“Why don’t you just leave?” It sounds so simple. Pack up your bags and go.
Oprah introduced me to When Men Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationshipsby Neil Jacobson and John Gottman. It is a must read book for anyone deciding whether to stay or leave.
Why? Professors Jacobson and Gottman discovered there are two types of abusers: “pit bulls” and “cobras.” These descriptions are brilliant. A pit bull can’t and won’t let go. A cobra will strike to kill when it feels threatened. These same characteristics are found in abusive people.
The domestic violence paradigm and system deals quite effectively with cobra abusers. But, people attempting to leave a pit bull abuser frequently find themselves on their own to survive as best they can.
A pit bull is the person who decides, “if I can’t have her/him, no one can.” These are the abusers who commit murder/suicide. When the pit bull realizes the relationship is indeed over, the object of their “affection” is in mortal danger.
How do you know the difference?
- John Wayne Bobbitt: Pit Bull
- Rihanna: Chris Brown Pleads Guilty!
- Chris Brown Sentencing Delayed until 8/27
- Lesson One: Recognize “the Look”
- Lesson Two: Find a Safe Hideout
- Lesson Three: Take Threats Seriously
- Lesson Four: Make Friends with His Enemies
- Lesson Five: Accept that Freedom Isn’t Free
- Lesson Six: Perceive the Welfare System as Your Angel Investor
- Lesson Seven: Adopt a New York State of Mind
- Lesson Eight: Dream Big and Have Faith in Your Dreams
- Lesson Nine: Leverage Your Talents and Professional Expertise
- Lesson Ten: Break Down the Wall of Silence and Connect with Survivors
- Lesson Eleven: Pay It Forward
“Why doesn’t she just leave?” There’s no question that will infuriate a survivor of domestic violence more than this one.
Most domestic violence murders take place when she leaves.
Women everywhere are less likely to be abused and have more freedom to leave if they have four essential factors in place: financial self-sufficiency, accountability, forgiveness, and safe havens.
Should a woman seek an order of protection when she has been abused? Is it the best course of action to take? Or should she not pursue an order and just call the police as needed? To read Rita Anita Linger’s guest column, click here.
Yet, by definition, domestic violence is isolating. We can become alienated from those who were once dear to us because we are ashamed about what’s happening behind closed doors or because a controlling person in our lives demands we cut our ties or is hyper-critical of our friends, family, or colleagues.
You may have seen Tyler Perry’s movies. You probably don’t know that his comedy comes from his efforts to lift himself up from where you are right now. Madea was his alter-ego who helped him survive, thrive, find joy, and become outrageously wealthy.
Instinctively, we react to threats to our safety with a fight or flight response. It ramps up our adrenaline and sends us into a temporary high.
It can, at times, help us to literally move mountains to remove ourselves and those we love from peril.
For those of us who have experienced abuse, it can also ruin our health. We can end up with health concerns like complex PTSD (C-PTSD), auto-immune disororders, and cardio-vascular problems.
We can all learn from Oprah’s advice to kids and their parents today about how to deal with bullies and child molesters.
This is what Oprah wants you to know:
- 90% of child molesters know their victims.
- Molesters don’t choose their victims at random.
- Molesters manipulate their victims to make it feel good.
- If you have experienced incest or sexual molestation, tell someone.