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truths about domestic violence

5 Truths About Domestic Violence And Abusive Relationships

truths about domestic violence

 

Domestic violence and abuse are becoming an epidemic in today’s culture. It is estimated that 38,028,000 women will experience physical intimate partner violence at some point during their lives.

Men can fall victim to abusive relationships as well. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 10 American men have experienced physical violence, stalking, or rape inflicted by a partner. Another 1 in 7 men will be the victims of severe physical abuse at the hand of a romantic partner.

Whether the perpetrator is male or female, studies show that abusers often share the same traits of aggression, mood swings, no self-control, severe jealousy, and high rates of suspicion.

Are you or someone you know experiencing domestic violence and abuse? Here are 5 sobering facts about abusive relationships and what you can do to help.

5 Truths About Domestic Violence

TRUTH #1. It’s More Common Than We Think

Many people have a caricatured version of who they believe to be in an abusive relationship and that the abusive is obvious. That one spouse will be constantly yelling at their partner, or that bruises or other signs of physical abuse are apparent.

Perhaps they believe people in abusive relationships are from a lower socioeconomic background. But this simply isn’t true.

One sad truth about domestic violence and abuse is that they are much more common than one might think. It happens to children, teenagers, and adults, with nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experiencing physical abuse from a romantic partner each and every year.

It is estimated that 11,766 American women are killed every year by their husbands or boyfriends, which is more than the war in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Abusive relationships are common and it’s time to shed some light on the truth.

TRUTH #2. Your Spouse Becomes Extremely Possessive and Controlling

As mentioned at the onset, jealousy is a common trait of abusive relationships. Partners seek to control their spouse to prevent them from cheating. Abusers may use the following tactics to control their spouse:

  • Isolating spouse from friends and family in fear that close associates will help the victim leave the toxic relationship.
  • Threatening self-harm if a partner says they are ending the relationship
  • Resorting to physical violence to prevent a partner from socializing
  • Forcing a partner to quit their job so that they are financially reliant on the abuser

Such behavior can be traumatizing to the victim. It is estimated that 81% of women experiencing stalking, physical violence, or rape by an intimate partner will end up being injured physically or will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

TRUTH #3. Abuse is More than Physical Violence

Physical abuse is clear to define. It occurs when one partner acts violently toward the other. Slapping, kicking, grabbing, pushing, beating, or using a weapon against a partner is clear-cut, unacceptable behavior.

But one truth about abusive relationships is that abuse hardly ends with physical violence.

Emotional abuse is a common method of control done by an abuser. Emotional abuse can take the form of insults, demeaning speech, making a partner feel crazy or stupid, bipolar mood swings, blaming a partner for poor behavior, and using religion or guilt to force a partner to stay.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. This is a facet of an abusive relationship.

Sexual abuse is marked by any unwanted sexual advances or forced intercourse. Sexual control is another form of abuse, perhaps making a partner watch adult films or participate in sexual acts they are uncomfortable with. Refusing to allow a partner to practice safe sex or sexually humiliating or degrading a partner also fall under sexual abuse.

Domestic violence and abuse can also involve withholding food, shelter, and finances from a spouse.

TRUTH #4. Not all Abusive Relationships are Obvious

While it’s true that some abusers may be negative, controlling, uncaring people, many have positive qualities that draw victims in.

Abusers are commonly charming, loving individuals who will apologize for their bad behavior only to repeat it time and again. In some cases, the abuse may not start for some time. It may even be years. An abusive relationship may start off as loving and wonderful as the start of any normal relationship. This is what makes abusers so hard to spot.

TRUTH #5. Leaving Is Hard

Often, when one hears the intimate details of an abusive relationship they will ask “Why didn’t he/she just leave?”

The truth is, abusers, do not make it easy for their partners to leave the relationship. They have physically or mentally beaten down the victim until their self-esteem is nonexistent.

A spouse may feel they are not capable of leaving. Their abuser has told them that this is the best they will ever be able to do in life or may withhold finances, their children, or other provisions to prevent a separation from occurring.

