, especially with written work and with sleeping. I am trying to find out if there is any literature/information on how PTSD affects a young child in school. In her current school, she is taken out of class for 1 period every day, at the request of her teacher, for supportive services. He sees her as capable, and on or above grade level, but slow, inattentive, "spacey" (she tested negative for attention deficit disorder). I would greatly appreciate any information you might have.

RESPONSE:

I'm really sorry that your daughter was hurt. As you know, this happens far too often. Your struggles with the school system sound, unfortunately, very common, also. Here are a few resources that may help: Childhelp USA 800 422 4453. One Voice National Center for Redress of Incest and Sexual Abuse P.O. Box 27958, Washington, DC 22038 7958/ 202 371 6056; American Coalition for Abuse Awareness P.O. Box 27959, Washington,DC 20038 7959/ 202 462 4688. (These two groups share an office). They all may have websites now.

As I'm sure you know, post traumatic stress is very common, but with love and support, and encouragement from family, children can be pretty resilient. Many of the symptoms may gradually fade. the symptoms you describe are exactly what many children face in such situations. Do you have her in counseling with someone who has experience with sexual abuse issues? That certainly will help. We really wish you luck with this. Please let us know how things go. Which such a caring mother, your daughter has a genuine advantage in her struggles to heal.

Subject: sexual abuse (incest)

INQUIRY:

hi. Recently I let my family in on a secret. My uncle had been making passes on me for the past 5 yrs. More so since my boyfriend and I broke up. He would ask me to talk dirty to him, even cornered me in the kitchen once and tried to kiss me while my cousins were in the other room, always asked if I was alone, told me over the computer that he was watching me undress, and much more! my cousin told my aunt that he was talking to me and she asked me what about. I told her. she was really upset, but said she wasn't mad at me. she won't talk to me anymore and I’m no longer welcomed at her house. my uncle said that it was all a misunderstanding and apologized for that. I want an apology that he did do it and so does my stepfather. my mother however is going over there house for Christmas and in between like nothing happened, that really hurts that I lost my family and my mother. I cry all the time. HELP ME PLEASE!

RESPONSE:

You are in the midst of a situation which could test your inner strength, pretty close to the fullest.

It can be a tremendous asset to find someone whom you can really trust to talk to. Someone who will remain objective (take neither side, but rather can appreciate all points of views). Maintaining a level of stability and structure right now is also important.

It's so hard, when faced with a situation such as yours to remember that people DO have a need and an urge for what's "right", what's "just", and what is "supportive and loving". However, while people generally want these things, in situations of abuse, it many times doesn't happen that way. "Justice" (him admitting to wrongdoing, your mother "siding" with you, etc. etc. etc.) probably won't happen. That DOESN'T mean you don't deserve it. Recovery from the frustration, anger, and wrongful feelings can be soooo much easier when "justice" is served, but either way, it's most important for you to GET the "recovery" (more peace of mind for the injustice of it all). Recovery from abuse can be made tricky, or simply. When we understand that other's (mother, aunt, etc.) don't feel the same way about the abuse as we do, and ALWAYS remember that people are human (imperfect beings), then, and only then can recovery be made more simplified.

How do you deal with your mother going over there for Christmas? Not an easy answer. But you'll find a way.

While all of the above applies, it's even MORE important for you to know that if you can't find GOOD ways to cope, that you have the right to "walk away". You have the right to tell the truth about the abuse and the abuser. You have the right to be angry. You have the right to trust your feelings, perceptions, judgments, intuition, and inner experience. Have the right to happiness, love, health, and peace. Have the right to refuse to accept responsibility or blame for the actions and decisions of anyone except yourself. Have the right to decide whether or not to choose to work toward forgiving anyone.

Counseling can also be helpful, by helping you keep on track with your emotions, most likely as they pertain to how this situation is managed by your family. Coping skills can also be learned in counseling. Strength. Peace. You can do it.

Subject: sexual abuse (child)

INQUIRY:

I enter/clicked on the professional section because I am a medical student who is in dire need of help. I have try for many months/years to deal with this problem on my own, however I have been unsuccessful. I need help and do not know where to try. I thought about talking to someone within my school but that is difficult because I have to work with those people.

