• Hey :) Just a reminder that Fort community is not equipped to discuss current ongoing abuse. If you're currently involved in an abusive relationship - please log out, contact hotlines and/or alternative sites (the Help tab on top of any page lists a few of each), and feel free to come back to Fort once you're safe and stable. Be safe.

Supporting others in abusive situations

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#1
Attention Supporters

Hey :hi

Thank you sincerely for your desire to support our fellow survivor! We all need support, and are glad there are people like you!

Abuse is a confusing thing for both survivors and supporters, so we're open to discuss any questions you might have about what it's like to be an abuse survivor, why we do what we do, how we feel about things, etc. Please keep in mind though that we aren't counselors, we're just a bunch of anonymous folks who have been abused and are trying to recover from this trauma. We can't tell you what you should do, or what your partner should do, and can't guesstimate what they must be feeling or thinking. We can only share how we felt or what we thought in similar circumstances. Naturally, each of us has their own feelings, thoughts, and opinions, we often disagree (which is a wonderful thing), so please take what you read with a grain of salt :P

We hope for your understanding in this matter, and wish you and your loved one best of luck on their healing journey!
 
Last edited:
U

Unregistered

Guest
#2
Hi there,

I was hoping some one could help me out with a situation so I can better support my partner.

My fiancée in her last relationship was subject to domestic violence for several years. She has suggested that I could better understand what she went through if I was to talk to other people who have been through similar experiences and help me see a new perspective. That is what I hope to achieve from this post.

One issue that I struggle to understand is why don’t those in this sort of abusive relationship leave or leave sooner. I presume most people in these sort of relationships know that it isn’t healthy or safe for them so why don’t they just leave? My fiancée agrees with the statement that she should have left sooner but got very upset and hurt when I said it as a statement too. She said that I had no right to say something like that. I know that it might seem like a very I’m trying to learn more so I can relate and support her instead of upsetting her, which is never my intent.

She says that I can’t understand the fear that she went through so I’m hoping some one on here is secure enough and comfortable enough to share some of their past experiences so I can try to understand how things were for her.

I by far haven’t handled the information about her past abuse very well at all, to be really honest I’ve handed it terribly and caused her a lot of pain over it. when she first told me about it and every time since when the subject has come up, I felt more useless then I ever have. Here is a girl that I fell in love with as soon as I met her, she is my world and the single most important thing to me. Yet I couldn’t stop her from having to go through all those terrible things, I couldn’t protect her from any of that, she had to go through all that crap and there was nothing I could do to help her or keep that from her. Not knowing how to deal with feeling or expressing all of that I’ve acted out poorly about the whole thing and haven’t been the supportive partner I should have been. But I want to change that and be that person.

I’m hoping some one on here could spare the time to share their experiences with me so that I can better understand what she went through and be able to see things from her point of view, to be able to in a way empathise with her. It is very hard to find a women who are willing to talk about something so personal especially to a man. But I’m trying all the avenues that I can to be a better partner about her abuse.

I hope that I haven’t offended any one I just want to try to be more supportive of her concerning all of this.

Thank you for your time and help to any one who response it is greatly appreciate.
 

Jane

Lark Ascending
Got Keys
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
26,093
#3
Hi...

Can only speak from experience. Last thing I wanted when I at last got away from my abusive partner was people judging me...telling me what I should have done...it upset me, made me feel invalidated and blamed. Wanted to scream at people who did this that their insensitivity was not helping.

I felt supported when rather than offering me their opinions people listened to me and respected my right to feel as I did, recover in my own way, at my own pace...accepted that I had done and was continuing to do my best...heal from the difficult life-altering situation I had been through.

We have some excellent resources on domestic violence and related subjects in our library that you may find useful.
 

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#4
hey :hi

first of all, glad you posted - awareness and understanding certainly helps and is the best thing around really, honest questions invite honest answers, hope you get lots of constructive input :rs

we got some stuff in our library that you might wanna check out, particularly:
why do women stay - attempts to answer your question, cuz its a common thing
safety planning for battered women - not relevant to your gf anymore since she already left, but could give an idea of what exactly leaving a dv relationship involves on practice
stockholm syndrome - talks of how emotional connection with a perpetrator of abuse works, which affects ones ability to leave even if the practicalities are taken care of
tips for secondary survivors - just a good page on what survivors generally want from their friends/relatives/significant others

i totally hear how it makes little sense, that one would stay in an abusive situation instead of just leaving. thing is - you cant leave. its what makes it abuse. if one was free to go (or to fight back), it would be called "dating a jerk" instead. happens, is deeply unpleasant, but has little to do with abuse imho. abuse is when you cant leave. its a trap. that the perp creates and maintains, consciously or not. usually consciously. its not visible to outsiders, but its very much there, and its what keeps the victim in the relationship.

