What is it like?

What is it like to live with an abuser, day by day, week by week? I honestly could not write it as well as Marcia Steffens, Managing Editor of the Cassopolis Vigilant and the Edwardsburg Argus. In a column she describes the life, and the issues. And deals with her memories.


Please Remember to Commit a Random Act of Kindness Today.  


  1. JstAnthrTrvlr said,

    October 14, 2006 at 5:23 am

    I debated on whether to comment on this article for quite a while. The deciding factor for me was that the author of the article stressed that domestic violence/abuse is not always visible via bruises and broken bones. Such was/is my case. I’ve been married to an abuser whose ‘specialty’ is emotional and mental abuse for 17.5 yrs. We have been separated for two yrs as of September thanks to his finding another woman who is attracted/stuck in the cycle of abuse. I have isolated myself from all of my friends and haven’t worked a job since August of 2003 because the constant, unrelenting, daily stress finally caught up with me physically and I have a laundry list of serious health issues.

    For those who would question “WHY”???? Why would an intelligent, attractive woman who fought for dear life to achieve a bachelor’s degree in the health profession who’s making good money stay with such an abuser? The number one reason in my mind for many yrs was for the good of our two children. Oddly enough, he treated them like ‘gold’ for many yrs until his alcoholism (a habit of 39 yrs and counting) destroyed his thought processes to the point where even his beloved children became targets for his emotional and mental abuse. The latter is what finally gave me the courage to ask him to leave (for the umpteeth time) and truly mean it. I know he would not have done so without a violent ‘show-down’ if he had not had someone waiting in the wings because he’s terrified of being alone and must have someone to cook, clean, stroke his ego and satisfy him physically. That woman saved our lives (and I feel sorry for her as well as grateful).

    He is the classic “Good Time Charlie”, therefore some additional factors to the success in finally getting him out of our home was also brought on by the death of my mother (and the simultaneous loss of the multimillion-dollar business I had built and lost illegally to a ruthless partner and my incompetent lawyer); and my subsequent enraged, ego-crushing outburst of truth about his behavior the day she died. He also stayed away because my father died shortly thereafter as well as my grandmother. I was simply no daggone “fun” anymore, nor did I fulfill the role of ‘slave to master’ he required.

    At the time I saw the bottleneck of these negative events (and several others I won’t bothered to mention) as the end of the world and the veil of depression and hopelessness that overtook me for a very long time seemed insurmountable. At this point I admit that I made things MUCH harder on myself by isolating from EVERYONE because of the deep humiliation and shame I felt for allowing my life to be devastated by not only the ‘normal’ life circumstances that occur such as deaths in a family and the evil woman I allowed to steal my business – but mainly by the fact that I had LOST ALL TRUST IN PEOPLE and felt I would and was being judged by HIS dysfunctional, selfish, abusive behavior and looked like a psychotic idiot. To some extent the former was actually TRUE! There where those who kicked me while I was at my lowest (which I will never comprehend); but I also denied myself the invaluable support of the people who would have been helpful and kind and a great asset to me and my children.

    To anyone who may have the patience to read this far – PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. Reach out and accept any help and loving kindness that is offered to you. I believe I would have recovered much faster than I am now if I had done so.

    By the way, I think it is important to mention that he is the type of abuser who can look like the NICEST GUY TO EVERYONE ELSE and is amazingly adept at making me look like “the crazy one”. His lies to his family, our mutual friends, his employees, etc. have been one of the most painful aspects of my experience. The rage and frustration I feel cannot be described in words. Thankfully, I have managed to control myself and not ‘act out’, thereby confirming his deceptions.

    Will the real truth come out someday? I don’t know – and it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I now have the chance to rebuild my life and to give my children the view of what a non-dysfunctional environment looks and feels like so THEY HAVE A CHANCE AT BREAKING THE LONG-STANDING CYCLE OF ABUSE THAT RUNS IN HIS FAMILY AND MINE. This is my deepest hope and prayer and main goal in life.

    God Bless those of you trudging along on a similar journey. Please don’t ever give up.

