How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board Archives

The CatBox Archives

Stories Archives


Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Abusive Behavior Survey Results

 Abusive Behavior - Your Survey Results  Your ALT-Text here

By Wayne L. Misner

Get Wayne's book on Amazon (right), or get a signed copy direct from his site, He will ship same day!

Dear Readers, A few months ago author, consultant, and frequent contributor-to-this-site, Wayne Misner, asked readers to reply to an abuse survey. He promised to collate the data and write an article based on his findings here. Well, he's delivered! Wayne did a great job, and he tied in a whole bunch of stuff; there is lots to look at and think about here.

What this survey is and isn't:


This is a single survey and while over 1000 people replied (a reasonable number as far as these things go), keep in mind we only have information on the readership of (Yay for us!). We don't know whether the readership is representative of others in abusive relationships.


Plus, our respondents are "self-selected," which may influence our results. For example: only a few men replied. Is that because guy readers hate surveys or because there are few men out there? Or both? And why are there so few guys? Hostile women? Or is it something else?


We are using simple arithmetic to calculate percentages of individuals responding one way or another. Because we did not perform statistical analysis on the data, we can't say with any certainty whether a particular result is meaningful or is simply the product of chance.  


Again, we haven't done the numbers, but only Abused Females answered in numbers high enough (N=808) to appear meaningful.


Taken together this means that the data collected here represents how a select group of readers responded to the questions asked below. This survey is interesting and a great start - and we hope Wayne will do more studies here and elsewhere!


For those who really want to know, if we were to follow a more rigorous scientific method, we would ensure, for example, that each reader of took the survey, or every third reader took the survey, etc. to ensure an even distribution of the population at Better yet, we would would sample participants with abuse experience from a broader population than just! Then we would statistically pre-test each question for relevance, bias, etc. Then (whew!) we would tally the results and perform statistical analyses that would tell us the likelihood that any result was "real" or a chance occurrence. Then (double whew!) we would look to replicate our results by performing the same test elsewhere, probably several times. Then we could say we have results!  (Bored yet?)


All that said, Enjoy! Great job Wayne! Many, may kudos and many, many thanks! Dr. Irene

May 15, 2005 


First, I must thank all of you for participating in filling out the questionnaire. Second, I must thank Dr. Irene Matiatos for granting permission to use her web site Also, she gets credit for programming the questionnaire and helping me with designing it. I compliment all of you for candid answers, which I must believe were painful for many of you. I believe everyone was very honest with their answers. If you cannot be honest with yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be honest with you?  Great job!


It's very possible the questionnaire can be skewed in various ways. For a number of reasons more women have filled out the form. It’s possible that men who have been abused may be too embarrassed to admit it. Mirroring the old joke of men not asking for directions, it seems they don’t ask for help either. I must give credit to all of you who were willing to admit you were, or are abusers. The first step of “The Twelve Steps of Domestic Violence Anonymous (VA)”, which I wrote for this article is, “We believe that we have abused and hurt those we love.” Facing the fact you have been the abuser, and admitting it to not only yourself, but to others, starts you on the path to change and become accountable to your friends and family.


Domestic abuse is a reality.  Being disrespectful, verbal abuse and violent behavior are part of many families and partnerships. Domestic violence, unfortunately, is not just men being violent. The Department of Justice (6) reports that every 37.8 seconds a man is battered somewhere in the United States. Every 20.9 seconds a woman is battered. In J. Kasper’s article, Parenting Rage - Leashing the BEAST Within(9) , each day in North America, 3 children die from child abuse and 13,700 children are abused and neglected, according to the Children's Defense Fund. The questionnaire answers indicated that both men and women (and in some cases children) were the abusers. Here is just one example of the many that were submitted: “You see, the abuser is my brother, who lives with my mother, and I  am trying to keep the family intact based on the request of my mom, who has Parkinson's and has recently become mentally and physically incapacitated.” (7) states, “Children between the ages of 3 and 17 are the most violent. 20% of this age group actually abuses their parents. One quarter of all murders are committed by teenagers. 25% of young males have carried a weapon at least one day in the last month.”


Those that are/were abused, women, men, and children as well as those that witness abuse (which usually are small children), have damage that is long-lasting. The men and women (and children) who are abusers must acknowledge that their behavior is wrong. In some cases it is illegal, and if police are involved, they may lock up the abuser with or without the victim agreeing.  


Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding. Total counts may differ because all questions were not answered on all questionnaires. I did not correct spelling or grammar on any of the comments submitted. 


Now the answers from the questionnaire:   The breakdown of the 100.00% who answered:


1.     I am:                                                               

  (Total N=1020)Total % Male (N=170) (Female N=850)
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
The abuser  11.86% 79   42  
The abused  88.14%   91   808


By far, most of those who responded are abused females.                        


The abuser  = Domestic abuse or violence is between partners or any family members. It may be yelling, arguing between siblings, the abuse of an older family member(s), abuse of a friend, forced sex by a significant other, physical or emotional abuse of a child, and any type of violence among same sex partners. I witnessed a father yelling at his son who could not have been more than seven years old.  As the father was yelling, the little boy actually started shaking with fear and wetting his pants.  This father saw the child shaking and was shocked. He stopped. How sad he can see the results in a little boy but can not see that his behavior does the same thing to his significant other. This episode happened with the father, but it could just as well could have been with the mother; the results would be the same.   

No one ever deserves to be abused. Abuse is one method used for control. In reality it is a disorder of power as well. The purpose of abuse is to control the behavior of another person. It is very difficult for some abusers to admit not only to you but to themselves that they are abusers. Some are in a form of denial, and others believe they have a problem but don’t need or trust anyone. They believe they can fix the problem themselves so will not go to counseling, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. They may be so insecure or afraid of what they will learn about themselves that they don’t want to face it!


Definition of - My question? = My question can be for any one of the following or a combination of them. It can be a composite of all these many areas:


An expression of inquiry that invites a reply


A subject or point open to controversy


An issue


To express doubt about; dispute


To analyze or examine


A request for data


A situation that presents difficulty, uncertainty, or perplexity


A lack of conviction or certainty


A particular matter or issue that is in dispute, uncertain, or to be inquired into


Uncertainty about the truth or factuality of existence of something


Challenge the accuracy, probity, or propriety of


Place in doubt or express doubtful speculation


You and I as the readers of the answers must interpret the answers given and I will ask My question when the answers don’t seem to fit.


What it is NOT -- it is not about assigning blame!


2.    I am:  The breakdown of the 100.00% who answered:  (More abused answered the questionnaire from both groups.)

   Total       Abuser      Abused   
 Male         16.67%         46.47%    53.53%        
 Female 83.33%   4.94% 95.06%  


3.    I am:    The breakdown of the 96.96% who answered:  





Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Heterosexual   45.88%    52.35% 4.49% 90.44%
Homosexual 0.00%     1.18%  0.12%  0.83%
Bisexual 0.59%  0.00% 0.35%  3.78%

0.29% did not answer this question.


