Background to My Interest in Teaching Children with Autism

Letters to Young People – On Being Imperfect – On Spousal Abuse, continued.
In an earlier posting, I quoted Robert Powell (1961) to the effect that:
“Basically …all ideation [i.e., the forming of ideas] is harmful because concepts hypnotize us into faulty perception and wrongful thinking.”
As this relates to spousal abuse, it is important to recognize that the concept of “Spousal Abuser,” like all concepts, can be misleading. Now, this is a difficult idea to grasp, but bear with me and I will try to explain. If anyone is habitually either verbally or physically abusive, he or she is abusive and should be avoided if it is feasible to do so. But being abusive to one’s spouse – I hit my wife once when we were newly-married and promised myself that I would never do that again! (and I never have) – is not, in my opinion, enough to warrant being labeled a “spousal abuser” because of the large number of characteristics identified in the spousal abuser group, as detailed above. On the other hand, when a number of these characteristics are present, it is likely that you are dealing with a full-blown spousal abuser. Warning signs that I would be particularly sensitive to include:
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde: Very rarely do abusers conform to the stereotypical image of a constantly harsh, nasty or violent person, either in public or in private. Much more frequently, the abusive partner portrays a perfectly normal and pleasant picture to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community or Church) and reserves the abuse for you in the privacy of your own home.
Isolation: He or she may object to you from spending time with your friends or family and demand that you only go places ‘together’. He/she may accuse you of not be committed to the relationship, or view people who are your personal friends as ‘causing trouble’ or ‘trying to put a wedge’ between you, and want you to avoid them or even move away from them. In the extreme, he/she may want to live in the country without a phone, not let you use the car, stop you from working or gaining further education or qualifications.
Controlling Behaviour: The spousal abuser tends to be a control freak, often disguised as being a “responsible”person, concerned for your safety, your emotional or mental health, the need to use your time well, or to make sensible decisions. He/she may question you closely about where you were, whom you spoke to, the content of every conversation you held, or why you did something he/she was not involved in. As this behaviour gets worse, he/she may even make you ask for permission to leave the house or room. Or he/she may “allow you” your own decisions, but penalise you for making the wrong ones. Concern for our loved ones to a certain extent is normal – trying to control their every move is not.
Hypersensitivity: Most abusers have very low self-esteem and are therefore easily insulted or upset. They may view your preference for something which differs from their own as a criticism of their taste and therefore themselves (e.g. blue wallpaper rather than pink, etc.).
Blame-shifting for Problems: Very rarely will an spousal abuser accept responsibility for any negative situation or problem. it is always someone else’s fault,
Blame-shifting for Feelings: The spousal abuser will tend to see his/her feelings as reactions to his/her partner’s behaviour or attitude toward him/herself. He/she may tell you that you are to blame for any negative feelings such as anger, upset or depression which he/she may feel.

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