Is your partner excessively controlling?

2015-10-08 09:37
Psychology and behavioural experts Anne Kramers-Olen, Busisiwe Siyothula and Professor Anthony Pillay.

Psychology and behavioural experts Anne Kramers-Olen, Busisiwe Siyothula and Professor Anthony Pillay. (Thabang Mathebula, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Children need to learn appropriate problem-solving skills from a young age and should be helped to develop a healthy respect for each other, regardless of gender.

This was according to mental health experts, speaking yesterday ahead of a conference to be held at Town Hill Hospital in Pietermaritzburg today. The conference is being held to commemorate World Mental Health Day, which will be observed on Saturday.

Professor Anthony Pillay, Anne Kramers-Olen and Busisiwe Siyothula, experts in psychology and behavioural medicine, highlighted the issue of intimate partner violence.

The professionals said such violence is often perpetrated by a partner with low self-esteem. The individual feels insecure and ineffectual as a person, and will therefore use violence to maintain power and get things done their own way.

The problem escalates when they start to control their partners’ social lives, monitoring their movements, restricting their relationships with others, controlling their finances and other aspects of their life.

“As a function of their low self-esteem and need to control, they resort to physical and emotional abuse. Interpersonal disagreements occur in most relationships; the problem is how they are dealt with. Well-functioning individuals are able to resolve conflicts through discussion and communication. However, an individual who is unable to accept the partner’s point of view and insists on being in control all of the time could be a warning sign.

“Individuals who find themselves in relationships with excessively controlling or violent partners are encouraged to seek help through social or health care facilities.

“Families and friends also need to provide ongoing unconditional support, because affected women often feel trapped and paralysed in the relationship,” said Pillay, adding the problem could be averted by teaching children appropriate behaviours and skills from a young age. Among these, boys should learn to relate to girls in a way that is based on equality rather than power. “Children witnessing persistent violence in the family environment become vulnerable to repeating such behaviours in later life, because they come to see violence as the way to resolve interpersonal conflict,” said Pillay.

The theme for World Mental Health Day is “Dignity in Mental Health”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mental health

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