Country Living Series

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You can lead a horse to water...

Younger Daughter has been somewhat distressed for the last couple of days. That’s because, for nearly the first time, she’s caught a glimpse of how stupid women can be.

She’s been lurking on some forums concerning an issue of interest to her. In the midst of the chatter about this particular issue, she came across a 25-year-old woman named Anne who is “engaged” and has been living with a man for the past five years. Anne has been writing that this man screams at her a lot, belittles her, and otherwise makes her feel lousy. Anne stays in this relationship because she believes her fiancé is a good man and hopes he will change.

This is part of what Anne wrote: “He gets enraged and our argument escalates from me being upset to him screaming at me. I want to spend the rest of my life with him, so I don't know how I can cope with this. I've considered leaving times over the course of our relationship (we lived together on and off for 5+ years). My fiancé has anger issues (which I think stem from his childhood) which he acknowledges and is working on improving. He tends to let things build up inside and then erupt emotionally over a relatively minor trigger. However, he's been able to work on his issues and his anger has gotten MUCH better over the years. The screaming happens rarely, and when it does I'm usually able to ask him why he's screaming at me and that seems to calm him down. In the end, the upsides of our relationship outweigh the negatives, and I'm in this for the long haul – so any suggestions that I break up with him are not going to be helpful, I'm really just looking for strategies.”

Even at age fourteen, Younger Daughter instantly knew this man was trouble. She spent some time mentally wrestling about whether she should make some practical suggestions to Anne, but hesitated because after all, who’s going to listen to a fourteen-year-old? Reading about this kind of behavior was hopelessly baffling to Younger Daughter, who genuinely wonders how someone could still hope – after five years – that her “fiancé” would change.

Meanwhile other people on the forums were all making soothing nicey-nice “poor you” comments: “”Oh you poor thing.” “Oh dear, he sounds harsh.” – without ever stating the obvious: Run, don't walk, in the other direction -- this guy is trouble.

“You can lead a horse to water,” noted my husband, “but you can’t make him drink. You can point out how bad or dangerous a man is, but you can’t make a woman recognize that.”

A bit over a year ago, our county had a rare murder which sadly happened on Christmas Day. A young woman (18) was shot in the face by her jealous and controlling boyfriend (29). Three days before her death, the young victim assured her worried mother that just because her boyfriend choked her and held a gun to her head, it meant nothing. “I know he really loves me,” the victim said, dismissing her mother’s concerns.

This tragedy particularly affected our close neighbors, who know the family well. The young woman who was killed had graduated with our neighbor’s oldest son. The murder shook our rural county because it was so…. violent. Senseless. And above all, preventable.

So Younger Daughter has been exposed to some of this kind of behavior. And here on this forum, she was seeing a similarly distressing situation in action.

I have no training in psychology or counseling, and would probably be useless if a friend came to me and told me that her boyfriend/fiancé/husband was beating them, because I would have a simple piece of advice: LEAVE. In this woman Anne’s case, she has no children to complicate the equation, and nothing prevents her from moving out and starting a new life without a screaming man. So why does she stay?

I know there are a lot of women with such low self-esteem (I hate that term) that they don’t believe they’re worthy of a better man. I also know that many abusive men are charming and charismatic (when they’re not being abusive). Yeah yeah, I know that. I just don’t understand it.

A recent CNN article entitled Why Abused Women Stay in Bad Relationships did not, despite the title, truly address the reasons why women stay in bad relationships. “We want the abuse to end. We don't want the relationship to end,” says Leslie Morgan Steiner, a formerly abused woman. “This fact about ‘crazy love’ surprises many people. How could you still love someone who has hurt you? The answer is as complicated as love itself. We victims tend to be hope junkies, open-hearted and optimistic. We believe that our loved ones are capable of change. Some would say we are naïve. Others say we are too kind or too forgiving. Often we cannot find the courage to leave an abusive relationship until our life (or our children's safety) has been threatened.”

Sorry, not good enough.

After much discussion in our family, Younger Daughter finally posted a restrained reply to Anne’s comment as follows:

Hi Anne. Having read both your posts on the subject, I decided to give my input on your troubles. And, I’m sorry to say, in your position I wouldn’t stay with this man.

According to almost any website on that topic, shouting or refusal to accept your spouse or partner’s differences is one of the first signs of an abusive relationship. While it can start out minor, many times it will escalate into a life-ruining situation. If he isn’t willing to accommodate – or even be civil about – your differences, why would he do so about any problems you may develop in the future?

My mother, who knows more about this subject than I, suggests that you check out this link. Good luck.