It is also common for an abuser to enter a honeymoon phase after abuse has occurred. They may be on their best behavior for a time, apologizing to the wounded spouse and promising to change their ways.

A victim’s forgiving nature or love for their spouse may compel them to stay and help their partner.

Research indicates that a victim will attempt to leave an abusive relationship 7 times before leaving for good.

Leaving an abusive situation can be very dangerous, especially for women, with most violence and deaths occurring during an attempt to leave.

Visit the Domestic Violence Intervention Program for an extensive checklist for leaving an abusive relationship in the safest way possible.

Has your relationship turned toxic? It may be in your best interest to consider separation in marriage. Put the safety of you or your children first by getting out of an aggressive and unhealthy home. If you need help getting out of an abusive situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text 1-800-787-3224

The post 5 Truths About Domestic Violence And Abusive Relationships appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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stayed so long in psychologically abusive relationship

Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship

stayed so long in psychologically abusive relationship

 

It has been a little over 15 months since it occurred to me that I needed to escape.

That staying with a controlling, and psychologically abusive person was harming my kids more in the long run, than the effects of leaving and starting a whole new life would.

That maybe, just maybe, if I had the strength to endure this treatment for so many years, that I could find the strength to leave.

And so I left.. or started the grueling process of leaving.

Over a year later the most common question I’ve been asked, “Why did you stay?”

So for those of you that have never been in a relationship like this one, that sadly so many of us have been, I thought I would try to answer that burning question.

Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship

Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say .. no… that is not what made me stay.

Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit.. but here goes.

We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.

I can only speak on my own behalf here but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.

Poor self-worth. Fear. The belief deep down, from years of damage, that we are not worthy of anything better. That we are not strong enough, on our own, to provide for ourselves and/ our kids. Our identity has been slowly taken away, piece by piece until we no longer know who we are, what we want, and most importantly, what we are capable of.

It began for me as small bits of mind control that left me dependent and uncertain.

It got so deeply ingrained into my subconscious mind that I was not good enough or strong enough. These small acts that I endured on a daily basis reaffirmed, in my damaged and vulnerable mind, exactly what my abuser wanted me to feel. Doubtful, scared, and unworthy.

But because each of these small bits of exposure are just that.. small.. especially at first… it became the norm for me. I forgot how to challenge my own thoughts. Forgot how my own beautiful intuition worked. The supposed “red flags” people warned me about. I was made to feel those were endearing ways that my abuser used to show his love. My value slowly changed .. it became based on pleasing my abuser as opposed to rocking the boat.

My own “gut” feeling was slowly reprogrammed to accept that this was love and totally normal.

Each incident, each cycle, that often ended with a “honeymoon” phase of attention, affection, and a brief break from the actual abuse, told me that I must be crazy to feel this was wrong. That he loved me, look at all he is doing to show me his love.

This is all part of the game of control.

The words of affirmation that came in those moments were used to fuck up my instincts. To make me convince myself that I must be wrong. And hence..”gut”, “intuition”, “red flags” were all my own broken thoughts. That there is no way that this could be bad when he clearly loves me soooo much. WRONG!!

Bit by bit the small bits became bigger bits. Looking in, looking back now from a safe and happy place, I can see that. But in those years and years that I endured this, when I thought I was becoming stronger I was actually becoming more and more used to this abuse. It became so normal and routine that it no longer even felt concerning. It was just how love worked.

In fact, if it was slightly muted because maybe he was distracted by a new job or business, it felt weird and uncomfortable for me. So then I would try harder to please and conform and seek the abuse and control that was slowly killing me on the inside because it was how I thought love was meant to be shown.

Abuse became my love language.

Insane right? How could that be? Well, friends, that is how it works. Manipulation and control slowly eat away at your soul until it no longer is your own soul at all.

In a strange twist of events, it finally occurred to me one day when my young child was verbally abusive and disrespectful and I thought to myself “how dare you treat another human, especially your mom, this way. Where do you get off thinking this is okay?”

