Positive Strategies For Repairing The Void In Your Relationship

Positive Strategies For Repairing The Void In Your Relationship

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.”

-Socrates

When going through a rough patch in a relationship (often occasioned by a health scare), a dry spell may occur or become the prevailing climate.  The desert may begin to seem too vast to cross. What can be done to end the drought?

Rejection may be the overall concern in the relationship.  Suspending sex may not be all that uncommon for a couple.  Addressing the fears or grudges that are keeping intimacy at bay are essential.  Slowly introducing physical contact will be one of the strategies.

Step by step methods …

  1. Make contact – hold hands when having discussions.  You’ll find physical connection calming.  It forges a bond that mere words cannot. Eye contact is essential.  Eyes are the window to the soul.
  2. Take it easy – Start the conversation with kind and loving language.  Say how much you love your partner, how attractive she or he is, how much you’re looking forward to touching (and being touched by) him or her.  Explain that you would like to start with cuddling and then progress gradually (once cuddling has been established comfortably) to massage. A little snuggling should make an easy first step for both parties.
  3. Try nonsexual massage – Experiment with ‘sensate focus’ – A Masters and Johnson technique in which one partner gently strokes the other’s naked body, back and front, each person learning how to touch and be touched in return.  Obtain feedback on what feels good. However, there is to be no attempt to arouse the other person with genital touching. Instead, the goal is a sensual experience that builds trust (and comfort with physical interaction).  Do as many sessions as you need to feel comfortable – and find yourself craving more.

    “Trust is the glue of life.
    It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication.
    It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
    -Stephen Covey

  4. Courting –  Flirt with each other during the day or at dinner out.  Say nice, positive things about the sensate-focus exercises.  Put on music. Dress up. Drink a glass of something festive. Set a positive mood.
  5. HEAL – Loving relationships are one of the greatest sources of happiness and meaning for couples, and for human beings generally.  It takes two to keep love and caring alive for the long distance. Melanie Greenberg developed the HEAL technique to repair damaged relationships by replacing defensive self-protection with compassionate presence and loving connection
    • Hear – Make an effort to stay mentally present and to listen to your partner.Open your heart and take down your defenses.  It’s about understanding your partner and learning to fulfil each other’s needs.  Listening is beyond words, it is also about nonverbal signs of emotions. The best way to soothe an angry partner is to let him/her know that you hear and accept their unmet needs and are willing to make changes to help meet them.
    • Empathize – Allow your partner’s experience to deeply affect you.  Check in on your and his/her emotions. Search beneath the surface for the softer, tender feelings.  For example, expressed anger often has an underlying level of feeling stuck, sad, or lonely. Staying emotionally engaged rather than ‘trying to fix it’ and expressing compassion can provide healing comfort and connection.  So often this is what we all need.
    • Act – Take action to address concerns and show willingness to change.Commit to intentional action to address your partner’s needs and concerns.  These actions may be hands on like washing dishes, calling your partner during the day to let him/her know you are thinking of them, spending less money because it makes the other anxious.  Create a positive cycle in which appreciation, being valued and respected are reinforced. It’s not about being perfect, but more the fact that you care and are trying to change so that validation of the person/relationship occurs.
    • Love – Feel and express unconditional love.  Make space in your life to deliberately reconnect with the loving feelings you have for your partner.  Think of what brought you two together, the feelings that the other aroused in you on all levels, ie psychologically, emotionally, physically.  Perhaps look at old photos or visualize special times in your relationship and the hopes and dreams you had together. Can you find a way to forgive yourself and your partner for the mistakes you have both made that got you off track?  What do these feelings of love motivate you to do? Maybe you want to reach out and express your love and affection with action, and this may not initially be sexually, but rather doing something generous like preparing a meal or writing a note.  Love is defined as a concern for another’s wellbeing and a warm feeling you have towards another. Do not make your expressions of love contingent on what your partner does/should do. Rather, reach out and express unconditional caring, support, understanding and forgiveness. 
  6. Reinvigorate your relationship connection – Boredom or endless routine plays an important role in declining marital satisfaction, as it is often a precursor to dissatisfaction.  It’s not just conflict that you need to pay attention to but levels of engagement. Remember how you felt when you first met your partner, the joy of discovering what he/she was like.  Day to day distractions, and stresses often stop us from enjoying the simple pleasures of conversation that bring us closer. Personal disclosure is the basis for connecting in the first place, so don’t abandon or forget that there are still so many dimensions to your partner that you are not aware of.  
  7. Stop relational patterns in their tracks.  “The same old same old” is what one man brought up dismissively of the concerns his partner raised in conversation.  This interaction is often referred to as “demand/withdrawal” and is a relationship killer of the highest order, and often leads to the end of a relationship.  It is time to recognize the pattern and work at stopping it, ideally in a moment of calm, not agitation.
    3 part process for reducing the spiral downwards and reducing hostility:

