I mentioned in a previous post some things about restorative justice. I also realized that there are a couple of particular posts and websites that have become my touchstones in how I frame abuse and coercive relationships. I’ve also found some nation sources recently that I haven’t entirely read through, but appear to be full of general research-based information about abuse, as well as current abuse policy in the US. These sources are:
- Safe Horizon. An organization dedicated to working within the justice system to help victims of violence and abuse.
- CDC Division of Violence Prevention. The website breaks down abuse into many categories, including elder abuse and youth violence. The CDC has done some interesting studies about abuse and violence, and the impact that violence and victimization has on the country as a whole, as well as on the individual victims. Interestingly, in addition to tracking intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV), some of the studies also attempt to track stalking, which still hasn’t gained the recognition it needs in terms of how harmful it is to victims and programs to discourage it.
If anybody else has any great sources for general stastics, I’d love to learn about them.
These sources are the ones that have become my personal touchstones for looking at abuse intimately and more personally than the above ones:
- Abuse in polyamorous relationships. Shea Emma Fett’s experience about living within an abusive polycule.
- The community response to abuse. Also by Emma. Every post I’ve read on that particular site is thoughtful, interesting, and has been extremely helpful to me in understanding the mechanics by which certain types of emotional abuse and manipulation occur.
- Emotional abuse. Cunning Minx’s weekly podcast covered the subject of emotional abuse with Shannon Perez-Darby, Youth Services Program Manager for The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse.
- Thoughts on community abuse. An essay by Franklin Veaux that really cuts to the core of what abuse is about.
Recently, while reading Shea Emma Fett’s blog, I came across a review of a book called Controlling People by Patricia Evans. I started squeaking in excitement as the review alone looks wonderful and on Amazon the book is linked to two other books by Patricia Evans about verbal abuse. I’m going to start the Controlling People book about ten seconds after I finish this post (yay for reading during lunch breaks!), and then probably scoop up at least one of the Verbal Abuse books.
The tidbit of knowledge that Emma mentions in her review about backwards connections alone is very exciting to me. It neatly puts into words a way to explain my mom’s controlling behavior and Lora’s. Probably also the controlling behavior of many other people I’ve met who have a desire for control that springs from insecurity and a hard time connecting (versus someone who seeks control to manipulate for fun because of psychopathy).
One thing that Jon and I have a hard time talking about still is the abusive and controlling parts of his and Lora’s relationship. I would really love for him to read this book on control, and one of the ones on verbal abuse, but I’m not sure if he has any interest in doing that. When we talk about the abuse and control, he shuts down as much as he possibly can, without totally shutting me out. Meaning, he will still respond to questions, but he gets withdrawn, his answers are as short as possible, and he seems completely emotionally checked out and ready to change the subject.
I honestly don’t know how much the abusive and controlling aspects of their relationship have affected him over the years. I hesitate to say that he absolutely needs therapy and needs help sorting through it all. Based off of what I know of every other relationship he has, that relationship seems to have been unique in its abuse/controlling aspects. Given what I know about how Jon and Lora’s relationship started (and what I know from my experience with her), I think that Jon is potentially very aware of how this particular relationship got to him, reeled him in in a way that made the abuse and control seem acceptable. It’s entirely possible he has no interest in talking about it, because he has identified what made it acceptable to him to get in so deep and is already doing the mental work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
On the other hand, based off of my own experiences, I know that it can take months or even years to realize that a relationship was abusive or coercive. It could well be that Jon is absolutely not ready to face that yet, and does need months or years before he’s able to. Whatever if going on in his head, I do need to respect the place he’s in. So while I may gather resources (like these books) for if/when that day comes, I think I want to strike a balance of not pushing them on him, but of mentioning them at times, so that he has an easy opening to talk about them, should he want to.
And if he doesn’t want to, they’re still good reading for me, and good things to share with others.