OMG .. somewhere inside of me the “fight or flight” mode that humans are wired with, but abuse victims are rewired to deactivate, was switched back on. How on earth could I have been so stupid to not see what had been happening all these years until this very moment? And what the actual fuck do I do about it now that I have children, absolutely no financial control, and no self-esteem or self-worth.

I am the lucky one. The one that is surrounded by caring and loving friends and family. The one that finally found the strength to realize that the “how” and “when” didn’t matter anymore. Only the “why” mattered now.  Why I had to get the fuck out is the “why” that I mean.

Some of us are not so lucky.

Some of us may never have an “aha moment” that triggers that fight or flight mode back into action. The programming that is done day after day, year after year, is so damn hard to breakthrough. Some of us are not surrounded by loving and caring friends and family that we know will help us pick up the pieces of our broken lives and put them back together. Some of us are not so lucky, and that type of abuse turns into physical violence, and we feel even more trapped and damaged and afraid.

ALL of us need to remember that we never can tell what goes on behind closed doors. That one simple and kind gesture might be enough to show the “unlucky” one the real, kind, caring love that they deserve and be the switch flipper they need to reactivate fight or flight mode.

To this day I am struggling with uncovering more and more ways that this abuser scarred me. I am easily triggered, it is hard for me to know what real and healthy love and relationships feel like. It has been HARD AS FUCK to remember the fierce, confident, self-assured, smart, in control of her own thoughts, independent, and brave woman that used to live in this body.

So thank you to those that put up with my pushing them away year after year, and thank you to those that never gave up on that woman that was hiding away inside that scared and abused mind, and thank you to those that have pushed me to see my potential, and thank you to those that have shown me what true healthy love should feel like and look like, and thank you to those that remind me that I am worth it, and thank you to those that do not give up on me and my kids because they know we deserve to be surrounded by loving and caring and supportive people, and thank you to those that kick my ass on days that I forget all of this took so much fucking strength that getting through the rest of life should be a breeze in comparison.

I will tell you that it takes more courage and strength to leave and to find that woman again than it did to endure that abuse year after year.  I will also tell you that if any tiny part of this feels like your life, you are fucking worth it, and if I can do it, you can too.

The post Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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why we can love someone abusive

Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay

why we can love someone abusive

 

Falling in love happens to us; usually, before we really know our partner; It happens to us because we’re at the mercy of unconscious forces, commonly referred to as “chemistry.”

Don’t judge yourself for loving someone who doesn’t treat you with care and respect, because by the time the relationship turns abusive, you’re attached and want to maintain your connection and love. There may have been hints of abuse at the beginning that were overlooked because abusers are good at seduction and wait until they know we’re hooked before showing their true colors.

By then, our love is cemented and doesn’t die easily. It’s possible and even probable to know we’re unsafe and still love an abuser. Research shows that even victims of violence on average experience seven incidents before permanently leaving their abusive partner.

It can feel humiliating to stay in an abusive relationship. Those who don’t understand ask why we love someone abusive and why we stay. We don’t have good answers. But there are valid reasons. Our motivations are outside our awareness and control because we’re wired to attach for survival. These instincts control our feelings and behavior.

Why We Love Someone Abusive

Denial of Abuse to Survive

If we weren’t treated with respect in our family and have low self-esteem, we will tend to deny the abuse. We won’t expect to be treated better than how were controlled, demeaned, or punished by a parent. Denial doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s happening. Instead, we minimize or rationalize it and/or its impact.

We may not realize it’s actually abuse. Research shows we deny for survival to stay attached and procreate for survival of the species. Facts and feelings that would normally undermine love are minimized or twisted so that we overlook them or blame ourselves in order to keep loving. By appeasing our partner and connecting to love, we stop hurting. Love is rekindled and we feel safe again.

Projection, Idealization, and Repetition Compulsion

When we fall in love, if we haven’t worked through trauma from our childhood, we’re more susceptible to idealizing our partner when dating. It’s likely that we will seek out someone who reminds us of a parent with whom we have unfinished business, not necessary of our opposite-sex parent.

We might be attracted to someone who has aspects of both parents. Our unconscious is trying to mend our past by reliving it in the hopes that we’ll master the situation and receive the love we didn’t get as a child. This helps us overlook signs that would be predictive of trouble.

