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Thread: She's so close, but always goes back....

  1. #1
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    She's so close, but always goes back....

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me any suggestions on how to help my sister get over this last huge hurdle when she comes so far and gets to close to being free. Her husband is abusive and his abuse is escalating. This scene has happened several times: his abuse escalates - sometimes she calls authorities, most times not, she moves in with her kids to my mom's, she feels strong (although she always continues to take his calls), she really seems to be getting things together and talks about how calm and peaceful she feels without him, then she goes back home to him. This last time she lived with my mom for two months, actually found a friend who has a two bedroom apartment for her and her kids, she showed the place to her kids and told them they would be living there - the kids were happy, she told the abuser (he punched her), she still seemed strong, they even went to a lawyer to begin divorce proceedings two days ago (which they did once before), but last night she went home again and stops talking to us. The friend is so hurt - and will lose a LOT of money on the apartment, my mom can't take any more, and I feel so helpless to help her at this specific point. I understand oftentimes people try to leave many times, but at this rate I'm afraid no one is going to be there for her if this same scenario happens. Something seems to happen at this point - of course I'm sure it's a mixture of everything.....fear, low self esteem, overwhelm, etc. but is there anything I can do to help her get past this point?? I want to reach out to her and ask but I don't think she even knows what can help, and she tends to act like everything is going to be ok at this point. Do I continue to reach out even more even though she seems to want everyone to back off?

  2. #2
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    It is hard to stand by and not intervene when you believe that your sister is making unwise decisions that you do not agree with. However as an adult she has the right to make her own decisions, wise ones and ones that you can see are not in her best interest. I can relate to how difficult it is to resist the urge to tell her what to do...point out the risks she is taking, however, until she is ready to hear she may well continue to dismiss what you say (as is her right).

    Given the above I believe the best you can do at this stage is be there for her, maintain her trust in you by biting your tongue and not pushing your opinions on her.

    You do not mention the age of her children, however in many states and counties parents have a mandated responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their minor children. Subjecting them too and/or allowing them to witness abuse breaches that responsibility. I don't know if this is the experience of your nieces/nephews if it is and I was in your position I would seriously consider reporting the situation to the authorities so they can investigate and act on their findings. As a child who lived in a violent home my greatest wish was that some one would take action to improve my situation. Must be your decision of course.

    For you. Your sister is lucky to have you in her life.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.

  3. The following 3 users say thank you to Jane for this useful post:

    AnyWoman (10-02-2015),Manya (09-28-2015),Nikki 2 (11-20-2015)

  4. #3
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    Sorry that this is going on. I can understand that you want to do something to help her. But it is her choice. If shes not ready to leave there isnt anything you can do. Its her choice. It is really hard for people to get out of an abusive situation for many different reasons. I think the best thing you can do is just be there for her. If she needs to talk listen. Thats all you can do is to be there for her. I hope things get better for you and her soon.
    catramoon

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  6. #4
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    agree with the above, just some random thoughts:

    could there be anything hes threatening/blackmailing her with? if she keeps going back and forth and openly says that she feels better without him - it shows she overall recognizes the situation isnt good for her and her kids and wants to leave at least some of the time. and shes coming back after talking to him each time, if im reading it right. and refuses to explain her choice to you. could be blackmail? could ask if shes afraid of anything happening if she leaves, or what does she imagine he would do if she refuses to come back, or something along those lines? threats/blackmail seem to be a frequent thing in abusive relationships, cuz it gives solid results and is very easy to accomplish, any two people living together for a while have plenty of material on each other to blackmail each other with. idk, nude pics to send to boss, address of mom (to kill her), custody of kids (if he got better income/housing/mental health record), etc. plenty of options. and for the victim to open that subject can feel scary.

    another thought - assuming your sister is in a well developed country, there are all sorts of programs for victims of domestic violence. housing in particular. of course its not the same quality as what you would normally rent - but its offered free or cheap, and organized in such a way that the victim has a place to go to but the organization isnt wasting the funds either. dv victims often return to their abusive partners, so they dont get free apartments right away, just cuz statistically they are likely to go back to in a few weeks, unfortunately. they get shelters instead, as a transition. in a shelter you and your kids got a place to stay, a counselor to talk to, and a real busy schedule of things to do to get your life on track - welfare, job hunting, child care, support groups, etc. so that you are busy most of the day, focused on your new life, dont have much time to sit on the phone with your ex, and at night theres curfew and shelters go on shutdown, nobody is going in or out, so no opportunity to hang out with him either. and after a while of this - you get your housing, an apartment you can afford. but that only happens when the probability of you going back to him is significantly lower, and when you got your life on track otherwise: income, childcare, job, food, bills, clothing, diapers for kids, divorce lawyer, therapy - all set up and running smoothly. so that you'll actually be able to live in that new apartment independently. instead of having someone just pay your first month and see if you'll be able to take it from there or not.

    im not saying that all dv victims need to go to shelters and go through all those programs, its far from fun, and often unnecessary - but if youre saying your sister has a pattern of going back to him while your family and friends keep losing money on setting things up for her which she doesnt use - idk, i personally would quit investing into this financially and instead refer her to the social services that are there specifically for situations like hers. i think that other forms of support are just as important - being there to listen/talk, not judging, not pushing, asking questions, offering links/numbers/addresses of places that can help with various needs (from suicide hotlines to childcare in the area), etc. imho supporting someone doesnt and shouldnt involve taking on their responsibilities, boundaries are important, especially to abuse victims. sometimes i think that leaving an abusive relationship is kinda like giving birth - need lotsa support of various kinds, but cant have someone do it for you. gotta do it yourself. harsh, hard, scary, and sad as it might sound
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  7. The following 4 users say thank you to Manya for this useful post:

    AnyWoman (10-02-2015),Jane (10-05-2015),Nikki 2 (11-20-2015),weepingwillow (09-28-2015)

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