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need help for sis-in-law
October 25, 1999
10:49 pm
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frustrated in mn
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My sister in law has been battered to varying degrees over the past 10 years. I have just become highly involved with helping her over the past 9 months. Now her hubby is in jail awaiting charges for assault and I am trying to find ways to help her stay strong and see that she is doing right for herself and her 4 kids (ages 3-8) by keeping him out of the house. What are some things I can do or say to help her take charge of her life again. She still loves him and I know that when he is done serving any sentence that as of right now, she would take him back. Any help would be appreciated.
thank you

October 25, 1999
10:53 pm
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hope-c
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Wow, you are a great and loyal sister in law. God Bless you. I would recommend that you keep being supportive and loving to her and her family. I think that if you could help improve her self worth in any way it would be helpful for her to see that he devalues her. Also maybe to set her up with a counselor so that she has someone who is out of the family to lean on and guide her. Good Luck

October 26, 1999
11:27 am
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Cici
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Women in abusive relationships often have extremely low self esteem, and their husbands/partners often reinforce these feelings in order to better control them. She needs to work on herself for a while. I'm a big fan of humanistic and existentialist psychology...Carl Roger's whole "unconditional positive regard" idea.

In humanistic psychology, a person can become overly self-critical and develop harsh "self-standards" as conditions of self-worth...this can lead to diminished self-esteem because not only does her partner beat her up, she probably beats herself up too. Try to help her by being accepting, empathizing and just being a genuine friend. When she is in an emotionally secure environment, she can better recognize her own true needs and wants.

You should also support her taking responsibility for herself, help her learn to make decisions for herself...she needs to understand that her own life is unique and special and she needs to find meaning for her own life, separate from her abuser. Good luck!

November 2, 1999
6:07 pm
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frustrated in mn
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CICI and hope-c
Thanks for your responses. We went to court on the 28th and he was sentenced to 1 year but will only serve 90 days. I also found out that he can get out for good behavior on Dec 18th. Any ideas on how to steer sis-in-law to get the help she needs before he gets out? I know she wants him back. She had her order for protection ammended so that he can call. Is there anything I can say or do to help her see that this guy needs SERIOUS help before she should consider taking him back? I'm afraid that the next beating she gets will kill her. He is still blaming her for the jail time he is serving for assault and DUI. Until he takes responsibilty for his actions, he is a threat to his family. Any suggestions?
thank you.

November 2, 1999
7:22 pm
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VRJ
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Get her a counselor who knows about codependency, self esteem and abuse! Fast! You can't change how she feels or who or how she loves. But a good counselor who understands the dynamics can help. Also, get her some books to read. I would suggest "Codependant no More" by Melody Beatty to start. Also try some codependancy and abuse sites on the internet. Good luck. She is lucky to have you.

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