I was hoping that either you could recommend someone(prefer MD) who I could email privately. I do not wish to do it through the internet email because I am afraid it will be either posted or stole in transmission. that is why I want private email. I realize this may be unusual but I was hoping that one of the MD’s there would be willing to help colleague.

or if you could please refer me to few places either with phone numbers or internet site I would be grateful, because there are some many sites that are returned by search on "child sexual abuse" I could not determine which ones to go to.

please help, profession, family, marriage may depend on it

RESPONSE:

What you'll want to do is thumb through a phone book, make a few phone calls, and ask the counselor whom you've already talked to for an individual counseling referral, AND a support group referral. 

While it sounds like you're distraught now, this is encouraging, as your emotions can be signs of readiness for moving on (understanding, accepting, and healing some of your pain). People who are abused, hold onto the abuse on various levels and for various amounts of time. Fear of losing control (job, relationships, etc.) are REAL fears, however, arming yourself with the confidence and knowledge that you CAN face your emotions (anger, frustration, shame, violation, fear) without losing control, can be your greatest asset. Support groups can be especially helpful in this regard, as you share these feelings, and experiences with others through different levels of recovery. 

I wish we could give you a solid referral. All we can say is you're on track by stepping forward. 

"Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place"

Subject: sexual abuse (disclosure)

INQUIRY:

"I was just wondering if you know of any articles I could read that will give me information about the long term effects disclosure plays on the family?"

RESPONSE:

Based on my clinical experience with scores of clients: There is an extreme range of results for families, based on the level of denial at work in the family system. Sometimes people stop talking to each other, the disclosure gets excluded from family activities unless he or she agrees not to talk about the issue or in some cases, recants her/his story. In other families disclosure is the beginning of a long, fruitful healing process. Siblings who were never close before, become so. Families start to look like real families, etc. It is hard to know in advance what will happen. Generally, if the survivor is prepared by group or/and individual therapy, so that she/he knows the their purpose in disclosing, and understands the range of consequences both emotionally and socially, and feels a strong need to disclose, then it's a good idea for the disclosure’s emotional health. I hope this helps.

Women

Subject: women (Christian values & counseling)

INQUIRY:

Do you by chance have any religious beliefs? I am a Christian who plans on becoming a licensed family counselor and am wondering about your belief system. The reason I ask is because you referred to vows that are still being taken by men and women of faith.

Do you believe that this "cultural" attitude is truly the root of domestic violence? Now I do not believe that a wife is the man's possession. However, the Bible clearly states that the man is the head of the household who must love his wife as Jesus Christ loved the church. There are many abusive men who do hold rigid beliefs about woman and claim to be Christian. However, if you search the scriptures, you will see that Jesus Christ was willing to die for a Church that he knew would not always be obedient to him. Applied to a Godly relationship between a man and woman, men should love their wife so much that they would never abuse their spouse to make them "obey." They should patiently, through prayer, enduring love, and sacrifice, continue to gently lead his family even if his wife does not do as he thinks she should. No reasonable Christian man would claim that he owned his wife. The scriptures clearly state that we are all children of God. There is no difference between male or female in regards to our spiritual relationship with God. However, God does clearly define roles that men and women should assume to correctly glorify God.

But back to the causes of abuse, does not research show that abusers usually have low-self esteem and come from abusive backgrounds themselves. Is not the perversion of the patriarchal family structure a more reasonable cause of domestic abuse than the belief that the man is the head of the household. I am currently doing research on domestic violence, and the majority of violence is not the because of the cultural attitudes, but because of individual decisions to harm their spouse and children. There is no doubt in my mind that there are those who truly believe that they own their wives, and because of this feel they can abuse their wives if they "get out of line." But this is not God's intention. Is a family system the cause of the abuse, or is the misuse the cause? Interested to hear your response. God Bless.

RESPONSE:

Your question is a profound one, but not necessarily a relevant one when it comes to counseling (or holding accountable) men who batter. Whether they are distorting an essentially non-oppressive system of ideas to rationalize their behavior, or are, in fact simply extending the space that's already allowed for, as the result of a system of ideas that pre-disposes us to the oppression of half our species, their behaviors are still wrong if they hurt, intimidate, humiliate, manipulate, or attempt to control their mates.

