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Why do you tolerate an abusive relationship?
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Posted on Thu, Jul 07, 2005 23:48

I chatted with someone I was interested for the last couple of months. I treated her with respect, understanding, and kindness. I understood her to be a loving, respectful mother of two beautiful children.

I went to see her. We spent four wonderful days together. Fine dining, swimming in the pool, carriage rides, and horseback riding. I listened to everything she said and made our time together something very memorable by making her desires come true.

Over the last couple of weeks, I found out that she has been in an abusive relationship for the last 8 years. An ex-boyfriend keeps coming back and verbally abuses her and the children. This woman has literaly told me she is in fear for her and her children's life. I was a good listener and I was available to her 24/7. I even offered her and her children a place to stay so they could escape the ex-boyfriend because he keeps showing up at her house. I did everything possible to be the best friend a person could ever have.

I am leaving for a vacation this weekend. I offered for her to attend but it never came to be. I asked her if it would be ok if I sent her a postcard. She responded with I am a uncaring, insensitive person because I don't understand her situation because I want to send a postcard. I wanted to send a simple post card saying where I was and wish she was there. She told me she never wanted to talk to me again.

I understand she is a hurting and miserable from an abusive ex-boyfriend. But what I do not understand is why she would not leave an abusive situation for someone that is loving, kind, and respectful? I will probably never find out; she has her reality and I have mine.

I have observed that some women tolerate an abusive relationship for years. Why?

Mel

P.S. To the women I mention. May God guide you and your children to a happy and healthy life.



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Posted on Sun, Jul 10, 2005 09:12

Well said Andy...as we have chatted before, Ive been thru the ringer w/all this as well! I was smart enuff to break away from my X and not allowing it to linger for years.
My daughters aren't from my 2nd marriage, something my oldest daughter told me a few weeks ago about broke my heart...h e l l it did!!! She moved out at 21 to be out on her own for the first time w/her BF...it went south after two months...I asked her if she was ready to move back home...she said she will never do that, she has taken the step to being an adult...but she does feel she rushed into moving out because of all my drama w/my X, I remember at one time my middle daughter couldn't take it and moved in w/her father...and my youngest wanted to be sold. Our rotten marriage was really affecting my babies and it was time for him to leave.
I grew up w/an abusive mother and step-father it was a living H E L L as well Please don't ever do this to your babies...it affects them for the rest of their lives :(



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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 14:41

Andy, it was very brave of you to post those very personal and painful memories of your childhood.
My heart goes out to you.



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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 07:10

Andy...your story is so much like mine,,i also lived that same story as a child,, except there were 9 kids,,and we also saw our mother have the crap beat out of her every time the man got drunk,,except this was the step dad,, so it was every other weekend for us.We all hated that man,, she never divorced him either, in fact had 3 children with him. I never understood why she stayed, my brothers also had planned to kick the crap pout of this man but it never came to that. He ended up dieing from Cirousis of the Liver, drinking too much!
My mother died shortly after that a young 37, so I know what you mean,,I swore Id never stay in a relationship like that EVER!!!
The man I was married to never Physically abused me,,although Im not making light of Verbal Abuse,, but I had learned to tune him out, and keep my kids out of it..they never saw it or heard it..until late one night, when they were older in their teens, and the night my Sara call the police at 12 yrs old,,was the night I decided to divorce him,,she has hated him from that day forward.Lucky for me, somehow I was able to tune it all out,,just went numb for about 18 years to preserve my mind and spirit..I came out of it ok..he is still a looser and a drunk to this day..We dont speak,, and my children want nothing to do with him.
They are both ok also,, no effects,, like I said maybe because I kept them protected , I knew after what I saw and heard growing up that I didnt want them going through the same, so I kept them very busy, and active in sports, church etc.
As you know they are both doing great to this day..I have shared their successes.But I will never forget to this day what my dear mother went through,, sometimes I still sit and think about it , and it still brings tears to my eyes...You are right..I will never forget it..
But I think in my case..it didnt damage me,, it only helped me to realize, that their are men like that out there,, and to watch for the warning signs, and to steer clear of them.
I still seem to cross paths with the verbal ones though..havent fined tuned those feelers out yet..but Im working on it daily,,setting those standards like NYCHICK says!



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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 06:31

Andy,
I appreciate what you wrote and felt tears throughout. It is so difficult to gain the courage to walk away. It is difficult to say "I have had enough" A person has to sometimes hit their rock bottom instead of hoping that their mate will hit theirs. It was the coccaine use that was the icing on the cake and unfortunately the verbal abuse and even the breaking of my ribs was not enough to make me walk away. I wanted so much to be like my parents and someday celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary. I took my wedding vows so seriously that not even the abuse was enough to make me go. But fortunately, when I awoke that one morning and knew I had, had enough, I had hit MY rock bottom and I was able to walk forward and all the pleading and crying by my Husband did not break the strength I had inside of me, to walk forward and not look back. Thank you for sharing this, Andy.



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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 05:21

Andy, thank you for sharing your childhood. As a result of your challenges, somehow, you strived to be the best you can be. You are one of the smartest, funniest men on here. You have achieved dreams and goals most haven't. You took this incredibly painful and difficult situation and turned it around to make "somebody" so unique and special. Thank you for trusting us enough to tell us your hardships, Andy.

  


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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 01:12

Thanks for sharing Andy. It's not an easy thing to do.



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Posted on Sat, Jul 09, 2005 00:29

There is one other reason, usually overlooked, for staying in an abusive relationship. It can be exciting. Yes, I said exciting. There are people that like to fight, it gives them a high. I don't understand it, but I have known at least a dozen people like that. I am not talking about one party, but both people love to fight.

There are also some cultures that are explosive. Its just normal. Latins, Italy, etc. Even some families in any culture.

This may explain some cases of what appears to be abuse, but isn't really. Its more like an exciting lifestyle to the people involved. I think they are nuts, but what do I know.

wwwww



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 22:19

That was a excellent post Andy and took courage,-- thanks. And you are dead on, kids are more important than the adults involved, and must be protected from seeing abuse, and being abused.

My dream, for 25 years at least, is to open a complex/center for such abused families. It is a need that our society does not deal with well at all. Maybe someday.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 20:48

This is a tough thread for me. I decided to respond because I've engaged in email and IM exchanges here with several women who have been abused and felt I needed to speak up without joking.

I grew up with a mentally ill father who was bipolar and you could actually feel the pendulum swing. And several times that swing put my mother in the hospital and a few times almost killed her. When I was twelve I had a gun loaded and was hiding in the closet by the front door ready to kill him. But my sister had called the police and they got to my home first. My sister and I were always begging them to get a divorce. But my mother would always take him back until I was almost thirteen and finally got a divorce. But that didn't end it, that didn't happen until I was 16 and brave enough to make him leave, ironically against my mother's wishes at the time. Also ironic in that it was the first time he ever beat me up.

After the divorce he would bring over the laundry and my mother would do it. She would cook him meals. He might change the oil in her car. They would play cards. And even though he was put on more effective medication (for that time) she still got beat up - and claimed she was ra*ped once (I wasn't home). And the verbal abuse was almost as bad. But my mother was no saint either,. She knew how to make my father feel 2 inches tall and an many occassions she brought him to a boil as if she wanted to get the crap beat out of her. Why did my mother do that? To this day she can't answer that honestly and perhaps doesn't even know. And my father has blotted it all out of his mind.

I think there's much truth in much of what has been explained in this thread. She felt sorry for him, she was lonely, she hadn't known any other way of life for so long and had escaped from a dysfunctional family herself. I certainly agree with Lorrie that people can become codependent in a sick sort of way. But it still doesn't explain what's going on in their heads. And at some point I didn't care, I just wanted it to end.

I could write tomes on the failure of the legal system, the mental health system, and all sorts of other systems that failed our family. It got to the point that I came to view these institutions as more detrimental than helpful. Some of the worst beatings happened after my dad came home from the psychiatrist. Hopefully things have improved in the last 30 years. But from what I've seen it doesn't impress me much yet.

All I know is this. My childhood was a living hell. Somehow, I got through it intact because I was strong and had dreams and ambitions and I lived in them. But my sister didn't. She spent time in mental care, suffered from addiction since age 16, and is only now starting to put her life together - still very fragile. My wife and I took custody of her when we were in college. What an amzing woman I married who, at age 19, in college and working, would take on the responsibility of a troubled teenager. I never could have saved my sister without her help.

I love my parents. And I hate them both too. I resent both of them for putting two children through what they did. My sister and I still can't bear to spend much time with them before we feel inexplicably uncomfortable - no matter how nice they're acting To some extent perhaps neither could help it, and in other respects, they were both guilty. One thing I learned is that you have to hold people responsible for their actions whether they have a "disease" or not. Otherwise it only gets worse.

So if you're in an abusive relationship get out and make a clean break.. And if you have kids and you persist in your attachment to what destroys you and them, you are no better than a crack addict with kids. I know it's not easy to get out. You'll have to summon every resource, friend, and ounce of will you have. But you have to do it or you'll risk destroying more than just your life.

Sincerely,
Andy



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 19:05

Mel,
Many women stay in abusive relationships because the abusers make then feel that no one else will want them. Many of the victims are embarrassed and do not know that there is a better life out there. They are co-dependent. They feel that if they stay around long enough, they can "fix" the person and the situation. You are foreign to her. She doesn't think she deserves someone like you, and until she gets help and counseling, she will continue to seek the same scenario. And it takes years of counseling to make a bad situation better. I know. I was in an abusive relationship for many years, and it took allot of help from friends and professionals before I could see light at the end of the tunnel. It is not your fault.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 17:25

I can't add anything Mel. I think Butter, Petite & Cat said it best. Like Butter said, they can be soooo loving the next day (not speaking from personal experience, but my cousin's). She may be struggling with her own feelings of love for him. Because that part of him that can be 'sooooo loving' is the part she is 'sooooo in love with'. She may hate the abuse, but mentally is not ready to let go of her own love for him.

Did that make sense? It did to me! :-)

As the ladies said, stay being her friend if she'll continue to let you. It sounds like she really needs one.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 15:29

i work in a program that deals with the abusive men. I am not making excuses for them, believe me, they are rotten to do what they do. Many of them grew up in the same situation they are now causing and it is "normal" for them. You know, after you've been told a million times by this man that you are worthless and will never be able to take care of yourself, you start believing it and it take "reprogramming" to undo what he has done. Many times the men isolate the women from all friends and even family, its all part of that control. there's no one there to tell you he is wrong and you are good and valuable.

maybe your friend has been told that you will be hurt if she continues your friendship. she has every reason to believe he will do it and like someone else said, its easier to be mean when you are doing something this hard. maybe she is protecting you. continue to be there for her, send the post card anyway. Now she is isolated and alone again. FEAR



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 15:02


butterflynjax write:
Mel,, for some reason, women that are in abusive relationships cant seem to pull away from the abuser.. I think that they are so confused,, because the abuser has a way of being so sorry for his actions afterwards,, they seem to prey ,, as Petty says, on womnen that are sweet and soft hearted.. those are the ones who are very forgiving.. the abusive partner makes them feel like sh*t,, only to come back with warmhearted apologies, making her feel so much more loved than before. they can be so sorry, and so loving, and so caring,, and make you think that they will never act like that again,, they lay a tremendous quilt trip on the woman..saying never will they act like that, and plead for another chance.

Its very hard to walk away from someone who can make you feel that much love,, believe me Mel,, these guys are good,, they lay it on thick, its a pattern that can go on for years,, the woman soon becomes numb to the pain and gets so used to it,, she knows that that guy is going to be so nice and loving the next day..
and then the children,, ya have ta take care of the children.

I stayed in a verbally abusive relationship for 18 long rotten years,, i cant tell ya why,, except that I had the fear of making it on my own,, i knew I couldnt give my children the things they needed on my own,, and most of all I never wanted to send them off to have to visit their rotten father on weekends,, so thats why I stayed.
I went through the weekend thing as a child ,,its not fun.

Mel,, be her friend, let her know that you want to remain friends,,

I dont understand why she had that reaction,, maybe she just wanted to call it off with you,, sometimes If ya act mean it makes it easier to walk away,, maybe she knew it wasnt going to be fair to you in the long run,, her X might have gotten wind of her seeing you,, and then he decided that he would get himself straighten out,, unfortunately for her....
...he wont change..
GOOD LUCK MEL



Yeah, that's probably it Butter.
It's like a vicious circle.
You explained it very well.
Mel: best of luck to you - hope all this helps a bit.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 13:05

Mel,, for some reason, women that are in abusive relationships cant seem to pull away from the abuser.. I think that they are so confused,, because the abuser has a way of being so sorry for his actions afterwards,, they seem to prey ,, as Petty says, on womnen that are sweet and soft hearted.. those are the ones who are very forgiving.. the abusive partner makes them feel like sh*t,, only to come back with warmhearted apologies, making her feel so much more loved than before. they can be so sorry, and so loving, and so caring,, and make you think that they will never act like that again,, they lay a tremendous quilt trip on the woman..saying never will they act like that, and plead for another chance.