  2. October 14, 2006 at 6:04 am

    JstAnthrTrvlr, thank you for your comment. I am glad you are out and safe now. I hope you have quit isolating yourself. You are not alone, there are many others out there- some who have gotten out, others who still remain. You aren’t alone.
    Did you know that it isn’t uncommon for abusers to do things that attempt to make the spouse look incompetent to themselves and others? Or starting an argument just before being with others, so they can play the generous and forgiving partner in front of others? It is all a part of the cycle to make the person doubt themselves, just so they will be easier to control.
    I am glad life is a little easier for you now, and I hope you will continue to recover even more.

  3. JstAnthrTrvlr said,

    October 14, 2006 at 11:16 am

    Thanks so much. I am still a bit too isolated…however, I AM forcing myself to come out of my shell for the sake of my children. You are so right about the abuser starting fights just before a social interaction! He used to cuss me out as we were walking down the street to go to church ans then walk in and play the perfect saint – to the point where they asked him to be on the board! I finally stopped going because: 1. I couldn’t stand the nauseating hypocrisy; and 2. I was working night shift and it was just too daggone hard to do 14 hours on my feet, then come home and get 2 young children cleaned up and ready for church (not to mention myself) and THEN deal with all of his BS on top of that! Of course at the time, I felt like I was the crazy one. Then there were the countless times he cussed me out JUST BEFORE we walked into his family’s home for the holiday dinners and etc. >

    THANKS SO MUCH for pointing out the fact that they do that just before an interaction with others. That helps a LOT and is quite enlightening (light bulb effect). (Obviously I have a long way to go in healing because it has been so much easier to see such things in another woman’s life and to help THEM…but I have been slow to see the same things in my own situation). Bless you! ;0)

  4. October 14, 2006 at 11:22 am

    You will make it ok JstAnthrTrvlr. Just work on getting out more.

  5. Magnolia said,

    October 16, 2006 at 6:18 am

    I have always managed to isolate myself. My trust factor was destroyed a long time ago, and I ventured down that road of trust via the internet this past year. ( Not with chats or men or anything like that ) but trying to interact with people again. I was as shocked and crushed as I was the day of my first beating,to find the folks on the net were so damn mean spirited. I will never understand kicking someone when they are down, either.
    So..I choose to remain in 99% isolation. I interact with very few anymore, and they are the ones I feel I have common ground with. But trust…probably won’t happen again in my lifetime. I trust my children, that’s it.
    My husband was the perfect, successful,good time Charlie..everyone’s best friend and “saviour”. I got over the physical part, tho many health issues remain all these years later,but I have yet to deal with what it did to me emotionally,on a deep personal level. He did not abuse the children,either.I finally left him when he got the kids up in the middle of the night,brought them into our room, and went crazy beating me…screaming at the kids” look at what a horrible person your mother is..daddy comes home from work and doesn’t get any dinner”…it was 4 am.
    No one knew,then, no one believed. We then went through a divorce that makes the War of the Roses look like a kindergarten play.
    Anyway..I was on plane with the kids by 9am.

    I flew back..alone a couple months later, trying to do the court/negotiate BS…I ended up in the hospital.

    5 years after the divorce, he got me one more time…this time ,someone listened,but not too well. He was found guilty of assault to commit bodily harm less than murder,fined 700 bucks and got a years probation. That was in the late 70’s…and I’m still pissed off.

  6. October 16, 2006 at 6:32 am

    People do not realize how long the effects of DV can last. Even without lasting injuries, the effects of DV can last a lifetime. They are now looking at post traumatic stress syndrome in dv survivors. Because what should have been a loving and growing relationship becomes a combat zone. But without the same abilities to defend self. The psychological effects can be as horrendous as the physical injuries and can last just as long- or longer.

  7. MagZ said,

    October 16, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    Yeah..and I’m sorry for my rant..just somedays….I am right back there. He has been dead for many years, and I’m still having to trudge thru this,trying to avoid/acknowledge,etc. It’s like I can get so far with personal progress, then some innocous little thing comes out of nowhere and kicks my ass…and I am right where I started…hiding.
    I was told in the 80’s I had ptsd..but I would prefer to leave that to our combat troops.They have gone through far more than I ever shall.

  8. October 17, 2006 at 1:36 am

    MagZ, you didn’t rant. What you said was very appropriate and is shared by many.
    PTSD is PTSD. To say a person cannot have PTSD becaue they haven’t served in combat, is like saying a person can’t have a gunshot wound unless they served in combat.

  9. MagZ said,

    October 17, 2006 at 4:40 am

    ouch…got me there :p
    Thanks, Sweet

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