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Thread: Supporting others in abusive situations

  1. #11
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    It's terrible to think that so many people have been in these situation, it seems to be a lot more of a common thing than I ever realised.
    i got a random link on topic, bunch of stats. its focused on women, kinda loopsided, but still interesting, especially since youre talking about a woman too - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/1...n_5959776.html

    says for example that almost twice as many women died of dv in us between 2001 and 2012 than us soldiers in afghanistan/iraq. also says that a woman is 70 times more likely to get killed when she leaves the relationship than at any other time during it.

    also, not from that page, just general stats - about 25% of humanity gets abused one way or another in their lifetime, between all genders and all types of abuses. so thats one person out of four. and one girl out of three gets raped/molested by the time shes 18. and after that one woman out of four will experience "severe violence" from her partner (from that link too; not sure what they count as severe, they dont cite sources).

    i used to bartend in NYC for a while, got curious to test out these stats when i first heard them, so i left some abuse self-help book on the counter at the end of the shift, when we were closed and everyone was preparing to leave and passing by the bar on their way out, while i was refilling beer fridges. and you can doubt it lol, but there were 13 girls on that shift, between cocktail waitresses, hostesses, a manager, and myself, and 4 of them stopped to talk about the book, telling me im not alone, its gonna be kk, it happened to them too, and quoting the above stats to me


    i think its great to offer opinions and ask questions, its kinda what helps, just its crucial to do it in non-threatening manner, and what a dv victim perceives as threatening is kinda different from other people. cuz anger, frustration, disagreement, argument - is when you get beat up. doesnt matter what caused those things, cuz everything negative that happens is always my fault, by default. a bird flew by and that made him angry for some reason - im gonna get beat up, for not keeping birds out of the sky or who knows what. so if i say i was abused and get told "wtf, why didnt you leave???" - i sense not only frustration, but also blame, natural continuation of the phrase would be "wtf is wrong with you" - and thats a beating about to happen, based on my experience. i mean, i might not literally be expecting to get beat up at the spot, wont duck for cover probably - but i most definitely would be very uncomfortable and wont bring it up again.

    with abuse survivors it helps to voice things that might seem obvious. just to be sure everyone is on the same page. like - im not angry at you, im angry at the guy who done it. im angry, but im not gonna go try to kill him. im angry at him because i love you and he shouldnta done that to you. i mean, these things are prolly obvious to you, but idk if they obvious to her too. werent obvious to me for quite a while, helped tons when people spelled them out.

    for you
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  3. #12
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    I think, firstly, one of the most important things for YOU to do is accept that you are powerless to change what happened to her in the past, and that, to a degree, this makes you somewhat 'helpless' in the present-- you can't stop her from feeling bad, or from having flashbacks, or from taking some things 'a certain way'.

    That being said, you can develop a sense of helpfulness/ feel more proactive by figuring out ways to support her when she's stressed or triggered. She likely needs space to vent, and to have someone listen to and indirectly validate her experience can work wonders.

    My partner struggles with feeling helpless and powerless and ineffective 'in the face' of my abuse history, but we are both learning more ways to make talking about it easier.

    A big piece of that for me, though, is letting myself trust my partner. I am often afraid, because of the abuses I experienced, that by 'trusting' and 'giving information to another person', I am opening myself up to be used or blackmailed or trapped or taken advantage of.

    I think it is fantastic that you are seeking support and looking for new ways to support and assist your partner in coping with their experiences. It sounds like you truly care for her, and I wish you the best!

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  5. #13
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    Tasha1701D is online now Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
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    I thought of a few other things that might be helpful to share.

    One thing you expressed was wondering why anyone would ask me how I could say such lies. Well, the thing is, the only people I could go to in order to try and get help from also knew the abusers. Those who abused me were their brother/sister, son/daughter, fellow church member, coworker, friend, etc. So I can sort of imagine it was hard for them to think of this person that they interacted with abusing someone. And of course when I was told to forgive, not tell such lies, give them another chance cuz they're doing their best, etc, I did it, because I figured ok, if no one else sees it, then I must really be off about how I'm perceiving it. I mean, I was already being told that what was happening was for my own good, I deserved it, it was what G*d wanted, etc, so these reactions, not to mention the people who turned right around and told those who were abusing me what I had told them, just reinforced that it was all my problem, all my perception, I was making all this happen, so I had to just live with it and try to be a better person.

