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Advice for the battered wife

Updated on March 23, 2014

First I would like to say that I was a battered wife for 11 years. Yes 11, and there are many different circumstances that let me to this, but nevertheless I found myself in a marriage that was undeniably dysfunctional to say the least. Of course it is the typical begining, my then husband didn't show his true colors until after we were married.

The first hit came as a big surprise and it was so devastating and heart-breaking to me. Here was the man that I loved with all my heart and I knew at this point that he was quick to anger but on this first occasion that he hit me; we were arguing over something silly, and then he hit me as hard as he could across the face. At first it was such a shock that I just stood there with my mouth open. Then the light bulb went off in my head, wow, my husband actually hit me. It broke my heart into millions of little pieces, never to recover again. It was stitched up quite a bit, but it was never the same.

Things got bad to worse and I stayed with him and we had 2 children. It made things harder to leave because of all sorts of reasons that only a battered wife can justify. Mainly I was scared to death. My ex-husband would threaten me with taking my children and I believed him. I did leave him several times, but always returned. It was only until I hit rock bottom that I realized that the only way I was going to be any good to my children was if I healed myself, because my rock bottom was when I ended up in a hospital with bruises from head to toe and believing with all my heart that the next time he touched me he would kill me.

I went to a women's shelter with my children and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Sure it was hard uprooting my children and having to start over again by myself but it was so invigorating to be in control of my life, of myself again. It felt good not to have to walk on egg shells anymore and not to see the look of horror in my children’s faces anymore.

That was 12 years ago and it took a lot of therapy and support to get me to trust anyone again, as well as make sure that my children got the therapy they needed. My ex-husband got plenty of therapy as well and he is actually doing better and has a relationship with our grown children. God is working in his life now and he is a different person.

If there is anyone out there who is going through what I did I would like to give you some advice:

1. Be honest with yourself, don't make excuses for your husband or wife.

2. Realize that if your husband or wife hits you once he will do it again.

3. Talk to someone that you can trust, like a sibling, or mother and father. It may even make you feel better to talk to a pastor or priest; they can give you invaluable advice and give you spiritual support.

4. Save as much money as you can. Even a little at a time whenever you can because once you decide to leave you are going to need it.

5. Don't be afraid to go to a women's shelter. They are one of the safest places you can go because your husband would never find you there and the shelter would never reveal where you are.

6. Get a lawyer if he is threatening to take your kids, if you cannot afford one there is always help out there for you.

7. Depending on how violent your husband is you should get a restraining order.

8. Try to stay strong for your children if you have them. You don't want to keep the cycle of violence going and statistics show that children may grow up to be abusers themselves.

9. Hold your head up and stay strong. You would be surprised to realize how strong a person you can become.

10. Finally really, really know that it wasn't your fault.

Sure it always takes two to tango and I did several things in my marriage that I am not proud of, like burning the roast a few times, and over drawing the bank account. I had way too many credit cards and lied to my husband on several occasions. Yes I had sexual encounters with other men. Yes I am guilty of this and maybe you are too but you know what? It still doesn't give anyone any justification to beat you senseless. Once you realize this then you can become the strong person that you were meant to be.

© 2009 ladyjane1


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  • candicemarks987 profile image

    candicemarks987 5 years ago

    A lot of wives are being battered day by day but not all of them have the courage to stand forward and admit it because of shame. The same situation happens to those who are drug addicted. For more information, visit this site:

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

    Thank you MizBjabbers I appreciate your honesty and your comment. Cheers.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    Doris James-MizBejabbers 5 years ago

    Ladyjane1, I just read your powerful hub. I don't want to comment except to say "been there, done that," so I relate to you. I did lose the love of my oldest son when I left because I think I waited too late to leave. I left after 10 years. He treats his wife with respect and doesn't abuse her, but he hasn't forgiven me for leaving his father. Voted up++.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

    Ju, Fran and Patsy I know how you feel because my ex was in the military and was a golden boy of his company and they would at times take his side of things and make me feel like a low life. That's when you have to be stronger than that for your children and do everything in your power to put away money for your future. If you have to stay with family for a while then do it for your children. good luck to you I shall be praying for you. Cheers.

  • profile image

    Patsy 7 years ago

    I agree with Fran. Tell everyone what he's been doing. Its human nature to see the have's suddenly become the have less than nothing about them. No-one likes a smug bastard and he sounds just that.

