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9 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2009 - 7:09AM #1
Posts: 1
Hi I'm new here and would like to ask for some sort of advice for my daughter. She married her high-school sweetheart almost 9 years ago. They know each other for 24 years. always trusted him. My daughter told me a few weeks ago that she's very unhappy with him-he tried to break her down every chance he gets and has been using mental abuse on her for 3 years. I was shocked but told her she needs to leave if thats what she wants to do. Yesterday she told him she was leaving him. She's going to stay at my house and just dont know how to handle it. on one hand I loved him for many years and on the other hate him for what he has done to her. Its going to be a hard road for her and I want to make it as easy as I can. Where do I start? What do I say. Don't want to make things any worse than they are. Need help with trying to cope with this whole situation. Thanks.
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9 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2009 - 7:35AM #2
Posts: 137
that's tough bonnie, that must be a very difficult position and very sad for you. Just goes to show that you can never  be sure about people.  But even if you love him like a son, your obligation is to your daughter and to believe her and protect her.. unless you have good reason to think differently.,.I'm sure she's telling the truth, emotional abuse I think is a lot more common than some people think.  And if it makes you feel any better I think it doesn't always turn into physical abuse (not that emotional abuse can't be just as damaging and evil in a different way), and can be perpetrated by people (especially men, I have no statistics on this, but I'm pretty sure, please nobody be offended, Im sure women do it too, and perhaps viciously, just not quite as often) people that are not necessarily all around horrible, evil people, but good people who are having trust issues, intimacy issues, or anger issues, etc...or mental illness or are in some very dark place of some kind. (although it also happens when people are jus plain bad people).  And there is probably a good instinctive reason that you have such fond feelings for your son in law, so don't discount that or feel you have to totally treat him like the enemy now.

Nevertheless, it's still very dangerous, as it can lead the victim/loved one to depression and desperation and it could possibly turn into physical abuse, which is also very dangerous for her  physical safety.  So the first priority is to empower her to do whatever she WANTS to do....either just leave him forever, leave him for just a while, consider getting counseling if he agrees...and beyond that to keep her safe by letting her  know that she can talk to you so in case she does go back and it ever starts to get dangerous, you can keep her safe.

In the meantime, while she's staying with you it sounds like a good chance for you to bond with your adult daughter than has been out of the nest for a while.  Best thing in the world for her is probably just for you to be there for her don't have to baby her but just have fun with her and laugh and have some girl time.  You don't even have to talk about her husband at all if she doesn't bring it up. good luck.
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9 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2009 - 9:46AM #3
Posts: 9,954
IME, there is her side, his side, and the truth; it may be a good thing to reserve judgment until you speak with him, especially since you've known him so long.

Also IME, most women have the facility to be quite cutting with words; she may have belittled him or mocked him or otherwise offended him, and he's simply returning the favor.

Then again, your daughter could be a perfect angel, completely innocent of any provocative words toward her husband, and he's a total jerk.

But what I perceive your real question to be is how to talk with your daughter.  I would suggest just letting her pour her heart out, and ask her on occasion what she'd like to do about this or that.  Chances are high, I'd say, that she'd prefer to solve her problems herself, in her own way; after sufficient time has passed for her to express herself, you may suggest several courses of action from which she could pick---or keep silent completely.  I'd suggest not telling her what to do.

After all, if she still loves him, your joining in with her and trashing him like SHE's trashing him may backfire on you later.  You may wish to investigate the Retrouville organization, and if you like what you discover, perhaps suggest that as a first step in counseling the two of them to remain together.

But be a haven to her; encourage her to work and pay her own way---as an adult, she should be responsible for her own expenses, not dependent upon mommy(and this will help her with her self-respect)---for even though the tendency may well be to mother her and take care of everything she needs, this attitude will ultimately create a dependent weakling, not a strong, confident, stand-on-her-own woman.  Perhaps indulge her for a little while, but make certain that she understands that the physical support you give is not inexhaustible, but has a time limit.  Consider telling her that your spiritual and emotional support will continue no matter what.

Resist the tendency to take over for her, and do things for her that she should be doing on her own.  Help?  Yes.  Do FOR her?  Maybe for a little while, but no longer than a month or two, otherwise you'll need to get used to doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc., like you were her maid instead of her mother.

Be on the lookout for ingratitude, as well.  I know that when I had to live with my mother for a time, I always pulled my weight, did my own laundry, did the dishes every time she cooked(or I did), grocery-shopped, mowed the lawn(and other yard work), painted, fixed plumbing, and so on, and often expressed my appreciation for her allowing me to stay with her.

I wish you well; also IME, it can be difficult for two women to get along well for long, even mother and daughter, especially if they're attempting to cook at the same time.

Warmest regards-

"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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9 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2009 - 4:26PM #4
Posts: 658

Just be there and listen.  Do not take sides, if you can help it.....When couples are mad they lash out at each other, but then when you open your mouth and speak...your words are out there forever...If they make up, which they usually do, then there you are.....

As the saying goes, :Keep your words soft and sweet in case you have to eat them."

Perhaps they are both just changing...That happens a lot....

Have you suggested counseling?

Good luck,


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9 years ago  ::  Jun 13, 2009 - 9:40PM #5
Posts: 7

This is a tricky situation.....but she's blessed to have you in her life.

I can speak from personal experience (actually a current problem in my marriage) that emotional abuse is just as bad as physical. Some disagree, but unless you've been through it, you have no idea. It scars you just as much, and hits deep.

If I were to leave, all I would want my parents to do is support me. Not dog my husband (because she does still love him, you cannot turn off love no matter how horribly your spouse treats you). I would not want to talk about it a lot, only if I brought it up. And I would not want to be told what to do - like "you should divorce him immediately", or "you should do this.... or that". All I would want and need is unconditional support, just to know I have someone on my side and a shoulder to cry on if I needed it.

She should get some personal counseling, having been through this before I can say that counseling is essential after/during emotional abuse. Otherwise, it will eventually affect every aspect of her life, even if she's away from him.

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