Domestic Violence Treatment
The Practice of Genshai and
Domestic Abuse Counseling
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
“Genshai” is one of those little words with a huge message. In the treatment of domestic abuse, it offers the cornerstone of therapeutic corrections.
Genshai is an ancient Hindu word that means one should never treat oneself or another in a way that makes one feel smaller. Come with me and see the relevance of this little word and its huge message for domestic abuse counseling.
Battering Is Making Another Feel Smaller
Battering is essentially the striking of another to overshadow their will, to demean and lessen their presence, person and position relative to you.
Battering is, therefore, the opposite of Genshai. It is treating another so that they do, indeed, feel smaller.
People who abuse other people strike when they themselves feel smaller... vulnerable... hurt... insecure. It is the very means by which they elevate themselves in the face of their own felt inadequacy.
Abusing Others Abuses Self
Battering not only makes the abused feel smaller, it also makes the abuser feel smaller underneath their apparent elevated self. Externally, they may exude pleasure, pride and omnipotence, but internally they hurt even more than they did before their efforts to make the abused feel less than.
Again, battering is the opposite of Genshai. On the outside looking in, the abused may think the person that has hurt them is enjoying himself or herself. And yes, it is true that there is glee in what they do, as they do it. But, what remains after the fact hurts them as much as it does those they abuse.
Thus, the practice of battering is the opposite of Genshai on two counts. It’s making another feel smaller…diminished, while making oneself feel enhanced in the short run yet smaller in the long run.
Batterers that I have helped have truly helped me see this. They have shown me the pain they feel in hurting their victimized partners.
Being Abused Makes One Feel Smaller
I’m leaving the most obvious for last because in it is an insight that may not be so evident. When we continue to be victimized by others we are abusing ourselves.
We are consciously and unconsciously making the choice to feel smaller than our true sacred selves. We are doing the opposite of Genshai.
Taking this a step even further is the way in which people having lived in abusive relationships pick up where their batterer left off. If you have been in an abusive relationship, I trust you know how this works.
You can catch yourself feeling and regarding yourself in the exact same way as your batterer did. You could be telling yourself that you may really be “crazy,” “lazy,” “stupid” or “ugly”…“unlovable,” or a “bad mother” or a “loser.” Reflexively, you may be treating yourself in a way that makes you feel smaller.
Ask yourself if you practice or fail to practice Genshai. Discover how you feel being either way, and you will know the cornerstone of effective domestic abuse therapy and recovery.
For more information on breaking the cycle of domestic abuse in your relationship, visit www.domesticabusecounseling.org and get instant access to free survivor success insights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples worldwide end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.