nurses as battered women - page 2

I have been a nurse for thirty years and I have been a battered woman for twenty-five. I never viewed myself as battered. I always thought of my husband as "sick". I have been going through a... Read More

  1. by   catrn10
    I have been a part of an abusive relationship for 17 years. Mine is not considered a physically abusive relationship because the abuse happens during sex. The rest of the time it is verbal and by taking advantage of me. I tried to get a divorce at one time and was told that since my husband had not worked in five years, I would have to pay him alimony. Since he had no job and no where to live, the judge said I could not throw him out and gave him the basement of the house to live in. This in the face of a restraining order and with me having custody of the 4 kids.That was four years ago. For a while , he was "good", but then he started up again. He refuses to get a job, citing the children needing supervision, and that it did not make sense because I made more in one night than he could make in a week. He sat on his butt and watched me struggle to go to work, knowing I was hurting with every step I took. But at least I was able to work then. Since I fell, I can't even do that. He repeatedly ruins us financially, I try to control all the money, but he still manages to do it. He will throw big tantrums and scream and yell at me until I give him money to go to the store. Then he goes and blows the money on junk food and sweets and we still don't have food. I would give him money to pay a bill, and he would spend it on something else. I worked nights, sometimes 48 to 60 hours a week, and he had an attitude that I could just work a day of overtime to make up for the spent money. I stopped doing that, refused point blank to do it anymore.I know this all sounds lame, but if you lived it , you might understand how he manages to do it. I took a job in Macon for 13 weeks with the intent of forcing him to go get a job as he couldn't get to me or the money. I had most of our bills caught up and was paying things on time. I gave him only enough money to ensure the kids were fed. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He was even looking for a job because I was so selfish with the money. I lost 33 lbs in 8 weeks because I was paying bills and not eatting. Then I fell at work and got hurt. I have lost my income, my job, and I can't work. And worse, I am stuck at home with him. He finally went to look for a job only after I threatened to go begging the church for food. He would be content to live on the workman's comp., except I haven't got it yet. And he is making demands on me. If there is a way out, I would like to know it. I think that there is a time limit ,at least in our state, on how long you have to pay alimony. I hope you are able to get things worked out. It would be nice to see someone else escape.
    Last edit by catrn10 on May 8, '03
  2. by   funnygirl_rn
    My heart goes out to you too, catrn10. I feel so sad for you. Hugs & prayers to you as well.
  3. by   sanakruz
    Catrn- Please tell me that the state of Georgia DOES consider RAPE an act of violence.

    Lets call it what it is.

    I have heard too many women say"it was JUST a shove""He didnt HURT ME that bad" "I MADE HIM mad when I talked back"
    He only THROWS ME AROUND if the kids are not nearby.


    Where are the FEMALE lawyers?????
  4. by   O'Rose
    Please do not think that gender means that you will get understanding. I have a female attorney, who stated that she specializes in battered women...that she herself was battered. She pressured me so much to settle and not to attempt to go to civil court for my claim of battering. She said that she was trying to help me save legal fees and was concerned about my bleak economic future. She never worried about money in the beginning...I have paid her almost $30,000.00 and she has racked up another $18,000.00 worth of she is worried about my future! It turns out that she has never gotten a case this far! she has succeeded into getting the women to settle by now. Also turns out that she has had two abusive husbands, her sister has been abused and none of them went to therapy. She never even read a single self help book and actually charged me for buying the book "The Battered Woman", written by Dr. Lenore Walker, to help her in preparing for my case.
    I am concerned about the lack of resources for women in this regard. I thiunk that if there was more open education and proper funding and networking, more women could be helped. As nurses, I hope that we can begin by educating nurses about this issue, studying it/researching it especially among nurses themselves.
  5. by   mattsmom81
    I am humming the 'Goodbye Earl' song while I read everyone's posts. These men deserve to be the 'missing persons that nobody missed at all" if I ever heard it.

    I feel such anger when I think about how women are treated. I've also thought many times how our nursing lives can be compared to 'abuse in disguise'...and our sticking with the profession could be compared to sticking with any other dysfunctional relationship...

    Having to pay alimony to a shiftless abusive man would also be too much for me. I would quit work before I did that, I think. What's wrong with our legal system???

    Wish I could offer something other than support...have zero experience in spousal abuse...but wanted to post and give out some cyber (((HUGS))))
  6. by   perfectbluebuildings
    My heart is breaking reading these posts and the pain so many of you have had to go through. I want to give you all huge warm hugs and a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Yet, all I have to offer, as so often is the case, is my prayers- that does not seem like nearly enough.
  7. by   sanakruz
    We have an organization here in California called Victim /Witness.
    They have attorneys and/or paralegals available to talk with most hours and will help any victim of violence.They have paid for indigent folks hospital stays-I know they can give legal advise,but am not sure about representation.
    Is this something that is available in other states?
  8. by   passing thru
    This man had done all this, and yet, you washed & folded his clothes, and put them away, (He complained you hadn't folded them right.)

    Don't worry about nurses not receiving adequate information and education about abuse.

    99 % of this is a "common sense" issue. You don't need to be in school to learn it.

    You don't have to be a health care professional to know you shouldn't allow someone to beat you for 25 years....sick or not.

    Try to stay focused on doing something for yourself. Don't worry about educating and informing nurses. Most nurses have this figured.

    Good Luck.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    I am truly amazed at how many of the nurses I work with have been in abusive relationships. I would never guess it...until the subject comes up and the story telling begins. I have always been a nurse so can't speculate firsthand as to whether this is so widespread across other career groups or not. It's been astonishing to hear so many stories from so many coworkers through the years. I'm thankful they all survived.