4.     I am:    The breakdown of the 99.51% who answered:

  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
20 years old or less  1.18%  1.18%  0.47%  4.96%
Between 21 and 30  10.65%    7.69% 1.54% 20.45%
Between 31 and 40 16.57%  20.71%   1.77% 34.16%
Between 41 and 50  14.79%  14.79% 0.83% 25.53%
Between 51 and 60 3.55% 7.69% 0.35% 8.98%
Over 61 0.00% 1.18% 0.00% 0.95%


0.49% did not answer this question.


1. Chronological Age
Chronological age is a measurement of the time a person has lived---his or her age in years.

2. Physiological Age
Physiological age refers to the degree to which systems of the body have developed relative to chronological age.

3. Intellectual Age
Intellectual age refers to whether a person's intelligence is below, above, or equal to his chronological age.

4. Social Age
Social age compares social development with chronological age. It asks the question; "Does this person relate as well socially as he should for his age?"

5. Emotional Age
Emotional, like social age, compares emotional maturity with chronological age. It asks the question; "Does this person handle his emotions as well as he should for his age?"

MEASUREMENTS OF AGE was written by Dr. Jerome Murray,(10)  and there is more personal development material at his web site: (site no longer exists)

5.    Do you feel that it is possible that your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) grew to adulthood, but your Emotional Quotient (EQ) was stunted?  The breakdown of the 99.90% who answered:


  Total Male Female
Abuser Abused   Abuser  Abused
True  62.02% 35.71% 27.98% 3.64% 58.05%
False 37.98% 11.31% 25.00% 1.29% 37.02%


0.10% did not answer this question.


6.      IF you feel your EQ was stunted, at what age do you think you are stuck? Percentage of those who answered “True:”  The breakdown of the 61.08% who answered:

  Male Female
Abuser Abused  Abuser Abused
Below 10   10.58%   1.92%  0.96% 14.26%
Around 11 or 12  6.73%  4.81% 0.77% 8.48%
Around 13 or 14 7.69% 0.00% 1.54% 12.52%
Around 15 or 16   13.46% 12.50% 1.16% 16.76%
Around 17 or 18 9.62% 6.73%  0.00% 15.03%
Around 19 or 20 8.65% 17.31% 1.35% 27.17%

38.92% did not answer this question.


Daniel Goleman Ph.D. is the author of Emotional Intelligence NY:Bantam Books (1995). Goleman’s point that Emotional Quotient includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and self motivation, empathy and social deftness has been accepted in many areas with today’s healthcare professionals.  

Dr. John Grohol's PsychCentral web site(11)  states, John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey introduced the term to psychology in a series of papers. They suggested that the capacity to perceive and understand emotions defined a new intelligence. The Mayer-Salovey model defines emotional intelligence as the capacity to understand emotional information and to reason with emotions. More specifically, they divide emotional intelligence abilities into four areas in their four-branch model


The capacity to accurately perceive emotions


The capacity to use emotions to facilitate thinking


The capacity to understand emotional meanings


The capacity to manage emotions

 Goleman divides up emotional intelligence into the following five emotional competencies:


 To identify and name one's emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action


To manage one's emotional states — to control emotions or to shift undesirable emotional states to more adequate ones


To enter into emotional states associated with a drive to achieve and be successful


To read, be sensitive to and influence other people's emotions


To enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships

Seeking help: Counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists are helping those with difficulty with low Emotional Quotient (EQ). Our emotions help us to decide how much importance to put on each piece of data we process with our feelings. Some people don’t know how they feel at times; others may misinterpret what they think they are feeling. With the help of a professional each feeling can be discussed and how the person reacts or wants to react. It is imperative that people have the ability to look closely at how and why they make the decisions they make. Those that go into some form of counseling continually improve their E.Q. Although improvement depends a lot on where you’re starting from and how long you are willing to work on it.

7.      Do you find yourself trying to control or influence your partner?  The breakdown of the 99.41% who answered: 

  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Yes 40.96% 21.08%  4.01% 45.17%
No 6.02% 31.93%  0.83% 50.00%

0.59% did not answer this question.

See all methods used below (1):  Some examples -- Intimidation, coercion and threats, isolation, using family economics, emotional abuse, sex role privilege, using children, minimizing, denying and blaming.  


8.    When things go wrong, do you curse and/or call the other person names?  The breakdown of the 99.51% who answered:


   Male    Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Yes    36.14%  19.88% 2.94% 28.62%
No     10.84%  33.13%  2.00% 66.43%

0.49% did not answer this question.

See Emotional Abuse below (1).


9.    Are you jealous?  The breakdown of the 99.41% who answered:

   Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser  Abused
Yes    34.94% 18.67%   3.77% 36.40%
No 12.05%  34.34% 1.06%   58.66%

0.59% did not answer this question.                                                                                                     


Jealous insecurity can create accelerating stages of abuse.  

Jealously is a complex emotion. It is a natural type of protection when someone feels the threat of losing the person he/she loves and is attached to. Jealously is the fear of the loss of that person. Those that already have a low self esteem or/and insecurity start to panic inside. Fears of the other leaving or finding someone more lovable or they are cheating create an insecurity which some describe as panic or anxiety attacks. The attack is a sudden onset of intense anxiety, characterized by feelings of intense fear and apprehension and accompanied by palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, and trembling. The jealous person holds on as the drowning swimmer does when the lifeguard is trying to save them. The swimmer in their panic may drown the lifeguard also. The more the jealous partner holds on, the more they drive away even the most loyal and loving partner they may ever find. In effect, they are about to drown the person who they need to save them. What a strange paradox. The fear of losing the one you love and want is the one you drive away. Some people in the past have told me that they started to cheat because the partner pushed them into it by accusing, controlling and the smothering them. Maybe it is their arms around your neck, bringing you under water to drown with them, that makes you let go and swim away.

 10.  What excuses do you use to explain your behavior? (choose as many as apply)  The breakdown of the 79.61% who answered:

   Male      Female
Abuser Abused  Abuser Abused
Stress 15.00% 12.35% 1.62% 23.92%
Drinking 4.41% 2.94% 0.47%   3.78%
Drugs  2.35% 1.47% 0.14% 2.23%
Illness  1.76%  0.59% 0.54% 4.73%
Partner is stressed, drunk, ill 5.00%    6.47% 0.27% 15.95%
Partner cheating   2.06% 2.94%  0.74% 7.70%
My cheating 0.88% 0.88% 0.27%  1.15%
My EQ    4.12%  3.24% 0.41%  5.61%
Jealousy   8.82% 2.65%  1.08% 7.23%
My emotional problems 12.94% 8.53% 1.89% 20.27%

 20.39% did not answer this question. Multiple answers were requested.


11.    Do you tease or joke by saying hurtful things, and then say you were only joking? The breakdown of the 98.14% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused  Abuser Abused
Yes  33.53% 11.38% 2.40% 14.87%
No 13.77% 41.32% 2.64% 80.10%

1.86% did not answer this question.

See Emotional Abuse below (1).


        12.     Do you physically force or emotionally coerce your partner to have sex? The breakdown of the 98.43% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Yes 14.37%    2.99%  0.72% 3.58%
No 32.93% 49.70%  4.30% 91.40%

1.57% did not answer this question.

See Sexual Abuse below (1).


