Healthcare Training Institute - Quality Education since 1979
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Oftentimes the Anger Letter discussed in the last section uncovers feelings of empathy for the abuser.
In this section, we will discuss how to create a reality check for your battered client who feels sorry for her batterer
As you know, it is often a difficult and complex process to get a battered woman to seek aid. There are many factors that combine to create a situation in which the battered woman must not only fight against her battering partner's control tactics, but also fight her own confusions and hesitancy about the situation.
As you know, battered women will often make excuses for their batterer's behavior, and may even feel sorry for him, especially if her batterer is an alcoholic. Battered women will often view the explosive personality of their partner as manifestations of a disease. Ashley stated, "Nick would start drinking, and it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He would fly into a rage, but I always knew it was his alcoholism. Nick's dad was an alcoholic, too. I know he can't really help it."
With battered women such as Ashley who make excuses and feel sorry for her batterer, I typically educate her of the dangers and risks associated with this avoidance behavior. Ashley was avoidant of seeing his true behavior. After several sessions, Ashley realized that, despite Nick's illness of alcoholism, she was nonetheless being abused.
Ashley stated, "It took years for my pity to turn to anger. Eventually I stopped feeling sorry for him. I said, 'He's got a drinking problem, he refuses to get help, and now there's nothing I can do to change that.' I think I might have been making all those excuses and feeling sorry for Nick just so I wouldn't have to feel my own anger about what was happening." As with many battered women, Ashley had created a defense mechanism of feeling sorry for her batterer in order to avoid her own feelings of anger and assertiveness.
♦ Motives Exercise
10 Questions to Uncover Truths
Are you currently treating a battered woman who was hesitant to leave her battering partner because she feels sorry for him? Would writing these questions down or replaying them be of help in your next session.
But while they are deciding whether to leave or stay how do they remain safe? In the next section, we will be discussing the survival tools many battered women may need to protect themselves from further harm, while they are in the "deciding to leave" stage.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References: