What is domestic abuse?
Abuse can be seen as being on a continuum, starting from emotional abuse, running the gamut to physical abuse, and ultimately to homicide. Abuse can be physical as well as emotional. Abuse is any kind of behavior that is geared to diminish, bully or control the other person, oftentimes associated with inflicting pain, emotional or physical.
Which is worse - physical or emotional abuse?
Actually, emotional and psychological abuse can be worse than physical abuse. With physical scars, while they may remain, most of the damage heals. Bones mend, skin regenerates, teeth can be replaced, etc. Not that any of this is good. But when a person suffers a systematic attack on their sense of self, on their self-esteem, on their very identity as a person, that sticks for a very, very long time. Most of the women I have interviewed and worked with - we're talking about hundreds of women - even years after their divorce remember lucidly, as if it happened yesterday, remarks that were made to them about their abilities as a mother, as a wife, as a woman. Most of the women I've worked with still remain fearful long after the marriage has ended. AS has been said, 'Betrayal is worse where trust is greatest.'
We normally think of crimes of violence being associated with the stresses of poverty. Why would otherwise successful men abuse their wives?
That is the typical profile and expectation we have of domestic violence. We don't typically think of the abuser as someone who's well-off, wearing an Armani suit, chairman of the board of a major organization. Why? Because most of the research that's been done to date has actually been with lower-income individuals who do deal with the stresses of poverty, urban living, unemployment, etc. But such stressors (being causative of domestic abuse) are not present for the upscale batterer. What I found in my research was that the upper income batterer tends to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder; their rage is derivative of internal dynamics representative of that disorder.
The women you discuss in Not to People Like Us are fairly bright and educated. Why didn't they see what was happening early on?
It's not unusual for women dealing with upscale violence to pick up what I refer to as early warning signs, and yet either doubt or ignore them, or minimize them. And of course we all want to think the best of our partners.
...about getting help:
How do I know if I am an upscale abused wife?
We have a test you can take at this website that will serve as an introductory screening. Usually women have a sense if this is going on, they may get feedback from significant people in their life--feedback which may be hard to hear. Ultimately, the sooner you come to grips with what you are living in, the better your chances for change. Take our test.
I think I may be an upscale abused wife. Where can I get help?
First, you must assess whether you and your children are in any danger. If you think you may be in danger, you must create what is known as a safety plan-a bag packed with enough clothes for a week, any needed meds, duplicates of important documents, and money. As well, arrange ahead of time, someone who will call and keep a safe check on you, and a place to go if you need a speedy exit. As for seeking trained help, see our Resources and Related Links section. These are important sources to be in touch with. They may be able to make appropriate referrals for you where you live. Regarding actual counseling, while not all therapists and counselors are trained to understand domestic violence patterns or possess awareness of upscale violence, try to find a professional who is sympathetic to your situation. It is most important to find someone who believes that domestic violence is criminal and much more than just marital discord or difficult communication issues. You may also find The Care Kit, developed by The Weitzman Center, extremely useful in helping you figure out how to find the help you need, i.e., lawyers, counselors, medical professionals, etc. Download the Care Kit for free.
Is there a way to reach Dr. Weitzman directly?
Dr. Weitzman welcomes e-letters. You can write to her at DrSusanWeitzman@aol.com. Most e-letters are responded to within 2 weeks. Depending on the nature of the request, you may also talk with Dr. Weitzman by phone. You may request this via email, making sure to leave your phone number and various ways and times to reach you. Calls can usually be arranged within 72 hours. However, if you think you (and/or your children) may be in serious imminent danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (voice), or (800) 787-3224 (TDD); a local domestic violence agency (which may be found in your yellow pages or in our Resources and Related Links section); and/or your local law enforcement officials. If you (and/or your children) are injured in any way, go to your local emergency room or call your/a doctor.
...about our Web site:
We would like the NTPLU website to link to our web page. What do we need to do?
No problem! Provide us with your URL by emailing DrSusanWeitzman@aol.com. Our Web Information Administrator will review your site to determine its appropriateness for linking. Dr. Weitzman and www.nottopeoplelikeus.com website staff reserves the right to choose only those submissions that reflect the focus, scope and quality of our activities, documents, and other affiliates.
I would like to be listed as a resource individual/resource organization. What should I do?
Great! Individuals or organizations wishing to be listed as a resource on our website must provide to the Web Information Administrator (DrSusanWeitzman@aol.com ) two references who can be contacted via e-mail, along with a description of the individual's/organization's background, expertise, services, website URL if available, etc. Dr. Weitzman and www.nottopeoplelikeus.com website staff reserves the right to choose only those submissions that reflect the focus, scope and quality of our activities, documents, and other affiliates.
...about the mailing list:
I would love to be on your mailing list. Is that only via email or postal addresses as well?
The mailing list is primarily for email. When you sign up for our email mailing list, we will regularly send you updates (about once or twice a month) as to events of interest and pertinent information that might interest our readers. If you specifically request information on Professional Training Seminars or the Healing the Battered Heart©, by including your U.S. Postal address, you will be able to receive brochures about these seminars. Rest assured, that in signing up for both or either, your name remains confidential. (see next question).
How confidential is your mailing list?
We have a specific privacy statement in our website, as we feel it is important that people feel safe. And with the delicate nature of our site, we feel it is especially important to be able to provide anonymity. To this end, we guarantee that no information sent to our mailing list is ever compiled into a list to be sold to companies, professionals, other websites, etc. Further, no names and addresses are available to others' viewing at all any more, now that we have begun sending individualized e-mailings when we post. Finally, and most importantly, our mailing list is anonymous--no individual email addresses or other list-member information is visible on mailing-list emails. We all value and keep sacred the concept of confidentiality!
...about sharing stories:
I would very much want to share my story. Who sees these?
Since the site opened, it has been touching and amazing how many people have sent their stories in. The open hearted and candid sharing is, we believe, part of the healing process, which includes the generous spirit of hoping to help other women. Offering to share your stories at our site simply means that Dr. Weitzman reads them and responds to you. You may be interested in having your story posted on our site, but even if it were to be done anonymously, it might infringe on your privacy as others might be able to deduce who you are. As well, the Internet is still a wild and woolly place, so we will not be printing any stories in whole. However, if you would like an aspect of your story posted, or are open to having some quotes from your narrative excerpted and posted, please let us know and we will correspond to you as to how we can do this.
What about thoughts I have shared about the book?
Be aware that any critical response to the book is typically written as an solicited letter to Dr. Weitzman and, as such, becomes her property/the property of the website. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated and we are proud to share the kind of responses we have received; hence such responses to the book might be added to the "What Readers are Saying…" section of the NTPLU website. But even here, only initials of the writer will be used along with either City and State or just State.
...about Healing the Battered Heart© Retreats and Professional Training Seminars:
What are the retreats and training seminars about?
As a result of requests and her interest areas, Dr. Weitzman has created training seminars for professionals which encompasses learning about: upscale violence; ways to diagnose and intervene specific to the path of the upscale abused woman; character profiles of the upscale battered woman and batterer; the paradox of the helping professions and how to deal with that; advocacy; custody and legal issues; and transference and counter-transference issues for the clinician and trained professionals.
Healing the Battered Heart© Retreats are geared to women who are either currently enduring upscale abuse or have survived and moved on but are still struggling with: post-traumatic symptoms; difficulty adjusting to life post abuse and/or life post upscale lifestyle; lingering fears and anxieties, as well as obsessive preoccupation with the batterer; explaining, protecting, and bonding with children and family; and trying to cope with the aftermath of divorces and/or custody legal suits. Click here to view more information regarding our current retreat schedule.