Domestic Violence: Telling Her To Leave Is Not Enough - page 3

by Ruby Vee 8,064 Views | 29 Comments

I know a little bit about domestic violence; I was once in an abusive relationship. Back then, healthcare workers didn't ask you, when you came to the hospital with injuries from "a fall" or "running into a door" for the third... Read More


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    I fought and won sole legal and physical custody of my children. I was my own lawyer. He had a free paid lawyer from his job. I was doing my prereq's and I still won, all while being stalked and afraid of what he could do to me or our children. The laws that are there to protect victims are not strong enough.
    brandy1017, Guttercat, Wheels28, and 6 others like this.
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    Quote from Nola009
    In an emotionally abusive marriage at the moment. Want to leave, but feel paralyzed with fear. If I could get myself into this type of relationship, then wouldn't I just make more bad choices later? Not in physical danger, so I think it's sometimes better to deal with the "devil" you know...
    I was in an emotionally/mentally abusive marriage for 15 years. It took every ounce of courage I had to get out. Do you want to know what finally did? The fact my son was starting to emulate him and was saying the same things to me his dad did. He isolated me from my family and friends. He controlled all of the money and I just had no idea how I would make it on my own. And yes sometimes I thought if I could just deal with him until my son turned 18 then I would get a divorce.

    When the phone would ring during the day my stomach would drop, a million things would go through my mind. Was what I was doing at that moment going to be good enough for him? What if he says he is stopping at the house and it isn't clean enough for him? What can I do to pacify him so he won't yell at me today? But my day had finally come, I had to break the cycle for my son and I deserved to be happy. I deserved to do something I wanted in life, not try and please him.

    The first couple of months were extremely difficult. I was scared all of the time. But you know what? People rallied around me. People that I hadn't talked to in years came to me with words of encouragement. My parents who knew what was happening and knew how miserable I was were there to help me. I got through it and I was taking 5 classes in school at the same time. The fact I could focus on school was a huge relief to me. It took my mind off of everything else. I wasn't allowed to go to school when I was married. I was expected to stay in my house all day every day and be his servant and maid.

    You have to decide. No one can tell you what to do. My ex and I tried marriage counseling. Our counselor was so in disbelief by what my ex said she didn't want to counsel us anymore. She had never seen a man who was such a jerk before I think. She also thought I should get out of the marriage. It took me another 3 years to get out.

    I know from the inside getting out seems like a lot of effort. You honestly don't know if you have the strength to do it because you use every ounce of strength that you have just to deal with it every day. But you will find your voice. I finally found mine and I have started dating again. I started in May and I have met someone wonderful who treats me like a princess and treats me well. I went out with some jerks and I noticed their "red flags" immediately.

    I just wanted to share my story hoping it could give you a little bit of hope. Because I know you don't have much of that right now.
    Wheels28, Nola009, Guttercat, and 5 others like this.
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    As someone who has just gotten out of an abusive relationship, I can't even tell you what enough is. Enough is the personal need in yourself to see that you deserve better. No one understands until they've been through it how alone you feel. How isolated you feel from everyone who cares about you. Even after you've left, and common sense tells you you've made the right choice, you wonder. You've let someone berate you so badly that you have no self worth and no self respect. You feel like you're crazy, that you're the one exaggerating simple things. It's the worst I have ever felt about myself. Period. It's a daily struggle, and no, telling a woman shes being abused isnt going to make her leave. The terror is almost beyond comprehension to outsiders. The only way to get someone out of that is to show they what they have to live for, because there were points where I would have gladly taken my own life rather than escape. It's embarrassing and painful. I don't think we as nurses understand fully what goes through the minds of these women...and my heart aches for them. At 27, I know what that feeling is like and I wish there was a way to help these women.
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    Nola 009: My HMO offers support groups for women in or just getting out of abusive relationships. That helped me. Plus getting individual counseling with a psych doc helped me to see the abuse for what it really was. I sugar coated it in my mind. I also found out I was suffering from PTSD. I got on medication and saw things clearer after a bit.

    I now can say I can see clearly now what things were, how bad they were.

    I hope you get to a better place. ((Hugs))
    brandy1017, Nola009, AmyRN303, and 5 others like this.
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    Quote from 1feistymama
    T-Bird - my OB asked, with all 3 pregnancies, if I felt safe but she specifically sent my husband out of the room before asking me.

    ....we need more than just shelters, we need life coaches that'll assist these ladies every step of the way.
    I whole-heartedly agree with ^^^^Life coaches^^^^. If the survivors don't recognize the cycle in the relationships, or recognize their own worth, then it it very likely to repeat itself. It only took 3 months for him to convince you that you were worthless without him, completed de-valued you as a human being, etc.

    I agree - the questions we ask "Do you feel safe at home?" are an excellent start, but I don't think they are "enough" either. I also agree that it isn't talked about often enough in school, at work, at church.

    Maybe us survivors can come up with a thorough screening assessment AND develop an immediate, safe, and workable plan for the victims. that is applicable across the country. I want to be a Life Coach!
    brandy1017 likes this.
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    I came back to this post tonight just to read the other responses. Just want to say thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences, words of wisdom, and encouragement. Tears are in my eyes... it means a lot. Little by little, I have lost friends and even my own brothers will not speak to me. There was some falling out over something my husband said to one of my brothers or that one of my brothers said to my husband right before I started nursing school around 4 years ago and I haven't spoken to that brother since. He refused any (small) effort I made. My husband seems to feel just fine about it, claiming that my brothers aren't true men for reacting the way that they did. I believe that if they really cared, then they wouldn't give me the cold shoulder all this time. Eveny own mother dropped me like a hot potato, maybe because her favorite child did. Since she has found out I'm a nurse, I'm suddenly worth her time now and she has been wanting to 'hang out'. Never has discussed the silent treatments going on in the family, or her part in going along---she hasn't invited me to a holiday dinner, let alone her house in all these years!! And we all live within an hour's drive. That, above everything else has made me feel so low to the point where I'm planning on committing genetic suicide by not having any bio children and I'm just hoping to carry out the rest of my days in some helpful, positive way. I mean, I could probably use some counselling, but I just haven't found the right one. I do not trust easily. It's complicated for me. There's a mess of issues going on here. I want to be happier and healthier, but don't know where to start. And I really don't wanna be alone. But you people on AN have inspired me to do some soul-searching. Thanks.
    brandy1017, Guttercat, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from Nola009
    I came back to this post tonight just to read the other responses. Just want to say thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences, words of wisdom, and encouragement. Tears are in my eyes... it means a lot. Little by little, I have lost friends and even my own brothers will not speak to me. There was some falling out over something my husband said to one of my brothers or that one of my brothers said to my husband right before I started nursing school around 4 years ago and I haven't spoken to that brother since. He refused any (small) effort I made. My husband seems to feel just fine about it, claiming that my brothers aren't true men for reacting the way that they did. I believe that if they really cared, then they wouldn't give me the cold shoulder all this time. Eveny own mother dropped me like a hot potato, maybe because her favorite child did. Since she has found out I'm a nurse, I'm suddenly worth her time now and she has been wanting to 'hang out'. Never has discussed the silent treatments going on in the family, or her part in going along---she hasn't invited me to a holiday dinner, let alone her house in all these years!! And we all live within an hour's drive. That, above everything else has made me feel so low to the point where I'm planning on committing genetic suicide by not having any bio children and I'm just hoping to carry out the rest of my days in some helpful, positive way. I mean, I could probably use some counselling, but I just haven't found the right one. I do not trust easily. It's complicated for me. There's a mess of issues going on here. I want to be happier and healthier, but don't know where to start. And I really don't wanna be alone. But you people on AN have inspired me to do some soul-searching. Thanks.

