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Old 24.07.2011, 09:11
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Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Sister in law is currently in hospital and likely to stay there for a few more weeks. Blood pressure was 180/130 when the ambulance picked her up and not that much better since. Lots of drugs and tests to follow but doctors put it down to stress.

Wife visited her and found out that her husband regularly beats her, treats her pretty much like a slave, spent the money given by her family and put her into debt and he told her it is her problem. She still wants him to change and be like he was when they were first married.

Visited her in hospital and pretty much she is a wreck, she always was a wall flower since I have known her. She is not the strong personality type and all her life she pretty much has depended on her parents or later in life her sister to sort out problems for her.

Plan is to persuade her to come back to the family home after hospital as parents are retired and can help her recuperate in peace.

Marriage is between two people and I strongly feel that people should not interfere however the family is looking at me to help resolve this. My mother in law at first intruded on our own marriage and we ended up leaving the country so she got the message. However someone beating the hell out of a woman who is not capable of really defending herself is different to me!

Asked her why she does not call the police and she is too scared of what will happen afterwards, I can understand that.

The sensible thing is for her to tell him, 'I am leaving you!' or 'I have left you scumbag stay away'

I can talk to him and scare the living daylights out of him but what is the sensible thing to do?

(Not sure if I got this in the right place as it is family matters but outside Switzerland)
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Old 24.07.2011, 09:20
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Stuff like that makes me so angry!!!

Don't know about law in the UK.
In Switzerland it would be an official delict and you or your wife could go to the police to press charges...

How about invite her to stay with you just for a few weeks so she can clear her head? Distance can be a wonderful therapy and maybe give her the confidence in doing the right thing with leaving him?

I'm really sorry for your sis in law and hope, the nightmare will soon have an end...
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Old 24.07.2011, 09:52
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

I would think first and foremost is to get a firm line on what your sister-in-law really wants, if that is possible. Perhaps while she is still in the hospital you should try to organize a psychologist or professional counseling for her, as often a neutral party, experienced at getting to the bottom of things, can best help you scope out a strategy to resolve the situation.

I would not, however suggest scaring the bejesus out of the husband as that will most likely come back on you or make it even more difficult for the sister-in-law.
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Old 24.07.2011, 09:56
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

There are women's refuges with workers who can communicate in English. Whilst she might not agree to going to a refuge (and she might not agree to going to her parents or other family member either), the workers will have 'seen it all before' and perhaps have some strategies for you to try.

Convincing someone in an abusive situation to leave, is not easy. Usually their self-esteem is shattered and as you say, they just wish the person would stop, because they still love/desire and depend on the abuser. Their life is ruined, and they can't see any solution, so they just keep on going with the way things are.

The service is called a 'Frauenhaus' - you can find one in your area. They won't publish the location, but there is usually a phone number you can call, and they can find a worker who speaks English and get back to you with advice/support/suggestions.
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Old 24.07.2011, 10:00
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Your sister needs love and nourishing around her. She also needs psychological therapy to help her understand what has happened and to build up her confidence to make positive changes in her life.

Your sister is not to blame for her husband's behaviour. Weak men, insecure men abuse others. Good strong men don't. As long as the husband puts the blame on your sister, he is not capable of any relationship.

Living away from her husband is excellent. However, it is only good if everyone around supports her, loves her, listens to her, lets her go through the many phases of denial, grief, self-pity, etc., until she finally gets to a point where she can say:

Nothing will change unless I make a change.

Give her time and patience and find a good psychologist where she can talk about all her feelings.

It's a long, hard journey and I hope she can find the love she deserves. However, she needs to love herself first.
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Old 24.07.2011, 10:10
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

If your sister has marks of beatings (or, in any case). Call a lawyer first to document and take photos and then call the cops.

If the victim has lost perspective and rationality (as we all do from time to time) then it is your job and the job of the people around her to act in her best interest. You do not need to ask her for permission.
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Old 24.07.2011, 10:10
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

It's a very difficult situation you find yourself in, as domestic violence can be something that builds up over time. A harsh word leads to a shouting match, leads to a little shove, leads to a harder shove and in some cases goes on to broken bones and even death. The problem is these abusers are also normally very posessive and manipulative and tend to break their partners down emotionally and psychologically so you end up with a person who truly believes that either its their own behaviour that's getting them the beatings or that they can change their partners. Your sister in law is probably scared mainly because her husband has broken her self worth down to the point where she doesnt think she deserves to be treated any better. It's also a vicious cycle of apologies and then recurring abuse. Sometimes it's very difficult to convince some one to leave an abusive spouse. Sometimes its fear of financial difficulty, trying to stay together for the sake of the kids, but for the most part its psychological. If you could suggest to her that she sees a therapist to discuss her feelings. She may be able to rebuild what she needs to be able to leave the situation she finds herself in. My only advice would be to be there for her emotionally. For some one who isn't in the situation it's a no brainer to up and leave but it's very different if you're the one being abused.