Okay, folks, so what am I missing? Why would Anne continue to live with a man who treats her this way, especially when she herself recognizes all the red flags that are waving in her face? Why would anyone stay, especially if there are no children involved? What advice would you give to someone like Anne?

I don’t mean to sound harsh or unsympathetic – I’m quite serious when I say I don’t understand this. Can you help me out?

62 comments:

  1. Having observed several women in bad relationships, I believe it is a control issue. Not the man controlling the woman, but the woman trying to control the man in the form of "changing him". She believes her tolerant and loving behavior will control the situation and control him. In my opinion, it is a power play.

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  2. I have read (and seen) that problematic spouses (abusive and otherwise) will often try and seperate their partner from their family and friends. An us against them mentality sets in. Obviously people who have no friends/family support (which can happen with young people who have moved for a job/school/etc.) are already vulnerable.

    So I suspect that in some cases there is a feeling of dependence going on somewhere.

    I am interested to see the other comments because it has always been an area of mystery to me.

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  3. This woman probally has abandonment issues from her childhood, or she grew up in the same situation only seeing it happen to her mother. Many women stay because they are afraid to loose any type of love they get be it verbal, physical, mental- good, bad and ugly. She will most likely never leave him, and she may become a statistic, unless she goes to counseling ad gets help, however she will
    Only go to counseling when either he
    Seriously hospitalized her or she is court ordered. If
    She grew Up with this it is very very difficult to break the cycle. There is really nothing anyone can do, it's going to take a few hospital visits, court ordered counseling or enough people telling her its bad before/ if she ever deals with the situation. It's a sad world but it happens more than you realize. All you can do is say it's not good for her and that all, she needs to make the next step, and based on what you wrote, this young woman is not ready for that step, and may never be especially after 5 years of abuse, she takes the abuse as love now and has accepted it.

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  4. More on controlling....people can use a controlling behavior to feel better about their own self and lack of taking responsibilities for their choices. It can be a distraction from taking action to leave the situation. This can create a vicious circle. Try to control the man that you have no control over, use it as an excuse for not taking real action, like leaving the situation. Often woman fail to see this vicious circle because it was a part of their family dynamics and it is familiar and "comfortable".

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  5. Years ago I saw a lecture by Dr. Laura Schlesinger on public television. She said that when men marry, they want the woman to stay the way she is. Women, on the other hand, look at a man and say "two arms, two legs, a head . . . I can do something with that!" They try to fix or change the guy. Now, not all women do this, but it is a recipe for failure and disappointment, and reveals a certain level of narcissism. So, why do some women stay in relationships like this? Because it makes them feel better about themselves on some level; they are so patient, so kind, and so truly understanding of this poor man, unlike all the other unkind morons in the world . . . THEIR love and patience will change him! That proves that they are wonderful people (not really, but that is the mindset). And the reason that they have to prove that is because deep down, they do not feel very good about themselves at all.

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    1. I totally agree. Its not always about self esteem but their desire to 'fix'their man. My brother and his girlfriend are in a mutually abusive relationship and I have come to the conclusion that some people just like drama. In my opinion, this desire for drama is fed by the violent music and movies they watch that tells them that it is normal to act this way. If you want to know what I mean just do a you tube search for eminem's song 'love the way you lie'. NOT for children!

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  6. I come from a home where my father ruthlessly abused my mother for the duration of their 10 year relationship. I can tell you, quite frankly, that she stayed in the relationship for so long because she did not value herself, she did not believe that she deserved to be treated well or loved, she did not believe she could do better. In my humble opinion, this is why women stay in abusive relationships. They do not believe that they deserve or can do any better. Ultimately, you cannot teach a woman to value herself, this type of belief system (or lack of belief, if you prefer) is ingrained and only time and many years of being treated with dignity and respect corrects it.

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  7. Anne is the problem. It is not about the boyfriend. Anne has self esteem issues and until she addresses them, it will not change. One has to wonder why "Anne" feels it is OK that she be treated that way. Did anyone on the site suggest Anne get some counseling.

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  8. Many years ago I was married to an abusive man, who was both physically and verbally abusive. We dated for about 2 years before we were married. I thought I had found the perfect man for me. He was always kind, caring and a gentlemen until we were married. I soon learned who he really was. He always hit me in places where the bruises wouldn't show so my family really didn't believe me. They were still fooled by his charm. The verbal abuse was equally destructive.

    Why did I stay for 6 years? I think it was because I didn't feel I deserved anyone better. I had been told repeatedly growing up that I would be lucky if someone wanted to marry me at all. So I think my lack of self-esteem played a very big role. There is also a deep sense of shame that goes with being abused. I also believe if my walk with the Lord had been stronger then, I wouldn't have been fooled so easily. Making God's word a priority in my life changed my thinking and has made all the difference.

