Psychological, physical, and electronic dating abuse can begin as early as seventh grade, with potentially serious consequences for individual growth, academic performance, and long-term health outcomes, a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation warns.
Based on a survey, Prevention in Middle School Matters: A Summary of Findings on Teen Dating Violence Behaviors and Associated Risk Factors Among 7th-Grade Students (6 pages, PDF) found that 37 percent of seventh-grade students had witnessed boys or girls being physically violent to those they were dating, 15 percent had been a victim of physical dating violence, and 31 percent had been a victim of electronic dating aggression in the previous six months.
Moreover, being the victim of child abuse and/or teen dating violence is highly predictive of intimate partner violence among young adults, while middle school provides a critical window of opportunity to teach youth about healthy relationships.
Funded by RWJF and the Blue Shield of California Foundation as part of an evaluation study, the report also notes that good parent-child communication is an important factor in reducing the risk of teen dating violence.
What is shocking is that hundreds of thousands of psychopaths live and work among us.
Unfortunately, without being able to recognize them at a distance, they are able to move in close and have access to prey on us. The chaos psychopath’s deliver to those around them is devastating.
Their manipulations, insincerity and pathological lying leave heartbreak and turmoil, but rarely any jail time.
Even though we know the majority of these socially skilled psychopaths are not violent criminals, we also know that they all create drama for their families and communities. By abusing those closest to them, constantly manipulating others and blaming those consequences on others, the destruction is always devastating.
How many times have we found ourselves unable to cope with life or facing loss? Losing a child, spouse or home, arguing a lost cause or feeling unable to forgive? At these times, we find ourselves shouting “Re-do”! We may choose to laugh at this concept, but in reality, our hearts wept and our spirits sank when we knew there would be no instant re-do. When we find ourselves needing to untangle a situation or mess, how do we start again after certain conversations, unwise actions, an abusive marriage or after failing at a job?
All of us, at some time in our lives, have been lost and unsure as to how to start again. When you feel beaten down, tired and have given up hope, what do you do? I have seen people I admired for their strength reduced to tears and self-pity by difficult moments in life. How do we help? We have all witnessed unfairness, tragedy and ugliness with our own rage, doubt and fear. When this happens, where do we go from here? If we are lucky, we experience a moment of clarity and know we must start again.
There’s an art to starting again. If you have created or allowed someone to create a situation that you do not want anymore, there are steps to help you untangle this situation and allow yourself a chance to begin again:
Forgiveness, for me, is allowing myself to get better by letting go of the anger I have towards another or myself. This process is mostly internal, but as you let go of the anger, hurt, humiliation and grief you have towards one who wronged you, the benefits to you will be felt immediately. Learning to forgive allows you to start again.
Fear and Faith cannot co-exist — choose one. Fear knocks the wind out of you and faith gives you hope and purpose. In order to untangle from a current mess and start again, letting go of the fear and choosing faith is a critical and necessary step.
Make the decision to be happy. Just decide. If you change your feelings, you can change your experience. This is simple in concept but difficult to implement on a daily/hourly basis.
Admit the part you played in the current drama. We all are the creators of our lives and even when faced with tragedy, we are able to create our response towards it. Look inward before directing anything outward. Ask yourself, “What do you see yourself becoming?” “What is it that you want to experience?” Whatever your answers are, move in that direction.
Live in the Present
We may not be able to alter the past with an instant re-do, but we can alter our thoughts about the past and we can choose to live in the present, which can be life-altering. Living in the present is a process that can move us from an experience of anguish to a much-needed place of relief.
As you move through pain, drama and uncertainty of where you are now, it is important to know there is no judgment in why you are where you are and how you came to be in such pain. The fact remains is that you are looking for help and that is enough. Regardless of where you are in your learning, know that you deserve respect and kindness. With that knowing, you can untangle any situation and can start again in a direction that brings you your heart’s desires.
What to do next to manage the damage with the psychopath in your life:
- Abandon your efforts to help or cure him. Know he manipulates to appear helpless, pitiful, confused and needing our assistance.
- Pay attention to everything. Verify what he says and head for the door when things don’t add up. If he wont give reasonable answers to reasonable questions, run!
- Recognize his patterns so you avoid being in shock when the inevitable abuse occurs. Seeing it coming allows you time to feel, think and act.
- Act to protect yourself physically, financially and emotionally. Know your fight or flight options.
- Avoid him. Know that his goal is your attention and to control or abuse you.
- Ignore and don’t react to his hurtful words. Don’t take the bait when he lies.
- Strive to keep stability in your home, especially if children are involved. Continue to maintain integrity and high moral standards for yourself and with your children.
- Remember: With their dying breath, psychopaths will deny the truth even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary.