Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do You Know the Early Warning Signs of Abuse?

This blog references an excellent post written by Dr. Steven Stosny, as expert in the field of relationship counseling, emotional abuse and domestic violence. We are encouraged to take note of the information provided by Dr. Stosny with regard to very early warning signs in potential partners. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/200812/emotional-abuse-verbal-abuse-very-early-warning-signs
Many of us have been involved in relationships where we have been abused either financially, emotionally or physically. We recall how difficult it was to extricate ourselves from the grip of that relationship. How much we might have appreciated knowing these very early warning signs before we became involved, allowed our inner selves to be crushed, then needed to practice daily self care to rebuild our shattered self esteem.

We thank our Higher Power for our path, our tools, our ability to associate with those who have walked the path before us showing us the light at the end of the tunnel. How much pain we might have avoided had we been aware of these red flags. We have discussed this information time and again, but having it all in one post is an invaluable tool.

In reading Dr. Stosny's post we can marvel at the many items that catch our attention. We read various early warning signs and realize that our partner did in fact do many of these things early on in our relationships. Blaming ourselves for not realizing is unnecessary and hurtful. We must be gentle with ourselves and not go down that road again. We forgive ourselves for not knowing. We are on the right path taking one step forward day by day.

We can feel blessed that we have been on the road to recovery and can now practice self care. We use our tools in our daily lives increasing our self esteem each and every day. We pass along these important points to help others in avoiding these pitfalls. As we reach out to inform others we use our tools to share rather than control. We allow others to make their own decisions and face their own consequences. This is the essence of detachment and self care.

Please read the linked post as pass it along to whomever you believe might benefit from it's content. Consider it a part of your recovery journey, sharing valuable information and life's lessons. Let your Higher Power guide you in your choices to share.


  1. Hi Lisa - I'm IPAC from the Stosny blog. Could you give me a link to the general recovery guidelines that are used as a starting point for most men's groups that you talked about?
    Also is there any statistics on these men's groups like Dr. Stosny has on his website compassionpower.com/statistics.php - Thanks

  2. Hi IPAC - nice to see you again. The groups being discussed on my blog, whether men's womens or both, are all 12 Step based. The guidelines are those used in meetings. You can review them at any website related to AA or any of the other 12 Step programs that have evolved through AA. Many of the groups that grow out of recovery meetings are run by counselors in private practice. They are based in the same recovery principles you will find in AA. In these groups participants take their recovery to a more advanced level.

    Nice to hear from you again. Hope you enjoyed the blog.

  3. IPAC back to you - I finally got a chance to look over your blog to some extent. Thanks for the direction or source of most men's groups. The AA 12 step program I'll spend some time checking them out more. Do you have a suggestion as to a good website for the AA 12 step program?
    It looks like you for the most part blog concerning relationship helps. I did see a couple of posts off track from relationships more as political commentary. I'm curious as to why you would do this in your type of blog? It was quite interesting how you handled the comments on one of those posts. Was it a break from your counselor mode?

  4. Hi IPAC - Glad to hear from you. Yes, most of my posts refer to recovery counseling. That is my focus in my practice and in the blog. I sometimes get incensed at what's happening in the news and the blog gives me a chance to express my views. Yes, and vent a little {laughing}. Yes, I did have a person who was quite vehement in his opposition. I don't mind a good debate, but I prefer to keep it civil.

    A good place to start is the AA Intergroup site. You can find it at http://www.aa-intergroup.org/ . There are other groups that AA has spawned over the years dealing with addictions other than alcohol: gambling, drug addiction, co-dependency, overeating, sex addiction to name a few. I focus most of my recovery work on co-dependency and couples work. I believe strongly in the importance of successful relationships as a fundamental part of our happiness as human beings.

    I think men's needs have been swept under the rug for far too long. Men have issues and intimacy needs. Being validated by other men as well as the woman in their lives is essential.

    There are many mens groups outside of the 12 Step process that are rumored to be effective as well. I have not personally experienced any of Stosny's weekends, but I gather they are quite excellent. Since my practice centers around 12 Step recovery I am not really knowledgable about other types of groups.

  5. Lisa - Thanks for your response I'll be checking out the link finding the guidelines looks like it will take some research.
    Do you think men have more anger problems then women? (I did notice that you said "I did have a person who was quite vehement in his opposition" you used "his" instead of "her" yet I saw no reference to the person's gender in their posts.
    On the Stosny blog you mentioned that "I have read some of the interactions between yourself and other bloggers on this forum and found them quite fascinating." which ones of those interactions of mine is it that you find fascinating?

  6. Hi IPAC - No, I think men and women respond differently to their issues. I believe that it may be more socially acceptable for men to express anger than to express vulnerability, fear or shame. Anger may be seen as an expression of being strong among other men, whereas vulnerability, fear or shame may be seen as expressing weakness. The pressure by society to be manly or macho may not allow some men to fully experience or express their feelings. They may be told as little boys,"Big boys don't cry." or as teens that they have to "man up". All this pressure from peers and society plays a significant role in giving men the message that emotional displays are unmanly.

    Women may be largely permitted the display of certain emotions... but only those that are considered ladylike by peers and society. Therefore women may get angry as often as men, but they are encouraged to find gentler ways of expressing their feelings when they are little girls, "Little girls are make of sugar and spice and everything nice." rather than express their anger in other ways. Women who express strong negative emotions are often considered abrasive or b*tchy at times by peers or society. Therefore to avoid being negatively labeled, many women may opt for softer expressions of their anger that are more socially acceptable. Many times women may express anger as "wet anger", tears of frustration and anger.

    You are right. I did refer in the masculine. I used the masculine pronoun as a generality. It was inappropriate.

    On the Stosny blog I didn't understand that you were not Dr. Stosny. I misunderstood and though you and he were the same. That is why I finally asked you what IPAC stood for in one post. {laughing} That's a compliment to you!!

  7. Lisa - Thanks for the expansion concerning the different ways men and women express anger. There are more cases of physical abuse by men because of the way they are more likely to express it.

    I thought that you were probably using the his pronoun in generality. I do the same thing with the pronouns so no offense taken on my part. I asked the anger difference question to help clarify.

    Oh thanks for the compliment but Dr. Stosny has way more experience and answers questions a lot more effectively then I do.

    Good luck in your practice in trying to help couples.

  8. Hi IPAC -

    Thank you very much. I have enjoyed your comments. Please do visit the blog often and I will follow yours.

  9. Lisa - BTW was it Dr. Stosny's interactions with Dr. Diamond that started with Stosny's Post "Anger Problems: A smokescreen for fear-shame phobia" and then went back and forth with some other bloggers jumping in that fasinated you?

    I thought that was quite enlightening myself how Dr. Stosny handled it. I did help keep the interaction going on between the two just because it was so enlightening about how to handle things when under attack or when there are deep disagreements. Sort of like what you had with that one blogger from one of your venting posts.

  10. Hi IPAC - Yes, as a matter of fact it was that post. It was interesting to read each person's viewpoint and how they defended it. A great learning experience for me.

  11. Nice post. I read through the link you gave and quite agree with it. Thanks for sharing such good thoughts.

  12. Hi Everything Counts - Thank you very much. I felt that Stosny's work was important and needed to be addressed. His early warning system, so to speak, could have saved many lives and may yet do so.