    • Stop the spiral before it starts.  Recognise the predictable triggers… stop and take a break, remain calm, aim for a compromise.
    • Work on expressing yourself in ways that won’t lead to escalation.  Substitute less inflammatory words and do not launch into personal attacks.  Address the behaviour instead. For example “I’m bothered by this decision, can we discuss it, and why you feel that it is the only solution?  Maybe together, if needed, we could explore other possibilities?”
    • It is important for both partners to ‘get a handle’ on negative emotions, distortions in automatic thoughts, and how to regain self control so that conflict can be reduced.  Use the ‘sandwich method’ of communication. The two layers of bread are the positives and the filling the major concern. Always end on a positive note. “It’s been a difficult road for you over the past few months, and being able to talk about it has been too painful.  I just want you to know that I’m here for you, and I love you. Together we can share the pain and work at finding a better path.”

      “Do what you did in the beginning of the relationship, and there won’t be an end.” – Nelson Mandela

  8. Acknowledge your differences –  Talk about your differences in a spirit of reconciliation.  Find ‘the glory’ in your relationship, derive strength and meaning in your differences.
  9. Increase commitment –  Try and consciously cut down on the behaviours that diminish your sense of commitment to the relationship.  Touch, forgiveness, tolerance, trust, enjoyment, laughter and love must be practiced to ensure that the quality of the relationship is maintained.  
  10. Gratitude – Expressing gratitude enhances not only relationships, but also expands the person’s concept of what makes for a nurturing, and positive relationship.  The expression of gratitude is both a communication with the other and the self; it reduces dissonance and cements our feelings about the good parts of our connection.
  11. Home is where the heart is – Home is to be your sanctuary.  It is a place where the worries and dramas of the day are left at the door.  Enter into a world of love, peace and harmony. This may seem a tall order, but by being focused on calmness it is achievable.  Children also benefit from this understanding. Practice tolerance, mindfulness and feeling at ease. Relationships have enough pressures from daily life without coming home to a battle ground.  All will benefit from this resolution, to make life less demanding and complicated and where home remains ‘off limits’ to the ceaseless demands of daily life and perceived expectations.

“In the end we always run back to the ones that feel like home.
The ones who provide our hearts with sanctuary, the ones that make us feel.”

-Billy Chapata

Positive People work at Communication in Relationships

Positive People work at Communication in Relationships

“Some people change their ways when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.”

-Caroline Schoeder

Communication is at the heart of healthy relationships.  Good communication is the life blood of enduring love and intimacy. For so many what starts off as ‘We just clicked and I knew we had a connection on so many levels’ eventually becomes, frighteningly, like ‘Entering a war zone.’  

The last thing that any one of us wants is to have a relationship become ‘A dead duck in the water.’  Before the relationship is ‘beyond resuscitation’ there are some tips and suggestions worthy of consideration and implementation…..

What’s at the heart of a positive relationship?

  1. Respect
  2. Honesty
  3. Trust
  4. Encouragement
  5. Spontaniety
  6. Variety
  7. Setting clear boundaries
  8. To be loved
  9. To be wanted
  10. To be seen
  11. To be listened to
  12. To be safe
  13. To be remembered for your strengths rather than misdemeanours (minor wrongdoing)

Positive and smart conversations start with…

  • Thought
  • Clarity of intention
  • Consideration of the other person’s/recipient’s position
  • Applying philosophical filters – Consider Socrates…
    • Is what you are about to say… true?
    • Is what you are going to say… something good?
    • Is what you are going to say… useful?
  • Focus on solutions

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”           

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Listening is a commitment and compliment.

