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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
??????????
4
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 12:43am
Just looking for a little advice...... I met a girl about a year ago; we went out a couple of times, nothing special we just really clicked. The same time I met her she met someone else. They went out and she chose to pursue a relationship with him, no big deal because we still kept in touch and remained friends. About 2 months into their relationship he was giving her ultimatums, him or me, she chose him. He didn't even want her talking to me. But every time they fought and he took off, she was calling me. This was a pretty regular thing so needless to say we have gotten pretty close over the past year. Not a sex thing, just going out and having fun together. But every time he called, she ran back. Pretty much every time we were together she would always say I was too good for her and how screwed up she was. She kept saying she didn't deserve someone like me. She's had a crazy life; her father was never around, her mother went through 2 abusive marriages, she spent 3 years in an abusive relationship, and now she is pretty much the backbone of her family. She moved her mother in when she got sick, so she takes care of her; now her alcoholic Uncle moved in, he needed a place to stay; and in the last 4 months her live-in boyfriend has turned abusive. He was always emotionally abusive, but now it’s turned physical. The first couple of times she felt in some way responsible, but this last time he pulled her out of bed while she was sleeping and beat the crap out of her. He moved out and for the past month she has avoided his calls and blew him off when he showed up at her house or work. I have been talking to her since this happened, just trying to lift her spirits and get her to realize none of this is her fault. She was really doing great up until this weekend. I spent the weekend with her and we had a great time, everything was great until Sunday when he called again. I have told her since the last time it happened that I would help through this, but I would walk away if she went back. Well sure enough, he called and they are back together again. Now I have no clue what to do? She wouldn't return my calls but I talked to her Mom and sure enough, he's staying with her again. So now I'm lost as to what to do? Throughout this whole thing she has lost all her friends, so she has no one to turn to or talk to when things turn bad again. I want to stand my ground, but I don't want her to think she can't call me if things get really bad. If I do that then she's really stuck and he has succeeded in isolating her from anyone that cares about her. Her Mom knows what has been happening but has decided to let her make her own decisions. I love her and would do anything for her, but I don't understand her decisions. She is scared of me for some reason, but what could I do to make her realize that I'm just there for her, that I have no hidden agendas. I realize this is all she has ever known, but I don't know what I could do to convince her she is better than all of this. I have never tried to pressure her into a relationship with me, I have just tried to be there for her. I just hate the fact that the next time I hear from her it's probably going to be after another episode. So any advice as to what I should do or say or whatever, I would really appreciate.

Thanks for listening...

Avatar for itsgoodtobeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: justaguy2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:27am
On the homepage there is How to Help a Victim that would be helpful to read. As much as you might want to just pick her up and carry her away that is the last thing that she needs. What see needs is someone to talk to and you might want to guide her here next time they have a spat. I think she can gain acess from a local libary if she is scared to get here from home. She needs to find it with in her self to go. To go for the best reason and that is her. I know so well the I'm not good enough for better so I'll just stay where I'm at. What got me out was knowing certian things to be true. 1. Life alone had to be better than that wiht him. 2. I'm a worthwhile person and I'm the only one who needs to think so. This is a journey and the inner workings of abuse go deep and seem unfightable. It's good that she has you as a friend but a friend that tells you that you are wonderful and great and deserves more is not the one she needs. I know I had one but it was not until I found this board and realized just how not alone I was in dealing with this and got some vailidation from others who had been in my shoes did I see there was a light and a way out and a journey that not only was I capible of going forward on but owed to me and my kids. HUGS and Prayers to you and her dear. Oh and she needs you as a friend that is for sure I still have my friend. I know it is hard to see but until she can little you can do but just be a supportive ear. Read as much as you can and know that she counts on you if only when things are bad. It is even harder to go through. More HUGS and Prayers to you both.>Jo
Avatar for buffphone
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: justaguy2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:57am
Welcome to the board! I agree with itsgood's reply. There is little you can do for your friend other than be there if she needs you. But on the same idea, don't become dependant on waiting for her either. If you do, you will become just as abused as she is for you will find yourself giving up other sides of your life to wait for her so that you can be there. She needs to learn how not to be in abusive relationships time after time. We as the abused, if we don't learn how to change, how to read people when we meet them, we tend to fall again and again into the same path.

Read all you can on the homepage, learn, and should she wish to change, you will have resources to offer. If she doesn't want to see how her choices are leading her back time and again, then you will know how to protect yourself so that you too do not fall into the same.

Good luck and please come here as often as you would like. You've found a good community of people who have left abuse, are leaving abuse and those who are just coming to terms with it. But we all stand together, united by our strength to help all who come here looking for help. Welcome!

Avatar for cl_mizlizzy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: justaguy2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 9:10am
How You Can Help A Victim

Although, it is a very touchy and difficult subject to approach, if abuse is suspected, it is usually going on in some form or another. There are a few basic steps you can take when trying to assist someone who may be a victim of domestic violence. When approaching her the first time PLEASE take care to do it in an understanding, non-blaming way. Let her know she is not alone, that there are so very many women like her in the same kind of situations all across this nation. Tell her and show her it takes strength and courage just to survive the violence and trust someone enough to talk about what she has been living with. Be sure to acknowledge that is it scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence and it is OK for her to break the silence. Let her know she doesn't deserve to be threatened, hit or beaten, that no one does. No matter what, nothing she can do or say makes the abuser's violence OK and most importantly she is NOT responsible for the abusers behavior.

