Mudcat Café message #517690 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37057   Message #517690
Posted By: JudeL
30-Jul-01 - 11:38 AM
Thread Name: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
Subject: RE: Suspect Physical Abuse--What to do?
If as you say this woman is a professional who in a work situation she is used to being effective, it may be that she has fallen into the self deluding trap of believing that somehow she should be able to make a difference to his behaviour.
For those who "can't understand why the woman doesn't just walk out", from personal experience:
First comes shock and disbelief (which is actually greater if you came from a loving and supportive family)
Then the believing them when they promise not to do it again ( because you so much want it to be true).
Then the feeling that you should be able to "manage" them better so that they change.
Then because (surprise surprise) you can't change their behaviour, you feel helpless, and by now it's gone on so long that to admit it's happening not only feels like failure , but also people who have never experienced it make you feel like it's your fault for having stayed in the relationship
By now your self esteem (fuelled by the manipulative abuser) has plummetted to the point where you don't feel you can ask for help as it all seems so hopeless (especially as it means admitting that "you let it happen") and if there are kids involved you worry about breaking up the family and about them being "removed from your care as you allowed them to be in a house with a violent person and therefore at risk of direct violence themselves". Finally - yes the situation can only be stopped when the woman choses - usually when they admit that the abuser isn't going to change and they are wasting their life waiting for miracles, that this isn't going to stop unless they stop it by getting out. - - But there is a lot that can be done to help empower the woman to make that choice, even down to simple things by making her aware that she has friends who will be there for her whatever time of day or night she needs them. I was lucky my friends wouldn't allow my ex to isolate me (although he tried very hard and was frequently extreemly rude and nasty to them)
One final thing - physical scars heal a lot faster than the emotional ones, and the emotional effect of being hit means that even when they are not actually using physical violence against you at that moment the awareness of the possibility will be at the back of your mind all the time, colouring your behaviour.
I don't know what set up they have over there but in the UK , shelters and support networks encourage women to describe themselves as "survivors" of abuse rather than use the term "victim" with it's connotations of helplessness.
There are some appauling stats on abuse - I don't know about the states but in the UK on average every three days one woman will be killed by her abusive partner. Unfortunatly abuse is a lot more common than we like to think.
Jude