Human Rights and Responsibilities for Women and Men In Intimate Relationships
The right to express your opinions and thoughts and have those be given the same respect and consideration as those of your mate. The responsibility to ensure that you are as mentally, psychologically, emotionally, physically, and sexually healthy as you can be.
The right to have and express your sexual needs and desires without feeling like you are selfish, demanding, or aggressive. The responsibility to respect when your partner says no.
The right to have your emotional, physical and intellectual needs be as important as the needs of your mate. The responsibility to acnkowledge that women and men have the same emotional, intellectual, and psychological capabilities barring any cognitive or psychological disabilities.
The right to expect your mate to do his/her part to resolve any conflicts in your relationship, including learning and improving emotional intelligence skills, conflict resolution skills, and communication skills. The responsibility to learn all of these skills from credible, certified trainers.
The right to hold your mate responsible for his or her behavior rather than assuming that responsibility yourself or being held responsible for your partner’s behavior by him or her. The responsibility to be held accountable for your own behavior.
The right to seek credible professional help with your relationship (with a qualified person grounded in academic study). The responsibility to attend credible professional help if your partner asks for that — unless there is verbal or physical abuse happening, in which case, couples’ therapy is contra-indicated and individual therapy is advised for both partners, separately.
The right never to be physically attacked or emotionally degraded by your mate and the right to end the relationship (and to seek safety), if either occurs, even if this does not happen directly to the partner’s face but to others. The responsibility to respect abused partner’s desire to end the relationship and to attend counseling sessions for partners who batter.
The right to expect significant behavioral changes rather than mere apologies and promises from your partner if a single abusive incident occurs – emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually. The responsibility to attend counseling sessions for partners who batter and to do all you can to change behavior.
The right to not blame yourself if the relationship in which you have invested so much love and effort ends. The responsibility to take excellent care of yourself, ask for help when you need it, be honest with yourself and others, and surround yourself with healthy, ethical, supportive people who care about your best interests.
Please click on “Nonviolent Communication” (below) to learn more about how NVC can help us all:
NVC Feelings List: www.cnvc.org/en/learn-online/feelings-list/feelings-inventory
NVC Needs List: www.cnvc.org/en/learn-online/needs-list/needs-inventory
To Learn More about Emotional Intelligence and How it Can Help Men and Women:
An Experiment which may help Men and Women understand each other and find common ground:
Some things that are worth thinking about when you’re wondering “Was I abused?” include:
Did X intimidate you in any way?
Did X threaten you, or threaten to harm Xself or anyone else, if/when you left?
Did X force you to ask for money, or take your money away from you?
Did X have control of the family finances, so you didn’t even know what or when money was being spent?
Did X prevent you from taking a job you wanted, or going to school?
Did X force you, either directly or through manipulation, to quit a job you had?
Did X make jokes about X’s treatment of you, insist that X never did anything to hurt you, or blame you for X’s behavior?
Did X treat you as if you were X’s servant?
Did X ever make you do things you felt were wrong or illegal?
Did X ever belittle your beliefs, or tell you that your faith is wrong?
Did X make you leave social gatherings, or restrict your contact with your friends or family?
Did X make you feel afraid, or like you needed to be “careful” around X?
Did X make you feel guilty or ashamed about yourself, your feelings, your beliefs, or anything else that makes you a unique individual?
Any one of these can be a sign of abuse. Signs that you’re living with a verbal abuser:
You sometimes wonder, “What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t feel so bad.”
X rarely, if ever, seems to want to share X’s thoughts or plans with you.
X seems to take the opposite view from you on almost everything you mention, and X’s view is not qualified by “I think” or “I believe” or “I feel” — as if your view were wrong and X’s were right.
You sometimes wonder if X perceives you as a separate person with a separate will, and separate feelings, needs, opinions, thoughts, and preferences.
X is either angry or has “no idea of what you’re talking about” when you try to discuss an issue with X.
It consistently discounts your perceptions. No matter how cruel your partner is, X will deny that anything is wrong.
Finally, physical abuse is always preceded by verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse is hurtful. Especially when it’s denied.
This is also true of emotional and psychological abuse. One example of psychologial abuse is “intermittent reinforcement”.
Verbal abuse attacks your nature and abilities, usually so thoroughly that you begin to believe that there’s something inherently wrong with you, or that your abilities are actually failings.
Verbal abuse may be overt (angry outbursts and namecalling) or covert (subtle stuff, like brainwashing).
Verbal abuse may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way (like when X expresses concern that you just aren’t capable of understanding finances well enough to balance your checkbook).
Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling.
Verbal abuse is insidious — it destroys your self-esteem, it steals your self-confidence, it brainwashes you to try to change yourself to please your abuser, so X won’t hurt you anymore.
Verbal abuse is unpredictable. No matter how intelligent, careful, or perceptive you are, X will almost always find a way to hit a blind spot you didn’t even know you had.
Verbal abuse is the issue in the relationship. In non-abusive relationships, arguments are over concrete things that can be resolved. In an abusive relationship, there is no specific conflict – the whole point of any argument is to make you suffer.
Verbal abuse expresses a double message. For example, X will say something like “I love you”, and then spend 4 hours raving about how love is worthless and all that matters is power; or X will scream “I’m not mad!” in a rage-filled voice; or X will suggest going out to dinner, and then treat you like a servant.
Verbal abuse usually escalates, increasing in intensity, frequency, and variety.
For example, early in the relationship X may make jokes about you, and as time goes on X will start “punishing” you by withholding affection, namecalling, accusing and blaming, undermining, maybe even escalating into face-slapping, kicking, biting, scratching, or even use of weapons.
The Modern Dads Handbook by John Badalament
Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun by Geoffrey Canada
Reaching Men by Rus Funk
Voice Male, published by the Men’s Resource Center for Change (Amherst, MA)
www.vahealth.org/civp/sexualviolence/listserv.asp — National Listservs