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Please help me understand

Posted

Some time ago, the topic of spousal abuse came up on this site. A member told us the story of her abusive marriage. When she was eighteen, she met an older man who told her that he had abused other women in the past, but things would be different with her. She married him, and eventually left him because of his abusive behavior.

Here's what I don't understand. He told her he had a history of abuse -- that's like a big red flashing sign: "I will end up abusing you, too". Yet she still married him. Why would a woman do that?

Please do not reply to this thread by telling me what a hard, cold, unfeeling person I am. I do not want to minimize the difficulties this woman has gone through. I know that it's always easy to condemn someone else when you don't know the whole story. If I had faced the challenges this woman has faced, I might have made the same choice to marry the guy. I'm not trying to look down on anyone. I just don't understand how you could marry a man who basically told you right out that he would beat you -- and then stay with him through years of brutal treatment. Please help me walk in someone else's shoes.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

It's hard to explain. You want so badly to belong somewhere and to feel safe and cared for you are willing to ignore the warning signs. They always convince you that anything that happened wasn't their fault. When they do it to you they also convince you that it is our fault. They will cry and promise it will never happen again. Sometimes the bad times are really bad but the good times are good too. You have your self confidence completely sucked up by these people. The longer you stay the harder it is to leave.

Just like some people are abusers, some like being the victim.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

It's not an easy answer. :no:

There are a percentage of victims that are in a bad place from a history of abuse, low self esteem and poor self image; which in turn would possibly make someone believe they "won't do it"; and they back that up by being nice, attentive, all great things but laying the groundwork insidiously to gain control and break the individual down.

Did this OP state WHY they decided to marry this person? I mean they could've given those examples, perhaps...

sharpeimom

Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

Just like some people are abusers, some like being the victim.

I8i

This is one of the most misunderstood, wrong, and hurtful ideas about spousal

violence there is. It's also one of the most prevalent, unfortunately. No woman

EVER EVER EVER wants or needs to be abused. NEVER!

Abuse comes in several forms. Believe it or not, at times, emotional abuse can be

worse than being beaten. That's because your body will heal but if you are frequently told how dumb and stupid you are, that you never did anything right,

and on top that, there are those degrading, offensive, names like *****, ****, and stupid. Being told that you're ugly and fat or that you WILL lose 25 pounds

because he's controlling you again. Problem is you're 5'3" and weigh 110 pounds

now. Remember, control is simply another form of abuse.

Statistics have shown that a battered woman is most likely to be murdered by her abuser in the first 24 hours after she leaves him. She is scared like

never before. If he even suspects she's leaving him, he will often threaten to kill her and/or the childrgalen, or a beloved pet if she leaves. Many judges will refuse to issue a protection order until and unless he has already hurt her. Not within the spirit of the law perhaps, but it still happens.

Frequently an abusive man will destroy her driver's license, SSI card,

plus those of their kids. Makes it hard, bordering on impossible to relocate.

Frequently, even when a battered woman works, he will insist on everything

being in his name only. This makes it difficult bordering on impossible for her to go very far, because there aren't shelters everywhere. A potential problem with using a shelter if she plans to have her kids with her is that

domestic violence shelters won't take boys ages 12 or 13 or over (varies by shelter.) This is because that's about when a boy is physically capable of rape and he produces viable sperm.

Another factor that affects whether or not a woman stays or goes is how she grew up. Was her father abusive? Did she leave to escape abuse? Her chances of marrying or living with an abusive man increase.

The very idea that a woman wants or likes or needs or worse yet gets off on

abuse, is offensive and patently false.

Edited by sharpeimom

I8i

This is one of the most misunderstood, wrong, and hurtful ideas about spousal

violence there is. It's also one of the most prevalent, unfortunately. No woman

EVER EVER EVER wants or needs to be abused. NEVER!

Abuse comes in several forms. Believe it or not, at times, emotional abuse can be

worse than being beaten. That's because your body will heal but if you are frequently told how dumb and stupid you are, that you never did anything right,

and on top that, there are those degrading, offensive, names like *****, ****, and stupid. Being told that you're ugly and fat or that you WILL lose 25 pounds

because he's controlling you again. Problem is you're 5'3" and weigh 110 pounds

now. Remember, control is simply another form of abuse.

Stati

If you want out of an abusive situation, you will find a way. You are always in control of what behavior you continue to accept.

That's my opinion. Agree or disagree...I won't change mine as you won't change yours.

Just to clarify -- I don't believe anyone in a domestic violence situation "deserves" to be harmed, much less "wants" it in some twisted way. I'm just trying to understand the situation, as much as possible, from the insider's point of view.

I can't speak for all victims of abuse, but if the OP stated she was 18 years old when she met this man, and that the man was older, she must have been secure in thinking that he wouldn't abuse her. He was older, which for some women, is very attractive (Daddy complex, appreciate the wisdom of an older person, the maturity of someone who isn't in your age group because 18 year old young men are not mature, security, financial security, escape from home life, whatever the reason).

At the age of 18, I think there are few here that could say they had any substantial insight on relationships, the knowledge of the cycle of domestic violence, or understanding that you can't change people. The lack of 'living', coupled with our young belief that we are indestructible, makes for a dangerous cocktail. In addition, a lot of young women (and older women) believe they can "fix" someone else. They believe they are "special", and that it won't happen to them.

Well, they are special, but it will still happen to them. They will still be there when that cycle of abuse comes back around from the honeymoon phase.

When I was 18, I didn't know that. I thought I could change the whole world. I think that is the case for most young women.