  • profile image

    Fran  7 years ago

    I feel for you Ju Shame him let everyone know what a low life he his, including your two daughters. The workforce respect hom because he pay's their wages, trust me, like you they probably know he's a worm.

  • profile image

    Ju 7 years ago

    One thing that doesn't get mentioned is how being a battered wife makes you, the wife feel such a failure. My husband is the pillor of society with two daughters that adour him and a work force that respects him. How do I break away with no money of my own, with my respect in tack when everyone around thinks I'm so lucky and spoilt.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Thank you nell I think this was one of my first hubs and was very hard to write. I get very emotional when I think about my ex husband, although we have a good relationship now because of our kids. We both have been through a lot and now he is battling cancer and not doing well. I do hope that it helps someone out there. As always nice to see you.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

    Hiya, I am sorry that I missed this, and just wanted to say how brave you are. I am not sure if I would have had the mental strength to escape. Who knows? but I am glad that you wrote about this so that it will help other people. Nell X

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 8 years ago from TEXAS

    Let me congratulate you for your courage breaking free and also for sharing your lessons learned. It may seem more of an issue now, because of rapid communication and more openness, but it has been a problem for generations, if not eons. Sadly.

    I was not physically abused, except at the end, but was emotionally, mentally, and economically abused - and used - for 18 years. My good dispostion & spirit, my good mind and my means & inheritance were used to his purposes while I was conditioned to feel I had no value without him. My children were conditioned to devalue me, we lived among his family and friends exclusively, I didn't drive and was not allowed to learn. At one point I was required to tell him EVERY thought I had and then endure his fury if it didn't measure up.

    There were some reasons - complicated but mainly the threat that I'd never see my children again dominated everything else. He almost made good on that. Though I'd never been separated from them except when they were at school & was one of those picture-book wives and mothers, he managed to estrange them and to this day I haven't seen my son. He was 17 at the time. It was 1972. My daughter, who was 15 then, had to learn about her father the hard way. She ran away after two years of it and sought me out.

    Other factors played their roles, as well.

    However, my first & main advice to people finding themselves in an abusive relationship is first of all, to let go of any shred of mentality that they "found themselves in" it, unless they were sold into it or bound and gagged going in.

    Granted we don't deliberately or willingly go into such a nightmare which doesn't fully show itself early on, but - as you did and as I did - we noticed tell-tale signs. Abusive personalities always reveal themselves and if we're observant, we must take notice. It's a strong argument for longer engagements, I suppose. But obviously in our cases, the signals were not convincing enough to scare us off, but they were there. So we can legitimately allow that we chose it with free will in spite of them. It was the response we made - using our response-ability. That's an important concept to accept: being a fully functioning grown human being means to be able to respond and to accept the consequences from it. Only then can we also make the necessary changes with the same full power of purpose and our full being. Personal power is in taking personal responsibility. If someone else did it to us - they're in charge, at leasts in our minds. We'll keep doing it because we are convinced we are helpless to do anything else. Even if we luck out and escape -unless and until we accept that responsibility - we are sitting ducks for the next abuser.

    True - it doesn't mean that we we should BLAME ourselves for overlooking the clues and we definitely have no blame for for any normal actions or mistakes we did during the relationship which set off the abuse & prompted the other person's choice to resort to violence.

    The only point is - we were there by choice and we needed to leave, once in it. Fact is - there's NOTHING a person can do that deserves any of that abuse. That is the other person's responsibility and they are to be pitied. It's a terrible way to live their lives.

    The point, though, is that until we realize we had & exercised our own power to accept it, we also had our power to refuse it in the beginning and at any point thereafter. Otherwise we will be limited to victim-mentality in ending it as well as in avoiding "falling into it" again and again.

    So we MUST take the responsibility for being there if we are to have the strength and power to extricate from it & claim our freedom to be.

    This is difficult, because during the years of it - be they one or less or 18 or more - we become more depleted of the independence & spirit to put a stop to it. We become desperate, perhaps - but depleted nonetheless. Our abuser - and probably others he allies with - see us as helpless & convince us we are so that our light becomes more dimmed and our spunk becomes squelched, the longer it is allowed. We need to realize that we ALLOW it, in order to DISALLOW it. With a serious abuser, we also need to know we can't depend on successfully changing him/her. Our choice is to arise and claim our full personhood, taking responsibility for it & taking whatever steps are necsssary to put an end to it, most likely - leaving it altogether. We can't be fooled by various efforts to lure us back into it. They WILL be tried. We my trust OUR own experience and judgement that this person is an abuser and will continue to be if alowed. So we disallow him/her from further opportunity to abuse us.

