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!


34. StorkNet Member: Hello Jennifer, I write from South America. I'm in a long marriage (near 18 years) and have a 14 month old boy. My husband is caring, loving though introspective and a little distracted. I'm the major provider at home, but he works hard too. Our son is lively, cheerful and even handsome. What scares me most is the fact that I come from an emotionally abusive house. Just like me, my mother had me at near 40's and was very variable in her behavior towards me, ranging from overprotectiveness to insult, belittling and emotional neglect. All this done for my own good, she said. She's now near 80, in full mental power, and as I'm an only child I'm supposed to care after them (my father is deaf and suffers from left hemiparesia. He loved me but was also deaf about how my mother treated me) Of course I had a miserable childhood, without any external marks -she spanked me only occassionally- but a lot of confusion in my head. However, I was A+ in school. My mother comes from another mess -she was even thrown up by my grandma to my grandpa, and if he hadn't good reflexes, she would have died from the fall. I was shaken as a toddler-during potty training- and with all I know now about SBS, I was amazed I didn┤t get further consequences (but my Mom was proud how she conquered my obedience in potty issues). I'm very scared that in a way or other these violent reactions are somewhat "genetic," waiting to emerge, and I live in constant terror of harming my boy. I had moderate PPD and am still on "talk" therapy. What can I do to break the generational chain of emotional abuse? Thanks a lot.

Jennifer: First of all, congratulate yourself on your ability to have such insight into where you come from. For you to have compassion for your mother while not remaining in denial, to be making a concerted effort (from the heart) to not repeat history and have the cycle of violence end with you takes a lot of courage. Just being "awake" to what happened to you will make you aware if you should consider in a weak moment to do something emotionally damaging to your son. There are so many wonderful books out now (that our parents did not have access to) that are so helpful in raising children and in finding positive ways to discipline them. Know that you will make mistakes with your son. We all do. We cannot be perfect parents. But I'm guessing that you will be able to talk to him when he's an adult and has "issues" with how he was raised. I think when we as parents are able to hear our children and their perspectives (without being defensive) we can do a lot of healing. These are wonderful issues to bring up in therapy. Be very proud of yourself for seeking answers to how to end the generational chain of emotional abuse. I think you will make a wonderful mother. The very best of luck to you.

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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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