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Sticks and Stones WWJuDo?

posted 8/26/2008 1:59:27 PM |
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For the last several weeks, I have been in a situation with a person who is dealing what I am seeing as emotional bondage/hostage situations with her partner. Said partner has huge issues related to being an adult VICTIM of child abuse. He is not yet a survivor as he's not faced his issues.

Dude has the most amazing lack of control over his rage. No, he doesn't hit.. but he does hit below the proverbial belt. But, boy oh boy, confront him with your perceptions of his behaviors and watch the fury fly. four times he called me screaming and I told him I would not talk with him while he was screaming and talking over me.. and then hung up.. the fifth call he started out talking for about ten seconds... then of course.. the rage took over. I just let him rant and rave about how stupid I was and how I was putting my emotional issues on him blah blah blah.. you are soooo wrong and soooo stupid .. etc. But with much more volume and hatred. Ok.. whatever floats your boat.. you just confirmed my assumptions of you though.

Over the last few months he's told her that "He can't stand to look at her." "it's her depression that's pushing him away" "she's a lousy mother' "I'm going to kill myself' 'I don't need therapy cuz I can out psychology any psychologist' ... and others. Then he puts the blame for one of his rages on someone else.. it's all just psychodrama.

What's your point then Sam? Why do people choose to stay and endure this behavior. I can freely admit that I was one of them for 8 long miserable years... except mine got physically violent and my life was threatened not once but several times.. if I said no, then I got non-violently raped anyway. Not just physically but emotionally.

Bruises fade and pain goes away.. but the emotional scars.. wow.. those can be doped up and painted over, but they are never really gone. So why do people choose to stay in these sorts of situtations?

Usually, the first excuse is that they believe that they are in some way responsible for this person's behavior. They had it coming.. they did something that hurt the other person and he/she is reacting rationally. (so NOT) Many have victim complexes to start with because they suffered being abused as children in one form or another. Some have social or financial issues that they have to consider .. they have no support network because the abuser has pushed everyone so far away, they may not have income or means to support themselves. They don't know about social programs in the community.. (though I can tell you that sometimes those do more harm than good) But mostly they excuse the abuser's behavior by figuring out how it was that they deserved what they got. It was all their fault.

Friends of the victim can try to help, but let me tell you that it usually backfires and you lose a friend. It becomes your fault for pushing them to be stronger. That's just a sad fact of the situation. Don't let that stop you, however, from making the attempt. Maybe, just maybe, what you have said will open their eyes just a touch and they will slowly realize that they really are perpetuating the behavior by making excuses. Sadly, not always.

I don't have any real resolution to this issue.. just what I have learned in a lifetime of dealing with abuse and abusive situations.

One thing I would like to pass on to everyone.. the word passion is overused and misused. Passion means to feel strongly about a thing, situation or belief. Passion is not rage. Rage is a whole other animal.

So, what would you do?

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Aug 26 @ 2:16PM  
Well as a survivor of mental, emotional, verbal and physical abuse, I know that for me at least it was a case of I thought i deserved it, that i was doing something wrong and not living up to his expectations or needs. I was also raised in a family that was abusive and thought that this was how people lived.

But you're right about losing a friend if you step in and try to help.....until she is ready to admit there is a problem there she isnt going to listen.....and if she is pissed at you for stepping in and trying to help she isnt going to be comfortable coming to you when and if she ever gets to that point.

What would I do? I dont know Skwirl........I guess I would be there for her if she wants to talk, tell her what i had been thru and how life is different now, and leave it with a if there is anythign i can ever do to help you with something dont hestitate to ask.........and hope that it doesnt go on much longer or gets worse.

Aug 26 @ 2:18PM  
Yeah, too often I find myself going into 'RESCUE' mode and then shortly after.. realize how stupid that was.

Aug 26 @ 2:21PM  
What's your point then Sam? Why do people choose to stay and endure this behavior.

