Battered Man Breaks Free:
A Case Study
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
From the audience of one of my first keynote speeches emerged a woman pleading me to help her dear friend whom she believed was entrapped in an abusive relationship. I informed her of the common and customary protocol for domestic violence victim advocacy intervention. That is, the abused must initiate the request for help.
Meet Abused Man X
And she said, "He is recovering from an attempted suicide." With that, I replied, "Tell me more." This concerned friend made the victim's compromised psychology so clear, that I now knew we were dealing with someone who needed domestic abuse expertise and a psychotherapeutic intervention as well.
I met the family of the victim and learned that the grandparents had not seen their grandchildren in years and hadn't even met their last grandbaby. The battering wife of this young family successfully walled-out the members of the victim's family. As I later learned, she had convinced her abused husband that his family was "not good for them."
The parents of the victim shared that they no longer recognize their son. His mother declared, "His personality has changed." And she insisted that he was no longer the person they raised. He's withdrawn and hyper-vigilant about the time, as it relates to his whereabouts--always looking at his watch. He lost his liveliness. What comes foreword is an emotionally flat, meek timid man, yet he maintains his professional healthcare career. The paradox perplexed them.
Family Violence Intervention
I conducted interviews with specified family members and close friends of the victim coast-to-coast by phone and skype. And a support network was created from which I formed a bridge to introduce my expertise into the family's problem. Suffice it to say, we completed phase one of the Family Violence Intervention.
In the next phase, a confrontation of sorts occurs. While the way this is done varies with the particulars of the case, its short-term goal is to engage the victim in the prospect of a therapeutic process with me. This begins with a commitment by the victim to contact me or allow me to contact him (or her). Over time, we establish a therapeutic alliance that progresses very much like any other psychotherapeutic intervention.
The goal of the intervention is for the patient to realize their core personal aspirations with respect to their own well-being and that of their marriage/relationship and family. All of the work is done by phone. We have found this to be an asset to the intervention compared to face-to-face therapy, because initially it appears to be less invasive from the victim's perspective and can be done without the perpetrator's knowledge and/or interference.
Battered Man No More
Eight months into our routine phone counseling and psychotherapy, Abused Man X was no longer the victim that he presented months before. While his transformation was gradual, each step forward became the stepping-stone for the next. He was becoming himself again and he enjoyed being anchored in his own experiential frame of reference rather than that of his controlling abusive wife.
In the tenth month, divorce was under way, and the grandparents and grandchildren enjoyed regular contact. Most important to this family was the rekindled liveliness of their son. "Caged no more, he's back," they declared. And he knew he wouldn't allow himself to be in her doghouse again.
For more information about intimate partner abuse treatment for men and women, visit http://www.enddomesticabuse.org/consulting.html and get Free Instant Access to your survivor success eInsights. Dr Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and families recognize, end and heal from domestic violence. Copyright 2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D. http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/abused_men.php
Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
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