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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2004, 10:25 am 
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Joined: April 15th, 2004, 10:29 am
Posts: 6
Location: Texas
I, too, am a survivor of spousal abuse. It was the worst time of my life. I was married to an ex-Marine re-con who served behind enemy lines in Vietnam. Anyone and everyone around me was also apt to find themselves the focal point of his wrath, for he was a very dangerous, unpredictable man who saw violence as the only sure way to make his feelings clear.
To Lone Ranger, you are doing a great job I'm sure. A good friend, who makes her feel better about herself and who offers her support, is what she needs. It also doesn't hurt that she knows she can turn to you for protection, and really be safe, when she's ready. Just make sure she knows you're there for her, no matter what, in any way she needs you, and, after some time passes, she might do what she knows she must do--leave him.
I'm planning on writing an article, possibly even a novel, on the subject of survivors of spousal abuse. If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact me at: MelissaPehle@msn.com
Thank you.

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God Bless
Melissa

Come see my website at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~melissapehle/


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2004, 1:54 pm 
First thing is, if you have first-hand knowledge of abuse you MUST report it to the police. Now, this doesn't just mean that she told you he hits her. That's hearsay and the police won't give it any real weight. If she shows up with a black eye, though, and tells you that he punched her, then you can report that. What's the difference? In the second case you SAW the black eye. Now it's not JUST hearsay. The police may not do everything they should, but they'll give the report in the second case more validity than in the first case.

Beyond that, you can't make HER do anything. She has to decide that it's time to act.

You also need to be careful about your relationship with her. When she decides to get away from him, she may look for someone else to latch onto. Is that going to be you? Do you WANT that to be you? If not, are you being absolutely CERTAIN that she knows your interest in her is platonic? If so, are you sure you're giving her honest advice about her current relationship?

Being a man, and being the "go-to" person for a woman with relationship problems, is a very sticky position to be in. You're walking a tightrope no matter how you look at it. Just be sure you're being honest with both yourself and with her about what is motivating you.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: January 25th, 2005, 4:47 pm 
I and my MIL feel it is a matter of time before my SIL's husband becomes abusive. He already takes advantage of her. She says, "at least he pays his bills," but "his bills" are apparently not the rent, the utilities, the cable, the groceries, the car or the gas. She pays those and tends his child. He works maybe 3 hrs a week, with her help, and now pays some support for his other children. She has paid it before to keep him out of jail. Cars and cellphones break around him, and she pays to get them fixed. She does all the work in the house and yard. I think everything they have is in his name. He is draining the life from her.

They live 40 mins away from all family and friends, on his insistence. She doesn't get the car, either. If she wants to go anywhere at all without him, she has to call someone and get a ride.

I don't know why she is still with him, unless it's b/c she feels bad for his child, whose mother isn't very reliable. I've seen this man thump his child on the head repeatedly with a hard toy, over and over again even after the kid started to cry. The kid has bedwetting problems, attention problems, and has been suspended from school before for kicking the principal. My SIL is probably the best parent figure available right now. She really loves this child and sets a good example.

I suppose leaving her husbabnd would be like abandoning this child to him. Since she is only a step, I imagine she won't ever get custody and help the child the way she wants. And she will not feel it's right to leave the child with either parent, who are not as good at being parents as they should be.

I feel that this man has used his child as a trap and a tether to capture and hold my SIL by her maternal instincts, and that makes me angry. I feel that she is slaving away for a worthless excuse for a human being, and that makes me angry. I feel that when the end to this comes, she will be left with nothing, less than nothing, in debt and in tears b/c of his transgressions and his mistreatment of her, and that makes me livid.

I'm buying a book, which I will give to my MIL to give to her, and I will maintain contact with her and offer her a place in my home should she ever leave him, and someday when this house sells she will get a share, but only if she leaves him and never looks back, b/c I would do almost anything for her, but I will not waste my time or money on him, b/c he is worthless scum who enjoys taking advantage of a sweet-souled person like my SIL. If there is anything further I can do that anyone knows of, please tell me.


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PostPosted: January 28th, 2005, 7:04 pm 
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Joined: January 28th, 2005, 4:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Cheyenne, WY
Although it can sometimes sound a little judgmental, the one thing that I have been able to say to anyone in an abusive situation like that is this:

Do you want your son/daughter to grow up and marry someone like <the abuser>? Do you want your son/daughter to grow up to BE like <the abuser>?

Not all abusers are male, nor in the "husband" role. By calling on the responsibility of the parent to realize what they are inadvertently telling their children is "okay", the seeds of growth germinate far quicker.

But you have to be patient.

The hardest thing to acknowledge is that, even though you may be witnessing (first or second-hand) abuse, IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Each person makes their own choices, and, yes, their own mistakes, and these are precious and wonderful things that we are each given to experience. It hurts deeply to see abuse going on, especially with children present, but you can no more own the situation than you can the sky.

Compassion does not mean enabling - it means being there to listen, to sometimes give advice, to withhold judgment, and to let it go. Your responsibility only goes so far as the time you spend with the person facing the situation.

As a side-note, another complicating issue to the whole "leaving an abusive spouse" problem is that codependency (frequently noted as the cornerstone of this abusive cycle) often causes the abusee to act out either in passive-aggressive ways ("forgetting" to call when you're going to be late, staying out for hours during a "quick trip to the store", screwing up the laundry, burning dinner, etc.) as well as in their own violent ways. This makes the abusee ("victim") feel like he/she has sunk to the same level as the abuser, and thus makes it that much more difficult to justify the standard argument of "you deserve better than this".

I'm now five years out of my own abusive relationship, and three solid years into full recovery from codependency. It's not easy, it sucks, it hurts, but the strength must come from the abusee, not someone else. Interventions may save a life for a night, but unless the abusee is ready to leave of his/her own volition, it is merely putting off the inevitable.

"We are not strong as stones, but as wolves suckling our young.
Strength is not in us, but we enact it as wind fills the sails" - Marge Piercy

_________________
Only those that attempt the absurd, achieve the impossible.


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