There are many Christians who do not believe in Paul's concept of the marriage relationship. There are many who believe that a woman cannot be the spiritual leader of a congregation, and there are many who believe that one can. There are many people who believe we cannot be Christians unless we believe in the literal reading of the current version of the bible. There are many who believe that only by including the so-called gnostic gospels can we get a true reading of the bible. There are many who believe that only the pope can interpret their faith. There are many who believe that much of what is written in the bible must be taken with a grain of salt since it was written by men living in sexist, women-hating societies where women were literally OWNED by men, and disposed of as they saw fit.

Few of us today believe that Christianity supports slavery, even though Paul certainly seemed to be saying it was okay. So what does that mean to our current interpretations of the bible? Billions of people in the world today consider themselves Christians--and there are many differences between them. There are more billions of people who are not Christian, but adhere to spiritual systems that are of different cultural origins. We all have our beliefs.

Unfortunately, Judaism, Christianity, Islam (all people of "the book"), Hinduism, and Buddhism all developed a perception of women as not being equal to men. It is not coincidental that all of these religions come out of cultural worlds where women had very few rights right up through this century. In this Christian dominated country until the last couple decades, in most states there was no law against a man raping his wife. Why? Because she was his property. Few people who called themselves Christians protested this situation.

To get more information about this, or if you want to know what I believe, I would recommend these resources: GAIA & GOD, a book by theologian Rosemary Reuther, THE SKEPTICAL FEMINIST, by Barbara Walker, SACRED PLEASURE, by Riane Eisler, and BEYOND GOD THE FATHER, by Mary Daly.

Not only are men who were in abusive homes likely to commit violence against their mates, but men who stereotype their roles and their mates' are also part of the profile. Also, most violence does not happen in a vacuum; it has a context of beliefs and values. Those values come from somewhere, not just the immediate family home. As someone who did extensive research and has facilitated a batterers program for nine years, I have found this research to hold for my own clients. Nine out of ten men I've seen in our program have rigid ideas, reflective of Paul’s dictum, and they believe they've tried to respect the women in their lives.

Subject: women (oppression)

INQUIRY:

I am writing a paper on how women are oppressed and privileged in society, are there any lists that you know of or something that I could use that lists the ways we are oppressed and privileged, or if you know of anyone that could help me I would greatly appreciate it.

RESPONSE:

There really are many, many places that speak to your issues. I don't Know of specific lists, but works by Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, bell hooks, Charlotte Kasl, Marilyn French, Marilyn Frye, Gloria Steinem, Alisa Deltufo all give information.

You can probably find a lot of material at the feminist.com website. Afl CIO has a website on the most recent financial study that shows seemingly as bad off financially as twenty years ago.

In a society where women make up over 50% of the population, they hold only around 12% of the political offices, one in three or four is raped, almost 50% of all married women report violence towards them in their marriages, thirty five percent of teens report physical abuse in dating, date rape is practically an epidemic. Women hold almost no positions of power in any of the ongoing institutions of the society; women executives have to spend five times the money that their male counterparts spend on personal upkeep. From the time they are small children, they are steered either directly or indirectly be cultural influences away from occupations that are valued in the society.

There are still some states in the union where a man who rapes his wife cannot be prosecuted for rape. Until the last decade or so, that was true in almost every state.

Until very recently women's health was ignored in most studies of disease, since the studies were done on men.

The most common cause of injury to women is violence from their male partner. All of this is just a taste. What are the advantages? Women live longer than men. Women take better care of themselves because they don't get the sick messages that men get about having to be tough and hard and all that. Some middle class and upper class women don't feel the same pressures to make a living that their male counterparts do. As long as there is no contesting by the husband, women are most likely to get custody of their children in a divorce case.

I hope this gives you a mini view of the situation.

Subject: women (oppression)

INQUIRY:

I am writing a paper on how women are oppressed and privileged in society, are there any lists that you know of or something that I could use that lists the ways we are oppressed and privileged, or if you know of anyone that could help me I would greatly appreciate it.

RESPONSE:

Nepal's primary religious orientations are Hindu and Buddhist; a very religious country, which drives a majority of gender roles and views. Overall, women don't have it very good, and civil rights are not enforced. Unlike their Muslim oriented neighbors, however; the rules governing dress are not as severe.

sites which would be of interest re: previous question about Nepal and women:

http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/users/sawweb/sawnet/

http://www.allaboutcounseling.com

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