The Cycle of Abuse

After an abusive episode, often there’s a honeymoon period. This is part of the Cycle of Abuse. The abuser may seek connection and act romantic, apologetic, or remorseful. Regardless, we’re relieved that there’s peace for now. We believe promises that it will never happen again, because we want to and because we’re wired to attach. The breach of the emotional bond feels worse than the abuse. We yearn to feel connected again.

Often the abuser professes to love us. We want to believe it and feel reassured about the relationship, hopeful, and lovable. Our denial provides an illusion of safety. This is called the “Merry-Go-Round” of denial that happens in alcoholic relationships after a bout of drinking followed by promises of sobriety.

Low Self-Esteem

Due to low self-esteem, we believe the abuser’s belittling, blame, and criticisms, which further lessen our self-esteem and confidence in our own perceptions. They intentionally do this for power and control. We’re brainwashed into thinking we have to change in order to make the relationship work.

We blame ourselves and try harder to meet the abuser’s demands. We may interpret sexual overtures, crumbs of kindness, or just absence of abuse as signs of love or hope that the relationship will improve. Thus, as trust in ourselves declines, our idealization and love for an abuser remain intact. We may even doubt that we could find anything better.

Empathy for the Abuser

Many of us have empathy for the abuser, but not for ourselves. We are unaware of our needs and would feel ashamed asking for them. This makes us susceptible to manipulation if an abuser plays the victim, exaggerates guilt, shows remorse, blames us, or talks about a troubled past (they usually have one). Our empathy feeds our denial system by supplying justification, rationalization, and minimization of the pain we endure.

Most victims hide the abuse from friends and relatives to protect the abuser, both out of empathy and shame about being abused. Secrecy is a mistake and gives the abuser more power.

Positive Aspects

Undoubtedly the abuser and the relationship have positive aspects that we enjoy or miss, especially the early romance and good times. We recall or look forward to their recurrence if we stay. We imagine if only he or she would control his or her anger, or agree to get help, or just change one thing, everything would be better. This is our denial.

Often abusers are also good providers, offer a social life, or have special talents. Narcissists can be exceedingly interesting and charming.  Many spouses claim that they enjoy the narcissist’s company and lifestyle despite the abuse. People with a borderline personality can light up your life with excitement . . . when they’re in a good mood. Sociopaths can pretend to be whatever you want . . . for their own purposes. You won’t realize what they’re up to for some time.

Intermittent Reinforcement and Trauma Bonding

When we receive occasional and unpredictable positive and negative intermittent reinforcement, we keep looking for the positive. It keeps us addictively hooked. Partners may be emotionally unavailable or have an avoidant attachment style. They may periodically want closeness. After a wonderful, intimate evening, they pull away, shut down, or are abusive. When we don’t hear from the person, we become anxious and keep seeking closeness. We mislabel our pain and longing as love.

Especially people with a personality disorder might intentionally do this to manipulate and control us with rejection or withholding. Then they randomly fulfill our needs. We become addicted to seeking a positive response.

Over time, periods of withdrawal are longer, but we’re trained to stay, walk on eggshells, and wait and hope for connection. This is called “trauma bonding” due to repeated cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates emotional bonds that resist change.

It explains why abusive relationships are the most difficult to leave, and we become codependent on the abuser. We may completely lose ourselves trying to please and not displease the abuser. Bits of kindness or closeness feel all the more poignant (like make-up sex) because we’re been starved and are relieved to feel loved. This feeds the Cycle of Abuse.

Abusers will turn on the charm if you threaten to leave, but it’s just another temporary ploy to reassert control. Expect to go through withdrawal after you leave. You may still miss and love the abuser.

When we feel completely under the control of the abuser and can’t escape from physical injury, we can develop “Stockholm Syndrome,” a term applied to captives. Any act of kindness or even absence of violence feels like a sign of friendship and being cared for. The abuser seems less threatening. We imagine we’re friends and can love the abuser, believing we’re in this together.

This occurs in intimate relationships that are less perilous due to the power of chemistry, physical attraction, and sexual bonding. We’re loyal to a fault. We want to protect the abuser whom we’re attached to rather than ourselves. We feel guilty talking to outsiders, leaving the relationship, or calling the police. Outsiders who try to help feel threatening.

For example, counselors and Twelve-Step Programs may be viewed as interlopers who “want to brainwash and separate us.” This reinforces the toxic bond and isolates us from help . . . what the abuser wants!

Steps You Can Take

If you feel trapped in a relationship or can’t get over your ex:

  • Seek support and professional help. Attend CoDA meetings.
  • Get information and challenge your denial.
  • Report violence and take steps to protect yourself from violence and emotional abuse.
  • When you miss the abuser or are longing for attention, in your mind substitute the parent whom you’re projecting on your partner. Write about and grieve that relationship.
  • Be more loving to yourself. Meet your needs.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

©Darlene Lancer 2019

The post Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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11 Signs of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

11 Signs of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Emotionally abusive relationships cause untold pain and stress on both our bodies and our minds. But how do we know what one looks like?  

 

 

“It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.”
― Aisha Mirza

 

Emotional abuse doesn’t start from day one. There is that lovely first stage when they are wonderful, everything you have ever wanted.  It seems you both want the same things out of life and yes, things move fast, but when it’s right it’s right. Right?

 

Sadly, that initial rush of excitement is often a chemical response and once you settle into a steady relationship, those exciting chemicals are replaced with calmer but more long lasting ones such as Oxycontin – the love drug.

 

Healthy relationships can thrive with this change.  Both parties feel secure and comfortable and are excited by the future.

 

Emotionally abusive relationships however can flounder at this point because the abuser craves the high of the start of the relationship and so they can change almost overnight.

 

Sometimes the arrival of a child can be the catalyst.  Suddenly they aren’t the centre of attention any more and this creates anxiety in them and they feel rejected.  Or they can become obsessed with the child and push you away. This can result in anger, resentment and even a breakup.

 

In both cases the other party, you, is left wondering where the great person they originally met went to.

 

For those who stick at the relationship, an insidious type of abuse can emerge.  Physical abuse is more overt and victims recognise it as unhealthy even when they aren’t in a position to leave.  But covert, emotional and psychological abuse is less easy to recognise and victims can stay for years before the realisation occurs.

 

This article will provide you with 11 signs of an emotionally abusive relationship with the hope to at least give you the awareness of what is going on.

 

11 Signs of a Emotional Abuse

 

  1. There is a lack of an emotional connection

    You never turn to each other for emotional support. You look to other people first. Or you have to mind read their emotions and put yours in a box. Certain personality types, including narcissists, are emotionally unavailable and can struggle with not just their own but also with their partners emotions.  This can lead to outbursts of either rage or silence as they become overwhelmed. They will also belittle or ignore your emotions and your emotional needs leaving you feeling lonely and unheard
  2. One person is dominant in the relationship

    They control everything.  The money. The decisions. The child care.  And they refuse to listen to your opinion. They send a very clear message that they know best and a subtle message that you are unable/incapable of doing anything.

    Or they set you up to fail by giving you all the control but constantly belittling you for your “mistakes”. They refuse to do anything and you often feel like you are parenting them.  Either way, their personality is dominant and everyone knows where the power lies.


    In family systems theory this is known as differentiation of self and all family members lose their own identity and become almost cult like in their following of the leader.
  3. You don’t have a sense of relationship security

    All relationships go through tough times but healthy individuals stay and work things out or end it to work on themselves.  Emotionally insecure people threaten to leave regularly so you feel like you have a noose around your neck all the time. This is another aspect of control and power over you.

    They want you to know the consequences of disagreeing with them or not adhering to their requests in any way.