13.       When the other person acts independent, do you sometimes call them names like "feminazi", "fag", "pig", "women's libber", etc?  The breakdown of the 98.14% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Yes  15.66% 4.22% 1.08% 3.35%
No 31.93%  48.19%   3.95% 91.62%

1.86% did not answer this question.

See Emotional Abuse below (1)


14.  Do you try to intimidate or control the other person by:  (choose as many as apply)  The breakdown of the 49.51% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused  Abuser Abused
Punching walls    7.20% 0.58% 0.77% 2.83%
Throwing things   10.09%   1.15% 1.67% 8.35%
Yelling% total 19.31%  6.92% 3.60%  26.22%
Dirty looks  14.99% 5.19% 3.21% 22.11%
Hurting animals 2.59% 0.58% 0.00% 1.16%
Pushing 8.36% 0.86% 0.90% 3.60%
Shoving 6.63% 0.58% 1.16% 3.47%
Hitting partner  3.75% 0.00%  1.16% 4.11%
Hitting kids  1.73% 0.58% 0.00% 0.13%
Other 6.34% 2.59% 1.67% 13.88%

50.49% did not answer this question. Multiple answers were requested.

(1)  Types of Abuses:


Abuse may be Physical: Any act or behavior that inflicts or is intended to inflict bodily harm. Examples are: pulling hair, slapping, shoving, punching, pushing, stabbing, choking, spitting, shooting, kicking, forcing isolation.


Abuse may be Psychological: Examples are: words or dirty looks used to frighten, scare or bully the other person. Also, hitting the kids, attempting to control a person's activities, throwing things, threatening suicide, hurting animals, yelling, punching walls, or terrorizing a person.


Abuse may be Emotional: Destroy a person's sense of self-worth. They make you feel bad about yourself which  undermines your self-esteem. Examples are: cursing and/or calling you names, ridiculing your beliefs, race or religion, constant put downs, insults directed at family/friends, attempts to humiliate in public/private.


Abuse may be Sexual: Any sexual activity forced on a person without their consent. Examples are: forcing unwanted sexual acts, unwanted and uncomfortable touching, forcing someone to have sex with others.


Abuse may be Financial Abuse: Total control over the household income. Examples are: controlling how you spend money or where you work, spending family savings, forcing you to turn over your pay.


Abuse is a general term for the misuse of a person or thing. How appropriate to describe it as a misuse of a thing! Because that is exactly what the abuser does. They treat people as “things”!

The abuser often uses some of all the above, and from one extreme to another. Abuse does not go away on its own. In fact, over time the abuse becomes full fledge domestic violence that usually escalates, becoming more frequent and severe. (Even in some cases to homicide).

15.  Have you tried to control your abusive behavior by seeking out: (choose as many as apply)  The breakdown of the 50.78% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Counseling 15.64% 16.11% 2.25% 28.35%
Anger management training 5.21% 3.79% 0.56% 2.92%
A psychologist 6.64% 7.11%  0.90% 14.17%
A physician / psychiatrist 6.16%  2.84% 0.79%  8.10%
Religion 10.90% 7.58% 1.80% 14.96%
AA, NA, self-help groups, etc. 1.90%  1.90% 0.56% 7.42%
Books & tapes  8.53% 5.69% 1.24% 15.97%

49.22% did not answer this question. Multiple answers were requested.


Abuser and abused: The above percentages are for the abusers and abused that are or have gone for help. Counseling, anger management groups, psychologist, etc. offer the abusers and abused the ability to face the problem (their demon).  The most important step in your life is the first step to get help. For those that are being abused going to some from of counseling with or without your abuser will be the solution to your abuse. Either it helps you put an end to it or gives you the tools to get away from it. For the abuser facing the fact that you are ruining your life and those lives that surround you could be your salvation. You will never be happy with anyone (including yourself), if you don’t end this path you are on to total destruction. Don’t for one second think that abuse is ever justified for any reason what-so-ever.

There is hope; you have acknowledged that with the first step you took to go for help. Finally, if you don’t want to lose those you love, this could be your last chance and most likely only chance. Going to counseling, anger management groups, psychologists, etc. is a way of showing your loved ones you are serious and how much you value both them and yourself. You must take positive steps if you are going to beat this major crisis in your life, especially if there is any chance at all to keep those who you love, staying and working it out with you

Stop the cycle of violence and abuse in your life. It’s very possible that you feel worthless, guilty and ashamed.  Now you can fix it. Remember you are not helpless. Take your life in your hands and become the movie director in the next block buster love story ever written! Learn to love yourself. Learn to love others. Learn to love!

Abuser:  The abusers who answered that they are not going to any type of counseling, anger management groups, psychologist, etc. are 30.38% men and 14.29% women.

My Question = What’s wrong with this picture?

You may have a fear:


that you are not lovable


of failure


of betrayal


of not being in control.


of not knowing


of rejection


that if they find out who you are, they really will not want you (or love you)


of abandonment.


Each reason can be different: from childhood occurrences to adulthood occurrences; from real reasons to just sub-conscious fears.  The sense of failure makes you angry with yourself. You take the rage and anger out on those who are around you--most of the time on those who love you and, believe it or not, those that you love the most.  The behavior borders and sometimes enters a state of depression. When asked why you have reacted the way you have, most answer they don’t know or give an answer that does not warrant the behavior acted out. 

                Leo Madow, M.D. in his book Anger NY: Macmillan Publishing Co. (1972) stated, “There are two major reasons for quick open expressions of anger.  The first is that the individual has accumulated so much anger that only a little more is needed to set him off.  This is seen in the person who overreacts to a situation by becoming more angry than is warranted.  Such a person has had many dissatisfactions in his life and is walking around with a high concentration of stored-up anger.

                The second reason is that the quick-to-anger person has found that anger works and is conditioned to continue its use. If a youngster finds that by having a temper tantrum he gets what he wants, he is encouraged to have another the next time he is denied something. If the next one is equally successful, he will begin to develop a pattern of behavior.”

Understanding the cycle theory with Abusers: In my book Men Don't Listen (8) ( I wrote the following about the cycle theory: They’re usually in an 'abuse cycle' although they may not know it. The cycle theory, consisting of some form of tension building stage, then the explosion stage, then the honeymoon stage, is just one of many theories around today.  It does seem that when anyone holds in all of their emotions and tries to control them, the tension definitely builds. Observing the release of these suppressed emotions seems to verify that the anger release is not in direct proportion to the event that precipitated the explosion.

The honeymoon stage is not difficult to understand.  The individual who exploded feels like a complete ass.   So, to make up for this inappropriate behavior, buys flowers, takes her to dinner (if the man) and swears it will never happen again.  (In some cases where it has happened again and again, they now beg for forgiveness.)