That is a fabulous question. I am disappointed that you did not provide an answer from your experiences. I have never been involved it that type of negativity, but have known many who were.

Where I found my frustration was in being the life guard that rescued the damsel in distress only to find, that before I got back to my life guard station, she was in troubled waters once again, with the same dude or another like him.

If people continue to make bad choices, they are accountable. This applies to our kids too. Past a certain point, it is not our problem. Supporting failed policies and bad decisions is not a win/win scenario.

I went through this crap with my daughter in bygone years and finally said, with all sincerity, "Honey, I love you, but I am not buying into this bullshit." She grew up to be a fine woman and we are incredibly close today.

I finally developed a rather cold conditional attitude towards people like that, I won't be there for you anymore than you are willing to be there for yourself.

I confine the drama in my life to watching Law & Order.

Aug 26 @ 2:24PM  
Yeah, too often I find myself going into 'RESCUE' mode and then shortly after.. realize how stupid that was.
Its not stupid to care, Skwirl.......for a matter of fact if you were like a lot of ppl you would walk around with blinders on and have this "all about me attitude" Its not stupid to want to help are a very loving and caring person.......but you cant save the world....tho wouldnt it be nice if we can only do so much and you have to learn to be content with that and knowing you did all you could do without letting it eat at you.........but your caring and loving personality is what makes me lubs you so much...........

Aug 26 @ 2:29PM  
Valid point Bruce, I should have indeed added how I came to get out of the situations.

The child abuse, well.. honestly I'm not sure... it may have been rage because my abuser threatened to kill himself in my presence and I got up and got the pistol and said.. do it already and stop talking about it... then proceeded to kick the crap out of him. Not so much the best way to get out of a situation.. but it was effective.

The marital abuse.. I was better prepared though still in victim mode. I guess in that case it started to dawn on me.. that I had no friends left.. they were all pushed away.. except one who said to me.. I'm not letting him push me out of your life.. I'll just keep coming around when he's not there. She also told me that I needed to stop saying things like that I had pissed him off so I deserved to be held hostage. Of course by that time I'd already had experience with getting out so it was a bit easier.. though I did use another guy to actually get OUT. Was it right? No.. was it effective? Marginally so.

it's a really hard situation to understand what to do... but I'm counting on you all to help me see what it is I'm doing that's not helpful.. thanks for the advice.

Aug 26 @ 2:33PM  

This is a sad situation to be in. I have seen it over and over amongst some friends and just people in general. There's not a whole lot one can do to help. Like you said, you end up losing a friend and make enemies. I did manage one time to help one person { or should I say two } ? I moved a woman and her daughter out of the house where such a situation was going on and the woman was being both Physically, and emotionally abused. The man came after me with a gun, but found he was messing with the wrong man and backed off.
The woman and her daughter are both living in Las Vegas now and have good jobs.
They are both very happy. And I recently heard the daughter had just got married.
I get a card from them once in a while thanking me for my help in changing their lives for the better.
So sometimes it does pay to get involved. A little love, compassion and caring
sometimes goes a long way.

Aug 26 @ 2:45PM  
Just realized that I did not in fact answer your question Bruce.. you didn't ask how i got out but why I stayed.

The adult part.. I was used to it, probably looked for an abuser to take the place of the other one.. Financial issues and lack of support group was big... living in a small town wasn't a lot of help.. not too many places to hide and I was basically afraid of making a life on my own. I had no self-esteem, was only good for a fuck rag. yeah.. all the classic symptoms.

Aug 26 @ 2:50PM  
Sometimes how you look at things helps a lot. You've got some keys in what's been written already.

The words "drama," "victim," and "rescuer" have come up a few times in previous comments. Having had experience with group therapy and materials, we're talking "Karpman's Triangle" here - or the drama triangle. People manipulate one another from 3 positions 'in the triangle' - rescuer, victim, and persecutor. Just about any situation, in life, where we feel like it's all happened before comes down to a 'game' played out from these three roles. A classic reference book is Games People Play - and I'm sure you'd recognize many of the examples. While a person often has a 'favorite' role, a 'victim' can become a 'persecutor,' etc. For quick references, the web's got lots of info.

Another thought for you: from my experience, an abusive relationship isn't much like a relationship at all. When I was 'there,' in that type of relationship, I was 'in love' with my idea of the other person - not the other person. Over the years, I've decided that the real issue is addiction. Since the relationship wasn't good, to begin with, I found ways to justify sticking with him - and kept getting more and more stuck. The more opposition I encountered, the more I defended him. It was a vicious cycle. Once people backed off and I didn't have to defend any more, the cycle broke down.

Every situation has its own quirks, similarities, and differences - and I've learned that I can't be definite about what I'll do until my backside's in the sling. Still, maybe my 2 cents helps a little . . . .

Aug 26 @ 2:56PM  
thanks Lynxcat, excellent information!

Aug 26 @ 2:58PM  
The situation will just continue to escalate to the point that he will start hitting her. Then when he gets by with that he will beat her worse and worse until he hurts her and even breaks bones and possibly God forbid even kills her. Then he will be so sorry but I believe the sorriness comes from being put away for the act rather than being sorry for the crime. In a awy I can relate. My temper and rage use to go off at the drop of a hat as well and if the right buttons are pushed it still can but for the most part I learned to overcome it myself before all but one person got hurt. I won't go into the whole long story but I was in high school and got in a fight with the bully of the school. You know every school has one. Everyone was afraid of him except dumb ass me who has never been afraid of anyone in my life. He walked up to me and hit me and I went into a rage and beat the living shit out of him. I came to my senses on top of him beating his head against the curb along the road in front of the school when I thought to myself...I am about to kill this idiot for no good reason. He was taken to the hospital with severe skull fractures and several other broken bones and missing teeth. I went home and done alot of soul searching and decided I wasn't going to be that kind of person EVER again. I learned from that day forward to control my anger and rage as best I can and try not to get myself in situations where I have to resort to something like that. No I still won't run or back down from anyone but I try to not let it get to the point of blows. Smith and Wesson has an answer for the situation. That's what they do to mad dogs but who wants t ruin their lives over someone like him. That is the same conclusion I came to when I beat this kid so bad. I decide then and there that I wasn't going to waste my life like that. Trust me Sammie it will continue to get worse until he faces the situation and stops blameing someone else for his problems. Yes maybe he was abused as a child but he isn't a child anymore is he. He can make the decision to change himself or continue on the road he is on now until he kills someone and gets to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Just my worthless two crnts worth. Luv Ya Skwirly Girl.

Aug 26 @ 3:01PM  
Skwirl I was never in a physically abusive situation but was in a verbal one. I finally saw the light and I left, just picked up and I was gone. I think the only reason he never hit me was because I tell any man I care about. If you ever hit me in anger I will slit your throat while you sleep end of story. I don't believe in abuse of any kind and like you I "rescue" when called and yeah I will continue to do so. I've broken up a few couples because of it. One lady has been my friend for almost 35 yrs now
great blog!

Aug 26 @ 3:19PM  
I want to point out one other factor... not all abusers are men.. and abused men tend not to report any abuse they may incur as they feel it makes them less of a man for having been abused.

Women are just as bad .. especially at the emotional abuse bit.

Aug 26 @ 5:00PM  
Passion means to feel strongly about a thing, situation or belief

I absolutly agree.

As for what is the best thing to do? I have no words of wisdom for you. And I should not even posted here I suppose. But this was an excelent topic and I would like to see it stay at the top for a while.

Aug 26 @ 5:06PM  
Most experts will tell you that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is right after you leave. There are lots of reasons that seem valid to the person being abused to stay, and one of them is fear that the person will hurt/kill them or someone else they love like their parents, siblings or even children. This is one reason they have shelters all over the country and probably beyond. Some places will help you find a new place to live, get restraining orders, not that they always do any good, and help you find counceling. When leaving an abusive relationship it is a good idea to get counceling, and maybe even join a support group. I took a class several years ago as i had a friend who was in an abusive relationship, although personally i thought she was the abusive one, not the other way around. The biggest thing that they stressed is don't offer help until they ask for it, and for me that was true because i could talk until i was blue in the face and it did no good. However when I was in an abusive situation, and no i don't share it with most people, I jumped at the first offer for help to get out, I really didn't know how to get out or where to go. So Sam if you had been there offering me help i'd of taken ya up on so don't let all the others who don't take the help bring you down. But maybe do it on a person to person basis as you gotta think of yourself and yours too.

Aug 26 @ 5:29PM  
I finally developed a rather cold conditional attitude towards people like that, I won't be there for you anymore than you are willing to be there for yourself.

I confine the drama in my life to watching Law & Order.

I tend to agree with this, even though, I myself, was trapped in a physically AND emotionally abusive marriage for 11yrs, although only 4yrs were really abusive!! With me, I stayed with him out of fear... fear for my life and my family's. He was physically, a very violent person and often when I wanted to leave after a attack, he would threaten me with how he will hunt me and my family down and kill us. I think I feared more for my family (especially my parents) than myself.

Eventually, things just got SO bad that I picked up the courage and left, with NOTHING, giving him the house, 2 cars and every piece of furniture in it... I wanted my LIFE back.

I agree with what others have said, ONLY she can make that decision and sometimes it IS with the help of a friend. I was lucky. I met a wonderful guy and soon became very good friends. He always told me that I should do it for ME, nothing or nobody else. He was always there when I needed him, even if I did, after a few times, went back to my ex. One day I realized that only *I* can take my life into my own hands... regardless if he does "hunt me down"... I have to at at least try (or die trying). It's a part of my life I never, ever want to relive.

Today, 6yrs later, I'm happily married to that same friend and I love him with all my heart. He was just that glazing on the cherry, on the cream, on top of the cake, that helped me, make my own choice in life.

Sadly though, all situations are different, but if you can, and she is a true friend, be there, even if just in the background!!!

Aug 26 @ 5:37PM  
It's hard to help someone that doesn't want the help. In this case, doesn't see that there is anything wrong. It's something that will just pop in her head one day and hopefully not when it's too late.

Aug 26 @ 6:42PM  
My Dad drilled into my head at a young age, that you "Never let an open hand turn into a fist". Of course he was talking about anyone hitting me. It happened once, just a slap, but I remembered every word my Dad had ever told me. I was 19 and far from home. I walked out without anything, found a pay phone, called home collect and my Dad wired me money to come home without asking a single question. I never looked back.

Why do people put up with it? We will never know for sure the exact reasons as everyone is different. Until they have enough faith in themselves they will never break the chain of events. All we can do is be there when they are ready to live again.

Aug 26 @ 7:31PM  
Last year when I spent 3 monthes on the other side of the country, and in what I believe would have become a physically abusive relationship, I had a hard time leaving because I didn't want to admit I made a mistake. I felt like coming home was a sort of failure. That was before I found out I was pregnant, and cared more about my unborn child than myself. I swallowed my pride and asked for help to come home.

He never hit me, and rarely called me names when he was SOBER. It was when he got drunk that he would say things to intentionally hurt me. And the drinking was happening more and more often.

I've noticed something in the comments on this blog that in MOST circumstances the abused tends to gravitate toward people of the opposite sex that were victims of abuse themselves. Sometimes the victims become abusers. I know that my grandfather was an abusive alcoholic that beat my father when he was young. My father choose not to repeat the cycle (thank God), but I've seen it happen more often than not. I wonder why that is, wouldn't you think those that have been on the recieving end wouldn't want to put another person through that????