By giving your partner your full attention, acknowledgement, appreciation and acceptance instead of blame, there will be a major shift in how they listen and respond to your show of care and concern.

All people have specific and simple needs..

Consider what can be said and done which will make them feel immediately loved. Why not ask…”Is there a couple of times when you felt really loved by me? I would genuinely appreciate knowing.”

None of us are mind readers!

We all like to think that we are obvious in our intentions, thoughts and feelings.  Not so!  If you aren’t saying it clearly, your partner remains in the dark.  

6 Ways to better communication with your partner….

  1. Small talk is OK.  It’s those insignificant details that are likely to improve close emotional ties with your partner.
  2. Talk about things that you have in common.  Working together on solutions often comes from sharing those incidental discussions.
  3. Listening cements our connection with each other.  It’s about understanding.  If you’re uncertain seek clarification.  For example…”Sorry, could I just ask you about that?”  …   ‘Joe, is what you’re saying….”
  4. Don’t assume you know the answers.  Ask the question, seek clarification!
  5. It’s fine to talk about yourself, but don’t take over.  It’s a balancing act – talk and listen, with the emphasis on being a good listener.
  6. Search for and nurture those hidden shared moments.

Love is a verb.  It’s an action word!

Love has to be kindled and built on every day; it has to be invited in, nurtured and cultivated.  Love is not passive, it’s an active process – the continual expression of what’s in your heart, mind and soul.

“Communication must be HOT.
That’s Honest, Open, and Two-Way.”

-Dan Oswald

10 Commandments of Clean Communication
(Couple Skills, McKay et al)

“Clean communication is taking responsibility for the impact of what you say.”

    1. Avoid ‘you’ messages of accusation and blame.  Eg.  ‘You caused me to….’
    2. Avoid loaded terms and words of judgement… ‘You’re so….’ ‘I’m tired of your……’ ‘If you were more reasonable….’
    3. Avoid ‘Global labels’.  Global labels are a blanket attack on a person’s character or behaviour.  It makes a person feel helpless, particularly if it is anchored to a partner’s sense of identification or personality.
      For example… ‘You’re always so self centred’    ‘You’re such a …..’
    4. Endeavour to use “I feel statements’ rather than verbally attack your partner.
    5. Avoid negative comparisons… ‘You’re so petty, just like….’
      This response can be likened to a slap in the face because most people like to think that they have evolved to those of previous generations.  Making negative comparisons makes the other feel that they can never measure up.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,
But if it is faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
-Maya Angelou

  1. Forget old history. Leave the past in the past rather than raking it up time after time.  Resurrecting old issues isn’t going to resolve the current concern.
  2. Threats are about punishment.
    Eg.  ‘If you don’t get your act together…’  ‘If you continue being like this….’ The upshot of threats is that it is an ultimatum, the last resort.  It drives a deeper wedge into relationships and may lead to the end of your relationship.
  3. Focus on your feelings rather than using them in attack.  By being withdrawn, using sarcasm, or employing cold hostility – it all leads to feelings in your partner of being overwhelmed or psychologically bludgeoned to the heart.  This is where the ‘I feel’ statements are so powerful.  Together with a calm and level voice, it acts as a balm to a challenging situation.  Open body language and being receptive creates an atmosphere of sincerity, and a willingness to communicate more effectively.
  4. Choose your battles carefully as well as the battle ground.  Aim for a truce; a treaty of respect for differences.

    “Feelings are much like waves, we cannot stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” –Jonatan Martensson

  5. Use clear, whole messages which consist of 4 parts…
    Observations   – keep them neutral not focused on the person
    Thoughts – My idea/thought   ‘I worried because’
    Feelings – ‘I’m afraid that…’  ‘I feel ….’
    Needs/wants – No one is a mind reader…talk to your partner!It’s where you tell your partner something that may be difficult to hear, but you sandwich it in between two positive statements.  For example,
    ‘Harry, I love you so much and you make me so happy, but I’m having a hard time with you working such long hours.  Do you think it would be possible to make an effort to spend more time with me? Our time together is precious, and special.  I love it when we can spend more time together.”

Be mindful of the filtering block in communication.