    Another thing I thought of and wanted to share was that my perceptions of the world and people were seriously skewed by the abuse. For example, after I got out, I was seriously hurting for food, money, basics. I was getting by, but on a very tight budget. My friend's dad noticed somehow (I still don't know how) that I wasn't getting enough food. So he started slipping me a hundred dollars here, two hundred there, etc. He asked me not to tell my friend, because he didn't want things to be awkward between me and her. I tried to not accept it, but I really did need it, and the first time he just put it in my car after I said no thanks, cuz I was seriously wondering what the heck he wanted in return. I was too afraid to ask him, because I didn't have experience with people just being generous. That was years and years ago, and I recently mentioned all this to my friend, as well as being afraid of what her dad wanted in return for that money. She was so shocked because she knows her dad would never expect anything for that money, including the sexual favors that I was most afraid he wanted. Her experience with men and with receiving money was drastically different from my own experience, so things that are commonplace for her are heavily weighted with meaning for me. I know now that her dad would never have expected anything from me, but I wondered that for about a decade, exactly how and when I was gonna have to pay him back for the money he gave me.

    I guess it woulda been helpful if someone had told me somewhere along the way that most people aren't generous cuz they want something from you, but I just had no experience to be able to ask the right questions, so that I could have my fears assuaged sooner rather than later, simply for lack of good experiences.

    I guess I just wanted to share those things cuz I thought they might help understanding how experiencing abuse drastically altered the way I interact with and experience the world around me.
    ~Tasha

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    "Seize the time, Meribor-live now! Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." ~Capt. Jean-Luc Picard as Kamin in The Inner Light, ST:TNG Season 5

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  7. #14
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    TASHA:

    This was a point I found myself wondering the other day. My fiancée is strong will, even flat out stubborn at times she has no problem arguing with me, voicing her opinion or anything like that. When we were younger we went to the same high school and even then she wasn't shy or timid. I'm trying to understand the process the abuser puts the victim through to gain so much control over them. I can see that physical violence would be a quick way to ensure this. But does it just one day suddenly start off like that or are there events leading up to that, which all result in the victim being under that much control and afraid.

    you gave some reason of how it gets to that stage "Part of what my abusers did was to break down any scrap of identity, self worth, and self esteem that I had, because then it made me more compliant, more confused". It is hard for me to see her as the strong person she is now compared to how she would have been then. its like seeing to different people and I can barely imagine her being in that sort of state as a person. So I'm trying to understand what happened to get her that "low".

    MANYA:
    Your point about stating the obvious is really insightful, I don't think I've ever actually clearly said those things to her. Your right what I thought went unspoken and was just clear may need to be actually said. I'll make sure I do that soon.

    OBJET PETIT A:
    Your right I need to accept that I can’t change what happened or protect her from it, the feeling of being useless sucks but I need to deal with that. It is a lot easier said that done.

    After say I’ve said something and she has taken offensive, she recently admitted to me that perhaps some times she does react badly or over reacts due to her past experiences.

    What ways do use to make speaking about it more easier if your ok telling me?

    And how do you build that trust the two of you built, what did he and you do to built that trust. (Again only if your comfortable telling me)

    MANYA:

    Just one your second point it probably was a good idea to be cautious of a man just giving you money and wondering what they wanted in return, few people do such things just out of the kindness of their heart. So I think you actually had a very sensible and reasonable. But it just goes to show you that there are some good people out there in the world who want nothing more than to help.

    EVERY ONE:
    I just want to take this chance to take all of you for sharing your experiences and your past and helping me out. I'm sure they aren't pleasant memories to bring back up. I hope none of you feel the need to share anything you aren't comfortable and secure sharing. You have helped me get a better understanding on what my fiancée and women in general go through who have suffered from domestic abuse. I have actually had my eyes opened a bit on this subject and learnt a lot of stuff that I wasn't aware of and probably unfortunately the majority of people aren't.