 I believe a pressure-cooker that has the release valve clogged up, will have the same tension building stage and explosion stage to follow.  The solution to the pressure cooker problem is the exact same solution for you or your loved one.  Release the tension slowly as it builds up.  Very simple, but very difficult for someone, who has this belief system that if you show emotions, they are not strong or they will become vulnerable. These feelings are hidden so well and buried so deep that they cannot feel at all.  They are almost a robot.  Some people have broken out of this trance through some form of trauma.  It might have been a heart attack, a life-threatening event (car accident, plane accident, near drowning, work-related accident), or losing something or someone important.  This could be their spouse, kids, or significant other because they could not open up to allow someone in, losing a loved one through death, or because they were abusive and the angry explosions may have driven people away.  That big wall they are hiding behind not only allows no one in, but also becomes a prison cell.  They cannot get out.  (A life sentence! What a price to pay for being afraid of feeling and opening up to others.)

Matthews Mckay and Patrick Fanning wrote Self–Esteem Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (1987) I quote a paragraph, “One of the most basic human problems is the unwillingness to face certain kinds of pain.  This is quite understandable. But in the end, the defense proves more painful than the original feelings you ran away from.  Addiction takes its toll.  The short-term pain relief creates destructive patterns that undermine your relationships and your self-esteem.  The alcoholic feels better after a drink.  But production falls off at work, he loses energy for his kids, and his wife grows tired of watching him pass out.  It’s the same with self-attacks.  You feel better while your acute sense of badness is paradoxically obscured by a witch-hunt for your flaws.  Over time, however, you are further destroying your self-worth.  And when you fail to be more perfect, when the worm does not become a butterfly, it seems to prove all the negative things you always believed about yourself.”


My experience while working at Carrier Rehabilitation Hospital in Belle Mead, New Jersey was helpful in understanding addiction. Alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. were admitted on a daily basis. Many were abusers but a smaller portion was not. What I found was the addiction was in many cases a way to dull the pain of lifetime problems. Only after a detoxification period of time could their problems be discussed, worked on and, if the patient had the intestinal fortitude, be cured.


The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)


We admitted we were powerless over alcohol —


That our lives had become unmanageable.


Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.


Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.


Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA)


Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.


For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.


The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.


Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole.


Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.


An NA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.


Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.


Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.


NA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.


Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.


Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.


Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


The Twelve Steps of Domestic Violence Anonymous (VA) (Wayne L. Misner wrote these)


We believe that we have abused and hurt those we love.


That we will “Let Go” if those we hurt, no longer want us.


That we will go to counseling, anger management, psychologists and etc. for support.


That we recognize the cycle of anger and we are capable of breaking the cycle.


That we will not return to the methods used in our past.


We will listen to those who are talking and accept their anger at us.


We will respect all boundaries in regards to talking with you or contacting you.


We will listen to your opinion and respect it, even when disagreeing with you


We pledge that if you live with us or not, you and children if any, will always be safe with us.


That we will stop being jealous of your friends and contacts


We seek forgiveness and will make amends for our past behavior.


No conflict will escalate out of control for we will leave and not drive, but will walk around the block.


Abused: I’m sorry. You don’t (or didn’t) deserve to be abused.  At the beginning you probably envisioned a relationship where you both were confidant enough that you would consistently work toward strengthening and lifting each other up. Both of you on the same team--facing any and all problems together--having your life partner also be your best friend. We dream of a partner who will be our soul mate. Don’t give up! Some people spend a lifetime looking for love. Some people find love, don’t realize it and let it die (or kill it). Some will find love that will last a lifetime. 

Remember to report the abuse to people who can help you and others. Call 911 or in many communities they have shelters available for victims of domestic abuse, check the local yellow pages. If you want to talk to someone because you have just hurt someone, or you think you are about to hurt someone, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Abusive lifestyles An abusive life style is similar to a bad infection. If you let it continue long enough, the infection will spread throughout your body. You can have it cleaned and treated if you have not waited too long. The quicker you face the problem and handle it, the better chance of success and you may avoid severe consequences later. An abusive situation should be handled the same as an infection, by treating it, getting it out of your system or if it has gone too far, amputation is recommend. It’s time to let it go.

16. Did your partner leave?  The breakdown of the 94.80% who answered:


  Female Male
Abuser Abused Abuser  Abused
Yes, once or several times and came back 22.84% 31.48% 2.61% 61.12%
Yes, and never came back 6.79% 5.56% 0.25%   2.98%
I left 0.00%  0.00% 0.00% 0.12%
They didn't leave 17.90% 15.43% 2.36% 30.56%

5.20% did not answer this question.


My Question =  I left                                0.00%               0.00%                 0.00%              0.12%


Only 1 abused woman checked that she left.   Why? No one else left. However, if anyone is thinking of taking that step read this first: WARNING: Abusers try to control their victim's lives. When abusers feel a loss of control - like when victims try to leave them - the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left. (See Personalized Safety Plan at the end of this article (2).)

17. Did you succeed in stopping the abuse and getting your partner back? The breakdown of the 81.18% who answered:


  Female   Male  
Abuser Abused Total Abuser Abused  Total  
I stopped the abuse, but lost the partner 6.99% 9.09%   0.73%   16.06%  
I stopped the abuse, and kept the partner  4.90%    3.50%   8.39%    1.17%  6.42% 7.59%
I did not stop the abuse, and lost the partner  12.59% 16.78%   0.29% 22.48%  
I did not stop the abuse, and kept the partner 25.87%  20.28%   46.15%  3.65% 49.20% 52.85%

18.82% did not answer this question.


For the abuser: (From the above answers I separated the abusers)

My Question = I stopped the abuse, but lost the partner 6.99% men and .73% women. How do you know that you stopped the abuse? Are you in a new relationship and you don’t abuse that person? How have you tested yourself? Did losing the partner help you (wake up?) understand what you were doing was wrong and gave you the incentive to get help?
Did counseling help? Are you sure you are cured? If not you may be on the road of repeating the abuse all over again.

For the abused: One of the abused victims wrote to me, “Figure out why you got yourself into this mess in the first place?  How does your past play into where you are today?  What was it that led you to make decisions toward being unhealthy?  What are the red flags? And what can you do to STOP yourself next time.  If you don't work on complete recovery, you will repeat old patterns”.


For the abuser and the abused:

My Question =  I stopped the abuse, and kept the partner  8.39% men and 7.59% women. How did you accomplish this? One of the primary goals of counseling is to help partners (or individuals) to sort out their problems. Talk about the issues that have been destroying the relationship and eliminate all the bad behavior so that the partners can communicate in the future and have the loving relationship they both wanted when they first got into the courting and dating period. Not easy to do. From past painful issues and scars so many couples still carry the deep wounds that take time to heal. I must congratulate you for succeeding and would appreciate any feedback you want to share with me on the steps you took, how you have forgiven each other and any recommendations you are willing to offer those who are now where you were when you first started. My email =

My Question =  I did not stop the abuse, and kept the partner 46.15% men and 52.85% women. Why?  My biggest concern and should be a red flag for all who are still in an abusive relationship or are reading the results of this questionnaire is: A quote by the philosopher Santayana said, "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it." If the abuse has not stopped, most likely it will not stop. In fact, the probability is, it will get worse. Those who have checked this box may be checking one of the other boxes in the very near future. What must I say to make the abuser as well as the abused seek counseling, anger management groups, psychologists, etc? Believe me, if you get help you can overcome the problem or escape from it. If not, I’m concerned that you will become one of the divorce, separation, murder, and etc. statistics of the future. You must be brave enough to take that first step. William Shakespeare said, “The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.” Why live this way when with some work and effort, you may solve the issues that I’m sure have made you very unhappy for a long time. Solving the abuse cycle may be the hardest thing you have ever done. It also may be your greatest accomplishment. The young daughter of one of you who answered the questionnaire said it best, “Good choices, bad choices, your choices”.