Filtering is where you fit and process information so that it fits your views and beliefs.  It’s where you listen to some things and not to others, or hear what you want to hear (even if it wasn’t said).  Sometimes it is referred to as ‘half listening.’  Check in!  Be mindful and clarify by asking questions.  Be committed to understanding.

By listening carefully and effectively, we can change communication in a way that is rewarding mentally, socially and even financially (networks/work).  The flow-on effect is improved confidence as people respond to your new skills and behaviour.  This reinforcement encourages you and others to continue with effective listening skills and enhanced communication through clarification and engagement.  This can be a turning point in your relationships both personally and professionally.  After all, we all want that win, win result.  

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

-Dr. Seuss

 

Positive People Manage Their Anger

Positive People Manage Their Anger

Anger is one letter short of danger.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Feeling angry is a normal and healthy emotion and is not a problem in itself. Anger is an emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage.  How we cope with and express uncontrolled anger can either spur us into addressing our responses (personally) and it’s impact/consequences on our relationships (family). Anger can be viewed as: a) event b) mood c) resentment d) verbal abuse e) physical abuse f) retaliation g) communication breakdown.  Even this is an over simplification of a complex chain of events that can lead to the ‘death of a relationship.’

What causes anger…

Think of anger as a cycle… it’s a reaction to a feeling… but it’s more than that too.

Using a framework used by Cognitive Behaviour Therapists, the process or Framework of Cognitive Distortions – Automatic Thoughts  may be viewed as follows:

When we break it down there are sequences/questions to be asked…

  1. What is it  (event ) that gets to you and pushes your buttons?  
  2. What are your resulting thoughts?  
  3. What do your thoughts bring out in your feelings? (Embarrassment, Hurt, Sadness, Frustration, Stress, Jealousy, Fear)
  4. What does anger do to you behaviourally ?.. maybe it’s  the ‘fight/flight’ response…
  5. What do you do about anger?  Do you retaliate, scream/yell, get physical, threaten, throw objects, seek solace in alcohol/drugs?   Important question….how would or does your partner respond to your actions?  Play that video in your mind…How would you sum up the scene?   Most likely it’s not a pleasant one.
  6. OK, what could you do differently and constructively?

Anger is a sign that something needs to change.”

-Mark Epstein

When is anger a challenge?

When anger creates challenges/difficulties in your dealings with other people at some level i.e. personally, socially or at work. It can lead to poor communication or misunderstandings which can result in anger.

What are the signs that anger may be a problem?

  • Feeling angry a lot or most of the time
  • Anger involves some or all of the following…verbal, emotional, physical or psychological abuse
  • Anger is leading to difficulties in relationships ie personal or professional/work
  • Anger lingers after the trigger event has passed
  • Anger has that flow on effect into situations other than the original event
  • Feeling anxious or depressed about your anger
  • Using alcohol or drugs to manage anger
  • Using anger as a way of getting what you want
  • Using anger as a ‘power trip’ to ensure you have the upper hand

What are the symptoms of anger?

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Gritting your teeth
  • Raising of your voice
  • Pacing
  • Clenching of hands
  • Breathing becoming more rapid
  • Being defensive or snappy
  • Bouts of losing your sense of humour
  • Being over critical of loved ones or other people
  • Feeling argumentative

Using anger management, and what is it?

‘Anger management’ isn’t about ignoring your feelings or waiting for the moment to pass.

It is about how to deal with anger more effectively and reducing the degree (of anger) that is being experienced – ‘not letting the pot get too full and its contents spilling over or where it reaches boiling point.’

Tips for managing your anger…

  • Count to 30 (or more) – It’s about diverting your thinking for a short time so that you can avoid getting caught up in the moment and venting your anger.
  • Time out! – When anger starts building is the perfect time to walk away from the situation.  Change the scenery, deep breaths, calming your mind and body.  If possible both parties should create a little space.
  • Think before you speak.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment.  This is the dangerous time when words are spoken that cannot be taken back and regret can come into its own.  
  • Get physical – by that I mean get some exercise!  Physical exercise helps to reduce stress.  If you feel the anger rising, it’s time to start walking, fast, or running.  That pent up anger needs an outlet to burn itself out!  If going to the gym is an option, then keep it enjoyable.  Meeting gym buddies certainly couldn’t hurt.
  • Download an app to help you unwind.  You could try the Reachout Breathe app or you may be able to find others through research and enquiry.  Meditation is excellent if you are able to relax.
  • What was the event all about?  What led to the feelings of anger?  Remember the Framework Distortions – Automatic Thoughts as highlighted above.  Practice it religiously when it all gets a little too much.  This method could help you with future problem solving in various aspects of your life.  Persevere.
  • When you are calm is the time to address what made you angry.   This is the time to introduce “I feel” statements rather than attack the other person (verbally).
  • Address the behaviour rather than focusing on the person.  Address the situation – distance yourself emotionally and look at the issue as a challenge that has been written down and placed on the table in front of you both for discussion.
  • Problem solving should be a collaborative process where strategies leading to the resolution of an issue is the objective.
  • Communication is everything!  A good way of productive/positive communication is to introduce the ‘sandwich method’ of good communication.  By this you look at the two layers of (bread) which are positive statements.  In between is the filling where a concern or issue in brought into the discussion.  So, you have a positive layer, the matter that’s an issue (negative layer), followed by another positive layer.  There is more about this aspect of communication in my blog articles.
  • Home is your sanctuary.  If the problems arose from outside influences, the rule is, where possible, to leave frustrations at the door.  Home is for calmness, respect and safety.
  • If there is still an ongoing problem and your anger is escalating, seek counselling from a reputable and qualified therapist.  Together you and your therapist can find a way to create a more positive relationship by exploring some of the culprits that may have led to your anger ie depression, anxiety, stress, history of violence. You are entitled to a better life and so are those close to you.

“Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

-Yoda

The Healthy Relationship Bill of Rights

The Healthy Relationship Bill of Rights

THE RIGHT TO INDIVIDUALITY

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to be the same person I was
before we began dating. I should not have to adjust any inherent part of myself to
make you happy.

THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to my own private space. I
do not have to do anything I feel violates the boundaries I surrounded said space
with, which may include, but is not limited to, giving up my passwords to my email,
social media accounts, or phone and sharing secrets I am not ready to share. If I
choose to do any of these things it should be when I feel comfortable and when you
have earned my trust, not when you decide I have to.

THE RIGHT TO GROW AND CHANGE

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to as many personal
metamorphoses as I deem necessary to become the person I most want to be. This
may include: becoming healthier, being more outspoken, going out less, going out
more, going back to study, and so on. So long as my right to grow and change does
not infringe on your personal freedoms, you should not attempt to decelerate the
rate at which I develop.

THE RIGHT TO MAINTAIN OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to care for relationships
outside of our own; with friends, with family, with my career, etc. Although my
relationship with you is important and you are an important person in my life, I also
have other people and things in my life that hold value.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY ‘NO’; TO DISAGREE

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to say ‘no’ and hold opinions
contrary to yours. I am allowed to say ‘no’ when you want my answer to be ‘yes’. I
am allowed to disagree with you on certain issues. I am allowed to stand firm on
these declarations.

THE RIGHT TO PUT MYSELF FIRST

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to, when necessary, place
my own needs before yours. There will be times throughout the course of this

relationship in which I may have to be selfish. Sometimes I will have to step away
from an argument even though you want to talk because I need a mental break
from the fight. I will confide in you of my need to do so. Other times I will have to
sit out a social gathering even though you want us both to go because I am just not
feeling up to it. Whatever the case may be, there will be times I will – for the sake
of my sanity – need to be selfish.

THE RIGHT TO LIVE FREE FROM ABUSE

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to live free from abuse of
any kind; be it emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, psychological, social or financial
deprivation.

THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED AS AN EQUAL

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to be treated the way that
you want to be treated. I am your partner, not your child or subordinate.

THE RIGHT TO LOVE AND BE LOVED

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to express my love for you
with every fibre of my being, albeit in a normal, non-toxic way. I have the right and
expectation that love is a reciprocal process. Love that is respectful, patient and
tolerant of the other’s differences.

THE RIGHT TO BE HAPPY

As a member of a healthy relationship, I have the right to live a life that is full of joy,
laughter and warmth.

