Mom choosing to stay in abusive relationship - quite long.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009
Mom choosing to stay in abusive relationship - quite long.
Thu, 11-17-2011 - 9:48pm

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?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009

If I said I was going to counselling because I was having trouble dealing with her relationship?

She is aware of some support systems. She had meetings with a support officer for weeks after it happened, who she said was very nice and understanding. Still, she still took him back. I would love to ask 'why do you keep doing this?' but I can't bring myself to. She called his sister and his best friend to tell them he'd attacked her - both of whom I've met and get on with, particularly his sister and her husband, without whom I would not have made it through the wedding, which was a joke! He was drunk throughout and wouldn't repeat the words without laughing or commenting to the registrar. Very humiliating.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2011

It sounds like your mom is suffering from an addiction similar to her abusive husband's alcohol problem. She feels dependent on a relationship that is obviously toxic. Personally, I feel this situation needs a kind of "intervention". This man obviously has a long road to recovery and it is unsafe for your mother to be so directly involved in his life.

My suggestion is this: Get proffessional help. You can invite her to therapy under the reasoning that you are working through some issues and need her there for support. There are many resources out there for victims of abuse and she needs to be aware of them. Find a counselor or therapist that will give her a clear picture of the kind of injury she has already suffered, and the things this man is capable of doing. She needs to learn what real love is, and she needs to be cured of any delusions she may have that she can "fix" him. Hearing it from you and people close to her obviously isn't working. She needs an outside perspective.

I hope this helps. Good luck - you are doing the right thing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
I'm sorry you are having to watch your mother go through this. It must be making you so mad at her! I don't have any great advise to offer other than don't stop talking to her and being there for her.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009

Thank you for your words of support :) It means a lot.

I will go to that board and ask for further advice, thank you.

Of those books, I just cannot see how I can get her 'free' without nagging her, which is probably going to make it worse, but I will have a look at being 'an anchor in the storm'. Sounds more persuasive, somehow.

Thank you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
I am so sorry your mother is in this situation and that you feel helpless. Abusive relationships are an awful cycle and it is no easy feat to get out of one.

All I can offer you are some books to read to help you understand this awful situation:

Helping Her Get Free: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women

To Be an Anchor in the Storm: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008

Hi yj86,

I'm sorry you're having to go through must be very difficult. :(


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
Sorry for the spelling errors....using smartphone.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
I don't have that specific experience but I've been verbally and physically abused by a sibling and it ribs you of so much. You might need to convince her to go to counseling. A abused spouse has low self esteem and isn't sting enough to kick him out or she's afraid of him.

You can only do so much. She has to stand up for herself.

Good luck.