THE MANY FACES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic Violence, Physical, Mental, and Verbal Abuse and Eating Disorder Behavior
by Dr. Gina Scarano-Osika
Mary has been obese since the birth of her first
child 25 years ago. She and her partner of 28 years
illuminate the devastating effects that an abusive
relationship can have on one's health. She admits that
she married a very "selfish" man who asked her to abort
the first child they conceived (against Mary's will).
Mary passively agreed and 28 years later is still
feeling the loss. She has always found it difficult to
share parenting responsibilities with him and (despite
being married) feels she has raised her five children as
a "single" mother. Although she has a good-paying job,
he controls the checking account and he distributes
money for groceries, gas, and other miscellaneous
expenses. Slowly, Mary's body deteriorated after more
than a decade with diabetes. She is frequently
hospitalized and sometimes she returns home more
confused about her medical condition(s) than when she
entered the hospital.
About a year ago, Mary's
physician told her that she had to cancel her annual
trip to Florida with her husband for fear that she would
die in transit. Not only was Mary too scared to tell her
husband that she needed to stay home, but she waited
until two weeks into the trip to tell her husband that
she was extremely ill and was advised to not make the
trip. Two days later, her husband took her to the
emergency room and the doctor again recommended that
Mary be hospitalized. Her husband responded by saying,
"Thanks for ruining my vacation again." All of this
abuse and not one bruise or black eye to show for it.
However, her emotional scars are everlasting.
Domestic violence deserves a book all to itself. It
is worthy of mentioning here because it is relevant. It
stands at the end of this chapter because it may be the
end of the road after many failed attempts to accomplish
the skills mentioned earlier. There are many ways that a
partner can abuse you. Without ever touching you, they
can control your money, demand sex, or make you do what
they want when they threaten to take away your children.
We now have a better understanding of the many ways in
which a person can dominate a partner through power and
control. Of all people, your partner should not call you
"fat" or "stupid" or any repeatedly profane name. If you
feel that there are certain needs you cannot request of
your partner, you may be living in fear of your partner.
If you are ridiculed every time you make a reasonable
request, there is a good chance you are a victim of
domestic abuse. If you are wrongfully blamed for things
that go wrong and criticized for your efforts in the
home, you may be a victim of emotional abuse. If you
feel ignored, you may be neglected. If you feel you are
obligated to have sex with your partner whenever he/she
wants it, your partner is using power and control in the
bedroom. If your partner makes you request money
directly from him or her and needs proof of every penny
that you spend, they may be using monetary methods of
abuse. The days of seeing domestic violence as only
resulting in visible marks or bruises are over.
Excerpt from Chapter Seven of
"Friendly Mirrors and Contented Closets"
by Dr. Gina Scarano-Osika
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