  4. You are experiencing physical symptoms of anxiety, depression, chronic pain, PTSD or substance abuse issues.  It is toxic stress and can be really damaging to your whole body
  5. Your partner is defining your reality by saying one thing and then denying it.  This is known as gaslighting and is psychological manipulation, a tactic often used by narcissists.
  6. They are extremely jealous and want to know where you are and who you are with constantly.  They don’t trust you to go to the shops and make constant accusations, some subtly, some outright. This is designed to isolate you and for them to maintain control of you
  7. They “surprise” you with changes to plans you already made under the guise of it being special, or better.  Really this is coercive and covert control.
  8. You feel sorry for them even though they are hurting you.  You blame it on stress, money, work – anything you can think of.  The reality is you care more about them than you do about yourself.
  9. They keep mentioning another person’s name but claims they are just friends

    Triangulation is a very powerful tool in creating jealousy and maintaining power.  They also do it to test boundaries and show how omnipotent they are. They get a kick out of seeing you uncomfortable and now knowing how to react.  If you question them you may get mocked or even accused of being abusive for not letting them have friends. They will say you are paranoid and so you will second guess everything.
  10. You are walking on eggshells

    Sometimes you don’t even want to go home because you don’t know what to expect and haven’t got the energy to manage it.  So you find yourself sat in the car in the car park or lingering in the shop just to delay walking into uncertainty. You even jump for joy when they aren’t in!
  11. You are questioning your sanity

    One of the biggest signs is when you start to think that you must be the problem.  You have been repeatedly told you are crazy, paranoid, miserable and they are so convincing that they are innocent, projecting it all onto you, that you begin to wonder if they are right. This isolates you and prevents you from opening up to anyone else for fear of being judged and it also provides a strong narrative for them to recruit family and friends to make you feel worse and imply you have problems.  This deflects all blame from them and no matter what you tell anyone, they have already stabbed you in the back and created their own version of the truth.

All of these signs are recognised in abuse models. This is known as the Duluth power and control wheel and is used to “diagnose” abusive relationships.

unhealthy relationship model
Duluth power and control wheel

 

If you recognise all of these signs, you are definitely in an emotionally abusive relationship and may even be in a relationship with a narcissist.  That may be the first time you have heard that. Take a minute. It’s not easy to hear.  It’s also up to you what you do with that.

 

I also understand that it isn’t easy to label the person you love as a narcissist.  You see all the good in them and believe that deep down they are a good person. I believe that too.  But right now you are suffering. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. And so something for you to consider is do you love them more than you love yourself?

 

I understand that what you want more than anything is for things to go back to how they were at the start.  For them to be the loving, fun and attentive person they were. Sadly we don’t have a time machine. And you can’t unknow what you know.  But you can make some conscious choices. The first of which is

 

  1. A) Do nothing, store this information away in your brain to perhaps recall at a later date but just get on with things
  2. B) Learn more.  Find out the reality of where you are at. Find out whether they are narcissistic.

 

If you choose B, we can help. You can read through our blogs for more information. We also have a quiz to help you know whether or not you are dealing with a narcissist.  It’s totally free.

Take our free “Is my partner a narcissist quiz?”

The post 11 Signs of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.

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15 Books Perfect For Children Living With Abusive Parents

Parents often ask me for resources to help them support their children who are living with an abusive parent.  It can be such a difficult topic to explain as there are so many emotions involved.

I have therefore compiled this list, with the help of many of my clients, to offer you some guidance and words on how to best support the child.

It is broken down into age categories for ease but remember that a child’s physical age is not necessarily their emotional age so be mindful of where that child is at in terms of their own understanding.

Children aged 0 – 6

At this age children are learning that their behaviour effects the world around them and these early experiences form a blueprint for how they see their world. They may blame themselves for arguments and will be asking things like “why does mummy hate daddy?” or “what did I do wrong?”  Children will also begin to assert themselves in play and this can be aggressive.

Boys can “fall in love” with their mothers and girls with their fathers and so this stages forms a blueprint for relationships and how they view the opposite sex. Abusive parents can distort a child’s view of what the role of a mummy/daddy and man/woman is.

Therefore the books in this list focus on helping children to manage their emotions and understand anger better.

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Abusive parenting can result in emotions becoming very scary and distorted. The child may witness a parent happy one minute, angry the next with no trigger.  They won’t know what changed and so can be confused by not just their own emotions but also their parents.

