Monthly Archives: August 2015

Understanding your Family Background

Mom_Dad_child sitting

Understanding your family background helps you make connections between your past experiences and your present behaviour.

What do you see in your own violent behaviour now that connects with your own childhood experiences?

Please note:
• Any negative feelings experienced, or your reactions to being abused, are just like those your partner(s) might feel when they are being abused.
• What you felt like as a child, witnessing your mother or father’s violence, is what your own children feel when you are violet, frightening or intimidating.
• Your past experiences of violence does not excuse your own current violence, but it can help you understand your own violent behaviour, which could be leading to your own son or daughter’s behaviour.
• Physical “disciplining” is no justification for abusive behaviour. It is not “necessary” in teaching children.
• It is not disloyal to question your parents’ methods of disciplining children. Your parents probably did the best they knew how, it was probably the only way they knew.

Children Faces (Windmill)

Abusive behaviour does not “just happen” See previous post here:

• It is fed by abusive beliefs and intentions
• It is supported by denial, blame and excuses
• It affects others
• It is possible to choose a non-abusive alternative (as mentioned in my previous post)

Personal Plan for Change:
• Take a blank sheet of paper
• Across the top of the sheet of paper write: Plan for Personal Change (Heading)
• Directly below your heading, write your name in big, bold letters
• Draw two columns on your page below your heading and your name
• The column on your left should be called “Changes I need to make”
• The column on your right should be called “How I will change” (what I need to do)

Remember that your plan can be as long as you need it to be. You are free to add additional items as you go along and learn more about yourself and your behaviour.

This Personal Plan for Change is a written record of the goals (Changes I need to make) and (How I will change) to which you are committing yourself in order to become the best you can be and to stop your abusive behaviour.

Forgiveness doesnt excuse behaviourpg

The steps you take and which you commit yourself to must be realistic and should be focussed on changing specific abusive behaviour, for example: by asking: “What behaviour would my spouse want me to change?”

During this process, when an issue arises, tur it into a goal for you to work on which you write down (add to) your Plan for Personal Change.

Clip Art Graphic of a Pillar Cartoon Character

Family background questions to ask yourself (find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed to think about these questions in order to answer them). Give yourself time to think about each question.

1. How were emotions expressed in your family?

2. As a child, what was the one phrase you remember hearing most often from your parents?

3. How were you praised? Criticised?

4. How is your present behaviour affected by your family of origin (i.e. your parents and siblings). What emotions, thoughts and behaviours come from growing up in that family?

5. In what way are you similar to your dad? In what ways are you similar to your mom?

6. How did individuals in your family handle anger?

7. How did individuals in your family solve conflicts?

8. What methods of discipline were used?

9. How did you react or respond to the discipline?

10. How did individuals in your family express love and affection?

11. Think about the way children were treated in your family of origin (how did your parents treat you and your siblings) – and the way you now treat your children. What is the same? What is different?

What about the women in South Africa?

Rose opening Animation

Conversation alert, save the date…. 4 September

“We Need to Talk… about women’s movements in South Africa”
As part of our conversation series “We Need to Talk…” our next event falls on the tail end of Women’s Month 2015.

We are observing the subject of feminism and women’s movements in SA is being raised more and more in different spoken and written forums. We think it timely to reflect upon what has been achieved for women in a historical context and what the challenges and future opportunities are for women’s activism in South Africa.

We have a great line up of speakers and topics, please contact us on for more information.

In the meantime, see this opinion piece written by Zama Ndlovuone, one of the speakers who will participate:
Find it here


“Sex workers are selling services.They are not selling their body..”
This Women’s Month on 26 August, the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Sisonke National Sex Workers Movement, the Women’s Legal Centre and Sonke Gender Justice will launch a new decriminalisation coalition called ‘Asijiki’.

Asijiki is a fight for recognition, protection and equal access to justice rights for sex workers. Tshwaranang wholeheartedly supports the goals of Asijiki.

Dianne Massawe, of SWEAT will speak about the sex workers movement in South Africa at our next conversation “We Need to Talk… about women’s movements in South Africa”

Join us on 4 September at the event in Braamfontein or via twitter feed‪#‎WeNeedToTalkSA‬

Contact us for details
Find us here

Clip Art Graphic of a Pillar Cartoon Character

Why resist the temptation to be cynical about women’s month says Rebecca Davis from the Daily Maverick…/2015-08-03-why-womens-mo…/…


What is the reason for a women’s month and what does it mean?
Find it here

Ant (pondering)

In other news this month . . .

A man on trial for rape was alleged to have told a 12-year-old victim to “shake yourself, shake yourself” before sexually assaulting her in full view of her two friends.
Read about it here:

Flowers Dazzling Animation

Helen Moffett Takes Down the Department of Women in 17 Tweets (Without Swearing Once)

Seven Flies on the Wall


Abusive behaviour does not “just happen”. It is . . .

• Fed by abusive beliefs and intentions
• Supported by denial, blame and excuses
• Affects others
• Possible to choose a non-abusive alternative

Think about a recent incident where you have either been subjected to abuse or you have been the abuser . . .

Flowers Dazzling Animation

Imagine there are seven flies on the wall any time an abuser (you or someone else) carries out an abusive or violent act. These flies see everything that happens, each from a different view point.

Fly no. 1: THE ACTION: What happened? What did you do to control your partner (if you were the abuser)? Or what did your partner do to control you (if he/she was the abuser)? What was the look on the face of the abuser? The tone of the voice? The actions of the abuser?

Fly no. 2: THE INTENTION: As the abuser – What do you believe should really have happened or should be happening? As the one being abused – what do you believe should really have happened or should be happening?

Fly no. 3: THE FEELINGS: As the abuser – what were your feelings before, during and after the incident? As the one being abused – what were your feelings before, during and after the incident?


Fly no. 4: THE DENIAL: The way you or your partner (the abuser) justified, excused, minimised or denied their actions or tried to blame you. If you were the abuser – how did you justify, excuse, minimise or deny your actions or try to blame your partner?

Fly no. 5: THE EFFECTS: (As the abuser) – the effects of your action on yourself, on your victim, on others (the children). As the abused, what were the effects on yourself, and others (the children)?

Fly no. 6: YOUR PAST VIOLENCE: As the abuser – how has your past violence affected this situation? As the one being abused – how has your past abuse or violence affected your response to this current incident?

Fly no. 7: NON-VIOLENT ALTERNATIVES: Abuser – what could you have done differently? What could you do next time, without being controlling?

Clip Art Graphic of a Pillar Cartoon Character

Finding alternatives:
An abuser (male or female) can change the way they respond to things and situations. Their response can be more “response-able” The abuser can choose not to tune into abusive beliefs and attitudes they have learnt, the same way we can change the radio station we are listening to.

Being “response-able” means deliberately tuning out abusive messages in his/her head and choosing to tune in to being caring and loving instead, one that is good for all because nobody is scared, put down or feeling used.

Response-able parenting includes:
• Sharing parental responsibilities
• Avoids using children as a negotiation tool
• Tries to be a non-violent role model
• Concerned with the children’s needs above all else