To be fair: This could be your 1st visit. Some of you, who have not stopped the abuse, are now working on the problem with the support of counseling and trying this solution before making that final decision. Some do love this partner very much and are not sure how they can ever do without them, or there are children involved, or many years have been given to this union, or……………… Others may be stuck as some of you have written me:



No reply I am lost


To work on stopping your usual reaction to that same problem you keep having over and over. That is changing the pattern of --when he does this, and then I react this way.


I am just figuring out that I have an emotional abuse problem so I can't give any advice.


I can’t answer that because I’m all mixed up at the moment


Because I am ill it's hard.  I'm afraid of being alone with my child and something happening to me.  He wouldn't know what to do because he is so young.  Plus, he loves his father dearly.


I am trying to break free of this cycle of abuse and just don't understand why I allow myself to be treated this way.


Being in an abusive relationship is extremely difficult once I figure out the advice for myself I will get back to you on that one.


I'm in no position to give advice. I was abused and I left then I went back and he was going for counseling then once I was there he stopped going and now I have been cold and detached so now he claims I am now the abuser. I am so confused.


I would say leave.  Yet I pray my husband won't leave me.  I want what I do to stop. I only abuse when I've been drinking heavily.  So I have an alcohol problem also. 


 Could you be in denial?  See Denial  (3)


18.     Were you abusive with your children?  The breakdown of the 94.71% who answered:  


  Male  Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
I was abusive with them 14.11% 3.07% 0.62% 6.85%
I was not  19.63% 28.22% 1.62% 53.92%
There are no children 12.88% 22.09%  2.99% 34.00%

5.29% did not answer this question.


I found a big problem with the answers to this question. When I separated the abused and abuser the figures are:


      The abused:

I was abusive with them                                                  3.07% men and 6.85% women.    


My Question = See Denial (3) 10 % of those abused answered, “I was abusive with them” are abusers also! Why would you state that you abused the children and feel your not an abuser unless you are in some type of “Denial”. Yes, someone may be abusing you but that doesn’t give you an excuse to do the same thing to someone else!

I believe this mother may be telling us one reason:



I realized I was re-creating a cycle with my children.  I would be so angry and stressed trying to keep my partner happy and not setting him off that sometimes I would become very angry with my children and then I would yell at them or take a hold of them.  One day when my daughter said that she was upset that I did what daddy had done to her I realized that I needed to calm down and walk away if I were angry.  Also that I needed to be there for my children if their father became abusive towards them.



My child witness how my Husband talk and treats me on a daily basis.  This has affected how my son (3 yrs) talks and treats me


The abusers: (Thank you for being honest)

I was abusive with them                                                   14.11% men and 0.62%women.       



The abusers who answered:

I was not                                                                         12.88% men and 1.62% women.

My Question = See Denial  (3) The abusers who answered, “I was not” may think they were not abusive to the children even if they did admit being abusive to the partner but, experience shows that children watching abuse feel they are part of the abuse and many feel they are the cause of the abuse. In situations of exposure of abuse or in early childhood abuse, the trauma and shock of witnessing the abuse has been shown to interfere with an individual's ability to regulate emotions, which leads to frequent episodes of extreme or out of control emotions, including anger and rage. Thus, I believe, the potential beginning to the next generation of abusers tomorrow is the children involved one way or another in the abuse they are watching or taking in childhood today. Family Shelter Service (4) states, “Teens living in abusive homes not only witness abusive behavior but they also learn it, carrying the terrible lesson with them into adulthood. They do not need to be abused themselves in order to take on delinquent behavior; witnessing it is enough.



Boys who witness their fathers' violence are 10 times more likely to engage in abusive behavior to a partner than boys from nonviolent homes.


More than 50% of youth who witness their parents being abusive to each other become involved in an abusive relationship.


Without intervention, teens from abusive homes are:


6 times more likely to attempt suicide;


50% more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.”


My Question =There are no children. 41.55% men and 50% women. Do you want to bring children into this relationship right now?



      19.  Do you have a good relationship with your children?  The breakdown of the 96.96% who answered:


   Female Male
 Abused Abuser Abused Abuser
Yes 26.35% 26.95%  1.82% 58.88%
No 7.78% 4.79%  0.36% 2.68%
There are no children 12.57% 21.56% 2.92% 33.33%

3.04% did not answer this question.



20.  Do your children forgive you for abusing them or their other parent?  The breakdown of the 74.31% who answered:


  Male Female
 Abused Abuser Abused Abuser
Yes 13.38% 9.86% 1.46% 27.44%
No 6.34% 4.23% 0.32% 5.19%
Half and half 17.61% 7.04% 0.65% 14.94%
There are no children 14.79% 26.76% 4.06% 45.94%

 25.69% did not answer this question.

My Question = For both the abused and the abuser who answer either “Yes” or “Half and Half” Do you really believe the percentages above reflect the true feelings of the children. Or are they living in fear of one partner or the other. So they say all is ok to keep the peace. They say they love you for fearing not to. Or one parent is protecting them from the other so they gravitate to the one who protects. But when they grow older and more mature they will feel you let them down? You are the adult. You are supposed to know the answers and how to fix things. Community Action Stops Abuse (5) states, “Children are the silent victims of domestic violence. Their voices may not be heard and their pain often goes unnoticed. Every child from a violent home is abused. Witnessing the two most important people in their life hurting and being hurt damages the core of the child's emotional being.” Many of you wrote me with a story like this one = “I am not the abuser, but my 25 year old son is mad/questioned me for not protecting him from his verbally abusive father when he was growing up.  I thought I was "keeping the family together" for the good of the children, but my son said that it would have been better for him if he was free from the verbal abuse of his father.”  Some of these children were physically abused as well as verbally. The mother or father who put up with the abuse is going to pay another penalty. That is the disrespect and mistrust of the children for not protecting them when they were young and they could not protect themselves. You may be a coward in their eyes tomorrow.

If you have children whom you have abused, apologize to them for your bad behavior and tell them from this day forward you will show them love and respect. Read Polly Joan the Preventing Teenage Suicide NY: Human Sciences Press (1986) and Judith Wallerstien’s The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce Hyperion (2000)


21.   If your children do not talk with you, how are you going to go about re-establishing a relationship with them? Please write in as much detail as possible.


Some of what you wrote:



My kids r 6yrs 5yrs and 2yrs they only hear the yelling sometimes and have never seen me hit him or him hit me we try not to do any rowing in front of them my oldest daughter has asked me if me and daddy love one another and I do reassure her but I’m lying to myself cause I don’t want him and he wont leave for the kids I will tolerate him .


I don’t know. They hold things against us from the past.


No matter how it turns out my kids are all I have and I would never want them to feel bad about how me and their dad can behave


My children are from a previous marriage not the relationship that just ended.  The girl scared the children; they said she was mean and bossy.  I am taking the children and me to counseling.