With thanks to theodysseyonline.com/healthy-relationship- bill-rights for their valued
insight into healthy relationships.

Stopping Domestic and Family Violence : Everyone’s Responsibility

Stopping Domestic and Family Violence : Everyone’s Responsibility

Relationships and lifeskills domestic violence

Q: What are Family Violence and Domestic Violence?  Are they the same?

Often the terms are used interchangeably . Domestic and Family Violence is when someone intentionally uses violence, threats, coercion, force or intimidation to control, manipulate a family member, partner or former partner. Any behaviour that in any way causes a family member to fear for their own, or other family member’s safety or wellbeing is Domestic/Family Violence.

Forms of violence include

  1. Emotional / Psychological:
    Verbal put downs, humiliation, degradation, insults, the undermining of confidence, threats of violence, punishment and manipulation to the victim and experienced/witnessed by children in the family .
  2.  Physical
    Slapping, hitting, choking, shaking, stabbing, punching, kicking.
  3. Sexual
    Rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment
  4. Social
    Isolation and control, denial of contact with family/friends, abuse in public
  5. Economic
    Denying of money, controlling finances
  6. Spiritual
    Erosion of a woman’s/man’s culture or religious beliefs
  7. Kidnapping
    Loss of liberty, being held against one’s will
  8. Cruelty to Pets / Animals
    Causing injury or death to an animal irrespective of whether the victim owns the animal
  9. Damage to Property
    Destruction of fixtures, fittings, grounds, fences, whether the victims owns the property or not. Damage to vehicles or personal possessions
  10. Stalking
    Watching, following or loitering near the victim, persistent unwanted contact via phone, email, postal mail, unwanted cards and gifts.

Domestic and Family Violence:

  • Is not the fault of the victim/survivor
  • Is a crime and unacceptable in any community
  • Has no age/social/gender boundaries
  • Occurs in all socio-economic groups and cultures
  • Is a violation of a person’s human rights
  • Is a criminal offence involving criminal behaviour

Domestic abuse also called partner violence, is the systematic suffocation of another person’s spirit.

The Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WA) 2001 in their literature address the myths and misunderstandings associated with Domestic and Family Violence:

The facts are:

  • Domestic and family violence are often hidden as many women and children are too scared to speak out because of the perpetrator’s manipulation of their behaviour in front of other people. Perpetrators often come across as charming and friendly.
  • Drug and alcohol use does not cause domestic and family violence. The use of substances can lower inhibitions which lead to an escalation of the frequency and severity of assault. In most cases men who use violence while under the influence are also violent when not affected by drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Domestic and family violence is experienced predominantly by women from all social, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds around the world.
  • Children and young people who live with violence witness it, hear it and know about it. Being around violence can be just as damaging for children and young people as is experiencing it. The consequences include increased likelihood of physical abuse, depression, anxiety, developmental regression, trust issues and an increased likelihood of becoming involved in a violent relationship as an adult.
  • Many women who experience domestic and family violence are in fear for their lives and the lives of their children. This fear is the biggest barrier to women exiting violent relationships. Other barriers include powerlessness and helplessness, being financially dependent upon the partner, lack of support and limited crisis services for women and children to escape to.
  • Violent and abusive behaviour is always done deliberately, it is never a loss of control or someone not being able to ‘manage their anger.’ Perpetrators of violence make decisions about how and when they will be abusive and they make plans as to how they will stop the victim from resisting.

In addition to the facts stated above:

  • Male victims may also experience multiple forms of abuse including legal and administrative abuse – the use of institutions to inflict further abuse on a victim, for example, taking out false restraining orders or not allowing the victim to access his children.

Impact of domestic and family violence on victims/survivors include:

  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Feelings of guilt/shame
  • Loss of trust
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Unresolved anger
  • Physical injuries
  • Loss of home/homelessness
  • Physical illness
  • Mental health issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Fear and loss of feelings of safety
  • Depression
  • Loss of work
  • Financial deprivation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self harm
  • Sexual dysfunction

Never let someone who contributes so little to a relationship control so much of it.

