Domestic Violence Discussion with
Jennifer Bowles, MSW, LCSW

Jennifer Bowles is a licensed clinical social worker currently working in California as a medical social worker at a county hospital. She obtained her Master's degree in social work from U.C.L.A. Since graduating in 1993 she has worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, with children and families, frail elderly, and chronically and terminally ill clients. Prior to becoming a social worker she was a deputy sheriff. She believes this law enforcement background provided her with an increased sensitivity to abuse issues, including domestic violence.

She has seen first hand the damage domestic violence does to the individual and family. It crosses all demographic barriers: financial, racial, ethnic, age and sexual orientation.

Our thanks to Jennifer Bowles!

 

20. StorkNet Member: I can see from reading this discussion that I am in an abusive relationship, too. The fact that he tries to control me with fear is unsettling, at least. The fact that I let him is even more disturbing. He too, has never hit me or the kids. He rants and raves and throws things, punches walls, curses at the slightest provocation. He can turn just ugly when any thing doesn't go his way or he is "inconvenienced" in the slightest. Generally, not a lot of fun to be around. It's not like I didn't know, though, as he was that way before we married and I still said yes. That was 8 years ago.

However, I feel now that I am on the right path. I can't allow him to have that control over me. I am encouraged that you say "one family member changing will affect the entire family" as I have to change or doom my two kids to the same cycle. I refuse to live the rest of my life this way.

That being said, I feel not fear anymore, but resentment towards him. Can you advise generally on the steps toward recovery? Perhaps there is a general direction it takes, much as the stages of grief. Cognitively, I just want to know where I'm headed. Counseling is out of the question at this time. I know this is going to take all the gumption I can, but I can see already how I'm becoming a stronger person through all this. Thanks.

Jennifer: It is good that you are aware of what is going on in your relationship with your husband. That is the first step. Wanting a better example for your children and having a strong desire to end the cycle is admirable and also a step forward. Counseling does not have to be in one-on-one individual therapy. There are often support groups for women who are in similar circumstances (or worse) and that can help to give you strength while you're working on your particular life circumstances. These are often very low cost or free. If that is still not possible, then reading through the books at the bookstore or your library in the self-help section will likely turn up books that you connect with. I highly recommend Nonviolent Communication by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (published by Puddledancer Press, 1999), but there are other books that you may find provide support for you cognitively. It makes sense to me that you would feel resentment toward someone who rages and tries to control his family. Interestingly, this feeling comes out of a fear of losing control or being out of control. It guarantees that he will not get his needs met or if by chance he does there is a very high price to getting them met (i.e. your resentment and the rift in your relationship with him).

You sound like you are open to learning more and I can tell that you are already on this journey. You are insightful and gaining strength. Yes you will need to be strong to make changes in yourself, in your relationship with your husband, or to make a life without him, but remember you don't have to do it alone.

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Questions and Answers (Click on the linked numbers below):

 1.  Husband's temper
 2.  Divorced, did not keep documentation for protection. What should I do?
 3.  I'm getting divorced. Do I tell the judge about my husband's anger? Should my daughter be with him?
 4.  How do I find an Abuse Center in My area?
 5.  How can I help my friend see that she's in a cycle of abuse?
 6.  Thank you, Jennifer
 7.  Is verbal abuse considered domestic violence?
 8.  I've left my husband - why do I feel so sad and guilty?
 9.  I'm being abused but no one can tell.
10. How does domestic abuse affect the children of the marriage?
11. When do you get past the damage?
12. Husband abusive and terminal. I'm pregnant. Can I make it on my own?
13. Therapists and false memories
14. Who do we tell if a child in my son's class is being molested?
15. My children are afraid of their father but he has part custody, what do I do?
16. This relationship is tearing down her self-confidence piece by piece.
17. I got away from the abuse but now my daughter is suffering.
18. Why do so many women end up in abusive relationships?
19. Is yelling verbal abuse?
20. Steps toward recovery?
21. Parents drinking affects the holidays
22. My dad was verbally abusive to me and I now suffer from low self esteem.
23. I can hear the neighbors fighting. What should I do?
24. My ex says no to counseling, but I want my kids to go.
25. Is my boyfriend showing signs of being abusive?
26. How can I prevent visitation rights?
27. Question about one of Jennifer's comments
28. Finding strength and independence
29. I worry so much about my children when they are with him and his new wife.
30. My friend got out of one abusive relationship and into another.
31. Helping my brother with his temper
32. My husband is an alcoholic.
33. My sister is abusing me.
34. My mom was abusive. Will I be too?
35. Abusive husband and a new baby
36. How is past abuse from my deceased husband affecting my 4 1/2 year old?
37. My best friend chose a controlling boyfriend, just like her father. Help me explain to her.
38. My husband intimidates me into sex. Is this abuse?
39. Husband has anxiety and is becoming violent
40. Separated, pregnant and thinking of working things out with abusive husband
41. Question about verbal abuse?
42. Is my boyfriend abusive?
43. Ex-husband and unpaid child support
44. Surviving molestation
45. Our arguing has turned physical now
46. I left my verbally abusive husband
47. Woman realizes she is the abuser
48. Husband's health is making him angry
49. Abuse and chronically ill
50. Abusive relationship and going through divorce proceedings
51. Granddaughter may lose custody
52. Relationship with abusive boyfriend is like obsession
53. Very afraid of abusive, threatening husband
54. Are my boyfriend's actions abusive?
55. I worry that my children will be molested because I was
56. Why do women stay or have a hard time leaving?
57. I need help to get away. What can I do?
58. Elderly parents are abusing each other, alcohol involved.
59. Is my daughter being abused by her stepmom?
60. Do you discuss female domestic violence towards men and children?
61. Friend keeps going back to abusive boyfriend
62. Alcohol problems as teens related to growing up in a violent home?
63. I left my abuser... a message of hope
64. How to help a pregnant friend
65. Resources for domestic violence in the military?
66. Nephew in abusive relationship
67. My husband is too controlling
68. Advice from someone who stayed
69. I left and now I'm confused
70. Thank you, Jennifer
71. My husband mentally abuses me
72. I've taken steps to leave my abusive husband, but am worried about my daughter
73. Abuse in friendships?
74. Why do women oppose mandatory reporting?
75. My husband is frightening me with his anger
76. Am I becoming my father?
77. Love and abuse
78. Boyfriend threatens me
79. Husband wants me to get an abortion, is verbally abusive.
80. My mother-in-law is harrassing us
81. Children verbally abusive like their father
82. Son and daughter-in-law's arguing affecting grandson
83. Should I call my husband on each verbal abuse?
84. My fiancÚ babysits and I am worried about his temper
85. My friend's child is affected by abuse by father
86. Every time he hits me, he blames me for it, then repents, apologizes and feels bad.
87. Acquaintances from church--the woman is attacking her husband. How can I help?
88. Shelters - how do you find your funds to live on and where to go?
89. My friend appears to have no way out!
90. My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
91. If you are in immediate danger

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