    Seven years later I did meet a wonderful man. We have been married for 31 years. Together we raised 4 children who love the Lord. We have 8 grandkids, life is good.

    Jackie

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  9. Patrice, you must be very proud of your daughter for realizing at such a young age what many women spend a lifetime learning the hard way! Unfortunately, I've seen this many times and the best explanation I can come up with is that some (notice the "some" lest anyone jump down my throat here!) women have an overwhelming desire to feel "needed." I'm not saying that these women aren't hopeful and optimistic for change but I believe there is much more to it than simply optimism. As silly as it may sound, I think some people try to find the meaning in their own lives by their place in the life of someone else. They think, "I'm the only one who truly understands him…he needs me…" or "I refuse to give up on him like everyone else, if I leave he will fall apart…"

    The women, in their own minds, become the glue that holds the man together - and being someone else's whole world is a "high" in itself. It's a powerful feeling: love is a choice (a stable man, man DECIDE he doesn't want to be with me) but needing someone (and likewise, being needed by someone) is almost an addiction. I think it takes looking at oneself and saying not "what void do I fill in HIS life" but "what hole am I allowing his problems to fill in mine." If women address the underlying issues within themselves, and determine what they are lacking emotionally, they may just realize they don't need him anymore after all.

    Just my opinion..

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  10. Oh but I can change him, he needs me, he will be all alone with out me, he really is a good guy, when he is not angry he is soooo sweet!
    If she lives through him and figures out that she is really to good for that she will go, but probably not before there are children, because you know children might make him settle down.
    dawn

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  11. She's slept with him, and they are one flesh, that is why. If they had mearly dated w/o the physical, the relationship would have ended earlier...most likely. And then, alot of women just want someone to love them, and this may be the best "love" they've ever known. My 2cents.

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  12. I assume from what this woman has written, they have a sexual relationship. The bible states that when two people join together in that way, they become one in spirit. There is something that happens when two people come together like that that goes beyond the physical aspect of it. There is something binding that happens there which is a good thing when a couple is in a healthy, married relationship. Bad when the couple is mentally unhealthy, unmarried, and should go their seperate ways.

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  13. You cannot give advice to someone determined not to take it. She has already said she isn't leaving. The only thing that is going to change her mind is reaching the point where leaving is less scary to her than staying with him. She isn't there yet, because she is still in love with the man-he-could-be, rather than seeing him as the man-that-he-actually-is.

    Xa Lynn

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  14. Okay I'll go for it, but I tend to be blunt and have known a few women in this situation.....Once some women have sex with a man they tend to act an awful lot like a hen with a mean rooster ....and having chickens ,I am sure you have seen what I am talking about. also, Some women just adore all that "Oh honey , thats so sad , you're so sweet , you don't deserve it" Which may be the case your daughter ran into seeing how this woman is telling all in public. The other thing I have run into which is similar which is the woman sets up the man whom she knows how to set off and then sits back in satisfaction of some strange sort, as she watches him loose complete control,then she gets sympathy or a feeling of superiority over him.. Seen it so many times I hate to be so pessimistic. I'd like to be more sympathetic and would be if I met one woman where this didn't seem to be the case.Not talking about stalkers here , only women who stay and take it.

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  15. This woman comes from a dysfunctional background. She does not know what "normal" is. Dysfunction is familiar, so that's what she chooses. Her trying to "fix" the man is dysfunctional. The only person you can "fix" is yourself. Change is painful. When the pain from the relationship is bad enough, when it's more painful than changing, that's when she will change and start to heal. Until then...more pain will build. You & younger daughter can't fix it either. This is what I am going thru right now with my in-laws, multi-generational dysfunction. We are determined to change ourselves and get healthy multi-generationally - it's a process. I struggle with wanting to tell my m-in-law "the right thing" to make her see - but she won't see until the pain is very great. I have to put her on God's hook, and let it go. Those are my thoughts. DWLee3

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  16. Patrice, the only thing I can say is get the women to define what they mean by 'love.' I think it might better be called addiction in these cases.

    When I hear an abused woman say she loves the abuser because, "I just can't help it"....I want to say, "Oh, puh-leeeeze!"

    I suspect there is some sort of warped attachment to the idea of love having to be high-voltage and high-drama to be real.

    There's probably also some ego boost in the fantasy that she can change him.

    Honey, it ain't gonna happen! Get out now...

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  17. I've never been in an abusive relationship,so I can't give any firsthand insight on the subject. But I can recommend a link. My friend's sister just got out of an abusive relationship and she has been blogging about it. Her blog is stodandlittlev.blogspot.com. It's heartbreaking to read at times. This post talks about why she didn't leave right away: http://www.stodandlittlev.blogspot.com/2013/01/june-24-2012.html.

