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Is the Stress of Entrepreneurial Life Putting Your Family at Risk for Domestic Abuse?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


stress of entrepreneurial lifestyle putting family at risk for domestic spouse abuse child abuseNo one wants to think it could happen to them. And commendably, many entrepreneurs go into business for themselves because they want to spend more time together as a family. Yet the stress of growing a business can become an unbearable strain on the individual and on the family, and some turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. The greatest majority of child abuse cases are related to alcohol abuse.

NPR recently ran a story that reported, “Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.” The Center for Disease Control has a downloadable fact sheet that reports that in the US, in 2012, the Child Protective Services received an estimated 3.4 million referrals of children being abused or neglected.

It takes just one incident of domestic violence to send a marriage and a business reeling.

For example, in my Entrepreneurial Couples book, I talk about Jay and Celia who thought they were untouchable until Jay allowed mounting stress at work to turn to abusing alcohol to unwind. His very successful auto repair business was starting to go sour because he could no longer compete with a national chain. One night when Celia was still at the espresso cart, Joe came home after having had a few drinks and was annoyed that his wife was not there cooking his dinner. Rather than wait until his wife got home, Jay started an argument with his teenage daughter; before he was through, he had pinned her to the wall and was strangling her, until he stopped in horror.

Although Jay was mortified that he got this out of control and immediately apologized to his daughter, he asked her to keep the incident a secret from Celia. Of course, this secret festered and came out two years later when the couple was in marital therapy as part of Jay's alcohol treatment program. Celia was unable to tolerate the betrayal, and the couple separated.

At the point that domestic violence erupts, the lives of entrepreneurs are extremely out of control. Stress from the typical workaholic entrepreneurial lifestyle can create health problems, marital problems, drug abuse problems, and ethical problems. Spouse abuse and child abuse indicate an obvious breakdown in the multiple developing progressions of an individual's life, and are evidence of serious mental and spiritual problems. In fact, to allow the stress of entrepreneurial life to become this extreme means that the couple has gone beyond crisis. Chronic problems that have persisted for years are responsible for this total disregard of human values and dignity.

As a result of these problems, in combination with the weaknesses of character that evolved years earlier from neglectful and abusive upbringings, the crossing of boundaries into domestic violence is more common than you might think. If you recognize yourself or your partner taking even a small step in this direction, you should seek the help of a psychotherapist immediately. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere and want to learn more, check out remote education for entrepreneurial couples that allows us to connect via video or telephone conference.

Read more on my website: Entrepreneurial Life and Alcoholism Recovery.



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