    That is part of your husband isolating you from your family. They are master manipulators. They make it so you have to rely on them for everything. For money, friendship, companionship. I agree that you need some counseling. You need for a neutral third party to look at this and talk to you.

    My doctor had suspected the abuse. I always told him that everything was fine. Back in January of 2011, I had come down with yet another case of pneumonia. I was so stressed out and upset all of the time it had really affected my health. My blood pressure had dropped at home and I was hallucinating and going in and out of consciousness. I told my husband to take me to the hospital that something was very wrong. He didn't want to take me. It was infringing on his relaxation time and couldn't I just wait until tomorrow? I said no, I need to go now. He witnessed me going in and out of consciousness and the hallucinations. It was January and I was in my front yard in the snow talking to people who weren't there.

    We get to the ER and my BP at that point was 50/30 and I was barely conscious. They did a portable chest xray which revealed the pneumonia. The ER doc told me that he could admit me or send me home after my BP came up and they got some fluids in me but only if someone would be there to take care of me. I wouldn't be allowed to do anything and someone would have to care of my just turned 5 year old at the time. My ex barely paid attention and just looked ticked off that he was even there. He never piped up and said yeah I will make sure she is taken care of. Needless to say, I was admitted. In ICU for 2 weeks and then in a regular room for a week. When I finally got home, my home was trashed and I had to clean it and take care of my son. I had contracted bronchitis and H1N1 in the hospital and was super sick again when I got out. My regular family doc had a long talk with me because the ER doc suspected abuse that night. I told him I was fine and would be ok.

    Needless to say, my health has taken a drastic turn around. I finally opened up to my family doc last August when I filed for divorce. He has told me I made the most amazing turnaround he has ever seen. My health is 100 times better. I am not stressed out hardly at all any more.

    So please get counseling and talk to a professional. They can be a huge help. The stress from an abusive marriage affects every aspect of your life. I worked on getting my ducks in a row for several months before filing. Even with that, I sat in my car for over an hour before going into my lawyer's office to start the process and give her a check. Like I said before it was not easy. Not any part of it. But my life was so much better now. My son's life is also much better.
    Nola009, brandy1017, Guttercat, and 4 others like this.
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    Quote from Nola009
    I came back to this post tonight just to read the other responses. Just want to say thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences, words of wisdom, and encouragement. Tears are in my eyes... it means a lot. Little by little, I have lost friends and even my own brothers will not speak to me. There was some falling out over something my husband said to one of my brothers or that one of my brothers said to my husband right before I started nursing school around 4 years ago and I haven't spoken to that brother since. He refused any (small) effort I made. My husband seems to feel just fine about it, claiming that my brothers aren't true men for reacting the way that they did. I believe that if they really cared, then they wouldn't give me the cold shoulder all this time. Eveny own mother dropped me like a hot potato, maybe because her favorite child did. Since she has found out I'm a nurse, I'm suddenly worth her time now and she has been wanting to 'hang out'. Never has discussed the silent treatments going on in the family, or her part in going along---she hasn't invited me to a holiday dinner, let alone her house in all these years!! And we all live within an hour's drive. That, above everything else has made me feel so low to the point where I'm planning on committing genetic suicide by not having any bio children and I'm just hoping to carry out the rest of my days in some helpful, positive way. I mean, I could probably use some counselling, but I just haven't found the right one. I do not trust easily. It's complicated for me. There's a mess of issues going on here. I want to be happier and healthier, but don't know where to start. And I really don't wanna be alone. But you people on AN have inspired me to do some soul-searching. Thanks.

    Nola,

    Obviously it is complicated for you. Many of us here can commiserate. I suspect you are currently living out "what you know." "What you know" being a set of learned reactions and actions based on a long history of family dynamics.

    And that's OK! You're doing the best you can with the tools you have been given. That said, you are a functioning adult, and are doing a lot of things right! Remember that. Remember yourself, your future, and the preciousness of you. Remember your fortitude, your intelligence, and the road of hope you were on before it all went wrong.

