Six Ways Women Who Stay Reason Away Leaving Violent Partners.

Domestic abuse plays with your head as you attempt to make sense of what is nonsense

When we hear of domestic assault and abuse we rally in horror. No one of us would wish that on any one, We often think to ourselves -‘ Why doesn’t she leave?’ If you have ever wondered why a woman stays with her abusive partner read on.

Sadly one woman a week dies at the hands of an intimate partner in Australia. Shocking statistics as Jimmy Barnes says “…If that was terrorism, we’d have armed guards on every corner’.

From the outside it looks like the easiest way to escape would simply to end the relationship. Research tells us this is one of the most life threatening times in the cycle. Weirdly woman are most at risk when leaving their abuser. Safety planning is essential.

And leaving would be if the woman were in a position of emotional health and strength to leave him. And he was also in a state of emotional health and wellbeing. This type of abuse is insidious and erodes self esteem quicker than a white ant colony. Men are victims too but the numbers go overwhelmingly with the gals sadly.

What has happened is a process often called trauma bonding – we are connected to our captor. This used to be called the Stockholm Syndrome which has been debunked.

Our brains have amazing ways to justify and cope

In a United States Study of over a 100 female victims, Kathleen Ferraro and John Johnson found that women who stay in violent relationships rationalized their abuse in the following six ways.

  1. ‘I can fix him’ woman imagine the abuser is deeply troubled and needs a good strong women to help him get better. Its the Florence Nightingale phenomenon – I can nurse him to make him stop.
  2. ‘Its not really him’ It’s his problem insert the issue here – drinking, drugs, his childhood abuse, his depression, his job loss whatever fits on the list. The mistaken believe is once the problem has resolved he will stop, so the the hope goes. But the abuse continues regardless.
  3. ‘It’s easier to try to forget‘. This is where cognitive dissonance comes into play. Knowing their partner has intentionally hurt them is inconceivable. They focus on ‘getting back to normal’. With the cycle of violence there does come some sweet times. This overrides the abuse. It’s a form of denial to protect ourselves from the knowledge we are in a dangerous position – our loved one is could kill us.
Angry Man
Angry Man
  1. Maybe its my fault’ This is where you hear woman say ‘I probably provoke him’. So women will turn themselves inside out as to how to go under the radar, do as he says to avoid the fall out. They are sensitive to their partners needs in a survival response – fawning and hyper-vigilance.
  2. ‘There’s nowhere to go’ Many women are stuck with no alternatives isolated from family and friends. Financially controlled and held hostage by circumstance.
  3. Until death do us part’ where traditional belief systems on matrimony and religion hold women captive. Certain religious leaders say they will suffer a terrible fate in the afterlife. As if they are not in a one in this one!

I have worked with women who when they left the husband they were excommunicated from their church community. Exiled. They lost everyone. Don’t underestimate going against a community or long held traditional beliefs that trap a person.

Here is access to the article


This powerful information came from reading Jess Hills’ book See What You Made Me Do, Power, control and Domestic Abuse. It is a must read for therapists. We all need to be up to speed when it comes to coercive control and family violence. I am recommending it to my clients who have been in or are currently in a domestic abuse relationship. Here is the link to buy the book See What You Made Me Do, Power, control and Domestic Abuse Amazon

Arm yourself with information, compassion and patience.Let me know your thoughts, love to hear of your experience either personally or professionally.

Psychology Employability post graduation…

I was honoured to be invited to the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Careers Expo this week.

As an alumni of UWS, Karin Fehlmann of Employer Liaison Coordinator Careers, Office of Employ-ability and Graduate Success found me on LinkedIn. Heads up it’s another great network to belong to.

Panel members included psychologists from the NSW Department of Education, Juvenile Justice, the Australia Psychological Society, Learning Links and the College of Professional Psychology.

As part of the Employability Panel we were asked questions by students. Here’s some of my advice for those early in their counselling career.

What advice would you give to students with regard to career planning and career options that you wish you would have known when you started off ?

Gain business, administration and presentation skills. Do a course in running a business. Be familiar with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, know how to type and be Social Media savvy.

I did a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, this proved very useful and launched me into a training contract. Early on I learnt to touch type and have never looked back.

·         What skills did you gain when you first started that assisted you to transition into the roles you have now?

I had people come up to me after the panel and say how much it meant to them to hear how my call centre experience when I first arrived in Australia. Customer service skills and problem solving abilities in the workplace, in your life are transferable skills. They are attractive to employers as they demonstrate you are well rounded.

·         What are key skills required that can be developed?

Perseverance, adaptability and a yes mindset are key. Working as an intern in Relationships Australia I had field experience from the ground up. Invaluable for running a business organization and my psychology practice.

social media networking is a key part of of career planning for psychology graduates

·         How important has networking been to your career? Any tips?

Networking and have mentors is vital. I am the Randwick Mental Health Professionals Network Coordinator. The MHPN is a fabulous and free place to gain professional development points and meet others in your local area. Other psychologists are a great referral source. I like to have a mental health referrals for all over Australia. I get phone calls around the country, so I love to share my networks.

My other advice for early career therapists is to identify gaps and fill them. Aged Care, Employment Services, your local Council wherever other people may love your idea to run a mindfulness meditation group. Offer to give a presentation at an interagency. Belong to your professional body and associations. Join your Social Media groups – LinkedIn – please connect with me. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube,Facebook join ours here: Resource Therapy Group on Facebook

Of course the classic advice still holds true. Volunteer for an organization – Lifeline, meals on wheels or training event. This gives you real world experience. I started out Youth line Wellington. It was a great opportunity and challenging.

At the Resource Therapy Institute we have had volunteers on our training workshops in the past. They get thousands of dollars of free training and benefit from networking with other health carers.

What’s your experience and suggestions you would offer an early graduate ?

Love to hear your thoughts and reflections. Please use the comment box, scroll down to the bottom. Thanks Philipa

Emotional Pain & Stuckness suck…

Sadness honours our loss. Stuckness doesn't.

Over the years most of us have had to deal with the pain of grief and loss. It’s a sad and necessary part of life. When the leaving is unexpected, like in the bereavement of suicide or accident, or ending of a significant relationship it’s painful and difficult to compute this tragic loss.

Grief can lay us flat, set in stuckness if left unprocessed in our emotional brain.
Grief can lay us flat, set in stuckness

Yet there are often so many unspoken sentiments, love shared, conversations unexpressed.

Guilt and rumination are common side effects of those bereaved by suicide. Resource Therapy heals with it's Closure Conversation.
Guilt and rumination are common side effects of those bereaved by suicide. Resource Therapy heals with it’s Closure Conversation.

After losing my Uncle to suicide in my teens, I struggled with so many unanswered questions. I was angry, hurt and felt betrayed. Guilt and a sense of over-responsibility plagued me in the quiet of night. It would come and go, sending me low.

I imagined what I could of said, did to stop him from hurting himself. Of course life carried on but there was a huge gap my teen age self felt keenly over the years.

When love wilts it's hard to deal with our feelings of loss

Grief is a wonderful expression of the love for the loss of our loved ones or the ending of something special. This felt heavier.

As you will see on my video, a Resource Therapy session relieved me of the unresolved emotional burden. I was freed from my resentment towards my father, the abandonment of my Uncle.

It was the AHA understanding from an emotional perspective which changed my inner landscape.

Intellectually as both a person and a mental health professional I ‘knew’ he was suffering from a dark depression.

This emotional freedom and release I experienced sold me on the power of Resource Therapy in healing.

I had years of therapy! At great cost. Yet in this one session I gained emotional closure and inner peace. Free too as I was a client volunteer!

There are many treatments and therapies offering wonderfully supportive grief and loss processing.

Resource Therapy is the one I use with amazing effect. Long held hurt is released in the therapy hour. Guilt and shame replaced with love, acceptance and personal peace.

Personal peace from loss cannot be underestimated. Find freedom today with Resource Therapist in your area.

There are clearly defined steps to have what I call ‘Closure Conversations.’ Here we apply the Resource Therapy steps to address and process burdensome grief, shift shame, and let go of guilt.

These sessions I have are some of the most moving and heartfelt therapy I have been privileged to facilitate.

Here’s the latest from the Resource Therapy Institute Australia YouTube Channel – on Closure Conversations. Please see below and I would love it if you would be so kind to like, subscribe and help!

We are having our last training for the year Nov 4 & 5 in Sydney. Details here

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