Please help me understand/Domestic Violence Question

  1. First of all I have to say that my on line persona doesn't even compare to my real time personality. Writing never has been my thing, I can never get the words from my brain to my typing fingers while conveying the same compassion I am feeling. People who have never met me in real time and only know me on line, they laugh the first time they meet me. My writing style simply does not show my real time personality. So if I come off as being a harda@@, honestly I don't mean it that way.

    Domestic violence, I don't get it. I'm one of those who believe that we can never really understand and relate to a handful of scenarios unless we experience them first hand. My parents were both alcoholics, I firmly believe one cannot understand alcoholism unless one IS an alcoholic. We can certainly have empathy and even sympathy for certain problems but can we *really* honestly relate and understand unless we walk in those same shoes?

    Domestic violence. This has been something that I have never been able to get a grasp on. I have worked ER, Trauma, ICU/CCU, the works. I've been a nurse for over 20 years. While I can feel empathy with these folks I still don't get it. Why in the world would a woman (or man) want to stay with an abusive spouse? Financial issues only go so far. There is welfare, Medicaid, various forms of financial help. What about children? How can someone justify allowing their children to watch abusive parents for the sake of finances? Sure, it's easy for me to talk, I have no children. I never thought I would make a fantastic parent so I never had them. That's the most important job in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! How can someone screw it up??? Teaching children what marriage is by beating the crap out of one or the other... what kind of role model is that?

    If you stick your hand on a hot stove and it hurts, DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE! If your spouse is pounding the crap out of you, DON'T LET HIM/HER DO THAT ANYMORE! Why is this such a difficult concept? Yes, I know... finances, stability, home, .... but what is worth your life? Obviously, something. How many men and women die annually because of having the ever lov'en crap beat out of them by their spouse? It isn't like it's the first time it has happened.

    What makes any person believe they are loved when they are being pounded on? Obviously, this is NOT a matter of common sense but something very different. What *is* that very different thing?

    There is a thread about why some nurses stay after their shift is over and a few have discussed abusive home lives. That got me to thinking about this issue again. This is something I have simply never been able to wrap my brain around and I'm hoping someone can explain it.

    Is there anyone out there that has been in such a relationship and since gotten out? Can you explain this to me? Honestly, I'm not a heartless big 'ol meanie, I just don't get it, but I want to understand. On COPS recently there was a clip where a man was pounding on another man. His justification... "He ain't married to my sister and nobody who isn't married to her hits her." ??????????????????

    Maybe the more important question is... is there anyone out there that is IN an abusive relationship that wants out? While you are MORE than welcome to live in my home to escape your relationship, I hope you explain to me why you have permitted this for "X" amount of time. And I sincerely mean this, if any abused medical person wants out and needs a place to stay, Arizona has open arms. More specifically, my home is yours. Just please explain to me why you stayed as long as you did.

    Seriously, can someone open my eyes to this issue? I really don't get it. I'm willing to be a solution to the problem, I just want to understand the problem.
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  2. 110 Comments

  3. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    Shame, reluctance to change, fear that no one else would ever want them, the faint glimmer of hope that he will change. It's almost a comfort zone thing with some women.
  4. by   Bipley
    Quote from southernlpn
    Shame, reluctance to change, fear that no one else would ever want them, the faint glimmer of hope that he will change. It's almost a comfort zone thing with some women.
    But WHY?? I've had patients that were professional "X" type folks and make more money than their spouse. They have more personality, education, intellect, personality, the works... yet they still let their spouse pound on them.

    I still don't get it. Where is the comfort zone?
  5. by   nurse4theplanet
    I have had my share of verbal and physical abuse in my upbringing, as my father is an alcoholic...however, i have the most gentle and loving hubby in the world and he would never lay a hand on me. I am very blessed in many ways, this only being one of them.

    I cannot speak from a point of view of a woman who has been subjected to spousal abuse, but i can speak as an offender...

    When my husband and I were dating about 4 years ago, I was going through a very rough period in my life. I was irrate, depressed, lost, and helpless.....and downright mean. I constantly verbally abused him and i slapped him with all my might on two separate occassions out of anger and frustration. He did nothing to warrant the attack. He did nothing in retaliation. He simply told me he would not tolerate it and left me in a screaming fit. We did not speak in person for three months.

