Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2000
The issue of abuse would make a good Family Council subject. Abuse starts easy and continues to get worse a small step at a time. Remember the scriptures tell us that the Devil cheateth their souls and leads them slowly and carefully down to hell. Seldom do people start out by battering each other in a relationship. It is a careful process of slights, insults, and then battering.
The point is that when we see the beginnings of abuse it has to be stopped immediately before it progresses to its awful ending. Check out the Abuse Continuum below and see where your family is.
At Family Council let them tell you where they think they are on the Abuse Continuum. Tell them that all abuse must stop. Ask them how you as a family can stop this. Tell them that you will take their suggestions to come up with consequence for infractions. Then do it together as a couple.
Jokes about habits, characteristics, or faults of family members
Ignoring or denying family member's feelings or needs
Withholding affection or approval as punishment
Yelling, shouting, invading family member's personal space
Insulting or ridiculing beliefs, religion. family, race, etc. . .
Repeated insults, labeling, and/or name-calling (e.g. "Stupid" "Jerk" "Crazy" etc. . . )
Repeated humiliation (private an/or public)
Controlling (insisting on his/her own way, taking the right away from others, making all the decisions, taking away other family member's things, bullying etc. . .)
Blaming family member's for your abuse or behavior
Manipulating family member's with lies and contradictions (playing "mind games")
Slamming doors, hitting walls, breaking objects (displays of anger and violence)
Threats of violence or retaliation (either direct or implicit)
Threats of violence to his/her family, children, friends
Puts downs about abilities as a parent, person, worker, etc.
Demanding all family member's attention and resenting others that need attention too. Jealousy!
Throwing objects at family members.
Isolation (scaring or driving away family member's friends and family)
Manipulating others against family member's and/or destroying meaningful possessions
Threats of abuse to family member's and/or pets
Threats to hurt or kill family member's and/or himself
Hurting or killing pets
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