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In the last track we discussed Overcontrollers vs. Undercontrollers as well as Impulsive vs. Instrumental batterers.
As you know, batterers find ways to rationalize their abusive actions. Have you found, like I, that batterers tend to rationalize by blaming others in order to put themselves in a favorable "Nice Guy" light?
In this track, we will discuss what I term "Nice Guy Positioning Strategies." I feel that these Positioning Strategies are motivated by the batterers' desire to maintain the status quo. The purpose of maintaining the status quo is to minimize the seriousness of their actions, or to deny their actions completely.
Two "Nice Guy Positioning Strategies"
Blaming the Battered
In our initial session, Stan stated, "I'm not trying to justify my violence or anything, it's just well, like Janet calls me at work. Now, I've told her so many times: Don't call me at work! I've got people milling around my desk, people waiting to use the phone, and I'm trying to look like everything's cool! You know, and I'm saying to her, 'Janet, I can't talk now, I can't talk,' and she goes on and on, and I say I'm going to hang up! and she goes on, so I finally just hang up. Then she's mad when I get home. If all she does is yell, fine! But if she touches me, she's in real trouble!" After Stan hit Janet, he told her, "You wanted it to come to this. You always wanted it to come to this."
Think of a batterer you are currently treating who denies his responsibility by blaming the victim. Or think of a batterer who blames the situation. Do you need to increase your awareness of your client's "Nice Guy Positioning Strategies?" At the end of this track, I will discuss Scene by Scene Decoding, which is an intervention I have found effective with batterer victim-blaming.
Think of your Stan and specifically if he used parent-blaming in your last session. I found that in my sessions with Stan, I needed to remain aware of Stan's attempts to position himself in a victimized frame of reference. As you know, clients like Stan can be quite skilled at eliciting and manipulating therapists' feelings in a session. Information about Stan's childhood might be valuable in understanding how Stan's past affects his current actions. However, I feel that Stan is overly reliant upon the actions of his father as an excuse to "rightfully" abuse. Obviously, Parent-Blaming is a strategy that enables him to maintain his "Nice Guy" Position.
Scene by Scene Decoding
The group started to question whether Stan might be putting too much blame on Janet for nagging him and for ignoring his request to talk at a later time when he wasn't working. They began to understand, then, that perhaps Stan should have taken some responsibility himself for allowing his anger to lead to violence. Granted, this resulted in a pressure situation for Stan. However, as you know, court-ordered clients for whom I am writing a recommendation to the judge are motivated to participate by the court mandate.
In the next track we will discuss the batterer's shame and desire for control.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION
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