what the perp might trap you with is up to their creativity really. can be blackmail. can be threats to kill/harm kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. pets. could be taking control of finances, so you literally have no money to leave with - and i dont mean half of the savings, i mean $10 for gas. pardon tmi - when i was preparing to leave mine, i hid cash rolled up in one of my tampons, sealed the wrapper with an iron, cuz sealed tampons was the only place he didnt search regularly. could be threats to ruin your career (send nude pics to employer or something). could be just threats to kill you if you try - to an outsider it might sound like just words, empty threat - but its actually quite likely for a dv perp to attempt to murder the victim who is trying to leave. for tons of reasons, but one of them is - battery is a felony, if she talks he'd be looking at a lengthy prison sentence, and shes likely to talk cuz she gets more social security benefits as a dv victim, and she desperately needs them if she ran off and is homeless/unemployed/etc. if he had no problem committing felonies before (beating her up on regular basis), whats to stop him from killing her out of self-preservation, to not go to prison for dv; clearly the guy has anger issues and no reserve about violence...

also, all of the above applies only once you at least realize that whats happening isnt right and you need to leave. abuse involves lotsa brainwashing. i mean, she was in love with the guy at some point, picked him voluntarily, stayed with him happily for a while - and not like when he started to beat her up he just said "alrighty now, honeymoon is over, now im gonna be beating you up, just suck up and deal with it, tough luck". of course he snows her with all sorts of rationalizations: that it was a one-time thing, he had a hard day at work and snapped, she provoked him, she shouldnt have done this and that, he'll never do it again, she'll be more careful next time, etc. i mean, its the person she loves saying this. makes you doubt your perception - maybe i really was wrong and provoked him somehow, he never does this to anyone else, i must be a horrible person if thats how he treats me, etc, etc, etc.

how soon one leaves also depends largely on their support network - how many people they talk to about whats going on. if there is at least one such person. and how does that person respond. first time i gathered the guts to tell someone whats going on, the person i spoke to responded that yeah, shes sorry for me, and worries about my safety, but to her it doesnt look like anything can be done here, looks like im stuck with this for life lol. i mean, its gonna sound ridiculous - but that was the only input i had on my situation, so i accepted this answer and stayed for a coupla years more. im pretty sure if she emphatically told me this wasnt ok and i should call police - i woulda done it, and woulda been out of the relationship a coupla years earlier. and its not cuz im so dumb - its that abuse is a deeply private and painful secret while its happening, talking of it is excruciatingly hard, so i did it once (been preparing for that talk for a few months tbh), got my answer, and shut down again.

:rs for you and your gf :hi
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#5
Thank you both so much for replying and sharing your personal experiences.

I've been looking at a lot of information, articles, websites on this topic recently but I will definitely have at look at the pages that you have suggested.I think I am slowly starting to understand it more.

Manya your point on "I totally hear how it makes little sense, that one would stay in an abusive situation instead of just leaving. thing is - you cant leave. its what makes it abuse. if one was free to go (or to fight back), it would be called "dating a jerk" instead". was pretty useful it helped to high light the difference between being with a jerk and being in an abusive relationship. It is hard to wrap your head around being an outsider looking in because you can't really relate to it at all. To us it seems as simple as "bad situation = leave". I knew there was move to it than that like where will you go, who can you stay with and I understand how much harder it must be if children are involved. I guess I never realised the extend of the problems that can occur if you try to leave.

And thank you Jane for your advice on how to be supportive, again I guess people think their helping by trying to offer their opinions but really the best think to do is shut up and just listen.

You have both given me some thing to think about and it has been a big help hearing other peoples experiences, opening my eyes a bit more to these situations. I'm glad both of you managed to leave your abusive partners, I thank you and wish you all the best
 

Tasha1701D

Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
Admin
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
8,451
#6
I just wanted to share a particular thing that ended up keeping me trapped in various abuses. Sometimes, if I tried to share, I was just told to “forgive” the person and things would get better, somehow, magically, cuz forgiveness was all the abuser needed. For most of these ppl - and how I had been taught - forgiving meant forgetting all the bad things that had been done to me, and giving the person endless chances; so that's what I did, forgot the previous harmful things - even trying to kill me - and went back to the abuse, because it wasn't really abuse any more if there was a clean slate. I was also told things like “Don't say such lies about these good people.” or “He/She is just doing their best.” etc. So that put the responsibility for how people were acting on my shoulders again, just like the abusers were doing. So I figured from this that all of the abuse was somehow my fault, and I deserved it. I'm out now, but am still trying to heal from all these lies and the brainwashing that I experienced for a few decades, as well as the blame and shame I got from others for the abuse I went through, in therapy.