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  18. When I was growing up. this was the kind of relationships my mom had with men. She, I felt was addicted to the drama. The so called honymoon periods inbetween the abuse, were always great times. She also did not know how to back off in a fight and would feed the fire. I told myself when I grew up I would not do this. However not having good relationship skills or selfesteem it took me a few brakeups to try to find the right man. I went to therapy, took anger management and read a lot about abuse and tried to improve myself asteam.I am in a marrage that my husband started out pretty moody, but with talking and our faith in God he has changed. However he has never laid a hand on me, we say sorry often and we forgive much. I had to change myself. I had to learn to respect my husband, he had to learn to protect and cherish me.

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  19. I think it's a case of, "Being loved by somebody, some of the time is better than being loved by nobody...none of the time."
    Pathetic anyway you look at it.

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  20. I can't help you. :( My aunt did the same thing.... except she did leave several times. But she kept going back. My mom even helped her leave once, and she and their children stayed with us for a while, but she went back.

    Eventually, he shot at her, and she tried to run over him with her car.

    He finally contracted bone cancer, and she nursed him for the rest of his (very painful and miserable) life.

    No idea. I do not comprehend such things.

    She did finally find a very wonderful man and married him, and he's just a doll. So... a very rare happy ending.

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  21. I think it comes down to fear and denial. For some, the fear that they will be killed if they try to leave, but they will live if they submit. This keeps many women trapped until they get to the point that they believe they will be killed if they stay, so they are willing to risk leaving.
    For other women, like Anne, I think they fear the unknown. Abusers usually isolate their victims in many ways. The abuse becomes normal and familiar, while leaving and trying to make a separate life is a big question mark.

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  22. I think depression can be a serious factor. Many years ago, I was stuggling with the loss of our first baby (second trimester), infertility, and deep depression. Thankfully, my husband is a wonderful man, but if he had treated me badly - I would have felt like I deserved it. Until that point in my life, I was much like you - unable to fathom what would make a woman stay in that kind of situation.

    If she isn't depressed now, he will wear her down until she is.

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  23. I would tell Anne to get some counseling and find out why she has such low self esteem/self worth that she thinks she has to stay with this guy because no one else would want her. Patrice, you say you don't like the term "self esteem", but self esteem is important. Girls/women need to feel good about themselves and feel they are worthy. I grew up with little self esteem - never dated in high school - couldn't understand why anyone would ever want to date me. I got into some bad relationships. I married when I was 24, thinking I had married a nice man, a professional, good job, nice family, etc., but he has loads of problems, very selfish, never supported me in anything, put me down, etc. I realize now that he had to put me down in order to make himself feel better. I hate to say it but we've been married 40 years. His psychological problems are now more pronounced, and he's pretty much a recluse. He was never controlling - I'm able to do pretty much what I want and I've moved on and made a life for myself without him. Yes, we stayed married until our sons were adults but now I stay because he has a great govt. health insurance policy and I don't know what's going to happen w/Obamacare. I'll soon be eligible for Medicare, but will need a medicare extended policy. Who knows how much that is going to cost in the future. I'm now retired and plan to do a lot of traveling without him - just me and the dog. He can sit home. Depending on what happens when I'm traveling, I may still divorce. I feel no obligation to take care of him, and I'm certain he won't take care of me. Our sons don't like him either, which is sad. But to get back to the original question - I never thought anyone wanted me until he came along. Anne may feel the same way. Again, Anne needs to get counseling and start feeling better about herself. No reason for her to stay in such a relationship.

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  24. Not to be flippant... by why do blacks keep voting democrat? Some people are just insecure and feel that they can't do any better. I believe that would be the case here. When someone tells you your useless, etc... Well some people believe that. sadly!

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  25. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)February 14, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Why? Because she is L.A.Z.Y. She is just too darn comfortable where she is right now. She knows he is no good for her, otherwise she wouldn't be looking for validation of her concerns on the internet. She sees all the warning signs but if she left she would have to find an apartment and fend for herself. Putting up with all the screaming is a lot easier than it would be to grow up. They both need counselling. Him for his anger management and her to get some self-esteem.

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  26. Don't think letting younger daughter getting involved in relationship forums -or maybe any on the Internet - is a good thing. The forums on the Internet, for the most part, are a waste of otherwise productive time. I view Internet forum addiction as bad as modern tv. Just my 2 cents, and yes, I realize I am typing a comment on the Internet.

