Women facing psychological abuse: how do they respond to maternal identity humiliation and body shaming?
Martínez-González, Marina Begoña | 2021-06-20
This research analyzes the decisions made by women facing simulated situations of psychological abuse. Seventy-three women (36.9 ± 13.6 years) who had been victims of domestic violence participated. The analysis was based on their coping strategies, early maladaptive schemes, and their decisions in response to vignettes describing the following domestic violence situations: humiliation to women’s maternal identity with children as witnesses and body shaming. We used Student’s t and Mann–Whitney tests to compare the results between groups. The participants presented some coping strategies (social support seeking, wishful thinking, and professional support seeking) and several early maladaptive schemes (emotional deprivation, defectiveness/shame, social isolation/alienation, failure to achieve, attachment, and subjugation) associated with their reactions facing a situation of humiliation with children as witnesses. When the humiliation was against the body image, their reactions were associated with some coping strategies (wishful thinking, professional support seeking, autonomy, negative auto-focus coping, and positive reappraisal) and one maladaptive scheme (defectiveness/shame). Women who reacted avoidantly showed higher social and professional support seeking but experienced higher indicators of discomfort and deterioration of self-esteem than those who opted for assertive decisions. The presence of children as witnesses seems to be a factor of stress in the configuration of coping strategies and maladaptive schemes in female victims of domestic violence. The evolution of early maladaptive schemes and coping strategies requires observation to avoid the risk of isolation and permanence in victimizing relationships.