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October Book Review: Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Controlling Men

Domestic Violence

This month we become aware of what occurs behind closed doors that is rampant in our society: domestic violence. October, the month of pumpkin lattes and autumn-rich colors, is also deemed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a subject of interest and experience, I have decided to feature Lundy Bancroft’s, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, as October’s book review.

What is domestic violence and why should you care?

According to Wikipedia, “Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context [in order to control the other], such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner. Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationship [and can take] a number of forms including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death. Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation. Domestic violence often occurs because the perpetrator believes that abuse is justified and acceptable.”

A growing epidemic, domestic violence affects individuals in every community worldwide regardless of age, economic status, education level, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or gender. It has been passed on from generation to generation, and if not eradicated, it will continue to destroy equality, freedom and peace, all of which, as inhabitants of this planet, we all seek and deserve.

Lundy BancroftAs a very informative and compelling read, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Bancroft explains why men specifically choose to control and abuse women. He begins by thoroughly explaining the abusive mindset, followed by the behavior of abusive men in relationships and in the world, and concludes with how we can attain a violence-free world. His book covers early warning signs of abusive relationships, ten abusive personality types, the role of drugs and alcohol in the abusive relationship, what you can actually fix and what you cannot, and how to escape from an abusive relationship.  If you are a woman who believes you are in an abusive relationship, or you have experienced violence in a past relationship, this book will teach you the truth about why abuse occurs and what you can do to protect yourself.

A bit about the author, Lundy Brancroft:

Lundy Bancroft has spent over twenty-five years specializing in domestic violence and working with abusive men. He is also the former co-director of Emerge, the nations for first program for men who abuse women and teaches state and judicial agencies in how to best help and handle abusive men. In addition to Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Mr. Bancroft has written other books including: When Dad Hurts Mom, The Batterer as Parent and Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To learn more about Lundy Bancroft or to purchase a copy of Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, please visit: Lundybancroft.com.

To learn more about Domestic Violence, please read: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Fact Sheets.

To learn more about abuse, control and abusive relationships, or if you are in an abusive situation and are in need of help, please reach out to a trained counselor 24/7 at The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

 

 

 


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September Book Review: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen

“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen

Stalking the Soul

The (destructive) art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse. If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and thus, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.

Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse. Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, in families, and in the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse. What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I found this part of her book very poignant.  I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.

As one the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s, Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is, or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. You will not be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:

Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying. Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France. To learn more about Marie-France Hirigoyen, visit her website: Marie-France Hirigoyen (Please note it is in French).

To purchase a copy of Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen, please visit Amazon.

Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel that something is not quite right in your relationship, the chances are high that you are being abused. Seek help. It is there and free for you. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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The Turning Point

It’s funny how memories come to mind. At one moment, we are thinking about one thing and in the next split second, we are taken back to the not-so-wonderful past.  This happened to me yesterday as I was driving. I passed by a familiar restaurant and memories flooded my mind. What is particularly funny is that I had driven past this restaurant probably dozens of times this year alone, but it was yesterday’s drive that spurred the memories.

Five years ago.

It was five years ago today that my fourteen year marriage ended, legally. After the judge declared the marriage “dissolved,” I remember my ex-husband stating, “Well, that was that.” I thought to myself, “That IS that; it’s over. Finally OVER.”  As we walked out of that emotionless, cold courtroom, it was apparent that now we both had to “move on.” There were to be so many changes ahead for me. And, even though I was the one who instigated the breakup of a very troubled marriage, at that moment, I knew another level of healing (and suffering) had just commenced for me. I wish I could write that I was brave through all of it, that I handled every crying session, every sad day, every angry moment with dignity and grace, but that is not true. I would love to say that every thought I had back then as I was healing was inspired by love, peace, joy and ultimate good (for myself and for everyone involved) but they were not. I would love to say that it was an easy road to travel, but it was not. My days and healing time were a mix of almost complete bliss and sometimes utter despair.

On one particularly sad day five years ago, I ventured into the same restaurant that I drove by yesterday to order some take-out food. As I was ready to pay for my meal, the clerk gazed at me, and with a Spanish accent, said, “It’s okay; you don’t pay – my gift to you.”  I remember the look of bewilderment on his face as he slowly and compassionately mouthed these words to me, and quite frankly, I was shocked not only by the generosity of this man but by the way he looked at me. I can only surmise that the look of astonishment on his face was because my spirit and my appearance must have looked and felt like I had just been hit by a truck running amuck. This kind gesture from this man was perhaps something he did regularly, but his actions touched me and snapped me into reality! That moment was my turning point. It was the moment when I said to myself, “It is time.” It was time to stop wallowing; it was time to start trusting, to release my pain, to forgive, to allow goodness to come to my life. It was time to allow my spirit within that was squelched by all the years of an abusive marriage to now live.  It was time to let go and let God flow. It was time.

From that moment forward, as each day passed, I became closer and closer to discovering who I really was and what truly made my spirit come alive. I allowed healing to take place by allowing the tears to flow, by choosing to forgive, by letting go of the anger, and by embracing the changes (all good) that would come. I learned to love myself holistically – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I learned to be brave. I learned to let go of fear. I learned to step out in faith.  I learned to make decisions that were in line with who I was and what I wanted in my life. I would eventually forget the man at the restaurant – the catalyst that begun my journey into complete healing. As days turned to months, and the months turned to years, I was to discover all the beauty and healing that life has to offer!  I learned that all things can be changed and healed with hope and courage.

Perhaps yesterday’s drive was a sober reminder of what I experienced years ago for the sole purpose of reminding me of how incredible the journey of life truly is when we allow healing to take place. It was a reminder to never fear change but to embrace all its gifts. Whenever I am tempted to lose hope, I look back to five years ago. Whenever, I think about giving up on myself, I think about what happened five years ago. Whenever, I am tempted to think that I can’t, I remember how far I have come. Whenever I falsely think, “Give it up, Vilma; you can’t do it,” I think about that moment in that restaurant.

