Self-esteem is a very important aspect of everyone’s life. It is such a vital part of a person existence, yet at the same time too much or too little of it can be detrimental. Self-esteem is often used as a controlling tool. People prey on those who have low self-esteem because it is easy. Having low self-esteem, especially for children, also makes a person an easy target for bullying. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I thought to myself this is a perfect time to talk about self-esteem. People who fall victim to domestic violence, as well as those that inflict domestic violence, offer suffer from low self-esteem. When a person has low self-esteem it is easy to convince them that the treatment they are receiving is their own fault. At the same token, as the old saying goes ‘hurt people hurt people’. With that being said people who do not feel good about themselves sometimes lash out at others in the form of release. It is never ok to hit someone, domestically or not. As humans we all have emotions and sometimes these emotions outweigh the logic of our brains. It is very easy when feeing cornered or hurt to lash out. We, especially in the African-American community support violence. I know when I was growing up I was always taught if someone hits you….hit them back. I was also taught you never let the other person get the first lick in in a fight. This way of thinking, though it did give me a thick skin, did two things to my way of life. One it limited my thinking. There was no need to think about things. When I felt corned just strike first. Two it perpetuated the use of violence. This is why people need the tools and resources such as counselors or anger management, or sometimes even grief support to help them through life. With these tools in place the instances of violence just might become less.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month. According to loveisrespect.org 1 in 3 teens has experienced physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. If you are a parent of a teen or you’re a teenager yourself follow my blog posts this month as I share important information about dating violence.
When we think of abuse the first things that come to mind are black eyes and bruises. However physical violence is not the only form of abuse that occurs in relationships. Emotional and verbal abuse is often equally damaging to a person and occurs more frequently. The victim in the situation will often question, “Is this really abuse?” because there are no scars. Check this list to see if you or someone you know may be experiencing emotional or verbal abuse.
Some behaviors that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse by a partner:
- -Name calling and put downs
- -Screaming and yelling at you
- -Isolation, keeping you from family and friends
- -Controlling your behavior ( i.e. what you wear, where you can go)
- -Requiring constant check ins through phone call, texts, or other means
- -Blaming you for their abusive behavior or words (“you made me do this”)
- -Threatening to commit suicide or harm themselves if you break up with them
- -Monitoring and controlling your use of the phone, computer, etc..
- -Using threats to expose your personal secrets in an attempt to control you
- -Starting rumors about you, including on social media
If you think you or someone you know is experiencing emotional/verbal abuse please reach out for help. The counselors here at Family First Counseling are ready to help.
For more information on teen dating violence or to find help in your local area check out www.loveisrespect.org