Let’s face it – divorce is hard! It is even harder when it involves children.
While we normally write positive stories about successful love and marriage, a recent interview caused us to alter course, albeit, temporarily.
This week we interviewed a woman who had recently gotten divorced. Her story was so emotional and impactful that it had to be told. The pain and suffering caused by the dissolution of an abusive marriage is unfortunately all too common.
During this particular interview, we discovered a woman who experienced a marriage with a man who was so vile, so condescending, and so dangerous to her children that she hid the truth from the world for nearly 20 years.
Just imagine — being married to someone for so long a time who abuses his children and his wife, who makes life miserable for his family on a day to day basis, and who threatens those who disagree with his perverted methods of parenting.
The truth is this – abusive people win because those who are threatened by them, give in. We are reminded of the old saying, “If you allow yourself to be pushed around then you only have yourself to blame.”
As stereotypical as it may sound, people who are abused, threatened, intimidated, and belittled, need to stand up for their rights! We have found over the years that bullies crumple at the mere sight of a superior force!
Here is what we mean by that. If you decide to accept the abuse in your marriage for yourself and your children, then you and your children will end up being further abused. Our advice, based on years of research is this – develop spine, stand up for yourself and your children, tell your abusive spouse (or ex-spouse) that you “are mad as hell and you will not take it anymore!”
While it may sound easy for an outsider to say, we fully understand that you will need to find a support system – family, friends, counselor, abusive support groups, etc. Finding a support system that you can depend on when you begin to push back is a critically important part of your success. When the going gets tough, it is always easier to know that there is someone else whom you can talk with, seek advice from and confide in with the truth.
Abused women and children in a marriage do not have to take abuse anymore. Why would you continue to reward the abusers with acquiescence? Why on Earth would you continue to allow them to control your life? Why would you continue to allow them to make your life miserable? There are solutions out there, even when it seems like you have no where else to turn.
Here are some links to services and advice that can help you decide what to do next:
Help for Abused and Battered Women: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm
Abused Women Organization: http://www.abusedwomen.org/resources.html
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/
Heart 2 Heart Support Group and Self Help: http://www.heart-2-heart.ca/women/index.htm
Make no mistake about it; there are a lot of women who want a way out from an abusive relationship – physical and mental – for themselves and their children. Standing up for what matters is important. Standing up for what matters is critically important to you and your children.
Our advice – do NOT let the abusers win! When you let them win you do so at your peril. You will be surprised at how well strength and fortitude work. You have more strength than you know. Giving in is never an acceptable alternative.
You and your children deserve better. Be strong. Never allow an abusive spouse or ex-spouse to intimidate you into submission. Your strength will carry the day.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
**For hundreds of practical tips to strengthen your love and the answers to the questions you should discuss before getting married, read the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts