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Web Letter

This little article is an excellent example of how nonsense gets perpetuated. Where to start? She starts with a wrong question, "Why do men abuse women?" No answer. By the way, as you will see, domestic violence (DV) isn't about men abusing women. Thus, the question is also wrong. Next question: "Why do women stay?" She then says, "But another problem with the question is that it implies that we don't know the answer, or rather, answers. In fact, we know a lot." She lists a few answers but gives no evidence that they are correct answers. Why would they be? They're not based on anything but opinions and excuses of the people "staying." Superficially, they seem to make sense; but when looked at critically, they make no sense. What makes her think the "stayers" know the answer? It's like asking someone with cancer, "Why do you have cancer?" Just because they have cancer does that make them an expert on cancer causation? No.

So, why do these articles on spousal abuse consistently ask the same questions to the same people and answer them the same way: with the "victims's" opinions? It makes no sense, but this article is all about this methodology. This methodology is wrong from the get-go. Are we going to find out the answers to domestic violence by asking the people who are being violated why the violater did what "he" did? Why would they know? The violators don't even know. It makes no sense.

Then she mentions the book Crazy Love and its author and gives us the author's opinions. Why? Because she wrote a book? How does this make her an expert? It doesn't, and she isn't. In fact, the whole book is wrong in regards to causation of DV and why DV participants do what they do. What makes anyone an expert on domestic violence? The fact is that nothing makes anyone an expert on domestic violence, because no one knows what domestic violence is, no more than what causes it and why people experiencing it do what they do. Of course, people watch domestic violence happening and think just because they watch it, its causes are obvious. Well, isn't that just like so many things that appear obvious but later, on scientific study, turn out to be just the opposite of what they appear, like the sun going around the earth? Why do people think that just because they have the ability to write an article they don't have to do any thinking about what they say in that article? There's absolutely no evidence of any thinking done prior to or during the writing of this article. In fact, essentially the same article that has been written countless times in the past, and they have been wrong about the causes and motivations behind DV every time.

So, what are all these victims, writers and experts missing about the causes and motivations behind DV? What they're missing is exactly what is perpetuating the DV mess. Wrong theory leads to wrong policies leads to wrong ways to fix the mess and, therefore, perpetuation of the mess. We need the right theory before we can do what is needed to fix this mess. What's the right theory?

Just like cirrhosis is the end result of alcohol addiction, overdose is the end result of heroin addiction, bankruptcy is the end result of gambling addiction, etc., domestic violence is the end result of people addiction. Domestic violence does not occur in a "loving relationship," even though the participants believe so, but in the context instead of an addiction to one another, people addiction. The couple thinks it's a relationship and thinks it's love but it's not. It's an addiction. That's the mistake, the first mistake of many. Everyone viewing this behavior makes this mistake as well, even the experts. In fact, everything the couple does, all their behavior, is exactly the same behavior any addicts experiences in any other addiction. The only difference is that the "drugs" are people, not drugs. They are addicted to a human instinct called the attachment instinct. It is this instinct and its neurotranmitters that act as the actual drug. It's just an internal drug rather than an external one. This is what we call a "behavioral addiction." Behavioral addictions are physiologically exactly the same as drug addiction and work the same way in the brain except that the addictor is an internal human instinct with its own (endogenous) neurotransmitters rather than an external drug acting as an external neurotranmitter. They both work in the same places in the brain, however, and thus produce the same addiction phenomena of tolerance, withdrawal, neurophysiological adaptation, craving, etc. They are all caused by the same disease, Hypoism, a disease I've written about since 1992 but which you haven't heard about because it's been censored by the addiction establishment from its inception.

Nonetheless, Hypoism causes all addictions and explains them all as well. My book, Hypoic's Handbook, goes through all of this, including people addiction, the most common and most misunderstood addiction. Want to know about people addiction and DV? Read the book. It's all explained there. Moreover, like all addictions, people with one addiction usually have others, exactly like the author of Crazy Love. She ignored this, but in fact it's part of the proof that her experience was people addiction. She has multiple addictions, and so do most other people addicts.

Thus, for us to deal effectively with DV we must see it as part of an addiction caused by Hypoism and use the Hypoism recovery methodology to both prevent and treat people addiction in order to prevent DV. This is the only way to prevent and stop DV. It must, however, be seen as being caused by an addiction in both participants, not for blaming purposes but for prevention and recovery purposes. Both participants are equally part of the cause of the DV, and therefore both require the identical recovery methodology as explained in the book. Again, read the book. This is all explained there. Only by using the Hypoism paradigm will we ever cure the mess we call today DV. So tell your audience about Hypoism so they can use the information to help themselves and their families.

dan f. umanoff, m.d.

Sarasota, FL

May 4 2009 - 2:02pm

Web Letter

I cannot thank Katha Pollitt enough for writing this wise article. As a woman who has been mired in such a relationship in the past, I can tell you that she are 100 percent correct in her assertion that the women in these relationships need empathy and that the physical abuse always comes after a great deal of emotional abuse. One of my DV advocates told me once that it was like psychological terrorism and they were spot on. I had never seen it from the outside before, but when she told me that, I immediately identified with it. You see, you never know when the abuse is coming or what form it will come in and this is designed to keep you unbalanced when, as Katha points out, you have already been isolated from friends and family. The one thing these women need is empathy--an ongoing, steady dose of empathy, so that they can remember that it exists and see how it contrasts with the the relationship they are in. I learned this by going to a DV support group where I continually felt it, and I encourage all others in this situation to do the same. I now have a happy, abuse-free relationship!

To respond to Mr. Friedlander: I wish that eliminating domestic violence were as simple as paring down the military, but this is a simplistic connection of violence to the issue. You are right to home in on the gender issue, however, as it is far more integral to the problem (the military is just another expression of it). Until we teach our boys to feel and express their feelings and for women not to ignore theirs and teach our children that they are equal as boys and girls, we run the risk of these dysfunctional dynamics. My DV advocate told me once that the abuser makes you cry the tears he cannot cry himself. It was very powerful, as it described my predicament to a T. It explained how someone who expressed feelings of love could purposefully act out violently (verbally, physically, financially, sexually) and watch to see how it hurt and humiliated a partner.

To understand more about the subject, I highly recommend the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, How to Recognize it and How to Respond, by Patricia Evans. She talks about verbal abuse (which includes irritable outbursts, sneers, argumentativeness, temper tantrums, shouting, yelling, raging, explosiveness and sarcasm) and describes covert verbal abuse as subversive because it is a "covert attack or coercion."

Janet Oelklaus

San Rafael, CA

Apr 29 2009 - 9:06pm

Web Letter

I'm troubled by Ms. Pollitt's lede. I think it's wrong to even ironically imply there is any "wanting" about it. If people "want" to be battered, then maybe I want my newly diagnosed aggressive cancer.

I'm reminded of two studies from a while back. In the first, little tape recorders playing baby chick sounds were strapped on foxes released in the henhouse. The hens tried to mother the foxes as they got slaughtered. The other, by Karl Lashley, showed that an unpredictable alternation of kindness and assault got much better obedience that either systematic cruelty or kindness.

As a (physically) battered male, I recall my own gradual acceptance of a kind of inferior or slave status. The terror and humiliation alternate with the gratitude that at least for the day, things are normal again. It took me years to get over it.

I'm not playing gender politics by describing a battered male. Of course 99.9 (or even 99.99) percent of the recipients are women. But it can happen the other way too.

Dick Mulliken

Jefferson, NY

Apr 26 2009 - 4:06pm

Web Letter

Thank you very much for asking the question, "What Do (Battered) Women Want?" I had one concern: your statement that, "Unlike most battered women, Steiner came from privilege." Violence against women knows no race, class, religon, ethnic, geographic, etc. boundaries. Women with privilege (i.e., financial) may have access to different resources that may make them less reliant on community resources. This may make them less visible, but by no means more immune to domestic and sexual violence.

Elizabeth Hanson

Stoughton, WI

Apr 24 2009 - 4:23pm

Web Letter

Katha Pollitt skillfully dissects the larger relationship issues that often prevent women from leaving abusive relationships.

The question remains, How come men seem to be the abusers more often than women? It seems to me that the issue of domestic violence is closely connected with the corrosive impact of military training and warfare. Society sets apart cohorts of young men and deliberately trains them to inflict violence. Indeed, a key part of military training is designed to overcome the natural taboo against killing and injuring others, as preparation for the battlefield.

Those men (and even now they are mostly men) who actually fight in wars have more than training--they have firsthand experience of violence on a scale that is unknown to others.

It is hardly surprising that some who have been shaped by military experiences find themselves inclined to violence after coming home as well, especially when difficult problems arise.

Bad though this is in itself, it is compounded by the fact that children who grow up around abuse are in danger of becoming abusers themselves. One violent person can therefore result in several generations of abusers.

I wonder what the effect on domestic abuse would be if we were to simply cut the military to a minimum, eliminate aggressive wars and stop training hundreds of thousands of men each year in the "art" of violence.

David Friedlander

New York , NY

Apr 22 2009 - 6:58pm

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