Women and men who enter or stay in abusive relationships do have varied reasons to do so. Most of the replies here talk about some of those reasons. One of them isn't because some women enjoy being the victim. I am actually shocked that anyone would think or say that is the case. To say such a thing is to BLAME the women for being abused, and that is just not correct. Abuse is never the fault of the victim. The victim has no blame or responsibility for the actions of the abuser, just like the girl wearing a short skirt didn't desire to be a victim of sexual assault.

If anyone reading this needs help getting out of an abusive relationship, please call social services resources in your area, or go to the nearest hospital or police station for help. There are resources to help you, and you don't have to feel isolated and alone.

Edited by monkeyhq
additions

VivaLaVespaGirl, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ED, Medicine, Case Management. Has 5 years experience.

If you want out of an abusive situation, you will find a way. You are always in control of what behavior you continue to accept.

That's my opinion. Agree or disagree...I won't change mine as you won't change yours.

Unfortunately, it is a narrow view and does not capture the complexity of a victim's emotional status, resiliency, presence of a support system, or ability to take care of themselves/children. Abusers are very good at making one believe they deserve to be abused and that they are at fault. They are also very good at separating a victim from family and friends, leaving them in the position to feel completely alone and impotent. If you haven't been a victim or worked with victims of domestic violence, it is very difficult to understand what they do and do not feel in control of.

Unfortunately, it is a narrow view and does not capture the complexity of a victim's emotional status, resiliency, presence of a support system, or ability to take care of themselves/children. Abusers are very good at making one believe they deserve to be abused and that they are at fault. They are also very good at separating a victim from family and friends, leaving them in the position to feel completely alone and impotent. If you haven't been a victim or worked with victims of domestic violence, it is very difficult to understand what they do and do not feel in control of.

Actually, I have. I got out. It took almost 2 years to make a plan so that my kids and I wouldn't end up homeless in the process.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Actually, I have. I got out. It took almost 2 years to make a plan so that my kids and I wouldn't end up homeless in the process.
But during those 2 years do you think people thought you should just leave? Why are you staying? or think maybe that you wanted or asked for the abuse?

I've been in an abusive relationship. A part of you wants to fix them. A part of you begins to think that if you were...better...smarter...thinner...prettier...whatever...it would be ok.

They slowly isolate you from people and friends. As an educated female when I actually realized where I ended up....I was ashamed...and frightened. He was a police officer. Who do I call? The police? Where do you hide? It was demoralizing.

I had a wonderful childhood. I had parents who loved me. The was NO REASON for me to be in that relationship. I loved him before he became abusive and play Russian roulette with his service gun.

I survived...I was young and wanted to fix him.

I finally remarried 12 years later and have a wonderful life...it is another person who found herself in that position.

But during those 2 years do you think people thought you should just leave? Why are you staying? or think maybe that you wanted or asked for the abuse?

I've been in an abusive relationship. A part of you wants to fix them. A part of you begins to think that if you were...better...smarter...thinner...prettier...whatever...it would be ok.

They slowly isolate you from people and friends. As an educated female when I actually realized where I ended up....I was ashamed...and frightened. He was a police officer. Who do I call? The police? Where do you hide? It was demoralizing.

I had a wonderful childhood. I had parents who loved me. The was NO REASON for me to be in that relationship. I loved him before he became abusive and play Russian roulette with his service gun.

I survived...I was young and wanted to fix him.

I finally remarried 12 years later and have a wonderful life...it is another person who found herself in that position.

I didn't tell people. It was my problem to fix. Some people knew from being around us and a few asked questions or gave advice.

Mine wasn't in law enforcement, that certainly made it a little easier.

VivaLaVespaGirl, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ED, Medicine, Case Management. Has 5 years experience.

Actually, I have. I got out. It took almost 2 years to make a plan so that my kids and I wouldn't end up homeless in the process.

I am sorry to hear that you had that experience. Your experience, however, is not the same as other victims. Each individual is imbued with personal characteristics, traits, qualities, and past experiences that affect one's ability to avoid altogether, escape, or survive abusive relationships.

Oh hell naw. If anyone puts their hands on me its over for you. You WONT get my goodies, you WILL get a black eye.

But when I'm not being all gangsta. I do feel each situation is a little bit specific to each couple. The problem lies with the victimizer and the victim equally. Its a culture of escalation. One party finds it acceptable to harm another, one party finds it acceptable to be degraded and harmed.

Here's the thing. Abusers are very, very good at what they do. They prey on younger, older, or women who are in a tough spot. They groom them to their liking. They speak the words that someone wants to hear, put them into a situation that seems ideal, and all the while slowly gaining confidence. By the way, child molesters do the same thing.

Perhaps the spouse says that the wife has "worked long enough" and "she deserves to stay home". Then comes the "your family is so awful to you" "I heard your friend talking smack about you"....whatever they have to do to insulate a woman.

Smart, successful women get abused. Ignorant child abuse victims get abused (

I would call abusers sociopaths. And any person, at any time, can get caught up in it until there is no way to get out of it without resources that they may not longer have access to.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Oh hell naw. If anyone puts their hands on me its over for you. You WONT get my goodies, you WILL get a black eye.

But when I'm not being all gangsta. I do feel each situation is a little bit specific to each couple. The problem lies with the victimizer and the victim equally. Its a culture of escalation. One party finds it acceptable to harm another, one party finds it acceptable to be degraded and harmed.

That is completely false. A perason doesn't stay because they think it's acceptable.They stay because they feel like they have no choice.They don't see a way out and they are made to believe that it is their fault.You have no idea if you haven't been there.

That is completely false. A perason doesn't stay because they think it's acceptable.They stay because they feel like they have no choice.They don't see a way out and they are made to believe that it is their fault.You have no idea if you haven't been there.

As I said before, each situation is individual specific.