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Battered woman afraid to live- how do I help her?
September 28, 2000
12:46 pm
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I counsel battered women at a battered women's shelter. I have helped countless women take the necessary steps to turn their lives around and live independent of their abusers. However, there is one woman I don't know how to help. She is terrified of her abuser and fears that he is involved in Organized Crime, which makes her even more afraid. She is afraid to go anywhere,even to court to fight for custody of her two small children. I certainly understand this and usually try to assist the woman in relocating out of town. But, if she leaves the area for her safety and that of her newly born child, she risks not ever seeing her other children again. She won't talk to police and freezes up when she talks to a lawyer. Her time at the shelter will soon be up. She can't continue living in this type of fear, but she won't really trust anyone to help her. Do you have any suggesstions for this woman or for me to help her, please help, lives are at steak.

Reserved

September 28, 2000
5:18 pm
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where there can be so much love and fulfillment, why so much hate. man and woman, theres supposed to be so much in between them. sh1t...

September 28, 2000
6:25 pm
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Molly
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There is a cost for everything, and she must determin what she is willing to pay. I assume that she does not have the children with her, only the newborn? She either gets tough and tries to fight it legally, or leaves with the one child. She made her choice, and that is the hard part, the hind sight 20/20 vision thing, she was aware of things after a while, and continued to breed with this man, and I assume that there were some good times for her to stay for the three kids. I doubt the children are in danger, just tools to manipulate her. You must disconnect from her drama, it is her drama, it is hard, that is what sucks with social work, helping them with the mess that THEY created. I doubt she has any real evidence or knowledge that she can go to the DA with for a witness protection type plan, and those only work in the movies. I see that she has three options, fight it legally, take the baby and run, or take all three and try to run, for ever running looking over her shoulder. You know the relapse rate, the prosecution rate, and heck if she stayed as long as she did, maybe she can find a way to survive until the children are old enough to speak for them selves, this is hard, but not your problem. That is the hard part. I had a conversation with a counselor today and she asked me a question I could not answer, I have known of her relationship with an abusive man, who is more like her 4th son, his lack of responsibility, or contribution, he is a liability due to his drug use, and yet she stays. She knows what he does to her, yet she stays, and is afraide to walk which she can, so why do women dance with danger and stay?? She has been with him for over 9 years, and they are not even married, she has jepordized her children, credit, and supports him most of the time, I wanted to say that she is lazy, and its not bad enough, but for some what is bad enough. Sorry about your client, but she simply must decide what price she wants to pay, and how long she wants to pay it, and I do believe lives are in danger.

September 28, 2000
9:52 pm
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molly, she stays cause of low self-esteem. she beleives from deep that maybe she deserves to be with him, and she thinkgs she doesnt deserve better.

September 29, 2000
10:11 am
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Molly:

Thanks Molly for your feedback. You are absolutely right about the fact that we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up into the drama of these women's lives, but it is so hard to detach yourself emotionally sometimes. I know that I have done all I can and made suggestions towards her changing her situation including arranging for her to speak with an attorney prior to her court date to fight for custody of her two other kids who is with her ex-husband (who isn't the abuser at present but has also been abusive when they were together)and she never called her. But isn't it heartbreaking to see someone who isn't willing to fight for the right to live their own life the way they deserve, or maybe I should say does not have that fighting spirit.

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September 29, 2000
12:40 pm
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Brenda
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Dear Reserved:

