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Abusive relationships

(12 Posts)
cariboo Tue 26-Jul-16 05:21:08

A close friend is in an abusive marriage and has been for many years. Although "functional" until recently (last five years, since they tried to escape but it backfired), my friend can't/won't leave. What really puzzles me drives me insane is why this friend pretends that all is well, despite the escalating threats of violence - "If you don't do as you're told, I'll trash your career/kick you out in the street/kill you" - and restrictions on time alone, phone calls, which friends and family allowed to see/be in contact with. There are no DC involved, thank God.

cariboo Tue 26-Jul-16 05:28:07

...does anyone know why the victim pretends all is well?

pallasathena Tue 26-Jul-16 07:16:18

Shame, denial, fear, all or some of those things could be the reason she's not willing to face the reality of the situation. Additionally, she may be minimising, this is very common with people who are suffering abuse; somehow, it helps them to cope by convincing themselves all will be well, all isn't as bad as it seems when the reality is the opposite of course.
You can see it. Your friend can't.
All you can do is be a listening ear, help her to overcome all of the above and see for herself that there's no shame in reaching out for help.

SandyY2K Tue 26-Jul-16 07:56:55

It's so sad isn't it. I knew a woman who was in an abusive marriage.

The final straw was when she had acrylic nails put on and he beat her and ripped them off one by one calling her a prostitute and who the hell did she think she was.

cariboo Wed 27-Jul-16 08:02:36

What is difficult for me to understand is the denial. But I don't dare say anything...

pinkyredrose Wed 27-Jul-16 08:35:46

Cognitive dissonance. Her brain is telling her the situation is not what it is. Probably the only way she can cope.

Rachelsrose Wed 27-Jul-16 08:53:01

Maybe she forgets. I do it. It's a coping mechanism. My brain can't handle what's happening so I forget it. I know something has happened but I can't remember the details. Sometimes I forget the incident completely. When your memory is blurred it doesn't seem so bad until you hit a crisis. Once you're through the crisis, you forget it.

cariboo Fri 29-Jul-16 07:08:13

My friend can't leave the house unaccompanied for more than an hour or two. All phone calls are screened as are emails & text messages.

chipmonkey Fri 29-Jul-16 07:48:56

It sounds like she's afraid of what he might do if she left. And very difficult to leave if your every move is being tracked. It sounds dreadful for her.

cariboo Fri 29-Jul-16 08:15:15

It's terrible. It's making her ill. Depression, insomnia, panic attacks & paranoia, obviously. She insists it's work-related but it can't be. She left him for someone else 5 years ago (I cheered!) but went back less than a month later. She had a breakdown; couldn't handle the guilt. He threatened to kill her at the time. I just don't understand!

chipmonkey Fri 29-Jul-16 09:46:27

Then she's in fear for her life. She needs to get Womens Aid and the police involved really.

JellyBean31 Fri 29-Jul-16 10:37:31

My sister was in a similar relationship, thankfully she's been free of him almost 3 years now. She minimised and normalised when in fact her life was appalling.

She was never allowed to work but then changes to the benefit system meant you had to if your youngest child was 7 (I think) - the only positive thing I can say about benefit cuts is that he couldn't argue against her getting a part time job and she had the opportunity to mix with more people and see her situation through their eyes, It was a lightbulb moment for her, despite me and another close friend (the only 2 he hadn't managed to scare away) telling her for years she needed to get out.

No one who hasn't lived in that situation can truly empathise or know how low someone's self esteem can be, on some level she definitely believed she deserved to be treated like that. She has 2 DC with him so he's still in the picture and she still minimises how things were, they were together 16 years so it's going to take a lot more than 3 to unpick the damage.

all I can say, is be there for your friend, try not to judge or advise (unless she asks for it), it's incredibly hard to just listen when you know someone is being abused, but from what my DSis has told me, it was exactly what she needed.

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