Cycle of Violence:
rls-cycle-of-violance

Incident

  • Any type of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional)

Tension Building

  • Abuser starts to get angry
  • Abuse may begin
  • There is a breakdown in communication
  • Victims feels the need to keep the abuser calm
  • Tension becomes too much
  • Victims feel like they are ‘walking on egg shells’

Making Up

  • Abusers may apologize for abuse
  • Abusers may promise it will never happen again
  • Abusers may blame the victim for causing the abuse
  • Abusers may deny abuse took place or say it was not that bad

Calm

  • Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
  • Physical abuse may not be taking place
  • Promises made during ‘making up’ may be met
  • Victim may hope that the abuse is over
  • Abuser may give gifts to the victim

“Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge”

                             – Friedrich Nietzsche

Red flags include and are not limited to the following:

(Ref: 1800 RESPECT, in collaboration with inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Elizabeth Hoffman House).

  • Previous incidents of choking or strangulation
  • Pregnancy
  • Separation (the period following separation is the time of highest risk, also included are … legal separation ie divorce, family separation ie parenting determinations and financial separation ie property settlements)
  • Access to weapons
  • Threats to kill
  • Stalking
  • Obsessive, controlling behaviour
  • Escalation of violence
  • Pet abuse, or threats of pet abuse
  • Depression in a perpetrator
  • Sexual violence

Perpetrator programs:

There are a broad range of responses to Domestic and Family Violence ranging from community-based and voluntarily attended programs through to court-mandated programs. However, the evidence of such programs and their efficacy is unconvincing and incomplete. It has been argued that these programs should be subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation to determine what is effective and in what circumstances. (Morgan and Chadwick, 2009)

Intervention Orders:

In Australia the law states that everyone has the right to feel safe.

If you or your family is being subjected to Domestic and Family violence, seek advice from your lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid (Ph: 1300 792 387) or through your local Community Legal Centre.

You can apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order. There are two types:

  • An Interim Order A short term order until the Magistrate can hear all the evidence and make a decision
  • A Final Order A long term order made if the Magistrate believes a family member has used family violence and is likely to do so again.

If you are thinking of obtaining an Intervention Order…

  • Gather information
  • Keep a diary
  • Keep text, Facebook and voice mail messages, emails and letters
  • Take photos of injuries, destruction of property
  • Copies of Police Statements
  • Any Court Orders
  • Doctor’s reports
  • Details of witnesses to support your application – those that may have witnessed the family violence, community/social workers, friends and family.

You do not have to leave your family home. A condition of the Intervention Order may include the removal of the family member from your home. This is called an Exclusion Order.

Note A comprehensive booklet on the matter of Family Violence and Intervention Orders is available through Victoria Legal Aid’s website or you can call Legal Help on 1300 792 387.

Strategies for addressing Domestic and Family Violence include:

  • Focusing on safety at a personal and child protection level
  • Harnessing of maximum power which can include contacting police, obtaining an Intervention Order, alternative short and long term accommodation
  • Developing a Safety Plan with the children. Include a safety password to ensure the children are not abducted from school.
  • Alerting authorities and security at schools and day care about the current situation and who is authorised to pick up the children.
  • If staying in the family home change the locks, install safety devices to secure windows, the garage door, and include smoke detectors etc. Have sensor flood lights installed around the outside of the house.
  • Devise a code word to use with the children, family and friends when the police are needed.
  • Teaching the children how to use the telephone to contact someone they trust. This also includes contacting police and the fire brigade.
  • In the case of arguments, try to move to an open area of low risk with access to an exit from the house.
  • Leaving money, spare keys and extra clothing with a person you trust.
  • Keeping copies of important legal and financial documents (perhaps leaving some of them with a responsible, trusted friend.
  • Having a different bank and bank account to increase independence.
  • Informing your employer and security supervisor of the situation. If necessary, be escorted to your car when leaving work at the end of the day.
  • Screening telephone calls at home and work.
  • Vary shopping and home/work routines and motoring/transport routes.
  • Adding emergency phone numbers into ‘contacts’ of the mobile phone.
  • If uncertainty exists about safety, ensure that someone travels with you to and from work, during outings and lunch breaks. Always let someone know of your destination, and expected time of arrival.

Leaving the family home because it’s too dangerous to stay:

You will need to have:

  • Personal identification and passport
  • Children’s birth certificate
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Social security cards
  • Money
  • Cheque book, ATM cards, Credit cards
  • Keys – house/car/office
  • Driver’s licence and vehicle registration
  • Welfare identification and related paperwork
  • Medication
  • Medical records – for all the family members
  • Legal documents eg. Divorce papers, Intervention Orders
  • Bank books, insurance papers
  • Rental/lease agreement, house deed/title, mortgage details
  • Address book
  • Jewellery, photos, items of sentimental value
  • Children’s favourite toys and blankets
  • Small saleable objects
  • Clothing for self and children

Place responsibility for domestic and family violence where it belongs

So often partners or children blame themselves when they are the target of domestic and family violence or bullying. They falsely believe they must have done something wrong to incur the wrath of the perpetrator. Violence and bullying are choices made by the aggressor and society must enforce the stance that morally, legally and socially it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. For every action there is a consequence.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

                        –  C.G. Jung

Creating Work/Life Balance For Good Health

Creating Work/Life Balance For Good Health

worklife balanceAccording to research, Australians work the longest hours in the Western world and around one quarter report that work frequently interferes with other life activities.  Many of us are time poor and constantly rushing to juggle different commitments.

Work is generally good for mental and physical wellbeing.  However, when productive stress becomes overwhelming stress, it can lead to health complications and burnout.

What are the benefits of work?

  • Daily structure and activity
  • Provides a sense of purpose and meaning
  • Instills a sense of community
  • Establishment and maintenance of relationships
  • Financial independence

Having a strong work ethic is a good thing, however when work becomes all consuming then it’s time to reassess one’s priorities in life.

Taking time to live life will only inspire your work

What are the key features of burnout?

  • Feelings of detachment from work and/or becoming cynical
  • Reduced efficiency, lack of a sense of achievement and a general feeling of dissatisfaction
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Who is most affected?

According to The Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI) certain groups within society are more affected by the work/life interference:

  • Parents, particularly mothers (and especially single mothers)
  • Carers who are looking after sick, disabled or elderly family/relatives
  • Professionals, managers and those in the mining industry
  • Women generally have worse work/life outcomes because of the multi-tasking requirements of caring and domestic work
  • People working from home where the requirements of work/housework have a negative impact on the work/life interface.
  • Women caring for children as well as elderly or sick family members. This type of family dynamic is often referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life

Tips to achieving work/life balance:

  1. Prioritise – think about what’s important in your life and plan accordingly. Ask yourself what is the one or first thing in your life that you would like to focus on right now?  Second? Third?
  2. Concentrate on doing one thing at a time and doing it well rather than trying to multi-task and doing little justice to any matter in your work/life
  3. Time management – use apps, to-do-lists, cut down on time wastage. Delegate where possible
  4. Set boundaries – set limits on work time, learn to say no, and factor in time for your favourite social/recreational activities every day if possible
  5. Create a balance – choose breadth and variety over perfectionism. Strive to be better rather than perfect
  6. Consider your finances. Meet your basic needs rather than living up to others/social expectations
  7. Relationships need time and nurturing. Priorities time with your family and loved ones
  8. Health – regular exercise has proven benefits in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Factor this in at least 2-3 times per week, although small changes could be implemented on a daily basis.
  9. Down time – rest periods recharge our batteries. Schedule time each week for that import ‘me time’
  10. Look at your personal habits/lifestyle. Consider nutrition, exercise and sleep
  11. Take a holiday. It is important to take 2-3 weeks off per year. Turn off the mobile, the computer, and enjoy your holiday.
  12. Be prepared to ask for support. Tell friends, family, colleagues and your boss that you are seeking a better work/life balance. It is important they respect and understand your plan and direction in life
  13. Hire a personal coach if possible. A personal coach can help you assess, implement and focus on achieving a work/life balance.
  14. Seek out a mentor. Find someone that you admire for their successful career and positive personal life. Ask for their guidance on career development, time management and setting priorities.  Discover what works for them in maintaining a terrific personal life?
  15. On a regular basis (say, monthly) evaluate and reflect on your direction in creating/maintaining a good work/life balance. “Life is a journey not a sprint.”
  16. Enjoy your work and life. Remember, “Do what you love, love what you do.”

Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be.