What is the turning point in your life? Everyone has one (or two). Have you allowed healing to take place in your life, or are you still wrapped up in fear, anger, pain and self-inflicted misery? Why not point yourself towards the ever-present love that, if you allow it, will change you from the inside out and propel you into the confident, healthy and vibrant person you are meant to be?  The choice is yours. Choose to turn and point yourself in the direction of abundant life.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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What is Abuse?

Abuse is all about control.

Abuse is something that happens when one person believes they have power over another and exercises that power. Abuse is not only physical. It can be psychological, spiritual, verbal, emotional, financial and sexual for starters. Domestic violence is a result of the abusive mindset and the behaviors associated with that belief. According to The Women’s Crises and Family Outreach Center (TWCFOC), an organization that is dedicated to ending domestic violence in the lives of all people and empowering those victims of abuse, “domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. Assault, battering, and domestic violence are crimes.”

How do you know if you are being abused or have been abused? Here are some examples of abuse:

  • If you have been coerced or manipulated into doing something you did not want to do, you have been emotionally abused.
  • If you are afraid of your partner and feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” to not anger them, you have experienced psychological abuse.
  • If you have been pushed into a corner, you have been physically abused.
  • If you have been called a name, you have been verbally abused.
  • If you have been held against your will or made to do anything because of your partner’s religious beliefs, you have been abused.
  • If your significant other has punched you in the face, you have been physically abused.
  • If you were forced to have sex without your consent, you have been sexually abused.
  • If you are in an intimate relationship where you are not “allowed” to have or spend money, you are in a financially abusive relationship.
  • If you have been made to feel that if you do not do something or give something you will “pay,” you have been psychologically abused.
  • If you feel deflated, always tired, confused, depressed, scared to make a decision for yourself, or feel like you are losing your mind, you might be in an abusive relationship.
  • If you think you are being abused in any way, you probably are.

If you are experiencing at least three or more of the above examples of abuse, chances are high that you are in an abusive relationship or situation. You are not alone!

Please contact the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach Center for confidential and compassionate assistance. There is no charge to speak to a counselor, and they are open 24 hours, 7 days per week.

1-888-247-7472.

 There is only one YOU. Get help before it is too late! 

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso


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I am Thankful…

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I wrote this last year in 2012, but one year later, today, I feel the need to pass this on again, so here goes …  

Thanksgiving is a reflective and special time for me. It will always be because there was a time when I was not so thankful for my life. Years ago, during one Thanksgiving season, I left an abusive relationship. It was one of the most courageous steps I had to take to save myself, my spirit, my sanity. It had to be done, and there was no looking back.

To say that I am now a different person today is an understatement! As the years passed by, I gradually let go of my fear and learned how exciting life is and how beautiful I am as a person.  I am still on a journey, as we all are, but I can say with assurance that I am a NEW creation, with a new outlook, a new attitude, a renewed mind and definitely a new spirit! I will never be made to feel afraid again. I will never be made to feel “caged” again. I will never be treated again like I was “back then.” I will never experience that again because I now know that what I think about and who I am attracts what comes into my life. I have learned a lot from that terrible and enduring experience. I now remember it fondly but without the pain. I can now share it and not relive it. I am blessed. I am thankful.

Have you ever felt caged? Have you ever been in fear for your life? Did you ever feel like you truly had lost your mind, or have you ever felt so confused and numb from all the pain? I have been there. I now live to put an end to this type of torture and prison that many of us live in. There is not a day that passes by that I am not thankful for who I am, what I experienced and where I am today.

However, every holiday season, I cannot help think about other living beings that are caged, in fear, in emotional confinement, and in physical torture, too.  And, on Thanksgiving, it is the turkeys that are caged and murdered to celebrate a time of “thanks.” Over forty million turkeys are slaughtered for this holiday. How hypocritical we are as human beings. How can we celebrate a time of peace, travel far to get together with our family and friends, and center our celebration around food and sit down and consume, with fervor, the remnants of an abused and murdered animal? It really does not make any sense. As a matter of fact, when you truly think about it, eating a turkey (or any animal) and giving thanks when it is not necessary for our survival is a senseless act. There will never be “peace on earth” or peace in our hearts and minds, if we continue to torture, abuse, murder, and eat animals. What we put into your bodies, our minds and hearts becomes a part of us.  A person who consumes violence condones violence.   If one partakes in the traditional Thanksgiving by eating a dead turkey, he participates in violence; he participates in abuse. He condones abuse. It is logical.

What can you do to end this abuse and not corrupt your mind, soul, and spirit? You can be part of the solution by feasting on vegan food for Thanksgiving and not consuming animals and their byproducts. You can begin that day to experience true life. Here is an example of a vegan Thanksgiving meal:

  • Vegan turkey: a vegan alternative to turkey that comes already made with stuffing and gravy.
  • Mashed potatoes made with olive oil without butter
  • Green bean casserole made with vegan mushroom sauce or coconut sauce
  • Boiled or mashed yams or sweet potatoes made with olive oil instead of butter
  • Fresh, raw cranberries blended into a sauce
  • Raw or cooked corn or corn on the cob spread with olive oil or vegan margarine
  • Your favorite green salad with a vinaigrette dressing
  • Vegan pumpkin, apple, or sweet potato pie

For some recipes and other alternatives, click below.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/vegan-thanksgiving-recipes

Let’s stop the abuse this Thanksgiving season and have true peace, for all.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2013, Vilma Reynoso