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Know your partner


Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Know your partner

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“Women need to take time to get to know the people they’re getting into relationships with.”
These sentiments are coming from forensic psychologist Rennette Dimmott, who has expressed concern at the rising number of domestic violence cases, and dysfunctional relationships in Barbados.
She believes that if more women took the time  to develop their relationships and get to really know their partners, they would be better able to spot the signs of trouble in men that could lead to greater problems later.
When asked what makes certain men beat their partners, Rennette was quick to explain.
“It’s jealousy, an inability to express their feelings in a healthy manner,” she says. “I find that our men don’t cry, they resort to behaviours that are unhealthy like unleashing anger on women. Since they don’t cry they go away with pent up anger and frustration.”
According to Rennette, many of these behaviours that men exhibit are things that they grew up seeing patterned before them.
“These men would grow up seeing their parents behave in manner that is violent,” she adds. “As  a result of that people internalize whatever they see, it is learnt behavior which they pick up from their social environment.”
Those behaviours that men grow up seeing mimicked by their parents are responsible for how they cope with the problems, or their reactions to the problems they face in life.
Some men just have poor coping skills and are unable to adequately deal with the problems they face in life,” Rennette said. “That is especially true of the problems that they face in family life.”
When some women are faced with these negative behaviours in men, some refuse to do anything about it.
“Women lie . . . they see the behaviours but allow their emotions to cloud their reasoning,” she said. “They see the behaviours and refuse to do anything about it. A big factor for that is low self-esteem which keeps women in relationship. It creates a psychological hold.”
What often throws outsiders off when they learn of a man’s violent behavior to a spouse or partner, is a revelation that they never saw those tendencies.
But Rennette says this is often very common.
“Persons may exhibit different behaviours in different environments,” Rennette adds.“The home is a controlled environment and work is not. When men batter they feel they’re in control.
“Once a woman observes there  is a batterer within a relationship, that relationship should end.
Rennette stress that the relationship should end not only  for the woman involved, but also because of the long-term impact that it can have on children in the home.
“It impacts negatively on the self-esteem of those children and also affects their schoolwork,” she says. “Research shows that children who bully are accustomed to seeing people within their environment being bullied.”
Then there is also the risk that these children will replicate that abusing behavior when they grow  up and form their own relationships.
It is because of the damaging cyclical effect of violence in the home that Rennette stresses that women need to be careful who they date or get into relationships with.
“Women like to jump into bed too quickly without getting to know people,” she said. “Women need to look at how men respond to jealousy.”
“Women need to find out their background, and whether there is  a history of mental illness within the family.
“This is important because there is a genetic component to mental illness that can be passed on to children and have lasting impacts on their lives.”
While gathering this knowledge early in relationships is key, Rennette stresses the importance of a healthy dose of self-esteem in a woman which help her to walk away if these negative behaviours should surface.
“There are some women in Barbados who still believe that a man doesn’t love them if he’s not hitting them,” she said.
“But people need to find value within themselves before trying to find it within another human being.”

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