What really helps me is when people who care about me just listen, don't make judgements, don't question judgement calls, and don't probe and pry for details about what I went through, etc. I'm working through my emotional issues with my therapist. What I really need from those who love me, my family, friends, etc, is for them to care about me now, where I am, who I am now. I really don't want to be someone's project though. I don't need someone I love to “fix” me, because that's what the abusers were trying to do. They wanted me to be something other than who I am, and if someone comes along and makes me a “project” then that's the same dynamic. I tend to resist that dynamic with all that I am, and it makes me angry when someone looks at me like an object. So, it really helps me when my loved ones treat me like they'd treat anyone else in their life. They don't try to fix me, they invite me to activities they think I'd enjoy. They don't try to analyze my feelings and responses, they come over for a movie night. They don't try to pry details about the abuse I've gone through out of me, they listen when I have something exciting to share about my day. They don't treat me like some fragile glass that they're afraid will break, they treat me like the person they enjoy having in their life.

I hope that your girlfriend has many people in her life so she can heal from what she went through. :rs
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#7
Thank you for your comment Tasha,

Like I said earlier I've far from handled the information my fiancée has told me about this perfectly, I've brought back lots of painful memories for her and hurt her in the process. But for the life of me I cant ever understand if some one told me they were being abused responding back with "don't say such lies about that person". If some one is saying some thing so serious would you not take it seriously until it had been proved otherwise.

It seems part of the problem comes when victims of abuse finally get the courage to speak to some one about it, if the response they get back is negative and not supportive. Then it sets that person back months maybe even years before they can speak out to some one again. I think I may be guilty of doing such a thing with my fiancée, while see was out of the relationship by the time she told me, any unsupportive or negative responses I gave back hampered her decision to speak about it in the future and set her even further back. So the best way to undo this sort of damage is whenever she chooses to speak to me about it again is just to listen to what she has to say, offer no judgement or any opinion just to listen to her?
 

Tasha1701D

Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
Admin
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
8,451
#8
I'm not sure what would be best for your fiance, but for me, it really helps when people don't look at me with alarm, horror, etc, and just listen instead. One of the things that has really helped me is to talk about the really serious "shocking" stuff with a trained professional and in support groups where others "get" things and usually aren't shocked. Seeing shock on someone's face has made it really hard for me to talk about things, because I feel like I did something horrible if the person I love is reacting to me in that manner, cuz it feels like a reaction to ME, not what I'm sharing. For me, talking about what I went through is very difficult, it's deeply embarrassing, it's very personal, and if I choose to discuss it with someone I'm close to, it means I have a lot of trust in that person, so when the reactions are ones of shock, anger, etc, it sets me back, like you said.

I understand about being upset when something bad has happened to someone you love, but the reactions to what I've told people have sometimes really damaged my ability to trust that person. For example, my mom and dad (who helped me get out of my situation) didn't want to hear details, cuz they knew themselves well enough to know that they couldn't handle it, told me that themselves, and I respected that. It was cuz they hated to hear I'd gone through horrible things. But they never looked at me like I was an alien from another planet, or any other way that other people have, for the very reason that they set boundaries from the start, that they couldn't handle it. I'm very glad that they shared that they couldn't talk about details, cuz it made it possible for our relationship to stay strong. On the other hand, I have a friend who works as a social worker, sees quite a few things daily, and she is comfy with details. I don't share lots with her, just occasionally will share if something comes up in the course of our conversations, but when I do share, it still takes a huge amount of trust, even with this person I've known for 20 years now. And if she were to respond with "Wtf, that coulda never happened." yeah, it'll set me back some when I try to talk about what I went through, as well as wondering exactly how much I can trust this friend I've had for two decades. That's one of the reasons that I talk about the "serious" stuff with my therapist, cuz she's trained to handle even the shocking stuff without setting my healing back, and my loved ones are just there to be loved ones, instead of to help me process what I went through.

I guess for me that's actually the distinction I make between loved ones and professionals - if I'm relying on a friend or other loved one to help me process things, I need to check myself, cuz loved ones don't have the training, etc, to help me process, so it's unfair of me to treat them like a paid professional. Yeah they care about me, but they can't help with my PTSD, social anxiety, and all the other psych issues I have resulting from abuse. My therapist can help me, though, cuz she's been trained. Sometimes it helps when I make that distinction with those around me, too, cuz lotsa my loved ones naturally wanna help me, so I remind them that I just wanna be treated as a loved one, not a project or a patient or anything else. I'm still a person, and I wanna do things with them that we've always done, etc. I'll work through my psych issues with my therapist, and if I happen to wake in the middle of the night from a nightmare, yeah, a glass of water is great. I might even need to talk about it a little bit, to ground that I'm not in that nightmare any more and am safe where I am, but that's the extent of what I find helpful.

Hehe. Anyway, I've rambled for a loooooong time. I hope that some of that might be interesting/useful. :rs
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#9
Your not rambling Tasha I'm really greatful to hear some one else's experience and to help me understand better.

I think I'm guilty of once I found out wanting to try and fix it but like you said I'm not a trained profession so I didn't know what I could do to help, which probably made my feeling of being useless even worst. I should have just like you suggested listen and lent a supportive shoulder been there as a loved one.

I never really thought of my fiancée as a project to fix, When we met she was pretty well adjusted most of the time and it seemed like she had moved on from that terrible time in her past. I think maybe she was some of the time just pushing it down and not thinking about it. Suggesting that she speak to other people who have been there or a therapist who is trained and knows how to react could be useful to her.

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.
 

Tasha1701D

Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
Admin
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
8,451
#10
I hear ya. Lotsa ppl either wanted to fix things, or they wanted to ask me why I didn't do whatever so that I got out. I realized that it's hard for people who haven't had their autonomy taken away to understand the complications that arise when you're not even sure you're being abused. I wasn't sure that what was happening to me was wrong. I was told that it was how things were supposed to be, a couple ppl later on said that it was for my own good, one person even said that sexually assaulting me was because they wanted to "heal" me. The abuse had twisted the world in such a way that I didn't realize these things were wrong. I didn't have an idea how to get out of them, went to people for help, who then told me not to tell lies, that people were only doing their best, that I should forgive those abusers for "mistakes" they made, etc. What was really confusing to me was trying to figure out what was my responsibility and what was the responsibility of other people. That's why I mentioned how helpful it was for me to have professionals with whom I could discuss the trauma I've gone through, cuz whenever I've had loved ones try to act as a therapist or try to fix me, it hasn't ended well. I've actually ended up in the same relationship dynamic as I did while in the abuse. Abuse seriously messed with the way I understand and see the world, the way I relate to others, etc. I'm still working on those things, but therapy and support groups have really helped me with those issues, and my loved ones treating me as they treat anyone else has really helped me understand healthy relationship dynamics, through trial and error, and without the abuse factor.

My mom and dad wished they could turn back the clock so that I didn't go through abuse, but that wasn't their main way of interacting with me. And they only expressed that desire to me a couple of times. I think they stopped sharing it with me cuz they saw in my reaction that I felt guilty for sharing with them, that now I've poisoned their lives with the bad thing I went through. That's how it felt, really - that I'd poisoned their lives by my existence in it. That prolly doesn't sound rational, but it was how I felt at the time, cuz during the abuse I had been told lotsa lies about who I was as a person, how awful it was for me to be in the lives of the abusers, etc, so my worth was connected to how other people reacted to me. To some extent, it still is, but that's something I'm working on with my therapist, too - where my responsibilities as a person end and where others begin. Just it's a really hard thing cuz abuse messes with these boundaries. I didn't feel like a person, wasn't treated like a valid person during the abuse. 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, etc. Basically, it made it easier for the abusers to hurt and control me. It was a complicated relationship, and prolly difficult for outsiders to understand the dynamics. I mean, I can still justify what happened to me, using the reasons the abusers gave. My therapist says that's part of Stockholm Syndrome. I guess she's right. It's just something I'm working through with her, as I process the trauma I went through.
 

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#11
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/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_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.

:rs for you
 

Objet_petit_a

Getting The Hang Of It
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
33
#12
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!
 

Tasha1701D

Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
Admin
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
8,451
#13
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.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#14
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
 

Jane

Lark Ascending
Got Keys
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
26,093
#15
:omg 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. :rs
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#16
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.
 

AnyWoman

Known To All
Joined
May 3, 2014
Messages
446
#17
[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.
 

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#18
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...
 

Tasha1701D

Fort Security Chief & Stargazer
Admin
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
8,451
#19
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.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
#20
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
 
Top