First of all, thank god this woman has an angel like you. You are probably the only one that has ever shwon this woman any kind of real love or compassion. Mollys, response, although wise and experienced, shows a little bit of bitterness for my liking.
This woman and child needs you, but it is your job not to lose yourself in the process. YOu need to accept that she has been beaten down and emotionally scarred by the threats that this man has made to her and her children. It takes a while for these women to recover. I have been there.
I would never abandon my children, but there are women who do.
You are witnessing one of the most tragic events in a human being, soul death.
She needs to regain her soul and herself before she can have any semblance of self identity.
It sounds as if you have done a great deal for this woman and child.
My abusor was also involved in an organization that stalked, threatened and harassed me for years.
If she is unwilling to talk to a lawyer out of fear, does she understand that she will likely lose custody of her children, she is currently unfit. IT is sick but true that a lot of these women lose custody of their children to the abusors, this is screwed up. The children need their mothers, but they also need their mothers to be emotionally stable and available to them.
Is there any way you can extend her time in the shelter so that she can get some in depth counselling and help. She needs to trust someone to help her, it is at times like this when us human s need help and support from our fellow man or woman, as the case may be.
IT is important that she talk about everything with someone she can trust, it is imp that she maintains contact with her children, it is important that she fight any kind of interim custody order by her ex, it is imp that you take care of your emotions and understand that there is gods will involvedhere and you can help her by praying and letting go and letting god after you start becoming so involved where you feel if she doesnt do what you say her life is ruined.
You need to be trustworthy, compassionate and unconditionally loving without becoming so enmeshed in her life tha tyou lose your own..do you understand reseved.
Believe me, the world needs more caring and sincerely loving people like yourself, but make sure you are giving and helping from a full cup my dear or your helping will be filled with need, resenetment and bitterness.
Know and love yourself first before you can truly love and help others.
god bless you, your work, this woman and her children, I pray for your and the highest out come for all good in the situation. amen

September 29, 2000
6:13 pm
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Molly
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Brenda, if I sound bitter, its because I know the system, I know the women, and I know what it is like to be the therapist who has a heart. My hardness was directed at the therapist who must disconnect, I got that she has a heart, and it is ripped out due to who she is, and she can't help a person more than she helps her self, there are to many others to get to. Sad eh? Reserved, must have a waiting list at her shelter, and all the others that need her compassion, and stregnth, some clients,just rip you up, and it is to often and to easy to be there. so if I sounded harsh, its because it came from therapist to therapist and gosh and golly if there just was something better, we would do it , but the bottom line is the above, you are one of the lucky ones.You must have had a counselor like Reserved or even my self, but there is only so much one human can do, and we too must have boundry lines, and her cry for help sincere as it was told me she crossed the line, been there and done that , and will do it again. When you deal with caseloads of 40-60 people a month, to assist with the consequences of the choices, and you are fighting the systems in place its just plain hard, and you must get tough, or wear all the emotional and physical consequences, and can no longer be of service. WE cannot afford to take this stuff home, and we do any how once and a while, and then some one says cut it loose, and let it go, it is not your stuff, but ..................

September 29, 2000
8:17 pm
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christina
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is there anyway other shelters around the area could help you. i used to work at a crisis shelter myslelf and though i wasn't involved directly with the parents i watched their children, it really was quite an experience...perhaps other crisis shelters will have some information on what you can do to help....

September 30, 2000
11:28 am
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Brenda:

Thank you for those kind and encouraging words. You know, I don't view what I do as just "a job" but I see it as my "Life's Assignment". What I do is certainly not what I attended college for, but the direction of my life led me into it, so I recognize it as a spiritual gift to share with others. I developed a course that I teach to women in crisis which emphasizes the importance of loving themselves and not seeking love and happiness from an external being, but from within themselves. They become reconditioned, in Mind, Body and Spirit. So believe me, I know the importance of loving oneself, first and foremost. I have turned this over to my Higher Power through prayer and meditation. Yesterday, this woman asked if she could go with me to Church on Sunday( she hasn't left the house in six weeks) and of course I am happy that she is taking that step. Unfortunately, I have little say-so regarding her remainder length of stay at the shelter, but I can request an extension for her as long as it is accompanied by a game plan for her to follow and I am working on that. But, in Molly's defense, I understand how she sees this profession as one that if the counselor, or therapist get's emotinally involved, they will not be able to adequately provide their professional services to their other clients who may be more willing to follow their professional advice and accepting of their help. But, I know that in my heart, I will always feel that it is not only my professional but my spiritual obligation as well to do all that I can for a woman whose spirit has been broken, and as you put it who has a "dead soul", to try to bring that spirit back to life.

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October 3, 2000
1:55 pm
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Brenda
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Most welcome reserved, you have found one of your life purposes and i am very impressed and inspired by your true connection to yourself and hence others. YOu are a wonderful, honest and strong human being and woman, god bless you and keep you focused. YOu are doing gods work and you are creating self at the same time.
If you show light thourgh your work and actions, others will believe in the light, you are one shining example of faith, courage and conviction....big hugs(((((((((((reserved))))))))))

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