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Are You an Upscale Abused Woman?
(© Dr. Susan Weitzman, 2001)
The following questions represent a brief and preliminary guide geared to assessing the possibility of you being an upscale abused woman. It is important to note that this test is an initial screening tool only, not to be utilized as the sole determinant to assessing your situation and not to be confused with psychotherapy or used instead of obtaining professional help. If you believe you may be in any immediate or impending danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).
Note: In this test, your husband or partner will be referred to as "your mate."
Section 1 - Pre-Screening Questions:
Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions:
If you have answered "yes" to at least three of these questions, continue to next section.
- Is your joint income greater or equal to $100,000 per year?
- Do you live in a neighborhood considered to be upper middle class or above? (by either reputation, perception or Census data)
- Do you perceive yourself as being upper middle class or above?
- Do you or your mate have a minimum of a college degree?
Section 2 - Screening Questions:
Answer "yes" or "no" to the questions in the following two segments:
Does your mate:
- Isolate yourself from others in order to keep how your mate treats you a secret?
- Fear that you will be disbelieved or rejected by others if you reveal what is occurring in your relationship with your mate?
- Find yourself vigilantly trying to predict or anticipate your mate's moods and behaviors?
- Feel like you are constantly working on trying to please your mate so that he won't become angry and treat you cruelly?
- Make impossible demands of you (e.g. how you should look, behave, how much you should weigh, etc.)?
- Humiliate or belittle you in front of others?
- Threaten you verbally (e.g. "I will leave you a pauper!", etc.)?
- Subject you to verbal rage attacks and constant criticism?
If you have said "yes" to 3 or more of these, be diligent. You may be at the beginning of the path of the upscale abused woman.
Continue to the next section.
Section 3 - Escalating Signs:
- Do you have injuries or bruises as a result of your mate's actions?
- Does your mate bully, frighten you or threaten your well-being or your loved ones' well-being in any way?
- Does your mate exhibit rage or lose his temper?
- Does your mate hit, push, shove, choke, strike you?
If you have said "yes" to 1 or more of these, you should be strongly concerned with the possibility that you are an upscale abused woman. Without question, it would be prudent for you to seek professional assistance, talking with trained domestic violence counselors or other helping professionals familiar with domestic abuse.
Other Potential Indicators of Which to be Mindful:
Should you find that you fit into either of the above categories, you may also want to see if any of the following characteristics apply to you. They are often present for the upscale abused woman.
Does your mate:
- Feel ashamed and embarrassed because you feel that your mate treats you cruelly?
- Think that abuse such as this "doesn't happen to people like us"? (e.g. in this neighborhood, in your family, in your profession, etc.)
- Find yourself making excuses for staying in your relationship based upon your lifestyle? (e.g. privilege, material goods, status, etc.)
- Try to make excuses for or cover up your mate's actions? (to yourself or others)
Be aware that any trait from this final list of 8 traits can exist in a poor or unrewarding marriage that is not necessarily abusive.
- Make you doubt your own abilities and self worth by criticizing or making demeaning attacks on you? (e.g. on your femininity, sexuality, appearance, and/or maternal behaviors)
- Show little remorse nor seek forgiveness after exhibiting any or all of these behaviors?
- Believe he can "get away with anything" and deserves special treatment because he is so special?
- Use money and power as a leverage or threat?
Above all, remember:
If you think you or your loved ones may be in danger, get help or consult a professional immediately. SAFETY FIRST-IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE!