SPOUSAL ABUSE AND LOSS OF DIGNITY
We’ve talked before about control, the force that drives the abuser. He must control a relationship and he uses several devices to achieve it. One of his most pervasive methods is demeaning his partner and taking away her dignity.
Let’s look what comprises a person’s dignity, and relate it to an abused woman’s life.
• Dignity is elegance, grace. Her abuser tells her repeatedly that she is ugly, awkward, a plodder, etc. She eventually believes him.
• Dignity conveys pride in oneself. Her abuser convinces her that she has no skills, can’t manage money, and/or is a poor mother to their children. She takes his words as truth.
• Dignity tells others of a woman’s worth, stature, excellence. Her abuser is a master in convincing her she has no worth to herself or others. She is cowed to the point that she feels she doesn’t even have the wherewithal to escape from his torture.
• A woman’s dignity includes her virtue or courage. An abused woman must garner all the courage she can muster to escape from the tyrant ruling her household.
I say that an abuser sees no dignity in himself. He is afraid of those around him who are confident, successful, and caring. Because he feels that he is ugly or incapable, he also feels that he must control his woman or she’ll tell others of his inadequacies or she will leave him. Isn’t it sad that the result of his inadequacy is the very thing that will eventually drive her away?
Belief in one’s worth is paramount to getting along with others. You may be shy or lack talent in certain areas, but that doesn’t mean you must also be mean and controlling. We all can change what we don’t like about ourselves. Creating dignity and self worth take work and persistence.
To and abused woman, I want to say, “You have dignity, courage and skills. Use them to break free and start a new life for you and your family.
To an abuser, I say, “Give yourself some dignity. Try it on. You’ll like yourself, and others in your life, much better.
What makes you feel dignified? We’d enjoy hearing. Please reply to this post or e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
C, L, Woodhams, author The Outreach Committee