How to Talk to an Abused Daughter

4 Mar

Beloved IHM does an awesome job of bringing up burning issues in the desi world on her blog and heavy discussion ensues on what ought to be and why things are the way they are. Two of her responses compelled Desi Girl to pen this post.  I wish I could say the right words to the mother – to make her let her daughter come back home and start living again.

The girl lives in another city and the mother didn’t give me her email address, I wanted to send her a link to some sites that might help her at least understand what is happening.

I did tell the mother about cases where if not intentionally the abuser has killed the victim accidentally or caused severe injury. She sounded worried but continued to say the girls doesn’t want to come back. In the beginning she had told me they did not want her to come back – but now she says it’s the girl who wants to make the marriage work.

We all know what is wrong and why it is wrong but we fail when it comes to how to address it. The best service we can do is to be informed about intimate partner abuse; what is IPV, nature of abuse, how abuse begins, what is a cycle of abuse and what an abused can do and how to help an abused.

When an ordinary fight with wife escalates into bloody nose it is no longer a fight but a law and order issue, a public health concern most of all it is a question of human dignity and it is your problem too even if it is not in your home.

Familial and intimate partner abuse is not accidental. Someone purposefully decided to hurt another person who they consider they have a legitimate right over. Abusers do not hurt strangers even when strangers step on their toes but they choose to hurt their partners and children because they know they can get away with it. The faceless strangers called “log” cross all boundaries of decency and hurt your sensibilities in all possible ways through their mean words and actions to ostracize you, still you do back flips to be in their good books. Aren’t you in an abusive relationship with these people? Have you thought how your daughter feels while living with an abuser?

Your initial reaction of distrust and reprimand of her choice to marry for love just closed the doors for her to come back to you. You judged her once, what are the chances you won’t judge her again. The “log” will say something and you’ll get into blaming and accusatory mode. Basically you cannot be trusted. You lost your trustworthiness, the minute you said “I told you so…” Your daughter has a hard time to believe that you will not judge her and even if you did trust her today what are the chances you’ll not throw it on her face in future. Now you want to help her and you do not know how because you closed the first door of communication with your judgment and now you do not know how to reopen it. Just saying, “Come back and everything will be fine, we’ll support you” is not enough, there is a way to open the door and keep it open. This is how it can be done:

Communication Agreement

Every time we open our mouth we sign an unspoken agreement/contract with the person we are interacting with that says “we are in a relationship I’ll not hurt you and you’ll not hurt me,” it is realized only when this contract is broken. When this contract is broken the first thing that goes out is respect for each other. This contract has three constituents:

1. I agree to be non judgmental, you can feel safe to tell me what is in your heart.

2. There will be no repercussions for what you disclose to me.

3. I’ll love you unconditionally.

Agreement To Communicate

 

Non Judgmental:

Your daughter has broken this contract with herself. She lost respect for herself, is feeling guilty and bad about herself. You broke this contract with her when you judged her and it shut that door of communication on her. How do you feel about it? Do you respect yourself for that? Opening the door begins with reinstating this contract and this time make it spoken instead of unspoken. Create a safe space to communicate and invite her for a conversation and begin with:

“I understand you are going through a very tough time in your marriage. I want you to know I was wrong to judge you when you first reported abuse. I am truly sorry for what I said them. I want to assure you today, what ever you tell me I’ll not judge you. You are being abused it is not your fault. It is a choice your abuser is making. If you made a mistake of picking a wrong guy as a partner I too made a mistake of judging you. Today, we can look beyond our mistakes and explore what we can do together to keep you safe and happy.”

Does anyone know “judgmental” equivalent word in hindi? DG could find none, please help.

No Repercussions:

“First time when you reported abuse I blamed you for your choice that was wrong on my part. I promise you what ever you tell me today and now on will have no repercussions I will not throw it on your face ever. I want you to feel safe and be assured there will be no repercussions about any disclosure you make. I will never blame you for what happened and I will never hold it against you here on.”

(People complain all the time that their teens do not want to talk to them even when they have an open door policy. Who are they kidding, your children are of you so they know you inside out, and they know what you are capable of. They know you’ll blame them and punish them.)

Unconditional Love:

You love her and you are concerned but are you sure your love is unconditional? Are you kidding, you already said, she made her bed… You meant had she had an arranged marriage she could have counted on your support. Unconditional love does not mean ignoring the behavior or not addressing the behavior, it means there will be consequences for your actions but my love for you will still be the same. In this particular case it would come out something like this:

“What ever you decide, to live with the abuser or walk out, I will support you 100%. I will not question your choices. I want you to understand my position as a parent, if you are hurt or are contemplating of hurting yourself; I will do everything in my power to protect you. As a parent I want to see you safe and happy nothing matters to me more.”

