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John Daly: Love Is Not Abuse

Many of you will look at the headline of this week’s column and think to yourself, “What does that have to do with etiquette?”

Etiquette is simply behavior. Abuse is an unacceptable behavior, and it is imperative that all of us put forth the effort to break the cycle of abuse when we see it. Not all but some abused become abusers. That is a cycle that our society should never tolerate.

Everyone deserves respect. And, in a relationship, each partner should be an equal. Physical, mental or emotional abuse, including neglect, should never come into play in any relationship.

I was shocked to learn that, according to a 2010 national survey, more men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence. That’s right, more than 40 percent of severe physical violence was directed at men. And, men are more often the victim of psychological aggression.

Statistics also reveal that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. And, historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Even with these horrific statistics, the capper is that most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Physical Abuse

I teach my students that it is never OK to hit another person. It is never OK to allow another person to physically abuse you, and that it is always the person who does the abusing who is to blame. Why? Because most people who are abused believe that they deserve this type of treatment.

Mental Abuse

Mental abuse comes in a variety of forms:

» Yelling (which is never a proper response)

» Giving the silent treatment (emotional and mental abuse) or neglect

» Demoralizing another for his or her beliefs or actions (which is NEVER acceptable). It is important for us to honor the decisions that our friends and family make.

Breaking the Abuse Cycle

The key to breaking the abuse cycle is “awareness.” The more that it is written and talked about, the more aware those suffering from abuse will become. Those who are abused or live in a home where abuse occurs need to discover that: 

» Love does not include abuse.

» If you have seen this at home, it does not make it acceptable.

» Abuse is not a cultural thing.

» Parents should never let their children think it is OK.

» Abuse is wrong no matter WHAT!

For an Abused Person Reading This:

A friend of mine was the victim of physical, mental and emotional abuse for more than a decade. She wrote out some advice she thought might be helpful from one who overcame an abusive relationship. This is what she offers:

» Know that you are a worthy human being. Stop living in the past. Those who do are still hiding behind past events and think they aren’t worthy of better than they have.

» Surround yourself with winners. Associate with those who make you feel positive about yourself, who help you believe that you “can if you think you can!”

» Don’t let anyone else rule your destiny. Take control of your life.

» Label yourself as STRONG, not weak. Believe in that strength. Know that you can do anything you set your heart and mind to do.

» Take responsibility for your past and current mistakes, and then leave them behind you like the useless baggage they are. Don’t blame anyone else for your past ... it’s all you, baby. 

» Stop living in a “poor little me” pity party. Get out of the doldrums and focus on what you want out of life.

» If you are like I was, stop always choosing the “easy way out,” which is sometimes the “do nothing” route. The easy road is rarely the right road. The bottom line? It’s all about attitude. You may not change the situation, but you can change your attitude about any and everything. When you do that, your situation will change.

For Your Information

» How to Help Someone Who Is Being Abused

» How to Help a Friend Who Is Being Abused

» Help a Loved One or Friend

» Recognizing, Preventing and Reporting Child Abuse

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.

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