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Jannaku

The Shark Cage

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Jannaku

My daughter and I were directed to read this by a DV counsellor. The shark cage metaphor was developed by an Australian psychologist and is an excellent article using a shark cage metaphor to visually illustrate how we develop personal boundaries and rights, and how this can lead to abuse and often re-abuse.

Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

http://www.psychotherapy.com.au/fileadmin/site_files/pdfs/SharkCage.pdf

Jannaku xx

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whitebutterfly11

This was helpful! Thank you for sharing, Jannaku.

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percolate

This is excellent! We might want to consider adding it to our resources section.

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Bink

That is an excellent article! I love the checklist for people embarking on a new relationship. It's useful just to weed out possible sharks from your circle of platonic friends, too. It's just plain useful in general.

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Hazelbee

Excellent! Saved it. Thanks Janna

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Bennu

Thanks for posting that. Mine scored a 12 on the clues. How about others? I'm making an appointment with the lawyer today.

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Quaddie

I'd like to mention that people shouldn't use this particular list too closely in evaluating whether their relationship was abusive or their partnership irretrievable, because it seems highly focused on only certain type(s) of abusers. I've had several abusive relationships which only scored one or two off that list (or even none, until after marriage), and not even the most "obviously bad" ones. The reason I say this is because of a tendency to minimize and think "he's not that bad," grasping at things that don't seem to paint the partner as abusive as either rationalization to maintain the status quo or confused by it as it seems to contradict other info they're gleaning. So like any resource just to be aware the list and descriptions of abusive behaviors are nowhere near exhaustive and shouldn't be used as a sole litmus test.

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Guest imtrying

Thank you for posting this. I had to look up several references mentioned in this like the Women's Bill of rights and the selfish/selfless continuum. Oh my Gosh, how come it feels like I don't really have most of those rights when dealing with people?

You have the right to be you.

You have the right to be treated with respect. You have the right to be human—NOT PERFECT.

You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone. You have the right to your own privacy.

You have the right to you own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.

You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life. You have the right to make decisions that affect you. You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your mind). You have the right to say NO.

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Jannaku

The shark cage metaphor has come in very useful for my daughter over the past week, which is what prompted me to post the link in the first place. She is a young woman (20) with a very damaged and deficient shark cage (many bars missing and a non-existent alarm system), thanks to having been brought up in a dysfunctional and abusive home.

She met a guy at an event just over a week ago and was well on her way to being a victim of a shark attack. A nice, good looking, personal trainer .... who hit on her big time. This initial hit, was followed with an excessive number of SMS's and phone chats. She then went on a lunchtime date with him ... lunch paid for, followed by coffee in a cafe, followed by a walk in a park, followed by him catching the train back with her (despite this being a big diversion in the opposite direction), followed by another continuous stream of SMS's, etc.

Even though she was flattered by the attention, something didn't sit right with her, so thankfully she spoke with me about it. Enter the shark cage metaphor. This guy had love bombed her and in doing so had crossed over many boundaries, which at the time she was unaware of. Every time he messaged her, she felt obligated to respond. She then decided to not respond to every SMS, turned down multiple offers to meet up again (despite feeling obligated to say yes) and stretched this out until Friday night. He was already expressing how much he missed her, how much he liked her, etc!! On Friday night she had organised a group get together at a venue in the city, explained this to him and invited him to meet up with her there. He arrived with a friend in tow, and was very upset that she was with a group of friends and that he couldn't have her undivided attention. Rather than chose to join in and socialise with the group, and potentially get to know her friends, he and his friend sat alone where he ignored her and was clearly unimpressed. She asked him on several occasions to join in, but he wasn't interested and chose to play on his phone the entire time giving her the impression that he was waiting impatiently for her. He eventually got fed up and told her he was leaving, but before he left he displayed his anger and said "I don't know why I bothered to come here. I knew this was going to happen. Thanks!" and with that walked out, leaving my daughter feeling upset, because she felt that she'd upset him. What had upset him was the fact that she had put some bars up in her shark cage, and this poor shark had received a knock on his nose, just as this article depicts. We don't expect that she'll be hearing from him again and instead of her feeling like she's done something wrong, she's actually feeling good about herself.

As an interesting side line to this I suggested that she ask those friends of hers who she knows have stronger shark cages for their opinions about him, and the verdict was that they didn't like him and sensed danger, and in their words had told her "Watch out for this one".

Jannaku xxx

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faithkeeper

Great article as other's have said!

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Guest imtrying

It's good that she could talk to you about that and sense that something was off before it got too far. Even cooler she is confident in the choice she made instead of feeling guilty.

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sunshine27

I'm going to bump this!

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Bink

I think a lot of our husbands and ex's score sky high lol.

What I love about this article is that it's mostly about how the victim can 'shark proof' her cage. That's what we really need! We KNOW who the abuser is and it never hurts to get a more specific proof how BAD he is . . . but what about us? What in the heck do WE do? Just sit here and take it? NO :) We start fixing the bars and bit by bit, prevent the shark from getting 'back in' so it can bite us. Inside a good shark cage is like being inside a strong person's good interpersonal boundaries. He can't get through and chomp off your leg no matter how hard he tries :) Real sharks seem to get 'angry' they can't get at the tasty human morsel inside the shark-proof cage, and so do abusers. If he can't get at you, he can't hurt you. He can chomp, show his sixty rows of sharp teeth, swim around and around really fast . . . but can't get past the cage.

Bink

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