This is not unconditional love:

I love you but...

 

I love you BUT…

Once a “BUT” comes before or after LOVE it is no longer unconditional love.

For parents of teens:

“I see you did X and I want you to know I love you so I want you to be safe. In order to be safe we have to follow the rules. If we break rules then we face consequences. Your choices are no bike keys for next 8 weeks or no allowances for next 8 weeks.” Give them choices of picking up their consequences. Once your children are ready to step out of home without you chaperoning start laying ground rules and consequences for breaking the rules. The consequences have to be reasonable and consistent and equal for all kids irrespective of their gender and grades. “Promise me, you’ll not drive with a drunk driver, if you are in a situation where you do not feel safe, call mom or dad. We’ll be there and we’ll not ask you any questions. Just call us.” Once safely home you guys can decide the course of action and consequences. Remember children too have a social reputation to live up to just like you have one, they feel embarrassed when you throw a tantrum even if they are wrong. Do all the drama at home not in front of their friends. That helps build trust and begets you their respect that you care.

This same script can be used to open doors of communication with anyone just remember the steps, to be non judgmental, no repercussions and unconditional love.

PS: Learned this technique while working on a workshop with Ms Nichols of “The Secret.”

About these ads

21 Responses to “How to Talk to an Abused Daughter”

  1. desibahu September 23, 2011 at p09 #

    desi daughter….he yelled at me
    mother……..let him yell
    daughter……mil cursed at me
    mother……….(only enjoys gossiping about in-laws or responding with something her own mil did)
    daughter……..i think i want to leave him
    mother………..he is such a good man, very nice guy, just be nice to him and don’t fight
    by the way….i feel so sorry for aunty x’s dil……(story about what aunty x does/says to her dil)
    daughter……..(daughter is thinking i have been asking 4 help from you, my in-laws are worse than auntie x, are you deaf/blind…do u not hear me….help me……..)
    mother…..auntie x, auntie x, aunte x, blah blah blah……..
    daughter to brother…please come when my mil is here, she did …., …..,…
    brother…that is the stupidest thing i ever heard, u want me to come bcuz of that?
    what in the world is this girl supposed to do? where should she go? if she chooses to leave husband, her family might reject her. if she complains, they say she is the bad one and they will find more faults with her……..be a mother and put yourself in your daughter’s shoes…….help her, listen, she needs you more than anything else…..don’t reject her…….help her………………………………………………….

    Like this

  2. Padma March 17, 2011 at p03 #

    I think the girl in question has to realize that she is being abused. Very often abusers are very caring and affectionate at times and confuse their victims. i’ve heard people say that ‘X gets violent at times and beats me up black and blue but he is also a loving father and caring husband most of the time’. So it is for the one who is abused to decide whether an occasional thrashing can be tolerated in lieu of the many times that he shows consideration. Parents cannot help unless the person in question defines the level and frequency of abuse that she can take.It is true that guilt at having made a wrong choice despite warning from parents prevents one from opening up as soon as the first act of abusiveness takes place. This is where parents fail. They never openly and wholeheartedly say that they would support their daughter come what may even if they did not approve of her choice. Call it communication gap or an ego issue a thin line of distrust does set in and it is for parents to see to it that it does not happen.

    @Padma,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    This post was a action response to a big discussion on @IHM’s what was going on with the lady in question. You are thinking on the right lines. Here are some resources that will help you refine your understanding about intimate partner abuse and what to do and how to do the next step.

    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/emotional-abuse/

    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/how-abuse-begins/

    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/cycle-of-violence/

    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/what-you-can-do/

    https://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/how-to-help-an-abused-2/

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit from this.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • nolongeraslave March 17, 2011 at p03 #

      Padma, great post! It’s indeed confusing when the abuser is nice sometimes. I had a friend who said “It’s more cruel when you are abusive and then nice the next minute, because you don’t even know what’s going on. At least it’s easier to recognize abuse when it’s constant.”

      It’s a big myth that abusive relationships are abusive 24/7. There are honeymoon phases.

      Like this

    • girlsguidetosurvival March 18, 2011 at p03 #

      @Padma,

      Sorry this skipped DG’s attention.

      You said: …Parents cannot help unless the person in question defines the level and frequency of abuse that she can take…

      Sorry, violence in any form or frequency is not negotiable. VIOLENCE IS NOT NEGOTIABLE period. And there are DETRIMENTAL CONSEQUENCES for abusing partner. Unless these two messages get out to the abusers loud and clear they won’t stop abusive behavior.

      Just one slap or emotional coercion should be the deal breaker. Why? Because research shows once a man physically abuses his partner he’ll repeat it again because he knows there are no consequences for what he did. It is also a way of shifting the blame on to the victim that they caused/instigated the abuser to lose control.

      Please follow this link and read DG’scomments
      http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/are-happily-married-daughters-a-status-symbol-in-india/#comment-36497

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

  3. Careless Chronicles March 10, 2011 at p03 #

    This is a great post. You know, when I was engaged to a man who made me cry almost every day, my parents – who are very devoted to me – suggested that we all break the engagement and all kill ourselves. They felt that we simply could not face the world with a broken engagement in my record. My parents were both college grads and employed in the Government services – not some ignorant village types. And both were raised in the city.
    Needless to say, I told them that things were not as bad, married the man and lived my own personal hell for 3 years – without letting them know. Two years later when my neighbour finally told my parents that my marriage was abusive and unhappy, they immediately got me out and asked me why I never told. I told them I never wanted them to kill themselves because of me. Obviously I had taken them seriously and they had no idea that I had. I think parents need to be really careful what they speak to their kids.
    And they should radiate strength, so that their hurt kids can draw from them, instead of becoming their children’s weak points.

    @Careless Chronicles,
    DG is glad you are safe and the bad part is over.
    It is interesting to observe how the families of survivors of abuse give power to faceless strangers called “log” than stand up and do the right thing. They fail to realize that they are in an abusive relationship with this faceless entity called “log.” What a shame you had to go through those horrible times just because your parents threatened suicide. It is a very common desi parental tactic to threaten dare consequences to their children on the issue of love marriage. It is their way of fueling the fire called wagging tongues of the “log.”

    The Khap panchayats are the face of faceless entity called log.

    Yes, words are powerful because they carry meaning so discreation is advised in their use. With our words we can give our power away or take someone’s power away. :)

    DG is glad your parents stepped up and did the right thing. Treat those three bad years as bad karma resolved in this life time and an opportunity to discover yourself.
    Be safe, healthy, happy and holy.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  4. Indian Homemaker March 8, 2011 at p03 #

    Thank You for this post Desi Girl, I have copy pasted this to email (or print out) the material to the parents of the girl I blogged about. I am sure if not take any clear action, at least this might make them think and realise that this is also a possibility.

    Like this

  5. sexandtheindiancities March 8, 2011 at p03 #

    DG : thanks for chalking out the plan to help people help their family and friends .sometime we have all the good intentions but dont know what to say or do to help others in an abusive relationship.

    We definetly dont need people to judge us when we go wrong , but to tell us we care and we are there with you no matter what you choose for your life .

    Like this

  6. G Parthasarthy March 8, 2011 at p03 #

    If I didn’t have the fear of any law enforcement agency I would have come down heavily on you like a ton of bricks . But thank your stars – there is a big brother ( law ) watching and regulating our actions .

    Come on you mother fucker bitch , speak up !

    This is a safe space. Back off you pschyo. What is the back ground of this post is given in the fourth sentence of first paragraph. You are not only a psycho but also retarded in reading skills.
    Don’t you know the meaning of word rookie. Go and learn English.

    Like this

    • Bikram March 8, 2011 at p03 #

      And this is how Indian men talk to ladies… :) a perfect example of the MAle attitude..
      Kudos my friend and well done you leading the charge of showing the world how we the indian men behave and talk.. well done you…

      Keep the torch shining BY THE WAY do you use the same language at home to your own .. Please do say yes .. otherwise it will term as hypocracy..

      Love you man.. Well done..

      Like this

    • sexandtheindiancities March 8, 2011 at p03 #

      U have the guts to come and abuse a blogger for the things You dont understand . I think You are one who have a some pshycological problem and U need Doctor asap. Dont bother to litter this blog with ur filthy comments.

      U tend to prove this article right , not that we ever had any doubt about it

      http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-07/india/28665246_1_indian-men-international-men-males

      DG could not have approved your comment but its good that she did , so that we all know how people who talk some sense are being abused and apposed by idiots like you . You have no valid argument against the topic and ur comments show that You dont even know whats its all about . may be all u learnt was some abuses in life and most possibly be a victim of sexual/ verbal / pgysical abuse as kid .

      Like this

      • Bikram March 8, 2011 at p03 #

        @sexandtheindiancities :-hey dont be angry .. u got to understand that this is how or this is what these people have learnt .. Wait for his REPLY I am sure he is Going to be THE MAN and tell us all that he behaves the same way with his family too..
        thats how he calls his parents and other sibling ..