It is wise for you to do a little research before approaching her so that you can arm yourself with lots of very important information such as, print out the sections "Warning Signs", "Power & Control", and perhaps even "How to Obtain A Restraining Order", the National Domestic Violence hotline number and even the number to Legal Aid. Let her know there are shelters to go to if she desires to leave, that there are places for her and the children. Check your local yellow pages for places nearest you. Reading the contents of this section will not make you an expert on domestic violence; however, it will provide you with enough information on how to help someone recognize they are in an abusive situation and what they need to do to get help if she decides to leave.

Remember not every woman is willing to leave. Whatever the case may be show your support as a friend. Be there for her by being a good listener and encourage her to express her anger and the hurt. However, allow her to be the one to make her own decisions, even if it means she isn't ready to leave the abusive relationship, just let her know you are there for her.

In the event she wants to leave and expresses her desire to get out, please stick by her and let her know you will be there to help in any way you can. Having a friend who is willing to listen and support you can be more help then I can ever say. If she has suffered physical harm at the time offer to go to the hospital with her to check for injuries. Be there to support her while she reports the assault to the police. Be sure to get a case number!

Gather the information in your local area on where and how to obtain a restraining order against Domestic Violence. Remember, if she has left and has no financial means of support or cannot afford to pay for the order, she can obtain an order free of charge. This is up to the judges discretion, of course but don't let lack of money stop her from trying. Let her know she can also contact Legal Aid if she needs help with filing papers for custody or divorce. There is always a way even though the victims have been programmed to believe there is no way out.

Print out the "Safety Plan" strategies for leaving an abusive relationship, it's a kind of what to bring, what to do, who to contact list when it comes time to make that final break. However, PLEASE don't encourage someone to follow a safety plan and leave at a point that she believes will put her or her children at further risk or in more physical danger.

As a friend or relative of someone who is in a domestic violence situation, there are some things you can do to encourage the one you care about to get help and to get out of the violent situation they are living in. The list below is meant to help you keep in mind the most important things in dealing with such a situation. I hope they will help you gain the patience and understanding you will need.

1.) A woman who remains in a domestic violence situation does not do so because she "likes it." To think that this is true will leave her feeling less and less understood by anyone. Don't ever say those words about her.

2.) It is important to realize that a woman in a domestic violence situation has most likely been told repeatedly that she cannot make it on her own. That she can't even handle life as it is. (according to the abuser) It will take patience and constant reminding to help her to come to the place that she believes she is strong enough to stand alone.

3.) Remember, she is a victim, and even when she appears to be gaining ground, she is apt to doubt herself each time a violent encounter occurs. She feels degraded, weak, and unable to be strong. Each episode of violence will drag her a few steps backwards. But don't let that discourage your efforts to help. Start again, and remind her how far she had come and how far she can go. Keep at it. Don't get fed up and quit. If you do, she may lose the only real hope she has found.

4.) Offer to help her in any way that you can. Let her know you will be there for her should she decide to leave, the same as you are now. Be steadfast in your stand as a friend. Be there for whatever she needs, at any time.

5.) No matter how fed up you may get, never put conditions on your friendship or caring. To lose what may be her only connection to hope could be very devastating. Never say things like, "Until you're ready to leave, don't call me." or "I'm tired of trying and never getting anywhere with you." Remember, the decision has to be hers. Until she's strong enough to make that first step, she will stay where she is.

6.) Never give up. If you undertake helping a domestic violence victim, you must be committed to her for whatever time it will take for her to gain the strength to leave. It may be a short period of time, or it may take years. If you start, then finish. Should you decide to abandon her in the middle of it all, she will feel even more isolated and doomed to live with the abuse she endures now.

7.) Have patience. It may be a long road for you both. It is difficult for you to watch, but always keep in mind, it's much more difficult for her to live.

8.) Help her to devise a plan to leave. Help her to reach her goals. Encourage her to keep saving money, whether it's cutting corners on a few meals, having a yard sale, watching your kids while he's at work to earn a little money he knows nothing about, or even buying her a few household supplies now and then so that she can save the money he thinks she is spending. Even in situations where the abuser won't let a woman work, there is always a way for her to get creative with the money she does get.

9.) Abusers like to keep the women isolated from their families and friends. Try not to let the abuser isolate you from her. This can be difficult at times, but be persistent if she tries to cut the ties to keep peace. Limit your involvement to times he is not around if necessary, but try to keep the lines of communication open if there is a way to do that without placing her in danger.

10.) Above all, be consistent with the love and support you are giving. Stay with it, and keep telling her how much her life matters to you and to others, and that you believe in her. Don't give up when times get hard. Be there for her, and pray for her. Every hurting woman deserves a ray of hope. Be that for the woman you know who is suffering more than you can ever know.


***You can find information, resources, links and the articles referred to above, and more, on our homepage:

http://pages.ivillage.com/cl-mizlizzy/recognizinganddealingwithdomesticabuse

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**NOTE: Due to the new format, some links on the homepage *may* re-direct you to this board instead of the link intended. This "glitch" is being worked on. As soon as I get a chance, I will change the links that go to archived posts to the new links with the new format to try to help with this. It will take some time, but I will get that done ASAP.

Avatar for cl_mizlizzy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: justaguy2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 9:27am
Welcome to the board justaguy2003...............................


Itsgoodtobeme and Buffphone say it so well, but I wanted to welcome you too.

I posted the guide referred to in the first reply, due to some adjustments that are still caught up in the transition to our new board format, that may cause some former links to not re-direct as they should.

I hope your friend seeks help and support with her situation. She is fortunate that you care, and that you're there for her. It's very difficult to watch someone you care about go through this, but the more help, support, resources, and information she has, the more likely she is to take steps to break free from him. These decisions may take some time, and she needs to know that she has help and support, no matter what. Your personal involvement could pose some problems, if there is more than just friendship, so please be careful, for your sake, and hers.

Best wishes to both of you.