    Find an impartial counselor (I did), as it really is a beneficial. When you feel isolated, the sense of relief and the mental clarity it brings for just having a real person listen and help sort through the mess is huge. I know this from personal experience. The counselor doesn't rescue you, or solve all your problems, but they help you look at your situation from outside the bubble that you are trapped in. The contents of our "bubbles" are often like pieces of our lives, our minds, even our very spirits tossed around in a whirlwind or a tornado-- how is one lone person in the middle of a tornado supposed to recognize, let alone grasp all the crap flying by?

    My best to you. Save yourself a few years of the same, and seek some outside assistance.

    When I finally sought out a counselor, I was actually shocked. I thought I'd be given a laundry list of "things to do to improve myself and my marriage." I was so tired. So very, very tired--the last thing I wanted was more work. After all, I had spent four years in a marriage "working" to appease the beast (ex husband). I laid out events to the counselor in as objective a manner as possible. Instead of the laundry list of "self improvement" exercises, the counselor validated that I was indeed not crazy, and things were really that bad. The "self improvement" work came after I distanced myself from the crazy.

    This doesn't mean your marriage will end. It only means you are gaining more tools to get yourself back to where you want to be--how you envisioned your life long before it all went to hell.
    Nola009, liebling5, vintagemother, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from Heathermaizey
    That is part of your husband isolating you from your family. They are master manipulators. They make it so you have to rely on them for everything. For money, friendship, companionship. I agree that you need some counseling. You need for a neutral third party to look at this and talk to you.

    So please get counseling and talk to a professional. They can be a huge help. The stress from an abusive marriage affects every aspect of your life. I worked on getting my ducks in a row for several months before filing. Even with that, I sat in my car for over an hour before going into my lawyer's office to start the process and give her a check. Like I said before it was not easy. Not any part of it. But my life was so much better now. My son's life is also much better.
    Glad you got out of this situation.

    Getting "the ducks in a row" is tough, but necessary. I had to do the same.

    Some spouses will take the abrupt leaving of their victims as a wake up call, and do the hard work necessary to save the marriage. Sadly, most abusers do not.

    I spent three years asking my husband to go to joint marriage counseling, and he refused each time. I even told him to pick the counselor himself. Imagine my surprise when I finally filed for divorce and he said something along the lines of, "You evil b*t*, you never even gave me a chance to go to counseling!"

    You can't fix crazy, and when he said that, I knew that it was time for me to get the ___ out. Permanently.

    The day I moved out from the house of horrors was the day I danced around my new home. Literally. I swung my arms up in the air in each room. The sense of freedom, and the sense of regaining my lost self was overwhelming. I will never forget it. Ever.
    Nola009, liebling5, vintagemother, and 2 others like this.
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    It both comforts me and saddens me that so many here have suffered this type of abuse. However, I would like to say it doesn't always start with emotional abuse. My senior year of high school I dated a very popular boy, 3 sport athlete and all that good stuff. Our relationship was excellent, often my friends commented on how sweet and loving he was to me. He did however, have extreme anger issues with sports, I even admired his competitiveness being an athlete myself. One night after he had a rough game I was trying to help his mood and he shoved me, down a concrete flight of stairs. I was so shocked and he was so shocked that I quickly excused it away. Flowers, candy, and a flood of apologies later it was all but completely forgotten. Until a few weeks later after a game again, he punched me in my kidney when I turned away from him. Slowly, over time it got more frequent, but never turned into emotional abuse. To me that was the hardest part to deal with, how could I tell my friends that were so jealous of me what a monster this person could be? He would hit me, all while telling me how much he loved me and how sorry he was. I am sorry about going on, but very few people know this about me and it is nice to talk to people that understand. I can not imagine how hard it would be if I had nowhere else to go, I am amazed and thankful for the strength that you women have demonstrated in your testimonies.

    Nola, my best wishes that you find help with your situation. I hope you find the strength to move on and have a happy, fulfilled life.
    Nola009, GrnTea, Guttercat, and 2 others like this.


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