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  • Devin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:23 PM
    This is a really fruitful discussion for me. Last year, I learned the hard way that you need to have boundaries when dealing with abuse, even indirectly. I made the mistake of trying to help an acquaintance of mine who was being abused by her husband by offering to let her stay with me when she felt unsafe. However, it didn't help her resolve the ambivalence about staying or leaving him, and actually ended up being potentially dangerous to me because she allowed him to enter our home when I'd explicitly asked her not to do so. I also discovered that the conflict between them was fueled by mutual abuse. Ultimately my honest but naieve desire to "help" placed me in a very vulnerable position that was further compromised by lies, emotional abuse and manipulation. When my acquaintance finally decided to return to her husband, I ended up sharing info about local DMV centers and services and detached with love. Talk about learning the hard way! The advice to offer assistance but to keep your distance and your wits about you is really valuable. I did neither and it could have gone way wrong because of my ignorance. I definitely agree with what you all say - that it needs to be the woman's own decision, and that you can't change the problem with a magic wand. However, I must say that we're really lucky that DV services now exists. It's not perfect, but when I think about my own mother, she really had very few alternatives to being trapped in an unhappy marriage. It's possible to leave, but the harsh reality is that no one would help her, that her generation considered divorce a personal failure for a woman, and having to support 3 kids alone would probably have meant a return to the poverty she'd grown up with. Even though my mother was a very confident, capable, and hard-working working class woman and virtually a single parent to boot despite my father's vacuous presence, she didn't feel she could manage to carry the full responsibility alone. I can't imagine being in her situation, but I'm sure she felt trapped with no way out. Sometimes I think the emotional entrapment or entanglement makes DV harder to recognize because its so insidious and leaves no obvious bruises or injuries. Glad we have more alternatives now!
    10 replies | 164 view(s)
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