|Dear Dr. Irene,
I have read a lot and heard a lot about women needing to become
independent and confident in themselves so that they do not have to stay
with an abuser. Well, let me give you some insight from my perspective,
victim of an abuser, as to why we won't leave.
Some of us may not have the education nor the skills required to obtain a
good paying job. Yes, we can improve ourselves by obtaining college
degrees or computer skills, but what if you're tied down with children who
need you at home or what if you are alone and you don't have family or
friends who can take care of your children while you go to class?
Your husband might be able to watch the kids while you go to class, but
only when he is not fighting with you. Unfortunately, during those
non-abusive times, he will often sweet talk you into staying with him by
saying things like "I like to spend time with you in the
evenings", making it very difficult to leave him. Those woman who are
in this roller-coaster relationship know what I am talking about.
Most abusers do not like to hear that you are going to take a self
improvement class of any sort. Those that say "That's a great
idea honey" are lying because deep down inside they want you to be
dependant on them. Most of us have had our confidence destroyed by either
the abuser or, realistically speaking, the cost of living outside of our
hellish dwellings. Trying to make ends meet on your own when you have
children, is one of the toughest things in life if you are a woman.
So what's the solution? Leave your abuser and endure a diminished
standard of living until you get your feet back on the ground, if ever you
do? What about all the dreams? What about all the "I'm
sorry's"? What about all the promises? What about the
fact that some of us still love our abusers? It's hard not to look
back because as long as we have kids with him, we will continue to have
I have already been in a situation where I decided to "take
control" of my life and leave an unhappy marriage. Those were
the darkest moments of my life. I stepped down from a very
prestigious upper class life and stepped into a life of poverty,
darkness and loneliness. I then remarried a man whom I thought was
my knight in shining amour but turned out to be my worst nightmare.
I am now 40 years old with two kids, one who is 17 years old (previous
marriage) and another who is 4 years old (current marriage). What
would you say to someone like me, who's been there already? I tried
to make it on my own but failed.
I am so fearful of the consequences that I refuse to leave my current
abuser. I do not have family in this country nor do I have friends
that I can talk to. I still love my current husband but I also hate
him due to the abuse. I spend a lot of nights in the guest room
alone. I don't see myself having a better life by leaving, though,
due to my previous experience. I am planning to attend a support
group "Victims of Emotional Abuse" in my area but I have already
been told by the counselor that I need to "take control of my
life". I realize that in some cases the victim is able to do
that but due to my prior failures, I don't feel like I can and maybe deep
down inside I don't want to try.
So what's the solution Dr. Irene?
There are no
solutions, certainly no easy ones. Life is not fair. Life is a series of
choices. We do with our life as we see fit. Our life is ours to script.
This site is not
about criticizing you for choosing to stay where you are. This site is
about offering education and support for those who choose to learn more,
who choose to get out, or for whatever reason, choose not to.
message, I hope, is: You run your life.
regards, -Dr. Irene