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  27. About 15 years ago I asked the same question of my best friend. She said what happened is after years of being abused, she came to believe it was her fault. Her own personal self-worth had been so demeaned, she truly thought she deserved to be first be mocked, then screamed at, then slapped, then punched, and finally kicked unconscious. Even after she was in the hospital for 3 days with broken ribs, a broken arm and a fractured skull she would not leave.

    I have never allowed anyone to bully me without standing up to them and I told her I didn't get it How could she let him treat her that way. She said she never had my confidence to stand up for her self and it happened bit by bit. After six months of emotional abuse, and the first slapping, he began controlling her access to family, friends, $ and time. That made it even harder to get out and the abuse got worse and worse. She finally got out, after three times back and forth, with her 4 year old son and the clothes on her back.

    I wish I knew what happened to her. After I helped her the first time I had to walk away. I could not allow her to bring her abusive relationship into my life, or around my daughter. We lost touch.

    The advice I would give to your daughter is to state the truth with love and pray the young woman will do what it takes to get out now. Younger daughter also needs to be prepared to walk away. She is so blessed to have you and Don as role models. May God watch over all concerned.

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  28. That they have been together (whatever that means to them) for 5 years and haven't figured this out is a bad sign. On the other hand (if it is in fact true) this has not escalated beyond words that is a good sign.

    I am guessing this happens more than she is willing to admit. If it was a 1x a year thing it would be less than this seems to be.

    Walking is not a bad idea. It does not seem he (or their dynamics, whatever) is changing. The decision to leave will only get harder as time goes by and they potentially marry or have kids.

    Should she decide to try and make it work I suspect some sort of professional help is needed. They clearly are not solving this problem together. As to motivating him to participate in this process the best I can say is that guys respond to incentives; maybe more accurately if there are no incentives they do not respond.

    I would recommend that she tells him this behavior is not acceptable and that the next time he does it she is moving out. Then follow through when it happens. Some time apart may be the wake up call needed for him to get his stuff together or her to realize there are other fish in the sea.




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    1. Well, around here anytime someone says they have "been together" 1, 5, 10 years, whatever, it means they live together without the benefit of matrimony. I have also noticed that the denotation of fiance has changed. Fiance/fiancee (sp?) used to mean betrothed, now it means shacking up.

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  29. this "anne" that is written about could be someone i know very well...and the one i know has been told to leave her hubby even by her psychiatrist! they (anne and my friend) are enablers...they just cannot help themselves..it is like living with an alcholic or drug addict and buying them their fix to keep them happy. these are the kind of friends that bring sadness and heartache to everyone they are around and touch. they want help with their problems but do not want to do what is required of them to resolve their problems...therefore they live in a vicious circle of despair, fear, stress etc...

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  30. I knew of only one of these relationships. The woman was staying with the SOB until he threatened one of her children from a previous marriage. That did it for her and when he started to do all sorts of dirty legal tricks she hired a privet eye and really went after him and she won. I saw him a couple of times around town later and just ignored him. I agree that this behaviour just totally escapes me and I can't relate.

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  31. He's been getting the milk for free for the last 5 years. What incentive does he have to buy the cow or take care of the cow?

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    1. Well Bob K, that's what my Daddy always told us.

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  32. From a gal that was in an abusive relationship (engaged to and living with him) for 4.5 years, for me? It boiled down to a) I thought it was normal - my dad was emotionally/mentally abusive so that was my norm and b) the devil you know is typically less scary than the devil you don't know.

    And a slightly different reason, as screwy as the relationship was, it was *some* affection/attention from someplace. After being starved of that for years and being told you were stupid and never going to amount to anything, something was better than nothing at the time (I got a hug from my mom and a handshake from my dad at 14yo, then I was [awkwardly] walked down the aisle at 23yo, and hugged at a funeral by my mother at 22yo - that was the extent of affection in my house growing up).

    It takes a *lot* of courage and determination to break that cycle. It's certainly not easy, nor is it cheap. I managed to luck out and find my dreamy computer nerd shortly after all the crazy, but it does take time to de-program yourself so to speak.

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  33. FEAR. Better the devil you know, than the one you don't. Many of these women come from a bad situation at home, and many have never been truly alone. (As in living independently). They only know the home they came from, and the home they are in now. They cannot fathom life without SOMEONE in it. If that someone yells and screams for a bit, that's better than being alone - possibly on the street, unable to care for themselves, or whatever. They also think if they love someone unconditionally, and keep trying harder, that person will eventually change, and they will have the loving relationship they desperately want. Whenever the abuser does something bad, they rationalize it away, making it their fault for not being good enough, for not being strong enough, for not doing enough to make the abuser change. They are enablers...they WANT this person they love to change...and if they try hard enough, work long enough, make life easy enough, the abuser will see it and love them.

