For the regular readers, I’m sure you notice the change in layout and graphics on the site…

Nothing is really meant by the change except an opportunity for me to play around with something I really know very little about. Much like a kid with a new toy I sometimes get caught up with the creative potential of my computer. The finished product here was reached by trial and error of things I’ve learned to do and things I’m clueless about and just happen to stumble upon. A reader visiting the first time might get the wrong idea by some of the images, colors, and hidden humor and think that I’m either crazy or out of sync with mainstream. I usually make an effort to write about things that curious minds will find of interest. I’m aware that perhaps 75% of people will have no idea of what I’m trying to say and 15 to 20% of people wouldn’t find it interesting anyway. I know that my blog journal is not appropriate for all but I do appreciate those who find it worth reading. I really didn’t care much about the appearance at first because I really just wanted to say what I had to say just for the therapeutic benefit. I never really expected it would be read as much as it has.

I’ve written about Battle of the Blogs at the Blog Explosion Web Site a couple of times before. Involvement there probably motivated me more than anything to explore and learn more about graphics and word processing. If you aren’t familiar with how it works; A blogger accepts the challenge from another member for a battle by matching the credits wagered under the thumbnail image of the blog. 15 other volunteer members spend 20 seconds looking at each blog then vote on which is the best by clicking a button. The blog with the most votes then splits the credits wagered with the voters and chalks up another in the Win column. When I first started competing I thought that the voters actually read what was in the blog and thought about what they read before they voted. About 80 losses later I finally accepted that it wasn’t that type of party. I understood that winning more than an occasional battle was all that I could expect regardless of the quality of the writing. I always thought that if I picked up just one serious reader out of the 15 voters that I had actually met my objective. Yeah, right. Even though Battle of the Blogs was clearly not the place to promote my blog, or my self esteem, I was bitten by the competition bug and just had to know what it felt like to be able to be a little more competitive. I started seeing nothing wrong with trying to make a good first impression with readers through a little cosmetic augmentation. So I decided to upgrade and even though I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing half the time, my site certainly looks better than it once did. I still lose most of the battles but I’m able to compete with most of the mediocre blogs. To me that’s an accomplishment and I hope to continue learning more about computer graphics and such.

Enough of that. My intention initially was to write a little about something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately. That something is one of those things often overlooked but that happens much more frequently than one cares to think about. What I speak of is domestic violence. It’s not always the man who is the perpetrator but most battered husbands seem to avoid seeking help, probably due to embarrassment. Next to crack addicts who also have sociopathic traits and sexual predators, I would have to say that next on the despicable list fall the wife beaters. Usually they are lurking somewhere in the wings like in a Greek Tragedy where an actor runs onto the stage to dramatically report to the principle characters what is happening somewhere offstage. The viewers imagination is crucial to really understand the plot of the story completely. In practicing psychotherapy, the old cliche’ of believing half of what you see and none of what you hear is often quite accurate. When there is conflict between two individuals I find it unreal how the versions of the identical same story are almost always totally different. Over the years I have found it crucial to never draw any conclusions with just one version of a story. That is usually a big mistake if you desire to really help the patient.

The most important rule is that violence is unacceptable under all circumstances. Both parties must conform to this rule. A woman must accept the principle of hit me once shame on you, hit me twice shame on me. There should never be a second time but it isn’t outside of reason for this to occur. By the third time it becomes clear that the situation is critical and dangerous. The battered partner has committed to being an enabler to a sick criminal. The battered wife often accepts the myth that she is somehow to blame for this fool”s anger. She also believes she has the duty and where-with-all to change this person. She often finds herself apologizing for his out of control anger and covering up for him. At this stage of the game the dynamic is much like a dance with one party’s behavior being totally dependent on the other’s. Usually, it only gets worse from here. Adding alcohol abuse to the mix is like pouring gasoline on the fire. The outcome will not be a desirable one.

The police and battered women’s shelters usually are first to deal with situations that escalate to physical violence, if it’s not too late before it is learned that intervention is required. In my practice there are many women who suffer mental and emotional abuse which can be just as damaging as physical abuse because such wounds are much harder to heal. I find that most women that find the courage to see a therapist usually have the potential to eventually develop the skills to empower themselves and put a stop to the abuse. Often they know they need to leave this man but he usually has warned her that if she were to do so he would have to kill himself or her. Unless impaired by drugs or alcohol most of them are too cowardly to kill anyone but the woman usually isn’t ready to call his bluff at this point. When there are children involved the situation can get even more complex. Sometimes it is the love of the children that motivates the mother to do what she has to do. Statistically, 75% of wife beaters also abuse their children. I would estimate that about 25% of wife beaters have plans of beating their wife’s therapist. I say that as a joke but it is probably true, which makes sense if one understands the basic psychological make up of many abusers. All the abuser is really interested in is control and possessing which makes the behaviors associated with insecurity and jealousy typical. This is most often served up with a side order of blaming the victim. As I often find myself explaining to the abused subject, the abuser is a master projectionist and really the opposite of everything he professes to be. Deep within he is a fearful and insecure boy child who has a need to control his external environment to have any self esteem at all. He also is aware that his mate in many ways is much stronger than he could ever hope to be. He goes to great lengths to keep a lid on this valuable secret. His most important weapon is to constantly attack her self esteem which he will fight desperately to do if she shows any signs of proclaiming what he perceives to be independence or control of her own circumstances.

I find it satisfying to observe a woman regain her self esteem and control of her life after an extended period of being manipulated and brainwashed into psychological oppression. Most of the time I feel very little empathy for the abuser because he has usually scoffed at every invitation and opportunity to save the relationship. With such an individual the only intervention having any hope of working is for him to be left by the object of his control and abuse. Usually this type individual finds it easier to find a next partner who is like his wife used to be before that horrible therapist ruined his life. It is a fact that some people are not capable of making significant behavioral changes despite the cost to them.

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