I am a woman, and I am an atheist.....and have escaped from the abusive relationships of my past and I now want to give back. This is a topic that is "skidded over" through the horrific consequences of religion, but I haven't seen the topic come up recently on TA as it's own separate entity of discussion. My goal around this conversation is for women to come together who either: 

1. Have been in an abusive relationship and escaped,

2. Are currently IN an abusive relationship and don't know what to do and are looking for support, 

3. For any men who are allies who want to add their comments/insights to be able to do so. 

There are lots of resources in many placed in the US, I don't know about the rest of the world, but I think that even still there is a lot of discrepancy and confusion about what domestic violence IS and there's a lot of people who are in abusive relationships that don't think that they are abusive, they just see them as normal. Also there's a lot of misconceptions and myths portrayed by media. I hope together we can blow a hole through all of that and get down to some real truth on the matter, as well as support anyone who may be going through it, to give them a safe place to fall....

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Thanks for the recommendation of the book. 

"Is a great way to help a woman without thinking you have to "fix her."

I've done that once, I don't know what happened in the end, but she said she loved me, I looked beautiful, I had some balls and "thanks mate".  All in an innocent way - she's innocent as the day is long.  Next time I saw her she was growing dreadlocks.  I'm pretty sure they're still together, but it will have shown both of them an example.  "Show" rather than "tell". 

I went through a lot of crap to ensure that she internalized the right model and was empowered to realize that she's the brains of the outfit.  [he's the one with conduct disorder, so I took that into account.]  

This man saved my life...His book: "Why does he do that" shook my world and caused me to wake up. If you know a woman in a violent relationship, buy it for her....today....He's not much of a dynamic public speaker but his books cut like a knife FULL of truth and wisdom. You'll never be the same after reading his book if you are in an abusive relationship.

 

A woman once told me that it was the emotional abuse that was the worst. There would be a build-up over a few weeks of “small incidents” from demeaning comments about her looks or how she did things. Her self-esteem was so low that she nearly came to believe “that she would be nothing without him”. She was almost relieved when the punch finally landed because it meant he would leave her alone for a few weeks. She eventually escaped and is happily remarried to a real man. She has not accidently walked into a door or hit herself in the eye with a brush since.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that all abusers are weak people. They only get a semblance of power by being bullies. They confuse this stolen power as being strength. They are never strong men though. They spend all their time cultivating a perception of saintliness with their partners’ family and friends. They usually crumble quickly enough once challenged because they are weak.

So if you think you are in an abusive relationship you most likely are in one. Get out. Seek help. Life will get better.

Another Book

Do you think it's a problem with society, or in the home?  I don't know the statistics for the different societies around the world, except I've read that in traumatized societies - caused by war, famine, disaster etc. - the rates of all kinds of abuse are much higher. 

What makes somebody abusive in the first place?  I would suggest it's a nasty snarl-up of circumstances.  Perhaps a combination of - checklist -

  1. the child has a disrupted, dysfunctional relationship with the mother or father
  2. the child is spoiled and lionized
  3. the child is taught to express their weakness through bullying others, he or she is never taught the right way to approach having to look small

Conversely, many people may go through one or two of those things, but don't go on to become seriously abusive.  I find it's because somewhere, they've learned compassion and humility and don't want to repeat the mistakes they've witnessed. 

@Simon,

What makes somebody abusive in the first place?

It is a perception of the world developed in childhood by their own upbringing. In most cases abusers were abused themselves, which is REALLY sad...for example my ex-husband had a biological father who slapped him across the face to the ground before he ran off and never saw him again. How would that make you feel at 5 years old. It is very very sad...There is a sense of entitlement instilled in them that makes their view of themselves BIG and the view of their wife and children small, and they believe, (without really realizing it) that they are supposed to control their wife and kids. The job of the abuser programs that exist is to shrink the abuser's view of himself and enlarge his view of his wife to where she is an equal and to his children that they are only slightly less than equal, but not by much. This mentality shift is NOT easy and most of the time doesn't happen unless he is able to recognize that he is abusive.

I will say one thing that I NEVER thought possible. My ex-husband treats me better now - like a queen...now that we are divorced and he has a domestic violence protection order on his ass!!!!  He is also required to attend classes and at first he flat out REFUSED...now he's coming around. He has told me more than once that  the separation was good for him because it caused him to see things he wouldn't have seen otherwise. I have absolutely NO idea if my experience is common or not. I know it has been for the betterment of the upbringing of our son.

@Reg:

So if you think you are in an abusive relationship you most likely are in one. Get out. Seek help. Life will get better.

When you are in the process of leaving it will NOT seem like it. Only after you've been away for a while, will you realize how absolutely messed up you are from the abuse. It in and of itself will be daunting, but at lease you will know that you have a new beginning and new possibilities. One of the hardest parts now after leaving is realizing that I do have control over my decisions and every little thing is no longer being ridiculed or criticized. I find myself still acting as if he is in the house, then realizing I don't have to do that anymore!! I have had to laugh at myself about it.

It sounds like he's realising the error of his ways, and what he's lost through his behaviour. 

Something to read if you are thinking about leaving...

Education is key to escaping...the first time...if you are going to escape, do it once and do it right. 

It happens to men too.

I have been in abusive relationships. I didn't realize i was trapped into a pattern of seeking it out. Until i got help from an amazing therapist. she made me take a deep honest look at my world. I realized i kept falling in to same hole. Guys would be charming and strong. I have a weakness for Alpha males took me a while to realize Alpha didn't mean puffed up macho behavior. I didn't understand why for longest time. I needed someone to be stronger than me. I needed smarter than me. I say this without arrogance. Most people are not. With women i didn't care as much beyond please be someone i can talk with and be a fairly good person. It's hard to leave someone when you have kids. You get scared what if i can't take care of them. You tell yourself they need their father.You make a thousand excuses. Then one day he threatens your 18 month old and something inside snaps. You wake up. You feel a hatred so deep it overtakes your sense of right and wrong. You contemplate murder. You leave because you're pretty sure you can't get away with it. You find a previously forgotten part your self. You get strong make the right decisions.  I was here at one point of my life. Now i can stand on my own. You have to make the hard choices get better and know why you made the mistakes you made. 

Thanks for sharing that Angela. I'm still in the midst of figuring out "why." I've asked myself over and over why I have also fallen into those kinds of patterns. I still don't know. I have been free from abuse officially and legally for a very short time. Now the hard work begins - understanding it all...it feels like I'm running a marathon and only on the 2nd mile. I sometimes think I have it all figured out only to realize that I am still hurting. I am happy, I feel free, and yet I am deeply sad. Sad that my family is now torn forever. Wondering if there's anything I could have done more, for my son's sake. I am mostly sad that my ex-husband didn't fight for me. He gave me up without a fight. I would have done anything for him. Now I'm learning to do for myself.

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