Partner Domestic Abuse
Hidden Victim Benefits of the Restraining Order
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Some people think that orders of protection are to protect "her" from "him" (that is: the abused from the batterer, irrespective of gender). I believe that they are to protect her from herself, (or him from himself ) as well.
Orders of protection are a stop gap that says, "This that is...can be no more, because it is illegal." It's a way of saying, you (the offender) cannot do this to the abused, anymore!
The restraining order will specify what can and cannot be done in terms of contact between parties, etc. And failure to comply with the parameters results in judicial consequences. Common thinking is that this aids in stopping further abuse. That's debatable, however not the subject of this article.
Instead, I want to point out this basic premise that often gets lost in the chaos. The order of protection protects the abused from themselves!
Why Do the Abused Need Protection from Themselves?
The hardest part of interrupting the cycle of domestic partner abuse is pulling the abused out from under the dysfunctional dynamics of the abusive relationship. And she (or he) knows it.
They are generally good at knowing right from wrong, yet can be blind to the way in which their actions and inactions contribute to the imbalance of power and control in the relationship. This in no way means that the abused is responsible for the offender's battering behavior. They are not. The only one responsible for battering behavior is the one battering. Period.
The "Love" Abuse Loop
What generally happens after the order of protection is put into place is serious reflection by both abuser and the abused. And in the absence of one another, there can be genuine longings and missed affections and love...though dysfunctional.
The victim is halted in acting on those longings by virtue of the restraints dictated by the order of protection. She (or he) knows that making contact with the offender can void the protective order.
It's not only what he will do to her that matters; it's what she will do to herself to let the harm in... That's the problem when it comes to these relationships. How we are at the end of the relationship is much like we are (more outwardly) in the relationship. Just being in the presence of the former batterer, again, elicits all of the experiential memory of living in the dynamics of the controlling abusive relationship.
This subtle benefit of the order of protection is far too often overlooked... because we intend for it to be a powerful incentive for abuser change, exclusively. While this is essential to changing abusive relationship dynamics, it is only part of the way restraining orders truly serve the abused.
For more information about domestic abuse interventions, visit domestic abuse, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/spousal_abuse_tx.php and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King - 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.