    1) We had the power to choose when it began.

    2) We can therefore exercise the power to end it when it's clearly what it is.

    3) Nothing we can possibly do to provoke the abusers justifies their abusive response.

    4) The sooner we recognize what we've chosen for what it is and take steps to end it, the better.

    5) Then we must have the courage of the conviction to not look back.

    6) Forever afterward, feel the power of your personal responsibility in yourself and exert it.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Hey MFB III I appreciate your kind words and your readiness with a poem. It must be nice to have such a talent as yours and thanks for your concern I am free and have been for a long time. Thank you.

  • MFB III profile image

    MFB III 8 years ago from United States

    I am so glad you have broken free of this coward before you were totally broken. Any man who hits a woman or child for any reason is a coward, amd raise my hackles to a dangerous point.

    Break This Restraint, Bonehead.

    ©-MFB III

    Waiting in the shadows

    beneath the hollows of her eyes,

    lie tears not yet shed,

    hematoma's not yet

    inflicted by his cruel fist.

    She trembles like the ash

    on a dying cigarette...

    then when the front door slams,

    she falls to pieces,

    curled into a fragile, fetal ball,

    about to get a bouncing.

    Why can't I ever be passing by

    such blatant abuse similar to such quarters

    I used to be called too,

    as a Military Policeman,

    to find myself poised and ready to explode.

    Somewhere just below a window

    where the smack of some skanks cowardly fury,

    reaches my righteous ears, stoking my inner rage.

    Like a savage neanderthal

    I would breech his dwelling place and render him

    a victim with my bare hands and leather-ed feet,

    military training times four.

    Rock hard appendages pummeling,

    punishing, kicking and reducing him

    to childlike fear, a sweet intervention of the highest order.

    Just once God, give me a crack

    at one or more of these maggots.

    since your free will, keeps them free

    to force their foul will on others.

    Grant their Hell an early arrival,

    I'll be your fallen angel, while they lie

    writhing on the linoleum floor,

    cursing the very day they were born.

    I have bagged too many young women,

    whom for whatever reason could

    not escape and were left waiting

    in the shadows of black plastic zipped.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Thank you again Ghost32 I appreciate it. Its good to hear that your wife was able to overcome so much in her life. I stopped smoking a long time ago and feel so much better with that monkey off my back. It's nice that you support your wife the way you do. Thanks again.

  • profile image

    Ghost32 8 years ago

    Well written. My wife, Pam, had not been treated right by any man in her life (starting with her father) until we met when she was 45. At that time--after a life of high accomplishment--she had just survived 3 years of homelessness.

    Using the "greenhouse environment" that is our relationship to her advantage, she has single handedly kicked alcohol, drastically reduced her smoking, thrown out a whole passel of multiple personalities (which were very real and not that easy to toss), gained a considerable degree of control of her emotions, and otherwise stabilized her life in countless different ways.

    She's not even a shopaholic these days!

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Hi ziggym, I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. I cannot imagine having been abused as a child and that is what made it so shocking when I became abused by my then husband. I am glad that we both saw the light at the end of that dark tunnel and I am glad that you are doing well now, sounds like we both are in a much better place. Thanks.

  • profile image

    ziggym 8 years ago

    I lived with domestic abuse all of my life with my parents...I wish I would have had the opportunity to know what I could have been if I weren't constantly trying just to survive it...even through my adult years. I was a shopa holic and constantly tried to soothe my actually made it worse. I came to terms with my pain when I was 38 and turned to God for help. Three years later, I have kicked the constant need to numb the pain through shopping and I feel really good. I am grateful to my husband for standing by me and I am most grateful to God for my beautiful family. I couldn't have done it without HIM.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Im such a dork I meant that's what I say!!!!!

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    That's what I way!!! lol Thanks for stopping by.

  • profile image

    That's what I say 8 years ago

    It's important to share stories like this because it's real and there's always a new generation that needs to know. It helps others find the way out.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Hello R W I appreciate your feedback and taking the time to read my hub. It really cleanses my soul to talk about it now because there were many years that I couldn't. But I'm so much better now and God has saved me. Thanks again.

  • R W Harrington profile image

    R W Harrington 8 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    Thank you for sharing your story, and your advice. I am sure your writing will help other abused women take that first frightening step and get out of there. Keep up the writing, and keep reaching out a helping hand. You will make a difference.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    thank you Stan that means a lot :)

  • Stan Fletcher profile image

    Stan Fletcher 8 years ago from Nashville, TN

    Powerful hub lj1. Can't add much to the comments that are already posted. You're a great writer. Keep it up.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    thanx hypnodude :)

  • hypnodude profile image

    Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

    It's a sad story. At least he has the chance to make up for lost time. And have a better relation with your children. It could also be that expressing his inner feelings his health gets better. There is always a chance. And it's a great thing that you're still at his side.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Thanks hynodude how are you? You are so right when you say that this kind of violence towards women is usually done by weak men. The man I was married to was in the military and he was the top dog at work and was so controlling. But he was weak because he was not getting help with his anger issues. Later in his mandatory therapy sessions which I attended with him even though we were already divorced, it came out that he was terribly abused by his mother and that was something he kept from me but it was a breakthrough and it helped him. He is remarried and right now is struggling with pancreatic, liver and prostate cancer., I still keep him in my prayers. I have long forgiven him and I just wish that he could forgive himself before he dies. Our children are of great comfort to him now. Thanks for your kind words and support. :)

  • hypnodude profile image

    Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

    I read your hubs because they are quite good. :)

    Anyhow I've experienced this kind of life when younger and I think the greatest difficulty for abused women is that they don't see a way to escape. And sometimes there isn't an easy one, like when the woman has no job, or no relatives around, or no safe place to go. Noe every woman has a brother or a father to defend her. This is a hot topic, especially in some cultures where it's common behavior. I understand human nature as there can be times when a man or a woman get so angry that some violence can happen, but then you leave and the couple splits. If it goes on then it's another thing. I hate violence on women as a way of living, and usually it's done by weak men. In 2010 it should be something definitely belonging to history.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Hello Amillar thanks for reading my hub and I do hope that it can help someone out there. I appreciate you taking the time to read my new hub.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Hello again hynodude you know I think now in hindsite I did many of the things I did to subconsciously retalliate against my husband like have affairs and what have you. I am a totally different person now and in a much better place physically and mentally. I do agree with you that self defense training is invaluable to women and I wish I would have had somekind of training like that. I appreciate your reading my hub and thanks for the advice.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    hello cindyvine I would appreciate if you did link my hub to your blog that would be great and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Thank you.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    Dolores you are correct a lot of women stay because of some reason or another but most of the time it is fear. I appreciate your kind words.

  • amillar profile image

    amillar 8 years ago from Scotland, UK

    Invaluable information Ladyjane1. It could help to prevent a lot of unnecessary pain.

  • hypnodude profile image

    Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

    I agree, there are no reasons for beating the other, even if one of the two catch the other in the middle of an affair it's understandable that he/she gets upset and then a burst of violence can happen, but then the relationship gets closed. You know, like the first one gets forgiven, the second one gets punished. Great hub, and a lot of courage to share. I'd just add that in my personal opinion every woman should learn some self defense techniques, as sooner as possible, they could come handy.

  • cindyvine profile image

    Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

    Ladyjane, I'd like to link your hub to my blog offering relationship advice. Is that okay? I'm pleased you got out. Well done!

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    ladyjane - I am glad that you had the courage to leave. I think that a lot of battered women stay with the guy because of financial circumstances (as well as being brain-washed) and you have shown that safety is available to them. I think also that a lot of women just don't want other people to feel sorry for them so they maintain the lie.

  • ladyjane1 profile image

    ladyjane1 8 years ago from Texas

    fastfreta thank you for your kind words. You know it took a very long time to get to that point but God was with me the whole time, I just didn't know it at the time. I appreciate your taking the time to read my hub. Have a happy new year.

  • fastfreta profile image

    Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

    Powerful, powerful, powerful. Heartbreaking, yet heartwarming at the same time. I'm glad you had the courage to get away, so many don't. I'm also glad to hear that you and your ex are doing alright separately. Very good.


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