Getting past the “Cover Story” in Battering Intervention
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 June 2019 14:29
- Written by Steve Halley
I recently read about the challenges facing veterans returning from war. Many had lived through unimaginable trauma during their service…experiences that will likely remain engraved in their memory for life. Often, veterans, like other victims of trauma, create stories upon their return, based on truth, that can be shared with family and friends without too much emotional risk. Soldiers do not have to go into details and reexperience the emotional intensity of their entire story. They can remain safe in their retelling of their “cover story” without having to risk emotional activation and the stirring of their traumatic memories.
Participants in battering intervention programs have cover stories too. It is often too vulnerable for participants to initially acknowledge and be accountable for, not only the violence bestowed upon their partner and children, but also the violence and cruelty that had been bestowed upon them long before they could do anything to be safe. While the cover story is designed for psychological safety, part of the change process is to help move the conversation beyond the cover story, toward genuineness on a deeper level.