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Section 14
Identifying Fear in Violent Relationships

Question 14 | Test | Table of Contents

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The last section, introduced Haddie a 45-year old mother of three who left her husband Clint and the three emotional get aways she used as protection from more abuse, protection of her image, and denying the abuse. After leaving Clint, I found it beneficial for Haddie to explore her hidden fears regarding being on her own.

Five Hidden Fear Questions
The Five Hidden Fear Questions revealed Haddie's fear of inadequacy, of not being able to survive alone. As you listen to these five questions, think of your Haddie and how these questions may also reveal her hidden fears. Now that you are on you own…
1. What are the feelings you dislike experiencing the most?
2. What kinds of situations usually cause you to feel that way?
3. What about that situation makes you feel that way?
4. What's the worst thing that could happen in this situation?
5. What's the best thing that could happen to you in this situation?

Haddie's answers to these five Hidden Fear questions revealed that she was afraid of not measuring up, but wouldn't allow herself to express these fears. Her problem purchasing trash cans is described later in this section.

By making excuses for why she shouldn't be afraid, Haddie was hiding her true fears from herself. She realized that denial of her fears was causing her to postpone different tasks that needed to get done.

♦ Understanding the Paradoxical Theory of Change
At a certain level, Haddie still believed herself to be the vibrant, confident woman she had been before her relationship with Clint. She didn't want to accept that the abuse had left her emotionally crippled. In Arnold Beisser's book Gestalt Therapy Now he describes the Paradoxical Theory of Change. This theory states that change occurs when a person becomes what she is, rather than trying to become what she is not. When Haddie realized she was no longer as confident as she was before her relationship with Clint, she was able to grow by accepting that she was afraid of certain situations in her life. Thus as Beisser states, "becoming what she is."

Once accepting her fear, Haddie reworded her daily tasks in terms of 4 simple goals that only stated what she could do. As I read these four goals to you, think of how they may relate to your Haddie in your next session. Would playing this section in the session be appropriate and beneficial?

4 Simple Goals
1.
Allow room for failure, no one is perfect.
2. Be responsible only for your part in an interaction; you cannot control the behavior of others.
3. Start with small, non-threatening tasks. Haddie had a problem picking out trashcans for the kitchen and bath. She made several trips to the discount store, undecided about the color, size, and type.
4. Begin by thinking about the first time you succeeded and then slowly build up. Once Haddie was satisfied with her trashcan purchase, other decisions like dishtowels and bathroom curtains came a little easier to her.

In the last section, we have discussed Emotional Getaways, how battered women often ignore their emotions, particularly feelings of fear. We also discussed how this denial can protected Haddie from physical harm, but also prevented her from seeking sources of support, and leaving.

In this section, we outlined 5 Hidden Fear questions to facilitate your clients identifying of feelings.

Even after she had left Clint, Haddie refused to admit her fears, saying, "It doesn't make any sense that all of a sudden I would be incapable of grocery shopping, doing laundry, all the simple things I used to do without even thinking. When I moved into my own apartment I was thrilled. But I am also terrified to be on my own. I the first time my car broke down. I had a complete panic attack and was convinced I would never survive the experience. Now that I am on my own, if I do mess up something simple, I'm afraid Clint was right all along and I really am stupid. But each hour or minute I get through on my on I prove to me maybe Clint was wrong."

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
DePrince, A. P., Labus, J., Belknap, J., Buckingham, S., & Gover, A. (2012). The impact of community-based outreach on psychological distress and victim safety in women exposed to intimate partner abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(2), 211–221.

Ross, J. M. (2012). Self-reported fear in partner violent relationships: Findings on gender differences from two samples. Psychology of Violence, 2(1), 58–74. 

Salcioglu, E., Urhan, S., Pirinccioglu, T., & Aydin, S. (2017). Anticipatory fear and helplessness predict PTSD and depression in domestic violence survivors.Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(1), 117–125.

QUESTION 14
What are four elements of a goal a Battered Woman who has left might use for herself? To select and enter your answer go to Test
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