Don't see them. I do write letters but, they have not written any letters to me.


She talks only when she wants to talk to me about people, life, animals, kids, friends or anything else that is on her mind. I have tried over the years to talk to her about how young I was when I had her, how difficult it was during those years. How I didn't know very much and hadn't been taught very much but in saying this, I always make sure I tell her that this does NOT make it right, it is just some of the reasons things happened at that period of our lives. She isn't very interested to hear about it or what I have learnt, how I have changed or anything else to do with that subject. I feel that she needs to hold on to that resentment for her own reasons and when it is her time to do some critical thinking of her own, she will do it at that time and not in my time frame.


My children care and love their father.  They are very much aware of "the way he is".  Although they have experienced some of his bad behaviors, I would redirect it at myself when the emotional abuse was turning to them. 


My children are still very young and live in the home with their father and I. I used to think I would tell them to stand up for themselves.  Now that I find myself in that position, with very young children, I realize that it is not easy and I don't want to leave.  I just want to be able to have a loving family without all of the anger. 


Treat them how I want to be treated.  By showing them love and reassuring them that they are wonderful human beings and that I will always love them regardless of what they do.


I can already see my young, 5 year old daughter having to walk on eggshells around her father during visitation.  She only tells him what he wants to hear because she doesn't want him to get mad.  He is molding her into an extension of himself, just as he tried to do to me when we were married.  I just do the best I can while my daughter is in my household, to show her what a healthy and calm environment is like. 


Get help! I’ve been verbally and mentally abused since I was young I can remember being 3 yrs old and hearing it. I can hear it all very clearly, and I hate it. Its torture.  Now I’m 25 yrs old and have got no help and have been in nothing but abusive relationships, and now I do the same thing to my boyfriend, he retaliates back, and the whole fucked up cycle started over. I love him so much and want nothing more than to have a normal, non-argumentative relationship. He’s amazing and I don’t want to lose him because of the way my cards were dealt to me as a child! It’s a vicious repetitive, nasty cycle. Actually this is the first time ive ever wrote any of this or admitted to my horrible behavior, and I can honestly say I make myself sick! I live every day self-conscious, down about how I look, suffer from anorexia, depression, anxiety, and many other health concerns. Will it ever stop!


22.    What advice would you give someone who may have an abuse problem today?


Some of what you wrote:



Do not be in denial.


If your strong enough leave and if your not keep taking the beating cause it ain’t gone to stop


That verbal abuse hurts just as deeply as physical, and that even if you never "touch" your partner, they still remember all the nasty things you said years later.


For the abused...stop the cycle for your own sake, especially if you have children.  Do not continue to make excuses for them, do not try to "love" them out of it, and do not allow the fear of leaving keep you in a life-threatening situation.  Run away and get help.


Start with yourself.  Get counseling and look real hard at yourself.  Regardless if you are the abuser or the abused it all begins with you.  If you can't look in the mirror and love what you see - inside and outside, then you still have work to do.  The road is long and tedious so build a strong support system of family and friends to help you on your journey.


Once you realize the abuse, take positive action immediately.  Don't delay.


An abusive relationship you can not change, only the other can make that decision. You also need counselor yourself because it's a cycle and just continues until there is harm to you or your children


Please seek help.  Their is a partner on the other end  that believes


Get Help! If you really think you care about or love the person you are abusing, you are destroying them.


Try counseling if other is willing. If not or doesn’t work GET OUT., MAKE PLANS-The hardest part is seeing it...I stuck together for 6 years and now I see it clear as day....If someone is saying that they love you and then hurting you Its not love.  If they lie to you and play head games to keep the lie going ITS ABUSE no matter what they say it’s not okay and it’s not your fault DON'T take responsibility for it. Sometimes it’s like drug addiction cunning, baffling and powerful. You are the only one who can take the power out of it.........LEAVE I take full responsibility for my part Not Leaving the abuse is his..


Abusers and the abused can change, if they truly want to be different. Life is so much better.


I was the abused wife; I left him and think I still love him. I feared that I would be really hurt one day, and I love my family enough to finally hear them and leave my husband.


My advice would be to look at your own issues and try to resolve them.  A mentally "healthy" person in charge of her/his well-being would recognize abuse and immediately put an end to a potential abusive relationship.  Initially, I wanted to help my abuser heal from his past family relationships, all the while see the good in him and ignore all the bad stuff that was going on between him, me, and our kids.  My advice is that you cannot change anyone. Change is up to the individual.  That means the victim can also change. Realize your self-worth and integrity, gain the smarts to recognize subtle and not-so-subtle verbal abuse, and absolutely do not put up with verbal abuse.  Make a plan to positively change your life.


23.  Why did you allow yourself to be abused? (choose as many as apply)  The breakdown of the 93.63% who answered:


  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
Fear of being physically hurt 0.00% 1.68% 0.38% 7.33%
Fear of being left without money 0.00% 5.46% 0.56% 13.58%
Fear of leaving my children without a parent 1.26% 6.30% 0.09% 8.88%
To keep the relationship going 3.36% 26.89% 0.66% 23.12%
I believed I could help him/her change 1.26% 13.87% 0.70% 23.36%
I was afraid of being alone 3.78% 16.81%  0.70% 18.37%
Non applicable 17.65% 1.68%  0.66% 1.60%

6.37% did not answer this question. Multiple answers were requested.


Symptoms of abuse: The psychological damage caused by abuse can get so complicated that it will likely lead to lots of confusion and delusions that can stay with you for a long while and cause a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for years after the abuse has stopped. PTSD is severe anxiety that people can develop after serious emotional or physical harm or threat. Counseling, psychologist, etc. are just as important for you as it is for the abuser. You must heal. The looking inside will help you understand why you put up with the abuse or even became a codependent. Read M. Beattie’s Co-Dependent Library of Congress: Hazelden Foundation (1987) or Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself: Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services; Second edition (July 1, 1996)

Maybe you lacked boundaries, or were abused when you were younger and just fell back into a pattern or your self esteem was so low that the abuser had you convinced that you couldn’t do better or deserve better. I believe when the violence occurs, the abused partner still wants it to get better. They want to continue to have a loving relationship and do everything right so it will all go away, and like all make believe fantasies, they all lived happily ever after. It doesn’t happen in real life stories of abuse.                      

24.Do you think you were the problem?  The breakdown of the 96.67% who answered:

  Male Female
Abuser Abused Abuser Abused
I was mostly the problem 27.22% 6.96% 2.66% 10.99%
I was a small part of the problem 12.03% 36.08% 1.93% 57.73%
I wasn't the problem 5.70% 12.03% 0.24% 26.45%

3.33% did not answer this question.


 My Question = See Denial  (3)    The percentage of abusers that answered:

  Male Abuser Female Abuser  
I was a small part of the problem                      and
12.03% 1.93%  13.96% Total
I wasn't the problem


0.24% 5.94% Total


19.90% Total



That’s right almost 20% of the abusers felt they were a small part of the problem or wasn’t the problem! Many people really believe they're not abusing and are not even aware that what they've been doing is (or was) considered abuse. Some abusive people are not aware that they are abusing others. These abusers are re-living their past (most likely, childhood) with their present partner. The abuser can’t seem to understand their actions. It’s replaying subconscious bad childhood memories as they act unconsciously without reason.


