New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 19, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
4 fl Herald-Zeitung O Thursday, October 19,1995
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“(Tlhe First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but not funding of freedom
— Herb Shayne businessman, 1994Abusers share common traits
Punishing the wrong people
Personal Responsibility Act would leave battered women vulnerable to abusers
In the aftermath of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the issue of domestic violence has once again come to the forefront of American society. And, ironically, while almost everyone agrees that more should be done to provide help to women who are victims of wife beaters, Congress is considering a bill that would make it much harder for women to leave abusive relationships.
The Personal Responsibility Act would make it more difficult for a woman who has fled an abuser to rebuild her life.
First, the bill contains a stipulation that children bom to women receiving welfare be permanently ineligible for benefits. This ignores the fact that violence often increases during pregnancy. But under the new law, if a pregnant woman flees her abuser, goes on welfare and then has her baby, that innocent ohild will be punished by being forever cut off from all public financial assistance, including much-needed nutrition programs.
The bill also contains a requirement that women name the father of their children. At first thought, this sounds like a good idea — after all, fathers should be. responsible for their children, just like mothers. But looking deeper, conducting a paternity search could reveal die battered woman’s location to her abuser, putting her at risk. Successful paternity establishment could also allow an abusive father to sue for custody or visitation rights. And, according to a 1988 study by K. Yllo and M. Bogard, 70 percent of men who beat their wives also beat their children. This law would put children at risk.
The bill also puts a five-year lifetime limit on receiving public assistance. An abusive man often stalks and harasses his victim for years, making it hard for her to acquire permanent housing, put her children in school or keep a job. These women also often need help with job training and child care in order to find a job that pays a wage that will allow her and her children to escape poverty. But those programs are being cut now too.
The programs slated to be cut in the Personal Responsibility Act total $25 billion in federal and state funds. The federal share amounts to about one percent of the federal budget. Furthermore, cutting and eliminating programs that help the poorest members of society will not necessarily save money, but simply shift the burden onto the states. Texas Comptroller John Sharp estimates that if the Personal Responsibility Act is passed as written, Texas would lose about $500 million a year in federal funds.
Cutting programs like child nutrition may save a small amount of money in the short run, but hungry children do not learn well in school, costing steely in the Jong run. They are more likely to get sick, and need expensive medical care, which taxpayers will pay for.
A better approach to welfare reform would be to invest in programs like job training, education, and child care — programs that can end the cycle of dependency and give people a hand up, not a hand out.
(Today's editorial was written by City Editor Roger Croteau.)
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Our society has recently had an increased awareness of spouse abuse, and with this being “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” it may be appropriate to address this difficult topic. Certainly Simpson’s trial brought spouse abuse into the public eye. Maybe something positive can occur in our culture in the form of a greater public sanction against and a greater intolerance for spouse (or any domestic) abuse.
In this article, I will share with you some of the typical behavior patterns of the abusive person. In the next article I will explain the typical abuse cycle. It is my hope that this article will assist some people from getting involved with abusive people for there are several “red flags” which can be used as warning signs. Perhaps it will help some people already involved in an abusive relationship to seek help.
Men or women can be abusive to their partner, although the typical pattern is for the man to be abusive. These articles will be written with the typical pattern (abusive men, abused women) but the patterns can be reversed.
Abusive people tend to be highly jealous and controlling, consistent with their fragile self-esteem. (People with a good self-esteem do not have to intimidate or control others.) Their partner becomes more like their “possession” rather than a person with independent thoughts, feelings, wants or needs.
Abusers tend to want to dictate who their partner can see or talk to, what clothes can be worn, where to be and when to be there, etc. (At first, this partner may interpret this jealousy and possessiveness as an indication of being “loved.” Real love, however, includes sensitivity to each other’s needs and encouragement for each to develop their own lives.)
It is highly common for an abusive person to try to isolate his partner from friends or family, which results in an increased dependence on the abusive partner. Isolation can also result in almost a brainwashing scenario, since there are few other people with whom to interact who might help her see the abuse for what it is.
Physically abusive men are almost always very
emotionally abusive as well. Ongoing emotional abuse wears away at his wife’s self-esteem and selfconfidence. She becomes more and more insecure that she could make it on her own. This makes it harder to leave her abuser, for she frequently comes to believe that she is all the bad or inadequate things she is told by her abusive husband. A few women even come to believe they deserve being hit or battered or raped. More commonly, however, battered women harbor intense anger and resentment and fear, but feel helpless to do anything about it.
The abusive man is frequently self-focused and wants everything to revolve around his needs, wants and desires—people are to serve and adore him.
Increased likelihood for violence comes more often when his wife “forgets” that her purpose in life (according to the abusive husband) is to be serving and adoring (sarcasm intended with “forgets”). This can happen when she has a different opinion, does not do something exactly the way she is told, talked to someone not on the approved list, or any other real or imagined behavior that offends the abusive partner.