Last edited by Mary-Anna; 24.07.2011 at 10:14. Reason: Olygirl and Swisspea have summed up what I was trying to say...
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Old 24.07.2011, 10:44
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

I'm sorry to hear about your sister-in-law's situation. It makes me angry to hear of such actions. I have a relative that was in an emotionally abusive relationship. No hitting, but a lot of yelling, screaming, etc. Also, I have a friend that worked in domestic abuse in the US.

From what I understand from my prior conversations with friend and relative, your SIL needs to *want* to leave. She's still hoping to change her husband. She's still holding on to hope of the former happy memories. Until she's ready to leave, she will go back again
and again. Telling her to leave won't help.

Rebuild her self esteem... help her see that she deserves more than what she's been given by the husband. I hope for the best for your SIL.
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Old 24.07.2011, 13:15
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Just back from hospital visit and hope we made some progress, plan at the moment:

* Once she is discharged from hospital she will come back to family home.
* She wants to come to Switzerland for a while to be with us and our children.

Basically she wants time out and time apart.

Medical condition seems to have improved, CT scan plus other tests tomorrow.

Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback, agree it has to be her who has to decide to leave her husband. Apparently he has a drink problem and the violence kicks off when he is out of his brain.

I am hoping once some real distance is between them that she can realize that someone who beats the hell out of you is not the sort of person you want to be with. She told us she cannot take it anymore which is at least a start, then followed by 'I still love him'.

Makes me believe the true definition of love is insanity!
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Old 24.07.2011, 13:56
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

where is she? If in UK, tell her to call Womens Aid, http://www.womensaid.org.uk/ , 0808 2000 247

They will not do anything if she does not want them to. But it would be good for her to discuss this problem with them - you can even lie, I mean tell her they might help her to help the husband - this is the reason most women in violent relationships look for help. hopefully, they manage to show her that this is not normal and yes, there is a way out. And no, he will not change.

Also, the survivor stories on the website might be helpful - if a person is in this kind of relationship, they often can't even see how horrible it is, they are so used to it. However, violent relationships are often very similar, so she might recognize her relationship in someone else's story and this might be an eye-opener.
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Old 23.08.2011, 12:27
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Almost a month now, how is she doing?
I wish and pray for the best for her.
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Old 25.08.2011, 11:07
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Quote:
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Almost a month now, how is she doing?
I wish and pray for the best for her.
Hi Coconut,

She is doing fine now and seems to really like being back at the family home. I visted just a few days ago and the husband has come to visit twice, from what I can make out to beg for forgiveness but I think it is game over for him. (well I seriously hope so). She is due to come and stay with us in Geneva for a couple of months to try and get some real distance and time to think things out.

The rest of the family are being supportive which is good so fingers crossed she still see's him the way he really is. None of us have told her what to do as it is her decission at the end of the day in what she finally decides to do.

Thank you all for your advice and support.
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Old 01.09.2011, 07:25
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

Hi there magic-
thank you for you update.

I have a question if you are in a position to share:
The time leading up to the hospital stay, how were you aware that there might have been something unhealthy going on?

I assume there are no children involved if your SiL can come stay with you for a while?
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Old 01.09.2011, 08:03
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Re: Domestic Abuse - Victim Mentality - Advice?

I have just come out of a 25 year marriage riddled with verbal and emotional abuse that finally led to physical abuse. I did not know it was not normal, I loved my husband and thought he would change. I know now it was not normal and he will never change. The marriage finished the day he hit me, two years ago.

The previous posts are correct, when you are in that position, nothing can help you, your self-esteem and self-worth is rock bottom, you are paralysed with fear and repercussions if you speak out. I am glad your SIL has gone to her family and its great she can get away to get stronger. The fact you are there to help and support her is wonderful. A lot of my friends and family didn't believe me at first because my ex was a different person in public.

If she wants to get away, research why men behave like that. I too found a web-site called www.Hiddenhurt.co.uk and one story on there was just like my story, it helped to understand I wasn't alone. From there I discovered my ex was a Narcissist which led me to Melanietoniaevans.com and I did some healing work with her. She helps me realise I was a co-dependant and had no boundaries. I have been able to turn into a survivor and am now in the final stages of divorcing my ex and starting my life again with a new man here in Switzerland .
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