The evening had been pleasant as we played a round of mini-golf with friends under the lights. The air was cool and refreshing as we waited patiently for the couple in front of us to finish their turns at the twelfth hole. The woman, small and pretty, with short blonde hair, struck the ball with the club and watched at it stopped at the edge of the hole without falling in.
“I’ll get in the hole,” announced her partner confidently. A robust man, with coal black hair and black rimmed glasses aimed carefully. Striking his ball, he watched aghast, as it hit the edge of the block. Bouncing, it sped out of the contained area and into the grass. Cursing he lifted his club as if to strike the woman.
“It’s not my fault,” she said timidly, slightly cowering.
“It is your fault!” he accused. “You coughed just as I hit it and made me miss. “One of these days I’m gonna knock you in the head.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cough,” said the woman apologetically. “Honest.”
“Never mind,” he growled, grabbing her arm. “It’s someone else’s turn.”
Abuse comes in a variety of forms. Most often abuse is identified with a physical attack. Although this is accurate, there is also emotional and verbal abuse, isolation, and intimidation. To intimidate is to make someone fearful by threats. These threats can be verbal or non-spoken through looks, behaviors or gestures.
It amazes me how sometimes one human being can believe they have the right to be the authoritative master over another. As parents, we do have the right and responsibility to be authoritative over our children for the sakes of their safety and well-being. That doesn’t, however, mean that our children should be fearful if they make a mistake. Even if they have done something deliberately disobedient, while they should expect discipline, they should not be fearful of cruelty.
A wife should never be fearful of her husband (or vice-versa). There should be mutual respect and even when disagreements arise (and they certainly will) fear should not be a factor. Yet, statistics show a staggering amount of spouses deal with abuse. Intimidation, like in the example given, drives fear. It causes the spouse to feel like they are always “walking on egg shells” and never quite sure what is going to trigger the next outburst or threatening behavior.
Situations of any kind of abuse need to be addressed; and sooner rather than later. If you find yourself the victim of abuse, seek help from a minister, a friend, family member or visit a domestic violence shelter. The longer you delay, the greater risk of escalation.
Signs of Intimidation abuse
· Looks, actions, or gestures that generate fear
· Driving recklessly to create a response of fear
· Displaying weapons
· Threatening to harm the children
· Displaying cruelty to animals
· Threats or acts of violence to others
· Destroying personal or cherished items