Its very hard to walk away from someone who can make you feel that much love,, believe me Mel,, these guys are good,, they lay it on thick, its a pattern that can go on for years,, the woman soon becomes numb to the pain and gets so used to it,, she knows that that guy is going to be so nice and loving the next day..
and then the children,, ya have ta take care of the children.

I stayed in a verbally abusive relationship for 18 long rotten years,, i cant tell ya why,, except that I had the fear of making it on my own,, i knew I couldnt give my children the things they needed on my own,, and most of all I never wanted to send them off to have to visit their rotten father on weekends,, so thats why I stayed.
I went through the weekend thing as a child ,,its not fun.

Mel,, be her friend, let her know that you want to remain friends,,

I dont understand why she had that reaction,, maybe she just wanted to call it off with you,, sometimes If ya act mean it makes it easier to walk away,, maybe she knew it wasnt going to be fair to you in the long run,, her X might have gotten wind of her seeing you,, and then he decided that he would get himself straighten out,, unfortunately for her....
...he wont change..
GOOD LUCK MEL



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 10:31

I don't think some women see themselves as abused women. They may realize they have problems but do not identify the abuse as being their main problem.
Abused women, are extremely compassionate, and are convinced that they alone can help their man.
Some women believe that if only they would "improve," the abuse will stop. They believe that they can control the abuse through their own behavior.

My sister was in an abusive relationship and stayed due to her own guilt.
She believed that things would change for the better eventually. It never did. I believe childhood has much to do with the mate we chose. Some women go through this longer than others as a result of engrained thoughts from the past.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 07:45

I truly hope that her situation turns out well. I even offered her advice in a parting email that she should go to a woman's shelter.

Unfortunately for our relationship, I have my limits as well. I was there for her 24/7 until she sabotaged our relationship. I have to think of my daughter's and my own health. Maybe we can reconcile one day; who knows?

In the meantime, I will pray for her and her children to find happiness.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 07:37

Mel...I didn't know you had it in you...But I'm glad you do! I will always see you as a different man now! You are not only a good daddy...now you are a man w/a good heart!
OK now back to your ???? Altho my X wasn't physically abusive...he was mentally, and used/uses scare tatics to scare the bejesus outta me all the time...it's been nearing a year since our final breakup and it has just been until very recent time that I can feel comfortable to go about alone. This is a very aggrivating thing for your friend to be going through...Just continue to be her friend and be there for her...she will come around eventually...she has alot of things going thru her mind...You can't be there 24/7 for her...you have your daughter/work etc. Im sure shes sick of being afraid of her shadow...I hope she got a restraining order or does, and documents EVERY incident. Call the police for everyyyyyyyy incident, and tell her to be sure to get an incident report number. She will need all this when she goes to court. There is a dept thru the County...Domestic Violence...she can even get it for free! They will counsel and help her thru this. In the mean time Mel...Im sure she fears for you and your daughter and simply doesn't want touble for you and Nikki, my male friends continue to be threatened all the time...I know Mel Ive been there! Good luck hon...Keep us posted! If she would like someone to talk to that has been thru similiar situation...Plz do give her my email addy ok?



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Posted on Fri, Jul 08, 2005 05:37

Mel,
I am astounded by what you wrote. You really acted like a true gentleman and a sensitive human being.
Why she would tell you something like that when all you did was be kind to her is beyond me.
Maybe she was having an extraordinarily bad day..?? She happened to be in a bad mood or was overly sensitive that day..?? Who knows? Still doesn't excuse her treating you that way though.
I know that there are women who just cannot break away from that rut even if they say they want to get out. All these years her self-esteem really took a beating and that's all she ever knew. And all of a sudden you came along and showed her respect and affection and kindness and I guess she didn't know how to handle it - or, as victims often do, she did not think she deserved someone like you, deep down, so subconsciously sabotaged this budding relationship. What ashame!
I hope she comes around!



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