    It is a sad thing. I'm glad Younger Daughter sees this relationship for what it is.

    What enablers do not realize is that love is a two-way street - it is given, and it is taken by both parties. If one party is not giving love and is only taking...the couple is not in love. Period.

    Also - despite what she says, Anne is crying out for help. Maybe she's taking baby steps to see how people respond...because one thing about abused people is...they keep everything as secret as possible. Even on an anonymous forum. So the fact she is speaking out is a baby step in possibly leaving this abusive relationship. The only problem is...will she leave soon enough, before she is physically harmed or even killled?

    Younger Daughter can pray for Anne, but it is not YD's fault if Anne disappears or is hurt. Grown ups get to make their own choices, even if they are the wrong ones.

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  34. I think each woman has her own reasons for staying. I was raised in a family that was full of strife that included physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Growing up I counted the years until I could leave, and as an adult I've never understood why anyone would stay where they weren't loved and cherished. Being alone is preferable to living in terror.

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    1. Oh, I so agree. I've never seen *any* relationship that isn't to some degree manipulative on both sides -- and if this fellow is abusing 'her', then you can pretty much guess she knows just how to pull his strings: she like most women probably using emotional manipulation in marital power struggles. What surprises me is that no one has mentioned the dollars and cents of it. I know 'of' a woman who stayed in a relationship until her abusing (unwed) partner ended it, the girl's mother all that while interjecting the fellow's 'six-digit' income ('new house', 'new car', 'new....') into every conversation about the couple (both professionals) at every opportunity, only to reveal (hissingly) afterward that the fellow regularly beat the girl in angry rages, and was verbally abusive -- for all that while.... Apparently that was okay and unremarkable so long as the six-digit income was intact. Just a few days ago I read a woman's plaint in a childhood abuse blog I follow, that she's 'trapped' in her abusive marriage because if she leaves she'll 'only' get $1700 a month welfare. (Sorry, honey, no sympathy *here*.) And finally, my mother, too, stayed in an abusive marriage in which my father trashed all the children (not her) -- because she had no intention of living in poverty by removing us out of range of his viciousness: I'm 'privileged' to have had an upper-middle-class upbringing. Single poverty is healthy self-love for any woman who has experienced such abuse. "Being alone is [indeed] preferable to living in terror", humiliation, physical and emotional violence, incest -- and the unending, unending familial complicity of denial of same.

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    2. My mother married a series of horrible men, and when one of them made a pass at me and I told her, her response was that I "must have misunderstood". Her entire reason for staying was monetary, and she was not going to stand up for her child and then lose her husband. Her actions helped to shape my desire to simply leave an abusive situation.

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  35. I don't have an answer. My mother was very much the sort of woman who would have picked up the kids and left the first time her husband raised a hand towards her, period, (he never did).

    And though I have no kids, well...a few winter's ago I slipped down the front steps and ended up with a set of bruises that looked like I'd been beaten. About a week later we were grocery shopping and a lady attempted to pull me aside and ask "did that man with you do that?!" to which my husband responded "lady, I might be bigger than her, but she's the better shot, if I beat her I'd be dead"

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  36. Oh my what a shocker to see this article today. I just this afternoon was talking with my sister, she was telling me about all these things her husband does to her, yelling at each other all of the time, controls all of the spending and much more (he has never hit her she says). I was shocked listening to our conversation and of course chiming in with all of my sisterly love of why she needed to leave this man. I ask her then why do you stay with someone that makes you so unhappy and you have to pretend with your fellings for him, you have to act like you are someone else with him? She looked at me, so simple like, and said "I don't want to be alone", its a small price to pay to not be lonely.
    My heart broke for her, for her to feel so insecure of herself that she could never find a man to make her truely happy. All I could do is just hold her tight and cry.

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  37. surprised to read so many have the same view as I do, I was sure I'd be "shot down". I worked with a woman who was in an abusive relationship, also he was abusive towards her son. 5 years later I ran into her, the state had paid for her education to become a councelor for women who were in abusive relationships. When I congratulated her on getting out and helping other women, she let me know that she HAD NOT left her abuser and that she was so helpful exactly because she was being beaten and understood those women so well because of it..if my daughter was communicating with such a type of person I would give serious thought ending it. Maybe these peole are sick or frightened and need of special help or maybe they are flirting around wth evil and trying to draw sympathetic people in.

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  38. Some may say Anne is ever hopeful. I see her as simply refusing to deal with reality and clinging to her "dream for the relationship" or "hope for the relationship". I say she is stubborn. He keeps showing her that she must obey his will or suffer the consequences, she keeps refusing to recognize him for what he is.

