Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:
Good morning. The new podcast L’abus au petit feu is now Live at anchor.fm/dr-mario-o-laplume.
We discuss the significant implications of the summation of “little abuses’ in the daily, monthly, yearly lives of our dear women. Are they more dangerous than a single big abusive event? Maybe.
In the following excerpt form our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague we said:
—”Doctor…It’s not how much he pisses me off—but rather how often.”
Sheila X. is a jovial, good mannered nursing aide that had chronic migraines for years; almost all the therapies failed and now she participates in a clinical trial. The trigger for her headaches lies close to her. She has an uncooperative husband. Occasionally she bursts out with anger, which does not elicit any real changes in him but ends up worsening her headaches. Silently soldiering on, she gave up.
A French chef recently explained in a TV program the advantages of a slow burning fire to tenderize hard-to-cook meats like game and fowl; when we watched him, we could not help comparing that technique to the way Sheila’s husband is slowly sapping her strength, a little abuse at a time. Gently. L’abus au petit feu.[i]
The low-intensity abuse is a sum of little acts that damage our self-esteem. A flutter of the hand that never lands… Or perhaps a not-so-subtle-threat in a chat… Or, worse still, a stony silence after only asking for an explanation for a misdeed. Women might be subjected to many instances of verbal and physical abuse that taken individually do not reach the threshold of intensity to elicit a firm response. But the baneful buildup of angst from small incidents can test their patience as its cumulative effect may be as (if not more) toxic than the one of bigger incidents.
In Japan, due to the Narita syndrome—named after the Tokyo airport— some young Japanese women coming back from a foreign trip —where they were exposed to other cultures with kinder men— dump their boyfriends on the spot. [ii]
[i] The literal translation is “slow-cooking abuse.” The term “au petit feu” means “a low simmering fire”; it is used as a metaphor for any human action or interaction that is carried out on purpose very slowly, almost parsimoniously.
[ii] Jeff Kingston “Japan’s Quiet Transformation : Social Change and Civil Society in 21st Century”, Routledge Curzon, Oxford, 2004.”
Note. We would like to acknowledge the usefulness of the great article written in 2019 by Elizabeth Ruth, a.k.a Notaguru, who explained the major/ minor mental and physical repercussions of Low Intensity Abuse of Women.
We recommend it to all concerned physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, first responders, etc. Why teachers? Because sometimes they are the very first ones that spot the marital abuse when an unusually evasive woman comes to pick up her kids at school.
BE ON THE ALERT. ABUSE OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN AROUND US IS MUCH, MUCH MORE COMMON THAN WE MIGHT THINK. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO DETECT ITS EARLY SIGNS AND REPORT IT TO AUTHORITIES.
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.