Commentary on Dina McMillan and How To Prevent Abuse & Domestic Violence

Being the parent of a teen daughter, and having just finished a domestic abuse advocate a certification course, I keep thinking about what I can do for my kids to make sure that they don’t end up in the same situation I was in – being married to an abusive partner.

How did I, a smart, educated and competent woman, end up in something so outrageous? It was my sister who first said, “Lisa, you have been in an abusive relationship,” when I finally extracted myself after eighteen years, and my reaction was nothing short of shock.

There is an excellent comparison to the psyche of an abuse victim called the Frog in the Pot, credited to Elin Stebbins Waldal, a survivor of teen dating violence. It basically says that if you put a frog in a pan of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But, if you put the frog in tepid water, it won’t. And as you slowly increase the heat, the frog won’t notice it.

As the temperature rises little by little, the frog is slowly cooking, getting hurt, but able to tolerate. As the changes has been minimal and over time, the frog had not realized when the water actual began to boil. This is often how it is with abuse, and why psychological and emotional abuse can be much harder to recognize than physical abuse.

Yesterday, I stumbled on an amazing Ted Talk by Dina McMillan