    I am certainly not that person today. I would never dream of speaking a foul word towards his direction. I have grown, I have found self-respect, thus respect for others, I have found security. And I have faced the demons of my upbringing that fueled my rage and fear of losing him. I was never shown appropriately how to love and connect with another person. I had to recognize my problem, understand where it was coming from, and address it head on and alone. My husband had the good sense and compassion to look beyond my action and see the real pain and torture from which it was born. But of course he is much larger than me (at 100lbs soaking wet), so I posed no real threat. Also, I had verbally abused him to bring his self-esteem down to my level...I had made him feel that he would never find better.

    I have a friend who was with an abusive spouse. He even burned their house down while she and the baby were there, trying to kill her. She filed for divorce, but fled for her life. She said that she felt she could change him at first, analyzed his childhood and blamed it on his father, wanted to be his "saving grace", thought all the love she had could take away his pain and anger. By the time she knew it was not going to get better, she was already in a black hole. She felt she was worthless because he drilled it into her head. He isolated her from her family and friends. He threatened to take the baby and label her a drug user, etc....anything to scare her into staying. Finally, after the fire surrounded by chaos of firetrucks, policeman, and neighbors...she took her baby and fled. She found a women's shelter which offered her legal assistance to file for divorce. He is a lawyer and was able to weasle his way out of the arson charges and has UNSUPERVISED visitation. He still constantly makes her life a living hell! The police would not put her into the witness protection program. Sometimes she says that it was easier taking a beating than wondering if he has cut her brakes or will take the baby and leave the country.
  6. by   Bipley
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    He still constantly makes her life a living hell! The police would not put her into the witness protection program. Sometimes she says that it was easier taking a beating than wondering if he has cut her brakes or will take the baby and leave the country.
    You know what? I'm still stupid because I don't get it. Abusive spouses cut brakes and do the same things and people stay.

    Why do they stay? I understand why they leave, I don't understand why they stay.
  7. by   TypicalFish
    Quote from Bipley
    First of all I have to say that my on line persona doesn't even compare to my real time personality. Writing never has been my thing, I can never get the words from my brain to my typing fingers while conveying the same compassion I am feeling. People who have never met me in real time and only know me on line, they laugh the first time they meet me. My writing style simply does not show my real time personality. So if I come off as being a harda@@, honestly I don't mean it that way.

    Domestic violence, I don't get it. I'm one of those who believe that we can never really understand and relate to a handful of scenarios unless we experience them first hand. My parents were both alcoholics, I firmly believe one cannot understand alcoholism unless one IS an alcoholic. We can certainly have empathy and even sympathy for certain problems but can we *really* honestly relate and understand unless we walk in those same shoes?

    Domestic violence. This has been something that I have never been able to get a grasp on. I have worked ER, Trauma, ICU/CCU, the works. I've been a nurse for over 20 years. While I can feel empathy with these folks I still don't get it. Why in the world would a woman (or man) want to stay with an abusive spouse? Financial issues only go so far. There is welfare, Medicaid, various forms of financial help. What about children? How can someone justify allowing their children to watch abusive parents for the sake of finances? Sure, it's easy for me to talk, I have no children. I never thought I would make a fantastic parent so I never had them. That's the most important job in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! How can someone screw it up??? Teaching children what marriage is by beating the crap out of one or the other... what kind of role model is that?

    If you stick your hand on a hot stove and it hurts, DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE! If your spouse is pounding the crap out of you, DON'T LET HIM/HER DO THAT ANYMORE! Why is this such a difficult concept? Yes, I know... finances, stability, home, .... but what is worth your life? Obviously, something. How many men and women die annually because of having the ever lov'en crap beat out of them by their spouse? It isn't like it's the first time it has happened.

    What makes any person believe they are loved when they are being pounded on? Obviously, this is NOT a matter of common sense but something very different. What *is* that very different thing?

    There is a thread about why some nurses stay after their shift is over and a few have discussed abusive home lives. That got me to thinking about this issue again. This is something I have simply never been able to wrap my brain around and I'm hoping someone can explain it.

    Is there anyone out there that has been in such a relationship and since gotten out? Can you explain this to me? Honestly, I'm not a heartless big 'ol meanie, I just don't get it, but I want to understand. On COPS recently there was a clip where a man was pounding on another man. His justification... "He ain't married to my sister and nobody who isn't married to her hits her." ??????????????????

    Maybe the more important question is... is there anyone out there that is IN an abusive relationship that wants out? While you are MORE than welcome to live in my home to escape your relationship, I hope you explain to me why you have permitted this for "X" amount of time. And I sincerely mean this, if any abused medical person wants out and needs a place to stay, Arizona has open arms. More specifically, my home is yours. Just please explain to me why you stayed as long as you did.

    Seriously, can someone open my eyes to this issue? I really don't get it. I'm willing to be a solution to the problem, I just want to understand the problem.

    What you don't understand is that people in these situations often don't know any other way. If a person is abused and dominated they can become mentally ill, and not be able to help themselves. It is a complex situation, it is not as cut and dried as "why don't you just leave?"- For many of these people, they don't know another way, and many abusers basically 'brainwash' their victims into believing that they 'deserve it' or that there is no way out; when you are beaten down mentally and physically, do you think a person could really think clearly? I don't mean to flame you, but as long as you state, rather emphatically, that while you just don't understand why people stay in abusive situations, you do have empathy for them. You can't; empathy denotes caring because you understand, even feel, exactly what someone is going through. You are making it way too black and white. Why do people "choose" all kinds of negative outcomes? If everyone made "good" choices we'd have half the patients. I can't explain to you enough that it is not that black and white of a choice; mental illness, history, depression, fear, fog, all kind sof things cause this to happen. You can't judge it like you are.... Maybe if you can't "understand", you could try and accept that no one chooses to be abused, and for reasons you can't see or conceive, they can't leave the situation-yet.

    edited for spelling
    Last edit by TypicalFish on Nov 22, '05
  8. by   hellerd2003
    Quote from Bipley
    Financial issues only go so far. There is welfare, Medicaid, various forms of financial help. What about children? How can someone justify allowing their children to watch abusive parents for the sake of finances?

    If you stick your hand on a hot stove and it hurts, DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE! If your spouse is pounding the crap out of you, DON'T LET HIM/HER DO THAT ANYMORE! Why is this such a difficult concept?
    As a child of an abused woman, I can tell you that welfare isn't enough to get someone out of an abusive relationship. Welfare in and of itself was a victimization for my mother-- she had been an independent woman before marrying, quit her job due to her husband's demands, and then after leaving him got trapped in the welfare cycle (if you work, you're penalized-- one month we were $7 over and we lost ALL benefits for 6 months-- how does THAT make sense?). Welfare also contributed to her feelings of inadequacy.

    It's easy for someone who has not been hit in a "loving" relationship to say that one should just walk away. Truly, the person in the abusive relationship has been told so often that THEY are wrong, that THEY are the reason that the abuser has to punish, that THEY are not deserving of love. It's a mental assault far earlier than the physical assault occurs.

    --Heather
  9. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    Quote from Bipley
    You know what? I'm still stupid because I don't get it. Abusive spouses cut brakes and do the same things and people stay.

    Why do they stay? I understand why they leave, I don't understand why they stay.
    No, Bipley, you're not stupid. This is something that can't be understood and I really don't think that a lot of abused people really know why.
  10. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from Bipley
    You know what? I'm still stupid because I don't get it. Abusive spouses cut brakes and do the same things and people stay.

    Why do they stay? I understand why they leave, I don't understand why they stay.
    Fear and lack of self worth. They believe they deserve it. They think if they just walk on pins and needles then he won't do it again. If they get hit, they believe it is because they didn't do something right. They are afraid of who they are with. He tells her over and over he loves her and if she would just be so-and-so he wouldn't have to hit her...that she will never find anyone who will love her as much as he does, "Afterall, look what I have to put up with from you? Do you think somebody else would want you?"

    Abusers are skilled in what they do: they use manipulation, brainwashing, and intimidation to the tenth power!
  11. by   Valerette
    When I was younger, I was in an abusive relationship. Before this episode in my life, I felt just like you do--why would someone ever put up with abuse? I stayed in it as long as I did because I was getting something out of it--I think part of me liked the ups and downs, especially the "honeymoon" period after a bad episode. Later on I was scared to leave, afraid that he would escalate his behavior and maybe hurt or kill me. I was also ashamed to ask for help from other people because of exactly what you're expressing--I didn't want to face their incredulity. I think what someone else said here is true, you do kind of get brainwashed into it. It's not like we were drifting along in a normal relationship and then all of sudden, wham, he punches me. It slowly got worse over time and it seemed easier to stay then to go. I did leave him when I got pregnant, though--I realized it's one thing to drift along in denial when it's just me but I had to face reality for my daughter. I still don't like to talk about this part of my life to people "face to face" because it's so hard to explain why I let it happen.
    Last edit by Valerette on Nov 22, '05
  12. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from JulieSN
    When I was younger, I was in an abusive relationship. I stayed in it as long as I did because I was getting something out of it--I think part of me liked the ups and downs, especially the "honeymoon" period after a bad episode. Later on I was scared to leave, afraid that he would escalate his behavior and maybe hurt or kill me. I was also ashamed to ask for help from other people because of exactly what you're expressing--I didn't want to face their incredulity. I think what someone else said here is true, you do kind of get brainwashed into it. It's not like we were drifting along in a normal relationship and then all of sudden, wham, he punches me. It slowly got worse over time and it seemed easier to stay then to go. I did leave him when I got pregnant, though--I realized it's one thing to drift along in denial when it's just me but I had to face reality for my daughter. I still don't like to talk about this part of my life to people "face to face" because it's so hard to explain why I let it happen.
    yes yes yes