        Areeee G Parthasarthy BHAISAHIB.. .. Bataiye na sab ko now please dont make me look like a food I am 100% percent with you here .. Come and reply that this is how WE INDIAN MEN TALK TO LADIES .. and WE dont even leave the ladies in our own house …

        Like this

      • nolongeraslave March 8, 2011 at p03 #

        Did you see the comments from people on there? People are mad that they are brainwashing Indian woman to be femi-nazis and to play victim. Give me a break.

        http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/opinions/7643154.cms?ordertype=asc

        I’m glad to see some women speaking up on that article and sharing their own experiences. I guess we just have to keep talking louder until someone finally listens.

        Like this

    • HK March 8, 2011 at p03 #

      Mr So called ParthaSarthy,

      Hope you are also aware that the So called Big Brother can flush you out of your house and parade you naked. You know what will happen after that don’t you? So it is better you stop troubling people here and find some other alternatives to flush out your frustration. Probably use of your hands for some other purpose is a good option.

      @HK,
      Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
      Thank you for coming out and supporting DG and GGTS against this faceless troll.

      Your support is highly appreciated.
      Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like this

  7. anjugandhi March 5, 2011 at p03 #

    Dg, like your other mails this one has also left me speechless. you are so thorough in your descriptions and yes your posts compels the readers to think and think.

    Thank you. What good is this thorougness if it is not applied. DG has no clue if this post will ever be used by anyone in their every day life. DG is just putting out what she learned in this journey called life…

    Like this

  8. Prolifique March 5, 2011 at p03 #

    DG – great blog post, good diagrams with it and very clear thinking. It is the judgemental reactions of parents that keep daughters stewing in the mess with no way out. Parents are simply the other side of the coin, husband abuses at marital home, parents abuse at maternal home. They are the ones who created an atmosphere conducive to these happenings, made their daughter mild enough to lap up these abuses as though they are milk. Society encourages this whether from the husband’s side or the wife’s parents side. Both are equally to blame.
    Will share your link on my blog so that more people can read it.

    Please do share it. It amuses DG how people do all the talking but no communication. :)

    Like this

  9. Shail March 4, 2011 at p03 #

    Explained very well. I am going to share the link so more can read this. Thanks DG.

    You are welcome.

    Like this

  10. fakeindianbbahu March 4, 2011 at p03 #

    A very good topic … A much needed topic..I always thought on it but never explained it..You explained it very well…
    I need permission to put this in my blog..and link to your blog…

    @fakeindianbbahu,
    Thank you. You may link this post on your blog with due credits to GGTS.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • nolongeraslave March 7, 2011 at p03 #

      Not too sound pessimistic, but I wonder how many Desi parents will even admit that they’re being judgmental or giving conditional love. Great article nonetheless.

      That is true in very large number of cases but there will be some who know they made big blunders and would like to correct them but do not know how to. May be they could use this.
      DG’s dad cannot stop apologizing for all the rookie treatment he gave us growing up :) . He recently said, he realized a decade ago that he was very wrong on many issues but he did not know how to accept it but once he became grandpa he had to figure it out so that he could enjoy his new role.

      Hey, did your folks already visited you? Did you read the comment I left for you on that post.

      Like this

      • nolongeraslave March 7, 2011 at p03 #

        Yes, they did visit me this weekend. I did read your post, it made a lot of sense. That’s great to hear that your dad has admitted his mistakes. It seems like one can snap out of denial when they’re only ready.

        I made a post about my parents visit on my blog, but deleted (it gave a little too much identifying information). It went fine (I’ve seen it worse),but my roommate and boyfriend definitely picked up on some odd stuff. It’s validating to hear someone else’s point of view.

        Like this

  11. Bikram March 8, 2011 at p03 #

    And this Comment makes you think You the MAN.. Wow OR are you ..
    Just wandering since its obvious you definitely dont know how to talk ..

    Are you trying to tell about ur childhood here.. I wonder why people like you come to personal blogs and write such comments.. If you dont like what you read then buzz offf…

    Have some decoram on what you write and do

    Like this

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

My life and everything that touches it....

Kafila

media | politics | dissent

"कुरुक्षेत्र"

मेरे विचारो का

समाजवादी जनपरिषद

वैश्वीकरण विरोध हेतु

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

W.S.S.A @ UWindsor

Women's Studies Student Association @ University of Windsor, Ontario

संजीव तिवारी . . Sanjeeva Tiwari .. Chhattisgarh

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हकीक़त लेकिन, दिल को खुश रखने को ग़ालिब ये ख़याल अच्छा है

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Beyond The Second Sex (स्त्रीविमर्श)

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

नारी , NAARI

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Sparsh

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Zerqa Abid

Own your relationships. Don't let them own you.

Sex And The Indian Cities

love, friendship and life in the Indian cities

THE PCOS DIVA

FINALLY FEELING FIT, FERTILE AND FABULOUS

NightLife

Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

आराधना का ब्लॉग

'अहमस्मि'- अपनी खोज में

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 308 other followers

%d bloggers like this: