Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When do you stop caring?

Well, when do you stop having sympathy for friends that stay with men that are abusive/mean/unkind/controlling?
I am not talking about the man who might not be good at communicating, or is a couch potato, I am talking about men who control, who belittle, who call names and the women who love them, stay. and excuse. and get sympathy... but when the cycle repeats itself over and over and over...no matter how much good advice they get, my sympathy starts to fade into annoyance. I think its completely irresponsible and very wrong to subject yourself to that, add a child into the mix (or 2 or 3 or 4) and my annoyance turns into righteous anger. How dare women subject a child to a life like that. A child has no choice, but you do.

Is it a certain type of woman who lets herself be used and abused in this manner? Is it religion? Is it low self esteem? Is it simply habit? Is it a need for drama? I want to understand so that I can be more understanding, more supportive and less judgmental. I see many different types of women in my online life and my "real life" and these questions are ones that come up daily.

Enlighten me, help me to understand. I don't want to be one of those people who look down on others, who don't give support when needed.
But is there enlightenment? Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I an unsympathetic condescending jerk who thinks I know more than they do?

Thanks for listening to my rant.


Toni said...

Okay I can speak of this first hand. Luckily it was before I had children so no children were in teh midst of it. I was in an abusive relationship and there are several reasons that may not seem valid to others but to the person in the situation they are very valid.

Starts with low self esteem, you are getting attention albeit bad attention. I come to think that a lot of these women had either bad fathers or no fathers (not all but most) so the attention is taking the place of what they wanted from their father who did not give it to them. You would think they would look for love that they didn't get but usually in an abusive relationship the abuser has a way to make the woman feel more loved that she ever has despite the physical, emotional or mental abuse they are dishing out. They hang onto the "love" the guy has for them. when you don't care about yourself pretty much anyone saying they care and you feel like they mean it will do.

They make you feel bad for your choices and say it's because they love you that they get so angry and without you their life would be over. Some abusers will threaten to harm friends or family of the abusee and so for fear of another person getting hurt they will stay in the situation, they would rather endure it than have another person endure it. Some may even threaten the children and as a parent you would rather stay and subject yourself to the abuse so that way the abuser doesn't change course and hurt the children.

There could also be the fact that the abuser threatens to kill or hurt themselves. Now I know you are probably thinking...that's what they should let them do. But abused people are so broken down that they will think it was their fault someone killed themselves and that is just not something someone in that frame of mind could deal with so they stay for that reason. I remember clear as day the time my ex called me and said he had a gun to his head and if I did not get back to my house (i was at a girl friends house) he would kill himself. I could not breathe and called my mom in hysterics to please go check on him because he couldn't kill himself I couldn't deal with that on my conscience and I didn't want to lose him either because I loved him.

Being abused whether emotionally, physcially, or mentally is not something that should be annoyed about, it's so hard to fathom it unless you have been there I am sure. The best thing you can do is turn what you are feeling annoyed about them not leaving and use it to try to help them, never give up.

If the people that really loved me gave up or had gotten annoyed that I did not leave and had not continually talked to me and lead me I would probably still be there today and I shudder at the thought of all I would have endured by now.

Toni said...

I posted on my blog, I got to thinking if you don't understand there may be many more who don't so I posted my story on my blog too :)

Jennifer said...

I have a friend in an abusive relationship. I cannot imagine what she goes through nor do I know what he says to her when others are not present. But I know she is fiercely protective of her children and something keeps her there. All I can do is offer her my unconditional love and support.

Dina said...

toni said it all there is not much more for me to say. although i do hold the physical and severe mental abuse in a different category than belittling and alwayhs holding someone back..although it stems from the same low self esteem. my sis-in-law when through the less severe sort. finally he cheated on her and left her...she was distraught for a few years, although we all knew what a creep he was and in some ways we were glad he did that. she had no clue how demeaning he was to her..and she would have stayed forever. now she is with a much better person although it was several years of her hoping her ex would come back to her.

Minxy Mimi said...

Thank you so much Toni... its when people who have moved on, open up is where I can see the why. I think you have the clarity to see this now and to help others. I am so glad people stuck by you, cause now I have you for an awesome friend!

Minxy Mimi said...

Thank you all so far... this helps me very much to try to understand.

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

I am so glad Toni posted... because I was at a loss... I just don't know.

What I do know is that you are not a condescending person.

Toni said...

I agree with Sandra you are not condescending. And it is so hard to grasp if you have not been there or had someone you are very close to go through it (which sometimes makes you feel like you are going through it). The ones I can say with utmost certainity I do not have sympathy for are the ones that allow their children to be abused, most like i said would do anything to protect their children/family by staying there and taking the abuse on themselves but sometimes you get the ones that are allowing their family to be abused just to stay with that person, that is what does piss me off.

Toni said...

That is not abuse (my previous comment) on the person that is just someone being selfish because they don't want to be alone if they are letting their kids be abused or if they are abusing their kids (whole other post)

sheila said...

Watching horrible beatings my mom endured when I was a toddler, I can say that I believe it could be a combination of things. Insecurity, time invested so far in the relationship, the old "I can fix him" syndrome. Fear.

Sometimes they need to land in the hopsital or have an intervention. To hit rock bottom is to be enlightened. How sad. I also think that a lot has to do with how you are raised as a child in handling things. Be there for her if she needs you but I'm not sure if you'll be able to talk her into anything, like leaving...unless she's mentally ready. Sad.

Kristina P. said...

I really think it has a lot to do with low self esteem.

My sister tends to be with emotionally abusive men, and she's a smart, pretty, fun girl. And yet, she lets herself be sucked into false promises and wanting to save these men.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I believe my sister is enduring something of this sort. Her boyfriend is emotionally abusing her, I'm certain. I try to talk and all she says is she doesn't want to be alone. It is a hard situation all around. Any advice anyone can offer to me on the best way to handle this would be appreciated.

Kristen said...

I can't imagine what they go through...you should ALWAYS care if they are really your friend.
Kinda like marriage...for the good and the bad times don't give up on them.

Minxy Mimi said...

Thank you all! I appreciate the comments and wisdom and advice!

Anonymous said...

I started to read the comments because I didn't know the answer and I appreciate all the insight into it from everyone.

LadyStyx said...

Im with Toni, for the most part. I, too, have been there done that. Thankfully, there were no kids involved in mine either. It definitely starts with a self esteem issue although not always due to daddy issues. Mine DEFINITELY was not a daddy issue. I did, however, have many issues stemming from teen issues (I didnt have too many friends), being relatively introverted to begin with (can you say shy), and an extremely bright brother that constantly outshone me in everything he did. Top things all off I was constantly comparing myself to mom....knowing she married and had kids right out of high school....well I felt like a failure. I was a prime target for a manipulative jerk who made me feel like I couldnt do anything right....not at all. I spent over 10 years putting up with his manipulation (it was never physical as I told him that if he EVER raised a hand against me in anger, then I was leaving) before I had enough and left. If my friends hadnt stood by me and when I finally gave myself permission to leave...I'd have never made it out.

The Wife O Riley said...

I wish I knew. My sister is going through the same thing, and as much as I love her I can't help but get angry that she is still there!

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

As someone who has 'been there, done that', Toni summed it up really well. And thankfully, there were no kids involved in my relationship, either.

I've also been on your side, Mimi, where you have a friend who is in that situation, and you can't seem to get through to her that she can get out, she does have worth, she does matter. If the abuser is making threats, she may not be as forthcoming about them, because he will have made her feel like it's all her fault, so why would she admit it to her friends? That's pretty much why I kept things to myself when I was in the middle of an abusive relationship...I was filled with fear, and felt ashamed at my predicament, because obviously it was my fault I was being treated that way, it was my fault I had gotten sucked into that relationship in the first place. I knew this, because he told me so.

It can be quite frustrating to be on your side of things as the friend, because you can see clearly what's going on, what she needs to do, and yet you really can't tell her, because she's not ready to listen. She doesn't feel she deserves any better.

I don't necessarily think it's a 'type' of woman that lets herself get into that type of relationship - but it's definitely the 'type' of guy that seeks out his prey. While I'm normally a strong, independent woman, I got sucked into an abusive relationship because I was having some issues with self esteem after my first husband left me for another woman. I wasn't ready to get into another relationship, but he turned on the charm full power, and I allowed myself to get caught up in it. However, I am one that learns from my mistakes and never let that happen again... ;)

And no way, no how could you EVER be considered an 'unsympathetic condescending jerk who thinks I know more than they do'...that is simply not who you are. :)

If you haven't read it, my abusive relationship post is here:


If nothing else, it might give you some insight on the personality type of the abuser. Or not. ;)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

All I can say is, it's so hard to understand unless you're in the situation.
As for when you stop having sympathy....my answer is, never.

Jenera said...

We have some people in our circle of friends and family that are in bad relationships. I lose sympathy for HER after she goes back just one time. But I never lose sympathy for any kids that are involved.

Maybe I was raised differently, maybe my life experiences are different, but I cannot understand why the women we know allow themselves to be treated the way they do.

I've been told I'm so strong and they envy me but then when they come complaining to me they say I don't understand, I'm wrong about their man, blah blah blah.

I think you can still care for someone and maybe worry for them. But at some point you have to tell them that the complaining has to stop.