5 Things You Need To Know About Domestic Violence

Washington D.C. ,1994

I remember hearing hits, screams, and crying coming from an apartment below me when I was a graduate student living in Washington, D.C. I called the police and ran to the apartment I had been hearing the screams from.

A man opened the door in a white, sleeveless, undershirt that I have heard jokingly referred to as a wife beater shirt (would you believe it?) He was sweating heavily and breathing hard as if in the middle of a workout.  Except, he had on dirty khakis and the punching bag was clearly human.

Being a naive, idealistic, young social worker, I accused him of hurting someone and I demanded for him to show me his family members so I could see if they were alright.  He laughed in my face.  Despite calling the cops several times, nobody showed up.  I am sure his family got the message loud and clear that they were on their own with that monster. That sucks.

Here are some important statistics to know or be reminded of:

1. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death for women (more than car accidents, muggings, rape, etc. combined)

2. More than 3 women a day are murdered by husbands or boyfriends.

3. 1 in 5 teenagers are threatened with physical violence when dating.

4. 63% of teens imprisoned between 11-30 are there for killing mother’s boyfriend/partner who was assaulting her.  These children will probably go on to assault their partners due to violence they have seen.

5. Battering occurs in all racial and socioeconomic groups.  Men are victims too. It is definitely happening in your neighborhood or to someone you know.

GAG Girls: Victims of domestic violence are all around us.  Contact your local domestic violence agency for more information if you have become aware of it happening with someone you know. Call the police and get help if it is happening right by you. It was dumb of me to get involved so quickly without support and back-up.  Get involved but don’t sacrifice your own safety too.  That helps nobody!

Self Care and Body Image

Art drawn by my friend, Rebecca, who does her art whenever and wherever she can. Good self care.

Artist, Rebecca Kauffman, who does her art whenever and wherever she can. (Great self care.)

Do you “Fat Talk”?

I don’t know why we do it but most women I know are not great at providing nourishing care to themselves, especially when it comes to body image. I am guilty of it too.  I am the FIRST to start fat talking with my girlfriends.  “No pie for me, I am HUGE today…” They roll their eyes. Than somebody else pipes in. Most of the time, I eat the pie anyway…

I know, I know, I am a therapist.  I am not supposed to enter into the world of negative self talk.  It is not good self care at all!

But it happens.  Anyway, I found a wonderful blog about body image, self esteem and eating.  Please read it and sign up.  I did.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/

Investigation: What happened to Ann Curry at the Today show?

Doesn't Matt look pleased as punch? Photo attribution http://www.flickr.com/photos/denonnie/

Doesn’t Matt look pleased as punch? 
Photo attribution http://www.flickr.com/photos/denonnie/

Where is Ann Curry?
I don’t know what happened at the Today show. If you are not aware, the Today show is a nationally syndicated TV show that comes up on the mornings on NBC. About a year ago, there was a lot of press about how Matt Lauer, the lead anchor, didn’t want Ann Curry (his 54-year-old co-host) to work with him anymore. Therefore, she got dumped by NBC.

And why is that relevant one year later?
Well, it annoys me that Matt Lauer is now surrounded by these two beautiful YOUNG women that look suspiciously like twins. (By the way, they also look like his model/wife, but that’s for he and his analyst to work out. He lives in New York and they all have analysts there, not therapists.) (And don’t we ALL know about the twin fantasy thing? So predictable!)

Incidentally, Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales appear to be smart, competent journalists who I am sure deserved their promotion. I am not annoyed with them at all.

But, I still don’t know why they dumped Ann. I mean, somehow, even at 54, Ann didn’t have any wrinkles. Ask any woman journalist in television media, and she will probably tell you that wrinkles on a woman are the kiss of death. In fact, it is rare to see wrinkles on any women in the media at all, much less the news.

WOMEN IN EUROPE VS USA
Interestingly, when I was in Europe 5 years ago, I was shocked by a cover of a magazine that had Sarah Jessica Parker on it. What shocked me were the wrinkles around her eyes. I didn’t know she had any! As I looked around at the cover of the magazines, I noticed the American stars didn’t look the same as they did in the USA. I realized that the American magazines airbrushed the wrinkles and the European magazines didn’t. That sucks.

I know Diane Sawyer is an exception in that she is a journalist who is older and on the national news. However, wasn’t she a Miss America winner? Does that really count as TV being open to televising older and aging women?

GAG GIRL TAKEAWAY: Life isn’t always fair. Keep your head up and have a back-up plan if things don’t go the way you want — or deserve.

Can Women Have It All?

Anne-Marie Slaughter on NPR

My girlfriend Tanya had a job at a law firm making a great living. However, they expected her to work more than 60 hours a week. When she slowed down, to give birth, they docked her bonus. It has been hard for her to stay excited and motivated in her career, with these challenges every day.

Interestingly, Anne-Marie Slaughter did an interview today about an article she wrote addressing this issue. Here’s a great podcast of an interview with Ann-Marie on NPR today. Why Women Still Can’t Have It All . (Picture taken from NPR link).

The difference between Ann-Marie and her husband
I loved how she mentioned that when a mother drops her kid at daycare, she feels guilty; when a dad drops him off, he feels proud of his involvement as a parent.

Some women don’t engage in any of the professional strategizing and sacrificing that comes with being a working mother. Some women are able and are comfortable staying home full-time. However, I know from the tons of women I have worked with over the years, that this has its disadvantages too.

When women decide to reemerge into the workplace, they will be behind financially and career wise. Additionally, there is that requisite, “How do I adjust?” And, “Why do I feel so devalued in society when a part of me knows that staying at home was so valuable?”

There’s no easy road and the grass often looks greener on the other side. (Forgive my overused idioms, but you know what I mean). No sweeping solutions are available yet. Please listen to the story.

Self love comes with a price

Meet Give Away Girl Loretta

I was getting a massage the other day and the masseuse, Loretta, began telling me her life story. (This happens alot.  I guess people just instinctively know I am a therapist…)    

Love photo credit: qthomasbower via flickr

Love
photo credit: qthomasbower via flickr

To summarize, Loretta (at about 65) just left her husband after 40 years, started a new career, and is on her own for the first time.  After years of care taking of her kids and her family, after listening to her husband’s rampages and not getting any of her partnership needs met, she finally got fed up.  She walked away and started the life she wanted. Problem is, her kids are sooo mad at her they won’t talk to her. Friends of hers for years, aren’t supportive.  Meanwhile, she says she is so happy and glad she did this before she died.

It is sad that she has to go through this temporary cycle.  BUT IT IS TEMPORARY.

When people set boundaries,change what has always been; even if it is good for them, people get mad.  

GAG GIRL TAKEAWAY

What do you do when people get mad and all you are doing is trying your best to take care of yourself?

1. Try to detach.  Know it is temporary and that it will all work itself out.

2. Focus on your next best thing you can do for yourself that day.

3. Continue to reach out to those you love. Try to listen empathically but set healthy limits as to what you will tolerate regarding their anger! “It is okay to be made at me.  I trust that someday, my perspective will be more clear. However, you still need to talk to me with respect.”

4. Grieve. Loretta has alot to grieve, including all the giving away she did up until then. She will suffer from periods of profound sadness, but it will eventually pass.