Mom choosing to stay in abusive relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009
Mom choosing to stay in abusive relationship
2
Fri, 11-18-2011 - 5:44pm

Hi, I was advised to come over here by the lovely people on the 'Venting about family and friends' board.

I posted earlier this year after my Mom's husband had physically attacked her in a drunken rage. Fortunately, she was 'only' bruised, but she called the police, had him arrested, gave a statement, called his lovely (genuinely) sister to tell her what he'd done, saw a counsellor...and then took him back.

I was, and still am, terrified about what he might do next. Prior to this, he'd have rages - he's an alcoholic, drug user, gang member, you name it - but never touched her. She used to tell me, almost proudly, that 'he'd never touch' her. Well, he did.

I am almost certain he has psychological issues. He'll get into these vile moods where he won't talk to anyone, or he'll 'leave' and tell her it's over, he's never coming back. But guess what. He always comes back. I moved out of home as soon as I could, because he would fly into these rages, out of nowhere, my boyfriend couldn't come around because he hated him, for no reason he could ever tell me.

He left her a few times, once as long as a month, always coming back. Then, after a period of calm, he called me last summer to say they were getting married. My mom always seems to be the placator (is that a word?) in this. She didn't want to get married, but he did, so they did. Obviously that's brought issues of shared property and money now - she owns her own nice house, with some land, and he's basically a drifter, so he has nothing. Now he has equal claim.

After the violence in February, I think, she took him back after about a month, and I was speechless. I could not believe it. He takes a baseball bat to her house and attacks her, and she just takes him back.

Fastforward to October, and she's coming to visit me in Canada, where I've since moved. She tells me he's left her, for good this time, and she's glad. Finally feels free. Like she can move on...

so a couple of weeks after she gets back, gradually his name is back in the conversation. He's living with her again.

I'm furious. She admits he's a horrible person, she was sensible enough to have him arrested, so why oh why does she keep on letting him back into her home, her life? Me talking about what a waste of space he is isn't her favourite topic, so she tries to placate me by always changeing the subject. To her credit, she never tries to correct me when I'm wondering out loud why she's with such a monster, and I would feel bad, if she wasn't in a position to kick him out. She is choosing this, and it kills me to see my wonderful, intelligent, kind, generous mom stooping to this level. She's resigned to this being her life - she's 55 and divorced from my father, who has since died. The only, only thing I can think of is that she doesn't want to be alone. But I have no respect for her decision! To live with violence rather than being alone. Hard thing to equate with a mom who has always had all the right answers.

Anyone had any experience with a situation like this, where the victim knows the violence is not her fault, but puts up with it anyway?

Avatar for cajunharmony
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2001
Fri, 11-18-2011 - 8:32pm

Welcome to the board, sj.

Mama Harmony

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009
Fri, 11-18-2011 - 9:13pm

Thank you so much for your response.

It feels so strange, being in this situation, as it must for everyone who finds themselves here. I haven't told any of my friends about it, because I don't want them to judge my mom for her decisions. I haven't told her friends, although she hasn't many left, after 6 years living with him, because it's her place, if she wants to ask for help.

She cannot leave him as he effectively chooses when he wants to be in her house, and it is completely hers, she has horses and other animals there so as she tells me, she feels it isn't her who should leave. It's him. But I don't think she has ever brought herself to kick him out. When he attacked her physically, she did all the rights things. The police talked with her and told her they'd step up patrols past her house as she lives in a very rural area. She had a panic button installed in case he tried to get in whilst the restraining order was in place. Then she went and let him move back in! That is the key. She did everything to get him out, had him arrested, all the works, then just went against police advice, against her own restraining order!! and that was it. He leaves everytime, but when he turns up again, no matter what she's said to me, she lets him move back in.

I have no idea what the relationship is, exactly, nor do I really want to know. If she's talking about something bad he's done and saying she's sick of him, I can only agree. When she tells me he has the problems, I can only agree - he's on probation for hitting her, for heaven's sake! I admit, I've never asked why she's taken him back, directly, because I fear the answer 'you can't help who you love...' I try not to judge, but honestly, this man has no redeeming qualities. He is a drug user, a violent alcoholic, struggles to keep a job because he takes offence at any opinion on his work, a bike gang member, a criminal, literally toothless, 12 years older than her and with no assets or prospects.

My main problem right now is that she's just been compensated for years of badly done work by the local highway project and she wants to get work done on the property. But she can't get a professional in to do, say, fencing, or roofing, because that offends him, he could do it much better. But does he ever? No. He drinks. He does drugs. He goes into a rage for days and does nothing. This is something she confides in me like 'I'd better not do that today, he's here and you know he wouldn't like it' If I say 'Mom, that's extremely controlling behaviour' she umms and ahhs and says oh well, it's how he is...she's so resigned to it!!!!!argh.

so sorry for ranting. I spoke to a domestic abuse helpline just after the violence occurred because I was terrified and utterly, utterly helpless, but I haven't been able to talk about it since, with anyone.

I cannot bear the conversation 'so, you know her awful husband? yeah, he actually attacked her and she had him arrested.'

My Mom doesn't like being labelled a victim of domestic abuse, even though that's what she is, and even though I said 'look, I spoke to this helpline I was so scared for you' she sort of hmmmms and changes the subject!! It takes a lot for me to talk about our relationship with her, it's been stretched a lot by her decisions, but she's given up so much for me and given me so much directly when I was younger that I feel bound by that to say 'well, she's my mother, but she's an adult. I don't live with her, I don't rely on her in anyway, so she has to make her own decisions.' But that sucks!