    My best friend said that she really LOVED the good times and really HATED the bad ones!!! She was always an optimist, looking toward the better days and ignoring the bad times (making excuses, i.e. "he just had a bad day at work!" or" I should have said that differently!")

    Her family never approved of their marriage to start with (and this was before he began abusing her) so they basically told her that she made her bed, so lie in it! She said that in hindsight, even they did not realize how bad it was and thought she was being 'dramatic'.

    And finally she said he was the PERFECT gentleman to her for the first six months, then the verbal abuse~apology cycles began, then forcefully grabbing, then an actual slap....each offense getting increasingly worse with each apology getting increasingly more intense and 'heartfelt', he even agreed to counseling at one point that gave her just enough hope until she wound up in the hospital for the first time. She was unconscious, he had pushed her down the stairs....made up some ridiculous story for the ED and stayed diligently at her bedside until she was awake. He begged for her forgiveness, pleading to keep this their secret, that he knew they needed help...and she had to help him to get better, to not push his buttons, to give him the chance...that she would do it if she loved him as much as he loved her. Things began to look up and then she got pregnant. She thinks he messed with her BCPs on purpose. When he hit her during her pregnancy she left with a friend for a month and filed a restraining order. He eventually sweet talked her into coming back and her friend gave up on her. She dropped the restraining order and moved back in. The abuse continued and now he had the leverage that nobody would believe her bc she dropped the charges before. The threats began now, no more apologies...as she had left before and he was not going to let that happen again!

    ......so as you can see it is a very gradual and calculated process. Many strong willed women have found themselves pulled into the quicksand.
  13. by   Quailfeather
    One reason that women stay in abusive relationships is fear. Many abusers threaten to kill their victims if they leave. Statistics have shown that during the first few weeks out of an abusive situation, the woman is at a high risk for violent retaliation by her abuser. Restraining orders offer little protection when an abuser is intent on harming his victim. We had a tragic case just last month in our community. A woman left her husband of many years and was granted a restraining order because he had threatened her. A few weeks later, he shot her twice in the head and once in the chest with a concrete-nail gun. Then he turned the gun on himself. He survived...she didn't.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    The others before me said it well. I am just gonna relay why I stayed as long as I did.....

    He threatened my life if I left....and meant it. Had a cache of guns/weapons, was a cop, and I believe if anyone could have known how to get away with it, it was this man.

    When I finally did leave, he stalked me for over a year, vandalized my car and apartment and called me all hours, (even after I changed my phone number to a newer, still unlisted one---he managed to get it anyway) threatening to blow my head off w/a .44. Leaving him and the situation meant taking a huge risk w/my wellbeing, that of the friends who helped me, and my life. (he called my friends, threatening THEM too).

    ANd it was humiliating, too. People assume you are stupid to ever hook up with a guy like that and it shows. The shame I felt in the ER and at the police station was horrible, even today, I remember it well........having them take pictures of the marks on my neck, face and back, well it was just beyond humiliating. I could hardly stand to go to work, knowing everyone was talking about my situation. It was so hard to even show up.


    The "hand in oven" analogy just does not quite cover it, I am sorry. If you have not been there, it's hard to imagine what motivates abused partners/family members to stay. Maybe they are afraid to GO or have no where to GO TO. Even shelters are crowded, and time alloted to stay, very limited. You have to make your way, and that takes an uncommon kind of courage,some money or access to money, and lots of help from good friends or family. Thank God I had my friends or I would be heaven-knows-where today.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 23, '05

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