As time progresses, she may become vulnerable to battering when something having nothing to do with her upsets her husband, such as a frustrating day at work or someone cutting him off on the road. When a man has learned to handle frustrations by becoming violent, and (say) cannot take it out at work without serious consequences, he may come and be violent with his wife who he has come to believe will tolerate it. Many men who batter their wives do it because their wives tolerate it without significant consequences.
People who are abusive typically have low frustration tolerance and want immediate gratification of their wants and needs. Most of us would like what we
what when we want it, but we realize it frequently does not happen that way. An abusive person frequently feels entitled to what he wants when he wants it and therefore feels justified in getting angry and/or violent when it does not occur.
Additionally, abusive people tend to blame everything on someone else, and have difficulty recognizing their own contributions to problems. It is not unusual for a battering man to blame his wife (e.g., “I had to hit her to shut her up, she was nagging!”—or saying nothing—or just sitting there crying, etc.) In the extreme, some men may even come to believe their wife “deserves” to be battered, emotionally tormented or raped (although he may not consider it as rape because he may feel that he is entitled to sex whenever he wants it).
Alcohol abuse (and other drugs, too) is a highly common problem for the violent person. Alcohol is a depressant and it also weakens self-control. This can result in a person being more likely to act out what they feel without logic and reasoning guiding their behavior. Beware of heavy drinkers (binge or more regular drinkers).
In short, there are several warning signs to observe early in relationships. These include possessiveness and controlling behavior, anger management problems, blaming everyone else for problems without recognizing his own contributions to problems, emotionally abusive behavior, sense of entitlement, lack of tolerance for differences in needs or wants of his wife and efforts to isolate her from others. Not all of these need to be present for someone to be an abusive partner, nor is it necessarily true that someone with these qualities will be abusive. They are, however, warning signs, and the more signs one has, the greater the risk of abuse.
Disclaimer: All materials in this column are provided for general information only. It is not intended, nor should it be construed, as psychological advice or instruction.
(Dr. Logan is a psychologist in private practice in New Braunfels.)
Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, Oct. 19, the 292nd day of 1995. There are 73 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 19, 1781, British troops under Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Va., as the American Revolution neared its end.
On this date:
In 1765, the Stamp Ad Congress, meeting in New York, drew up a declaration of rights and liberties.
In 1812, French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte began their retreat from Moscow.
In 1864, Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early attacked Union forces al Cedar Creek, Va. The Union troops were able to rally under Gen. Phil Sheridan and defeat the Confederates.
In 1936, H R. Ekins of the New York World-Telegrain beat out Dorothy Kilgallen of the New York Journal and Leo Kieran of The New York Times iii a round-the-world race on commercial flights (hat lasted 18 1/2 days.
In 1944, the U.S. Navy announced that black women would be allowed into Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.
In 1950, United Nations forces entered Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
In 1951, President Truman signed an act formally ending the state of war with Germany.
In 1977, the supersonic Concorde made its first landing in New York City after 19 months of delays caused by residents con
cerned about the aircraft’s noise.
In 1987, the stock market crashed as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 508 points — its biggest one-day decline.
Ten years ago: A U.S. official delivered a letter from Resident Reagan to Italian Premier Bettino Craxi saying that U.S.-Italian relations remained solid despite differences over the Achille Laura* hijacking.
Five years ago: Iraq ordered all foreigners in occupied Kuwait to report to authonues or face punishment, and announced it would ration gasoline to save on imported chemicals used in refining fuel. Hie Supreme Soviet voted to approve President Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s economic reform plan. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Oakland A’s 8-3, taking a 3-0 lead in the World Series.
One year ago: Twenty-two people were killed as a terrorist bomb shattered a bus in the heart of Tel Aviv’s shopping district in a suicide attack claimed by Hamas. Entertainer Martha Raye died in Los Angeles at age 78.
Today’s Birthdays: The former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Robert S. Strauss, is ll. Actress LaWanda Page is 75. Columnist Jack Anderson is 73. Author John Le Carre is 64. Actor John Lithgow is 50. National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland is 50. Singer Jeanme C. Riley is 50. Amy Carter is 28.
Thought for Today:
makes a good ending.” -
‘A good beginning - English proverb
I Write ‘em I
San Antonio. TX 78214
President of the U S
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D C. 20500
Governor George W. Bush
P O Box 12428
Vice President of the U.S.
Austin. TX 78711
Old Executive Office Bldg
17th St. and Pennsylvania
Attorney General Dan
Washington, D C. 20501
PjO. Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711
U.S. Senators for tho
stat# of Toxass
State Senator Jeff Wentworth
1250 N E. Loop 410
San Antonio. TX 78209
402 E. Ramsey Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78216
or P O. Box 12068
Austin. TX 78711-2068
Kay Bailey Hutchison
961 Federal Bldg.
300 E 8th St.
State Senator Judith Zaffirini
Austin. TX 78703
P O. Box 627
Laredo, TX 78042
P.O. Box 12068
Austin. TX 78711-2068
1100 N E Loop 410. Ste.
San Antonio, TX 78209
P.O. Box 911
Seguin. TX 78155-0911
1313 S.E. Military Dr., Ste.