Many children with abusive parents can also take ownership of their parent’s emotions and express them as their own.  Saying “I’m sad” or “I’m scared” but smiling and laughing.

This books helps children to identify what they are feeling on a range of subjects.

How are you feeling today Baby Bear By Jane Evans

Children who grow up in abusive homes often feel they did something wrong to cause the argument.  They regularly feel afraid, lonely, angry and tired.

This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings.

Kit Kitten and the Topsy Turvy Feelings by Jane Evans

Once upon a time there was a little kitten called Kit who lived with a grown-up cat called Kizz Cat. Kit Kitten couldn’t understand why sometimes Kizz Cat seemed sad and faraway and others times was busy and rushing about. Kit Kitten was sometimes cold and confused in this topsy turvy world and needed help to find ways to tell others about the big, medium and small feelings which were stuck inside. Luckily for Kit, Kindly Cat came along. Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them.

This storybook, designed for children aged 2 to 6, includes feelings based activities to build a child’s emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.

Two Homes by Claire Masurel

In this award-winning picture book classic about divorce, Alex has two homes – a home where Daddy lives and a home where Mummy lives. Alex has two front doors, two bedrooms and two very different favourite chairs. He has a toothbrush at Mummy’s and a toothbrush at Daddy’s. But whether Alex is with Mummy or Daddy, one thing stays the same: Alex is loved by them both – always.

This gently reassuring story focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce, while the sensitive illustrations, depicting two unique homes in all their small details, firmly establish Alex’s place in both of them. Two Homes will help children – and parents – embrace even the most difficult of changes with an open and optimistic heart.

Although not specifically centred upon parental mental health, divorce is an unsettling time for both parents and children and so this book may help ease the worry of how to explain what is happening to a child.

Grow Happy by Jon Lasser

“My name is Kiko. I’m a gardener. I grow happy. Let me show you how.” Kiko shows the reader how she grows happiness: by making good choices, taking care of her body and mind, paying attention to her feelings, problem solving, and spending time with family and friends. Kids will learn that they can play a pivotal role in creating their own happiness, just like Kiko. A Note to Parents and Other Caregivers provides more strategies for helping children learn how to grow happiness. Age range 4-8.

Anger is Okay, Violence is Not by Julie K Federico

Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT belongs on the desk of every child protective services case worker. This book has a hidden message for children who are living with violence and struggling with a domestic violence definition. This book is also a great resource for toddler’s struggling with temper tantrums. The book offers replacement behaviors children can do instead of getting angry. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT teaches children about fish, feelings, families and anger control.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes

Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Children aged 7 – 13 years

At this age, children are asking more questions and starting to understand right from wrong. This can be especially hard when they are being taught bullying and violence is wrong but witness this at home. It can be really difficult for them to process and they will struggle with their own identity as well as feeling alienated from others. They will begin to identify with their own gender and so can align themselves with the abusive parent of the same sex. They are also learning consequences and to push boundaries. Abusive parents can either have to strict or too lapse boundaries and so children struggle to feel safe. This can lead to them withdrawing or lashing out.

The books in this age bracket are therefore focused on developing their identity and managing behaviours.

Lizzy Lives In An Angry House: Learning to Thrive In the Midst of an Angry Environment by Karen Addison MSPH

Karen Addison, educator, author and speaker, has witnessed and experienced the devastating effects of emotional and verbal abuse. Many have not addressed this form of destruction in relationships because it is difficult to talk about and difficult to understand. Often people don’t realize they are in emotionally destructive relationships, and this is especially true of children. If they are living in a home where a parent is “scary angry” and emotionally destructive, chances are the other parent is struggling to cope with that person, as well as the negative dynamics in the home. With wisdom and practical experience, Addison gives readers young and old alike an empathetic approach to recognising emotionally destructive (scary angry) relationships and tools to help those living in “scary angry” homes overcome and break the cycle of abuse

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.

Angryman by Gro Dahle

There’s someone in the living room.

It’s Dad.

It is Angryman.