My Question = See Denial  (3)    The percentage of abused that answered:


I was mostly the problem                    6.96% men and 10.99% women.  


18% of those abused felt they were mostly the problem. Did you really believe as the abused partner you were the problem? No one deserves to be abused! Even if you did do something wrong. If you did not do anything wrong maybe you have been brain washed to believe you have which reinforces your need to get some form of “Counseling”. However, some people join the abuse with or without knowing as this writer said,



 Don't get sucked into the abuse, because once you get sucked in by an abuser it is easy to become just as bad if not worse than them.  It gets to a point where it is difficult to see a difference in your own behavior and that of the abuser.  At first it is self defense and then pretty soon it is survival. 


 (3) Denial (From the Encyclopedia) an unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings. In psychology, an ego defense mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to allay anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality. In the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, denial is described as a primitive defense mechanism. Anna Freud studied the widespread occurrence of denial among small children and explained that the mature ego does not continue to make extensive use of denial, because it conflicts with the capacity to recognize and critically test reality. Most people employ denial at some time in their lives when coping with stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. Denial as a defense mechanism, in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions. Sigmund Freud first used defense as a psychoanalytic term (1894), but he did not break the notion into categories, viewing it as a singular phenomenon of repression. His daughter, Anna Freud, expanded on his theories in the 1930s, distinguishing some of the major defense mechanisms recognized today. Primary defense mechanisms include repression and denial, which serve to prevent unacceptable ideas or impulses from entering the conscience. Secondary defense mechanisms—generally appearing as an outgrowth of the primary defense mechanisms—includes projection, reaction formation, displacement, sublimation, and isolation.

So what is it? Denial is where the person refuses to admit or recognize they have a problem. The denial of the abuser and those being abused are very much like the denial experienced by those addicted by drugs, alcohol, eating to obesity, sexual addictions and etc. All abusers and abused are facing life threatening ends. Yet continue because they feel they don’t have a problem or the problem is not that bad. Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss critic (1821-1881) may have said it best, “We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves.” However, I might have changed one word in the above statement for those in denial to “We are never more disconnected with others than when we are disconnected with ourselves.”


How an abuser can become accountable to friends and family – Most important is that both parties achieve “Emotional Maturity” in their adult life. This one giant step may be the magic pill that you have needed all your life.

                                              CHARACTERISTICS OF EMOTIONAL MATURITY

1. The Ability to Give and Receive Love
Emotional maturity fosters a sense of security which permits vulnerability. A mature person can show his vulnerability by expressing love and accepting expressions of love from those who love him. An immature person is unduly concerned with signs of "weakness" and has difficulty showing and accepting love. The egocentricity of immaturity will allow the acceptance of love, but fails to recognize the needs of others to receive love. They'll take it, but they won't give it.

2. The Ability to Face Reality and Deal with it
The immature avoid facing reality. Overdue bills, interpersonal problems, indeed any difficulties which demand character and integrity are avoided and even denied by the immature. Mature people eagerly face reality knowing the quickest way to solve a problem is to deal with it promptly. A person's level of maturity can be directly related to the degree to which they face their problems, or avoid their problems. Mature people confront their problems, immature people avoid their problems.

3. Just as Interested in Giving as Receiving
A mature person's sense of personal security permits him to consider the needs of others and give from his personal resources, whether money, time, or effort, to enhance the quality of life of those he loves. They are also able to allow others to give to them. Balance and maturity go hand in hand. Immaturity is indicated by being willing to give, but unwilling to receive; or willing to receive, but unwilling to give.

 4. The Capacity to Relate Positively to Life Experiences
A mature person views life experiences as learning experiences and when they are positive he enjoys and revels in life. When they are negative he accepts personal responsibility and is confident he can learn from them to improve his life. When things do not go well he looks for an opportunity to succeed. The immature person curses the rain while a mature person sells umbrellas.

5. The Ability to Learn from Experience
The ability to face reality and to relate positively to life experiences derive from the ability to learn from experience. Immature people do not learn from experience, whether the experience is positive or negative. They act as if there is no relationship between how they act and the consequences that occur to them. They view good or bad experiences as being caused by luck, or fate. They do not accept personal responsibility.

6. The Ability to Accept Frustration
When things don't go as anticipated the immature person stamps his feet, holds his breath, and bemoans his fate. The mature person considers using another approach or going another direction and moves on with his life.

7. The Ability to Handle Hostility Constructively
When frustrated, the immature person looks for someone to blame. The mature person looks for a solution. Immature people attack people; mature people attack problems. The mature person uses his anger as an energy source and, when frustrated, redoubles his efforts to find solutions to his problems.

Relative Freedom from Tension Symptoms
Immature people feel unloved, avoid reality, .are pessimistic about life, get angry easily, attack the people closest to them when frustrated --- no wonder they are constantly anxious. The mature person's mature approach to live imbues him with a relaxed confidence in his ability to get what he wants from life.

CHARACTERISTICS OF EMOTIONAL MATURITY was written by Dr. Jerome Murray,(10)  and there is more personal development material at his web site: (site no longer exists)

 You may need professional help to find you’re “Emotional Maturity”. Overcome your fear and seek out help. Counseling, anger management groups, psychologist, etc. may be your only way of breaking the cycle and maturing to the age of happiness. Yes, it may be too late for your past relationships but it is not too late for your future relationship. One other very important point, if you succeed in finding your “Emotional Maturity” there have been cases where the ex partner is willing to try again. So it is a win, win for you for the past or for the future relationship.


The abuser can break the cycle: Acknowledged to those you have abused that you did abuse them and you were wrong. The Twelve Steps programs above all admit they have done wrong and they need support. You must acknowledge you have been abusive in order to start to break the cycle. This step in my opinion is the step that separates the coward from the hero. It takes a brave person to admit they have caused pain and suffering. It takes a very brave person that admits they need help and are willing to get it.

Admit that your behavior was not appropriate regardless of what the other individual has done. (Because someone does something wrong intentionally (or maybe just your perception) or by error never justifies that you now have the right to abuse someone. (A wrong can NEVER be justified by another wrong.)

Accept responsibility for your actions and all those times you have abused those you love.

In summary

The abused “End of the Line Idiom:” I want to end this article with some knowledge I have gained by your candid answers and the advice you gave me with your answers to questions 20, 21 and 22. I found no size fits all. There is no magic bullet (no pun intended). There are no easy answers. Yes, some can change and stop abusing. I don’t believe they can change without help. Others cannot or will not. And here is the dilemma; we don’t know which one will change and which will not. If I had to choose (and I’m thankful I don’t) I would pick the one who realizes they have the problem. Admits it and not only seeks help but continues with the help until both of you agree they can stop.

If they refuse I would leave.