    So once again thank you all so much

  8. #15
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    I ask myself that daily - still do although I got away from my abusive situation years ago..."how can a person reduce another who is well educated, rational and canny (and in my case not without resources) into a self-doubting, stuck, placater...someone whose whole life focuses on their perpetrator"?

    Earlier on someone mentioned brainwashing and I think that was part of it, also pride (stopped me from reaching out or even facing up to anything being wrong) I also minimised stuff..."it was only a black eye". Fear was also a factor...the emotional threats he used so skillfully sure got through to me. Secrecy was also an issue...my own judgement about hm and my relationship quickly became very unbalanced and because I never found the courage to talk to my friends about what was happening these were never challenged with a less distorted view of things. Imo an abusive relationship is a real complex thing, aspects of co-dependency, victim. fantasy and fatalistic thinking and more.

    Another thing while I was being abused...stuck in my victim role I continued to operate effectively in my demanding work role, where I was valued for being a good problem solver, able to bring about change, manage conflict and more interpersonal skills that I for whatever reason did not bring to my dysfunctional relationship.

    I hope what I have shared helps.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.

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  10. #16
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    Thanks for commenting Jane

    It is a struggle to understand how strong people are broken down in to that way.

    like you said you were still successful at work and had all these strong characteristics there. Yet that did not transfer over to your relationship.

    From what I'm understanding from reading articles and talking to people is there are a lot of ways in which it happens, gradually and over time. At first it might not be noticed but then the abuser begins to take more and more and suddenly your in this bad situation and don't know how it got there.

    On your point about pride, I had read on one of these sites that part of it is sort of like pride. That no one wants to admit they made a mistake, that they have chosen the wrong partner, that their judgement was of, that their relationship is a failed one. Does this actually play a part in it? Along with all those other factors as well.

    It is hard to try to understand the process the abuser puts the victim through to gain so much control over them, if you haven't been subject to it or in the controlling role either. Being an outsider it is a challenge to wrap your head around this sort of stuff if you really start to thing about it. And because every situation is different then there is so much that applies in one instance but not the other.

  11. #17
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    [QUOTE=Unregistered;332063)

    On your point about pride, I had read on one of these sites that part of it is sort of like pride. That no one wants to admit they made a mistake, that they have chosen the wrong partner, that their judgement was of, that their relationship is a failed one. Does this actually play a part in it? Along with all those other factors as well?


    Answering only for myself and from my experiences of course, pride had a lot to do with it, yes.

    I am educated, and to everyone I appear strong, confident and very independent. Not the type you would think could be controlled or abused......yet I was. But I had a large part in ensuring that no one knew because a part of me felt ashamed that I got myself into this situation. I honestly did not see it coming....then it was too late.

    I had the attitude that "I made my bed so now I need to lay in it".....felt that it was my problem to deal with. Pride was definitely a part of it. I had a really hard time admitting that I was abused.....not entirely sure why now....I think part of me felt I was responsible or was expected to deal with it. It was the shame, embarrassment......I don't know. I had this idea that I should not trouble anyone.....like you said, I had a hard time admitting I made an obvious mistake. I decided rather to try to fix it and "keep up appearances"....of course eventually that unravelled.


    Sorry if I am rambling, but the pride comment really resonated with me. It was the biggest reason I think I stayed so long.....I truly refused to admit it was wrong. That was hard for me to do......maybe it's the same for others too, idk.

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  13. #18
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    might be too blunt, but thought id give an example:

    lets say you got raped. you. idk, in jail or something, happens lots. blunt force, by a complete stranger, wasnt consentual in any way - its clear you done absolutely nothing to cause it or invite it or welcome it, was just a very bad luck.

    you know it shouldnt really say anything negative about you, blame is on the rapist, you done nothing wrong, got nothing to be ashamed of - but you would be ashamed all the same. humiliated. wouldnt want it broadcast to all of your friends/coworkers/neighbors, wouldnt tell women about it on the first date, etc.

    having violence committed against you feels shameful. frankly - he said you were his b!tch now, and thats the part youre ashamed of. he saw you this way after he was done, you felt this way about yourself, and you believe other people would feel this way about you too, if they knew. i mean, guys commit suicide after prison rape. its about your self-worth, your identity, your value as a human being.