Boj’s father can be very angry and violent. Boj calls this side of his father’s personality “Angryman.” When Angryman comes no one is safe. Until something powerful happens…

Gro Dahle’s astute text and Svein Nyhus’s bold, evocative art capture the full range of emotions that descend upon a small family as they grapple with “Angryman.” With an important message to children who experience the same things as Boj: You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You must tell someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Somebody Cares: a Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect by Susan Farber Straus

Somebody Cares explores the feelings and thoughts many kids have when they’ve had to look out for themselves or be alone much of the time. A useful book to read with a caring adult — such as a parent, foster parent, kinship parent, or therapist — Somebody Cares reassures children who have experienced neglect that they are not to blame for what happened in their family, and that they can feel good about themselves for many reasons. It takes time for kids to get used to changes in their family or living situation, even when they are good changes. This book will help kids learn some ways to feel safer, more relaxed, and more confident.

Teenagers

Teenagers are going through their own internal battle with hormone changes as well as having to make some life choices with regards to career. They often regress to toddler behaviour due to this pressure. For children with abusive parents the control between their own family and their friends can cause real confusion and disappointment or anger. They may, due to hormonal issues, start to lash out more and this can terrify them because they recognise themselves in their abusive parent. Equally they may see a passive parent and feel anger towards them for not doing anything. There may also be a physical risk to the child at this age as they talk back.

Children at this age will have a strong sense or morality though and so are more likely to want to speak out to others about the injustice they feel at home and perhaps even run away or move out as soon as they are old enough.

Therefore books for this age group are around managing their own emotions and feeling safe to speak up and gain some understanding about what is happening in their family.

Don’t let your emotions run your life by Sheri van Dijk

Let’s face it: life gives you plenty of reasons to get angry, sad, scared, and frustrated&mdashand those feelings are okay. But sometimes it can feel like your emotions are taking over, spinning out of control with a mind of their own. To make matters worse, these overwhelming emotions might be interfering with school, causing trouble in your relationships, and preventing you from living a happier life.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens is a workbook that can help. In this book, you’ll find new ways of managing your feelings so that you’ll be ready to handle anything life sends your way. Based in dialectical behavior therapy, a type of therapy designed to help people who have a hard time handling their intense emotions, this workbook helps you learn the skills you need to ride the ups and downs of life with grace and confidence.

This book offers easy techniques to help you: Stay calm and mindful in difficult situations, Effectively manage out-of-control emotions, Reduce the pain of intense emotions and Get along with family and friends

My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., and Katherine A. Martinez, Psy.D

Learn strategies to help you take control of your anxiety. The authors share information about breathing, thinking, facing fears, panic attacks, nutrition, sleep, exercise, medication, and how to tell if and when anxiety is a problem.

The Truth about Love, Dating and Just Being Friends by Chat Eastham

Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date?  When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?

Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.

Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth

Forged By Fire by Sharon M Draper

Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather? 

When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can’t be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all…. 

This list is not exhaustive

I have just compiled some that I think resonate with my audience but please do your own research. You know what your child is ready for. Also remember that the ages are not cut off points and so be mindful of your own child’s capacity and choose the ones which best suit by the content, not the age.

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Divorce Files Show Abusive Judges and Lawyers

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Ken Perlmutter’s family alleges sex abuse of nefarious custody evaluator

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Walter Hammon (far right) wife Maben and Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg investigated for corrupting family courts.

Investigated: Susan Ellenberg and Walter Hammon 

For decades parents and Whistleblowers have complained that Silicon Valley courts have ignored decades of corruption  that allowed pedophiles, abusers and thieves to rob and harm families for profit. 

A recent investigation links Santa Clara County’s newest woman Democrat to sex trafficking, and scandalous conduct imposed by the Hammon Legal Dynasty. 

Divorce files show Ken Perlmutter is renting a home for $6100 a month, where he is charged with money laundering to avoid obligations during a divorce. Secret recording devices planted near Perlmutter’s rental home have captured conversations with divorce attorneys Bradford Baugh, Walter Hammon and Donelle Morgan, showing how divorce lawyers, custody evaluators and CPAs are using Santa Clara County divorce cases to launder money and fleece families for 

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