You have told me that you have allowed yourself to be abused for various reasons from fear to love--from lack of money to your children needing a parent--from poor self-image to all sorts of insecurities. You want the other person to stop! However from your answers I found no plans, templates, schemes or diagram schematics. I do find -- helplessness, blaming "them", not responsible for our lives, feeling overwhelmed, paralyzed by fear and confusion, damaged sense of self worth, and more.

A Victim No More: There is a miracle antidote: Because each of you has a different level of abuse no advice can be given to the direct solution to your problem. There is a fear that an abusive partner can become extremely violent. The first step to the miracle antidote is seeking out support. Someone trained in the field of counseling. Why do I feel that this is the miracle antidote? The counselor is not overwhelmed. They know where you can get support and shelter if needed. They can help you define the problems and work on the issues. You are not alone in this. You have support with experts who are trained in the area. Be A Victim No More! 


The abuser, one last try:  When you look at yourself in the mirror do you like the person who is looking back at you? I know that some of you have written me with reasons why you are who you are. I believe all of you. Most of your reasons are good reasons. What I’m asking you to do is to realize that was yesterday. Who are you going to be today? Who do you want to be deep down in you heart. When my wife died and left me to raise my two sons that were four years old and seven years old I was devastated. I was afraid to have one alcoholic drink for fear that I would never stop. I did not cry for I knew I would not be able to stop. My numbing down feelings that I would not, could not feel help me get through that period of time. Eventually (with much help) I got back to feeling again. My story of life knocks pales to some of the stories you have had to live with all your life. (Some starting from the time you were an infant.)  So now what? You have this anger within you which is a rage that is ready to explode. You justify it by thinking the other person is wrong. The sad part is you may be correct. The driver in the other car cuts you off. So they are wrong. Now you are justified for being angry. But now the rage comes out. The police call it road rage where you chase the other driver and cut them off, get in front and jam on your brakes, yell, curse them and give them the finger. If you are really in the zone now you get them to pull over where you can beat them, stab them and if you have a gun, shoot them. After all, they were wrong. Is this not what you are doing with those that love you and are around you every day? Every time they are wrong, which by the way can be often, you are justified in getting angry and of course rage will soon follow. The rage you are holding inside may be mixed with some level of depression without you knowing it. It is difficult to live with pain all your life without some degree of depression setting in. Depression isn’t a defect in your moral character. But one of the signs of depression is the numbing of your feelings. You may not feel love, happiness. It stunts energy so at times you may feel exhausted. Some of the depressed symptoms you may blame on those around you, not realizing it is the depression that is bringing you down, not what is happening around you. If I have not convinced you to go to counseling, maybe I can convince you to attend a Support group. Support groups will let you attend and not talk for a while. You have an opportunity to see and hear other people sharing their stories of the past. You also get to hear (and it is imperative you hear this) the consequences they are now paying for their behaviors of all the yesterdays. It’s possible if you have the courage to watch others with problems similar to those you have had, if not worse, you may open up a little and share yours. Opening up to others is as if a surgeon lances a boil on your body and all that bad stuff flows out. (In your case it may be all the rage that has been stored up all your life). The good news is once you get it out it will not come back. Just keep the flowing of experiences and feelings oozing out. Once you feel comfortable in talking about life’s up and downs it becomes easier and easier. So once again I plead with you go to counseling and if you can’t or don’t want to then go to a Support group. The rewards are love. You will be able to give it and receive it. Well that’s the way it worked for me!


 Abused help:

For women or men being abused:

Domestic Violence Anonymous (site no longer exists)

For men being abused: (site no longer exists)



When all else fails: If the abuser will not stop and you have no choice but to save yourself and children if any. If you do decide to end the abuse please research all your options first: 

(2)For those who do not have the financial or family support resources to leave the situation help is available by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Many communities have shelters available for victims of domestic abuse, check the local yellow pages. If you want to talk to someone because you have just hurt someone, or you think you are about to hurt someone, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Personalized Safety Plan

Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe. HAVEN may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. If you are in an abusive relationship, think about...

  1. Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have are the police, hotlines, friends and the local shelter. 

  2. Friends or neighbors you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help. 

  3. How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out. 

  4. Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen try to get your abuser to one of these safer places. 

  5. Any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house. 

  6. Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use everyday (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get. 

  7. Going over your safety plan often.


If you consider leaving your abuser, think about...

  1. Four places you could go if you leave your home. 

  2. People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets. 

  3. Keeping change for phone calls or getting a cell phone. 

  4. Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name. 

  5. How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave. 

  6. How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children. 

  7. Putting together a bag of things you use everyday. Hide it where it is easy for you to get. 



Children (if it is safe)




Keys to car, house, work


Extra clothes 




Important papers for you and your children


Birth certificates


Social security cards


School and medical records


Bankbooks, credit cards


Driver's license


Car registration


Welfare identification


Passports, green cards, work permits


Lease/rental agreement


Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills


Insurance papers


PPO, divorce papers, custody orders


Address book


Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you


Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)


  1. Think about reviewing your safety plan often.


If you have left your abuser, think about...

  1. Your safety - you still need to. 

  2. Getting a cell phone. HAVEN may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone. 

  3. Getting a PPO from the court. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who take care of your children, their schools and your boss. 

  4. Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights. 

  5. Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children. 

  6. Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have a PPO protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it. 

  7. Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a PPO that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work. 

  8. Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser. 

  9. Someone that you can call if you feel down. Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop. 

  10. Safe way to speak with your abuser if you must. 

  11. Going over your safety plan often.

This section on personalized safety planning adapted from the Metro Nashville Police Department's (2) personalized safety plan. 


(1)  Types of Abuses

(2)  Personalized Safety Plan
     Metro Nashville Police Department's

(3)  Denial

(4) Family Shelter Service

    605 E. Roosevelt Road
    Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(5) Community Action Stops Abuse

    P.O. Box 414

    St. Petersburg, Florida 33731

(6), Domestic violence ... are you a victim?


(8) Wayne L. Misner

    Healthcare CIO

    10 Wayne Court

    Edison, NJ 08820

(9) (10) Dr. Jerome Murray




Wayne L. Misner is owner of Healthcare CIO, a consultant company in New Jersey and author. (His book, “Men Don’t Listen” is absolutely a must read for women as well as men). He has been in the healthcare field for thirty-five years. In addition, he became the Vice President of Programs and Education for a NJ chapter of Parents Without Partners, where he moderated men and women’s groups across the state. For ten years, he had the opportunity to facilitate many groups of men and women who were struggling with not being able to listen. While at the Rehabilitation Hospital he also was a facilitator of the women’s group for both inpatients and outpatients.

Over all these years he has installed systems in Jersey Shore Medical Center (Meridian Health System), St. Elizabeth Hospital (Trinitas), and Morristown Medical Center (Atlantic Health System). In addition, he has directed the Information Systems Centers at Carrier Rehabilitation Hospital and Shore Memorial Hospital. As Vice President of the Princeton based NJ Hospital Association, Mr. Misner represented all the hospital members directing, “The Hospital Information System.” Email:  Web page: Http:// 

Copywrite 2005 Wayne Misner. Published with permission. If you would like to republish this article, please contact the author,

Dear Wayne, once again, thank you very much. Dr. Irene

Dear Readers, any comments? While you can no longer post, you can click here to read other people's comments.