I have a friend who is married to someone who abuses her and their children seven ways ’til Sunday.
He doesn’t punch her, and he would throw a fit if he heard it called Abuse.
It’s not all the time, maybe not even half the time.
But let’s be clear, he does hurt her.
She is smart and funny and beautiful, and battered by him on a regular basis.
He batters her with his words, and his scorn, his silence and his screams, his intimidation and his outright threats, his blame, his judgments, and his control.
Even when he’s not cruel, he’s not supportive either, so she never gets a chance to recover, to truly heal.
She deserves SO much better, and we all know it. Even she knows it.
I’ve begged her to leave, and she has, at least twice, but she’s still there now. I want her to be happy & healthy, and I know that will never happen for any length of time while he is still in her life.
The hard truth is I blame her instead of him: She should have known better, this is horrible for her kids, why doesn’t she just make up her mind, why doesn’t she leave, maybe it’s not that bad, maybe this is what she wants.
He’s a jerk, I get that, but I expect more from her.
After all, when she gets tired enough of it she’ll leave, right?
But her choices aren’t as clear to her as they are to me. She LIVES it, every moment of it, every day, and she understands the complexities of the situation that I never will.
She knows her kids’ hearts and the bonds they have with each parent. She knows custody laws and meanness and the price of a good lawyer. She knows disapproval and isolation and that sometimes yelling is less cruel than the silent treatment. She knows psychiatric terms for different modes of abuse and that her situation is impossibly toxic for her family. She knows that without blood the only thing the police do is make him even madder.
She knows her ability to earn an income and care for her family, and she knows how much child support and public assistance she can expect.
She also knows her kids’ special needs and what it is like to not have enough money to take care of them.
She knows, because she lives it every day. (Few people are abused who have full access to their money.)
What she doesn’t know is:
– He won’t always hold such power over her.
– Life won’t always feel so hopeless.
– How to protect her children from the fallout.
– How she can finance an escape.
– How to gain strength to leave while he continues to beat her down.
I blame her for not knowing that she could just walk out the door and be free.
But she already has someone in her life that blames her. He does that. She doesn’t need me to do it too.
I refuse to have anything to do with her anymore. I can’t deal with her living in that kind of situation. I can’t listen to her cries and not do anything.
But she already has someone life that shuts down and shuts her out. He does that. She doesn’t need me to do it too.
If she would just TRY. If she were just a little smarter, stronger, better, then she wouldn’t be in this mess.
But she already has someone in her life that says she’s not good enough., that she’s just not trying. He does that. She doesn’t need me to do it too.
She needs respect,
I can give her that.
And I know she doesn’t have that already.
He doesn’t do that.
She needs me for that.