    I tell them they should all write books.
  10. by   BBFRN
    Originally posted by -jt
    [I]Co-dependency can be associated with many different types of interpersonal problems, including chemical dependency, mental illness or impairment, divorce, physical impairment, and abusive relationships. Co-dependency is a person's response to painful interpersonal realities......Co-dependency also can be observed in many of the helping professions such as therapists, nurses, and social workers
    This is SO true- go to any co-dependency meeting to see this for yourself. Most of these people are nurses, social workers, teachers, etc. A good number of co-dependents are "helpers." Somewhere along the line we are "trained" to help and care about everybody but ourselves- even if that person (or institution) is treating us like dirt. I applaud you for fighting this with everything you've got. So many abusers turn to attempting to control the abusee financially after the "relationship" is over. This is costing you a lot of money, but consider whether you'll be doling out more if you have to pay him palimony for the rest of his life. If you do choose to attend co-dependency meetings, you not only will find a lot of people with whom you can relate, but these people have been there and done that, and can provide you with many resources in your area to assist you legally- they know who the good attorneys are, and how to work the system to turn things around in your favor. Good luck to you, I hope everything works out for you!
  11. by   KMSRN
    I went through a messy divorce several years ago. Fortunately, I was never physically abused but there was major emotional/mental abuse. Here are a few suggestions to help keep your personal, financial, and legal information private while living in the same house with estranged husbands (or wives):

    - open your own checking/savings accounts and have your check direct deposited and keep pin numbers to these accounts private

    - get a post office box and have all account statements, bills, and all important personal correspondence sent there instead of to your home address

    - store all your personal, legal, financial documents where the soon to be ex can't get at them. If you have a locker at work that might be a good place, or rent storage space somewhere.

    - get your own personal cell phone with voice mail so important calls don't go through your home answering machine or voice mail

    - ask around and find the meanest, most aggressive, lawyer who specializes in family law and who has a good WIN record. Divorce is almost always adversarial at some point, even in "good" divorces, so in bad situations you really need the best.

    - keep a record of everything that happens and any support you provide including receipts for anything like food, clothing, medicine, entertainment, etc. Just keep a daily journal - may not need all that information but if you do it is there.

    - assemble and organize all you financial information like cancelled checks, account statements, tax returns, pay stubs for the past couple of years and put them in a safe place - where the soon to be ex can't get at them. If he/she needs them for his/her lawyer, you can provide copies.

    - close any joint accounts. You can't completely close credit card accounts until they are paid off but you can close them to any further charges. Get one credit card in your own name.

    - monitor your credit report closely especially those with spouses who don't work. They can open accounts under your name. You can put a fraud alert on your credit so that you are contacted personally before new accounts are opened in your name.

    These are just a few suggestions to get control of your financial and legal life. Hang in there. When I was going through my divorce, someone told me when it was all over I would be stronger than I ever believed I could be. I was skeptical but it is so true. In a few years you will wonder what the heck you were thinking.
  12. by   O'Rose
    Thanks to all who have taken the time to repl....the well wishers , those who have possible referrals and especially those nurses who were brave enough to share their own pain so openly. I would like to respond to 'passing thru'. Your response is the reason so many of us have never looked for help or believed that we can escape. Nationally, one out of ten women in America are abused (refer to Dr. Lenore Walker's "The Battered Woman". I would dare to say that number is probably higher among nuses, but who knows because we have ignored the issue. These women are in incredible pain and live in continuous danger...many of us are killed. Have no fear, I am looking deeply into myself and working on changing the part of me that allowed myself to be hurt. However, I am committed to the belief that somethig goood come from everyting and I will work very hard to educate women, especially nurse, so that the attitudes you express do not stop them from getting help.
    To KMSRN. Thank you so much for your very practical information. Wish that I had known it earlier, but I will incorporate it into my reference work, so that when I meet other women, I can help them.
    I am still eager to hear frm women who may have been through situations similar to my own or who have escaped that situation....also any nurse educators or researchers who may read this posting.
    Thanks to all
  13. by   Shell7280
    I was in an verbally/emotionally/physically abusive relationship for three years. All through nursing school. It was mostly verbally, he'd call me stupid, idiot, his favorite was very demeaning and can't be posted here. He was also 13 years older than me, we started dating when I was 19. So he would yell at me and call me stupid little girl. He was cheating on me all the time, and I'd find little hints and when I'd confront him he'd say I was just being a stupid psycho jealous b****. And when I'd finally get so tired of being called names and getting yelled at and ordered around, I'd tell him I was leaving and I'd try to walk out the door, and thats when the physical stuff started. He'd throw me across the room, pin me on the floor with his knees on my arms till I'd be covered in bruises. ONCE he hit me in the face. He'd sit on me and tell me he was doing it to calm me down, but it really just calmed me down cause I couldn't breath and you can't fight hard when you cant even breath. I remember one incident of a fork flying across a ten foot kitchen and all four prongs stabbing into my leg. My friends and fellow nursing students hated his guts, even though he'd act so sweet around them to me and to them. They could feel his arrogance and his true personality. I started to believe the things he said and thought maybe I did deserve the things I got. I stayed for three years, trying to leave 10 times. He kept promising to marry me and he had bad credit so we bought an engagment ring in my name, which he never payed for. I left two months before graduation, with about 16,000 in his debt that we put in my name, and a broken spirit, and total distrust for men. It's been hard in my new relationship, because of my issues with trust, but I'm lucky to have found someone who loves me and is patient with me.