Aug 26 @ 9:10PM  
hey bout i just kick em' in da' jewels

Aug 26 @ 10:16PM  
Hm - "WWBD?" What Would Buddha Do?

The victims of domestic violence can also be the children - even though they might not be physically hurt. Witnessing the traumatic abuse, which can be verbal, emotional, verbal and financial (sometimes the victims are lead into financial dependence) can plant the seeds for the cycle of abuse to continue, and create psychological issues for the children. Victims can be afraid to access resources that can help due to fear of being discovered. When the abuse occurs in a marriage, church authorities often work to maintain the abuse by pushing the "sanctity of marriage." Friends can be of more help, although they can "victim-blame." Additionally, the courts often can award guardianship to the father (who is often the abuser) because he is the breadwinner, and is financially stable.

We ought not to ask "why didn't you leave?" but wonder why the abuser could get away with it for that long.

Here in Arizona, only a third of those who go to shelters are accepted due to a shortage of housing and funding. Also, boys over the age of 14 are not accepted into shelters, which can break up families.

Call the police on that abusive bastard!!!

Aug 27 @ 10:59AM  
As a victim of spousal abuse and witnessed it in my daughter's marriage, all I know is...the reasons we stay or return to it again and again is as individual as there are victims. I think if we survive it long enough there is a breaking point when enough is enough and we finally make the break.

Only with hindsight do I have the answers to why I kept going back and stayed. Looking back NOW it blows my mind...I would no more live that way now than I would jump from an airplane without a parachute.

You can talk to an abused spouse until you're blue in the face. Until they "get it" which is usually on their own...they will continue in that lifestyle and all you can do is wait it out to help them pick up the pieces when and if they make the break.


Aug 27 @ 12:27PM  
Call the Police or call Uncle Vinny.

Aug 27 @ 12:52PM  
So, what would you do?

My best friend from high school, her second marriage turned into a nightmare. He was alchohlic, verbally, emotionally, and yes, on occasion, physically abusive. In the beginning, he was a "great guy", fun to party with and all. Thing is..she "grew up"...he kept drinking. And it got worse. To the point that when I would call her..she would ask "can I call you back?"...and never would. She couldn't talk on the phone without him listening in. Eventually..she got hooked up to the internet..she already had my email address...and one day I got an email from her apologizing for not calling, that things were bad etc. She didn't come from an abusive home as a child...matter of fact, I was always a little "envious" of how easily her family showed their love to each other by saying "I love you" and hugs. Things my family doesn't do. Anyway...I wrote her back told her flat need to get away from him before he really hurts you and the boys (they have 2 sons). She wrote back telling me about how he said she can't throw him out of the house, if she tried he'd come back and burn it down. I told her get a lawyer, court order, PPO (I know, most of the time they're not worth the paper they're typed on) and get his ass out of there. After the second email from her about being afraid too..I took the next step....met her at her work on her lunch break and told her flat out..."If you don't get rid of the asshole...he's going to either hurt you real bad or kill you. And what good will you be to your kids then?"

A week later, she called me and told me she got a lawyer and got his ass out of her house. That was 6 years ago...and of all coincidences...the same year Mick had died. Point? We were there for each other in desperate times...and we're as close now as we've always been.

I say, if someone you love is in an abusive what you can to help them out of it. If they're going to be pissed off...better that they're alive and pissed off at you then dead.

Aug 27 @ 4:07PM  
un-fortunately in these kinds of situations its usually the messenger who gets shot trying to point out the obvious.
sadly ,when they startout with their controlling crap and then progress to rages and rants it never seems to fix itself and the inevidable eventuates,something has to give.
all you can do is sit and wait,and be there for your friend when they finally find the courage to admit to themselves enough is enough.
I have never once heard of a couple 'working things out' and living happily ever after once things get to this point.
sure ppl have arguements and go away and cool off,but that is differant.have you considered he might have bi-polar or something just wondering.
*cough,usually means their just controllin asholes though..*cough.

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Sticks and Stones WWJuDo?