    You can't fix stupid..... she may not be stupid but her decision to keep "working" on him to achieve what she believes he is capable of...... sure isn't very intelligent.

    Once, maybe twice, shame on him...... after that.... shame on her.

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  39. What advice would I give to this woman? For starters, run, don't walk, run away from this "man" as fast as you can. Don't look back. Then get yourself some counseling. Also, get a restraining order. Cut this man (again, I use that term loosely) out of your life completely and refuse to acknowledge anything from or about him. In short, write him off completely. And by the way, I'm a Man.

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  40. “Why would Anne continue to live with a man who treats her this way, especially when she herself recognizes all the red flags that are waving in her face?”

    In two words: oxytocin and dopamine. If I understand correctly, a human female’s body produces both preceding and during coitus in greater quantities than a human male produces during the same act. That combined with the testosterone from male saliva and male ejaculate probably gets Anne impaired. My apologies for being so graphically blunt.

    Genesis 3:16 alludes to this condition: “Yet your urge shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you;” Anne’s “boyfriend” needs to come out of boyhood and “friendship” to the manhood of a husband who loves his wife as Christ loves His Church. Anne needs to stop being a “girlfriend” and become a wife.

    Your daughter’s response was compassionate and wise. May God continue to bless your family.

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  41. This is of course a mental illness, probably bi-polar. It is not just men who are dangerous partners. Most children who are killed by a parent are killed by the mother. Most physical assaults in a marriage are perpertrated by the female partner. This has been going on since Adam and Eve. There is no good answer except to gert out of a violent or potentially violent relationship. As I advised my son once; you can't fix her, leave, she will stab you one day or end up putting you in jail on trumped up charges. Everyone should learn to recognize this early and get out of the relationship before it gets worse.

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  42. Some women get off on the abuse. They consider a man with manners and gentlemanly behavior less than a man. It's all about the "thug love".

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  43. Recently Yahoo had an article about women who stay with these types of men.

    The article stated that it was the endorphin rush when the couple made up after the abuse/fight that kept the women with the abuser. The same type of endorphin rush that say a person gets from spending money or gambling.

    Years ago I stayed at a battered women's shelter and every woman in there had returned to their abuser many times.

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  44. I haven't read all the responses but I had to comment on this with my own experience.

    I was in a controlling relationship when I was 17-18. I realize now how toxic this relationship was but at the time I would trivialize or rationalize what was happening.

    He would tell me that I couldn't cut my hair because he thought I looked better with long hair, right? Oh, him telling me what I could and could not wear was just him looking out for me. He just showed up to my workplace because he loved me so much. I had to call him when I got home because he just wanted to make sure I was ok. That friend I was forbidden to socialize with? He must have seen something about her that wasn't good. It was cute that he wanted to know where I was and who I was with at all times. He wanted to spend every second with me without my family? Aw, he loves me so much! Him screaming at me and calling me names? Well, everyone has a temper! Threatening to kill himself if I ever left him? He just loves me so much he can't live without me! Him telling me I looked awful or telling me nobody would ever love me or him making fun of me was just his way of showing love. I could go on but I think I've given enough examples. You would be amazed at what can be trivialized or rationalized when another person convinces you that nobody else will love you. The amount of mind games an abuser will play is astounding and exhausting. I fully believe that the controlling and verbal abuse would have turned into physical abuse if I had stayed any longer.

    It took my parents staging an intervention before I finally broke up with him. Two weeks later my car tires were slashed and he was bragging around town that he had done it. He also spread horrible rumors about me to anyone who would listen. He stalked me. I didn't fully understand what he had been doing with convincing me I was worthless until many years later. It was so bad that when I started dating my husband I would expect him to blow up if I got a haircut or got a new outfit. It would shock me when Husband would tell me I looked great. It would shock me that Husband encouraged me to hang out with friends.

    The last I heard he was married and abusing his wife.

    Don't assume that someone is stupid for staying in a controlling or abusive relationship. Sometimes they don't see it or they've been convinced it's normal. Sometimes they are so convinced they're worthless that they really don't think they deserve better.

    Oh, and that friend he didn't like? She saw right through him and would tell me that it wasn't a good relationship whenever I talked to her. If many people are telling you it isn't a good relationship and to leave then I think it's time to take a deeper look at where you are in life.

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  45. This is a sad commentary on the State-of-the World in general, 'as goes the Family = so goes the Country' what is wrong with relationships at a personal level affects the conscience & morals of the Nation.

    Far too many people are willing: to put up with, or continue in a bad situation. Kind of parallels the current situation of our Country, and is Symptomatic of Compromising: GOD's Laws & Commandments, Societal pressure over Common Sense, and people's Gullability to swallow the Wholesale lies being shopped today.

    GOD Bless to everyone, Pray without ceasing!

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  46. I have to say, I am a appalled by the amount of comments on here from people who seem to think that women in abusive relationships are causing the abuse, or perpetuating the idea that they really do "deserve it". How horrible. That is exactly the kind of thinking that keeps women trapped - thinking that "he wouldn't hit me if only I wasn't so..." or "I don't deserve any better".
    It is one thing to wonder about why women stay, but to basically AGREE with the piece of cr**p abuser? And to say these kinds of things about YOUR OWN FAMILY MEMBERS? Good grief, no wonder so few women escape. Their own relative are talking about how they brought it on themselves. Where are they supposed to go, if their own families think they have caused the abuse by their "controlling" or "button pushing"? You do realize that is exactly what abusive men say..."She pushed me over the edge" "She MADE me hit her." Pathetic.
    How about acknowledging that abusers LOOK for victims, and intentionally choose women who are vulnerable and open to manipulation. How about blaming the abuse on the cowards who are beating up and killing the women they should be protecting, and that they say they love?
    Shameful.

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    1. Anyone who stays in an abusive situation is NECESSARILY complicit in that abuse -- because staying is a *choice*. And when that choice includes acquiescence to the abuse of dependent children, then the woman who 'chooses' to stay should be just as criminally culpable as the abuser. I've seen numbers of these relationships, and the man is often 'alcoholic' and the woman 'depressed'. Those are two of the most manipulative behaviours I've observed, and they're endemic. Every individual has the *responsibility* -- to *God*, even if they so little value themselves -- to be whole and happy.

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    2. The question was, "why do women stay"? Obviously one of the answers is, "because they believe they have no other/better alternative" They may be incorrect, but honestly if they think they will be verbally and emotionally abused, ridiculed or gossiped about by their own families, certainly that does not help.

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  47. As a psychologist, I would advise Anne to try and understand why she is so resistant to this man's love for her. She rejects his protection, and seeks to embarass him on public forums. To her boyfriend, I would advise...Get away, as fast as you can. Anne has drunk the feminist kool-aid. There is no help for her. Move on.

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    1. Good comment. :)

      I was also thinking that she can't possible be some pure white snow victim. She sounds more like an 'aggressive victim' where they think they can get the upper hand and have some celebrity victim status. If she was a healthy normal person and he truly had a problem then she would, as Patrice so concisely put it, LEAVE instead of spreading a story designed to get attention all over some Internet forum.

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    2. I seriously doubt you are a psychologist. I don't think you would be so quick to pass Judgement. Unless, you are being completely sarcastic and saying this to manipulate these individuals into leaving each other (who is the controlling one now?). To the second poster: Since when is an adult victim ever "snow white" pure? God loves both the victim and abuser in the relationship and wants to restore them both! Her "story spreading" is probably a honest way of reaching out for help. She could be going by an alias trying to not attract attention. Obviously, she has a life crisis and is searching for answers. Hopefully someday she will find her answers and hopefully the abuser will get the help he needs! Attitudes like yours make it even harder for a person in a situation like this to get out! Imagine hearing this from someone other than your abuser! I can imagine her thinking, "why leave so many people are just like him, I will only find more relationships with people just like him! Might as well get use to dealing with the one I have!" Victims should speak out until they have the strength and support they need to make a better life for his/her self!

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  48. As someone who was in an abusive marriage, I will say this: the day you realize it's not going to 'get better' is the first day of seeing that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Admitting things will not change, is your first step towards freedom. There is hope, but it's not found in an abusive marriage or relationship. I got out years ago. I didn't get much money, the house, or the kids, but at least I got away.

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  49. People do not really show who they are for six months. Usually by that time a woman has fallen in love. A woman's love can be their greatest strength or their greatest weakness.
    When dating someone Do Not Have Sex!! Watch for red flags in their behavior. Watch how they treat waiters and waitresses.
    If you know what to watch for, you can determine what type of person they are very quickly without having to wait the six months. Don't verbalize if you find fault or they will hide who they are just sit back in your mind and watch. I hope this helps.
    Women who are already in an abusive relationship leave many times before they really leave. It gets complicated and is not as easy as "just leave". They usually need help getting their identity and inner strength back.

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  50. I read your post, I have not read the comments. This is just to say that abuse is abuse. My daughter stayed in an abusive same-sex relationship for 22 years. It isn't one sex or the other, it is the persons involved. Apparently you hope it will change. Apparently you can be made to feel that no one else will ever love you. Apparently you can be verbally abused to the point where you have no concept of your own worth. My take is that if you or someone you know is in this kind of relationship, NOTHING will change unless the person being abused sees what is happening.

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