    domestic violence commonly includes rapes too, but with or without rapes thats what being violated feels like, like above. except prison rape is done by a stranger you dont care about and arent married to, and you're positive it wasnt consentual and you didnt invite it or cause it or encourage it. while with domestic violence its not so clear. i mean, im staying with a guy who violates me. i didnt divorce him, didnt get him locked up for battery, we're still sleeping in the same bed and i make him breakfast and wish him good morning when he wakes up - what does that make me if not his b!tch? and what does that say about my identity, my worth, my value? and if thats what i am - im getting what i deserve, what am i complaining about? thats roughly the thought process, and sure enough he enforces it, and everyone around me enforces it too: what did you do to get him mad? he was never violent with me! if you dont like it - why are you staying with him? all couples fight, gotta be patient. he has a temper problem, you gotta support him. g8d doesnt approve of divorce. etc, etc, etc. i mean, he didnt just randomly start getting violent one day, it was gradual, and i feel like i missed the breaking point and am past the stage where i still had my dignity and could leave, where i had the right to say no, where i wasnt his b!tch yet...

    we got 7k members here, and theres dozens of such sites on the web - its cuz abuse is pretty much impossible to talk of face to face, at first. even on an anonymous site, where nobody knows you - people still get cold sweats and shaky hands pressing "submit" button on their first post saying "hi i was abused", cuz of the shame and fear of judgment/rejection/attacks...
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  15. #19
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    I was sexually assaulted, never told my mom and dad, cuz I was afraid what they'd think of me, how it would change their view of me. It was someone I cared about who did it, I thought our relationship was good, thought I had someone I could trust. I wondered if my mom and dad would still love me if I told them, or if they'd disown me, since it was my female "best friend" who did it. I figured I'd hear "just forgive," "what did you do to ask for it," "get out of our house, you're not our daughter any more," etc. I mean, I'd heard things like that before, ppl wanted to just assign blame, assign shame, as if it was something that was gonna rub off on them, instead of just be like omg that was awful what happened, and really not ok. The first time I wrote about it, I was sitting, shaking, expecting any number of those shaming responses in reply to it. It's very difficult, requires opening yourself up to a bunch of crap, accusations, judgements about your character, etc, when you talk about the abuse you've gone through. For some reason, people don't seem to respond with compassion or empathy from the start. Just makes it real hard to talk about some experience that was hurtful, confusing, and complicated, as abuse is.
    ~Tasha

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    "Seize the time, Meribor-live now! Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." ~Capt. Jean-Luc Picard as Kamin in The Inner Light, ST:TNG Season 5

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  17. #20
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    Mayna:

    Your point on imagine you got raped did seem a bit full on when I first read it but once I actually started to think if that did happen to me how I would react it was helpful. I though your right I won't go around telling people I would be ashamed and embarrassed. It was actually a real good way of putting yourself in some one else's shoes and thinking how that might feel and why they reacted the way they did. Unfortunately an extreme situation but a useful one.

    Every one:

    You have all given me a lot to think about, I've started to understand a lot more about domestic abuse and see things from the side of the victim a lot clearer. You have got me asking questions and thinking about things in ways which never would have occurred to me before I asked this question on this forum. I have definitely gained a new and better perspective on this whole issue. I have learnt a lot from all of you. I don't thing I have any more questions or issues that I am struggling to understand.

    You have all been amazingly helpful and I am so thankful for each of you to of taken the time to comment and help me, it has made me a new man on how I see domestic abuse and how I will reacted and responded to it in the future and the present.

    Lastly I'll ask if any of you have any more advice you could give me and think I could use, any thing that you think might help me, anything you think I might be misunderstanding still, anything at all that you wish the general public would understand better.

    Also if I wanted to help support the issue of domestic violence for women (men as well since they do make up a small percentage) what do you believe is the best way to do something like that? Google for a local foundation that helps support victims and survivors and make donations? ( I won't have a problem volunteering my time to help out but I have a feeling that it probably isn't the best idea to have a male around woman who have been abused by mean) ?

    Once again thank you all so much you have been more help then you will ever know, when I started this I can see that I was under educated on the subject and insensitive but now I will be leaving it a "new man" with a much improved and more understanding point of view all that's to your help and sharing your experiences and advice

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