Monday, December 19, 2011

What Is Abuse?

What is Abuse?
Abuse comes in many forms; it is not just physical. Sometimes people think they haven't been abused because they were never hit or seriously injured. What we know is that abuse happens in many more ways than just physical assaults, and that all forms of abuse are scary, painful, and shaming. Abuse it is intimidation or manipulation of another person or animal, or an intrusion into another's psyche; the purpose is to control the other. It is generally a long term pattern of behavior although specific short term interactions can be labeled abusive. Abuse is a form of long-term torture usually inflicted by one's nearest and dearest. It is a grievous violation of trust and it leads to disorientation, fear, depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions. It generates aggression in the abused and this overwhelming emotional roller coaster transforms into envy, violence, rage, and hatred.
I have been the victim of abuse. I lived with a man for nearly 6 years who was emotionally and mentally abusive. He let nothing get past him whereby he didn't use it to show me how stupid, incompetent, worthless or crippled I was. Would it have evolved into physical abuse? Probably, given time, according to statistics. But I left before it even came close to that. Despite having left, it still took a couple of years before I felt I was worthwhile enough to rejoin the world.
Some of the indicators of human abuse are as follows. I give you this list for you to think about in relation to your dogs and how they are being trained. There are trainers out there, even here in Tucson, that I consider abusive - they are nothing but bullies who are so in fear of losing control or looking like whimps, they abuse others and animals in the name of training. And don't think that just because it's your dog getting shocked or jerked around by the leash, that she is the only one being abused. You are also. Do you really want your dog to be treated that way? Do you really think it's ok or are you cringing inside and compromising your own integrity, ethics and morals by allowing it? That compromise is the start to being a victim. I know, I've been there.
I've seen abuse happen from those who claim they are positive trainers as well. Head halters can be particularly painful and dangerous, but seem to be the collar of choice for many positive trainers. I've seen just as much total control of a dog from positive reinforcement trainers as from positive punishment trainers. I've seen dogs trained with a clicker that aren't allowed to do anything unless the owner is there with a clicker. They are clicked for sleeping, eating, playing and getting petted. This much control is just as abusive as using a prong collar for loose leash walking.
It really is the intention behind the actions that delineates whether it is abuse or not.
Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse includes all kinds of hurtful behaviors, words, and actions designed to scare, manipulate, intimidate, threaten, isolate and destabilize the one with less power in the relationship. Emotional abuse is very hurtful; many women who have been abused say that the emotional abuse is even more damaging and harder to heal from than physical abuse. Emotional abuse includes:

  1. Not letting you have food, medication, sleep
  2. Controlling all your activities.
  3. Forcing you to do degrading things.
  4. Frightening you.
  5. Constantly attacking your self-esteem.
  6. Throwing things at or near you.
  7. Punching walls next to your head.
Physical Abuse
Physical abuse includes all kinds of physical action done by the partner with more power with the intent of hurting or scaring the partner with less power. Even behaviors like pinching, tickling or hair pulling can be abuse if they are done with the intent to control the other partner. Be very clear on this, it may not appear to be abuse to an outsider. The intention is what matters. If the intent, of what most of us would consider just teasing, is to control the other, then it's abuse.

  1. Choking or strangling.
  2. Burning.
  3. Holding you down.
  4. Pushing.
  5. Kicking.
  6. Trapping you with his/her body.
  7. Stabbing.
  8. Murder.
I repeat

  1. Abuse comes in many forms.
  2. Professionals are not exempt from being abusive just because they have credentials or a shingle.
  3. Abuse has as it's purpose to control another being.
  4. Abuse is a form of torture. 
  5. Abuse is a grievous violation of trust. 
  6. Abuse leads to disorientation, fear, depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions. 
  7. Abuse generates aggression in the abused.
  8. Abuse generates an overwhelming emotional roller coaster transforming into envy, violence, rage, and hatred.
This is all based on human statistics and studies, but the statistics and studies are there for animals as well, they just aren't predicated on abuse caused by trainers and other so called professionals in the dog world.  Think hard about what you are doing to your dog when you take her to your current trainer and what you are doing to your own self-esteem and integrity by allowing any form of abuse at all.

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