Why do women stay in relationships that are rocky with husbands that repeatedly abuses them
I have a hub on this subject on my personal experience as to why....
Maybe they love their husband that much? But for me that was not enough reason. Why? Because whatever gender we have they must respect us.
yeah. I really wonder why they are doing that? Being martyr is never been a solution to the problem. I hate people who remains martyr despite the sacrifices the gave to their husbands.
Why a lot of women stay in the abusive relationship. I stayed out of fear, threats, my children, not knowing of any where to get help. I finally broke away after 25 years. I was bullied, threatened, and afraid of losing my children to kidnap as he said if I left. I broke away with the help of an Uncle who took the steps necessary and kept us safe until it was over. Now he is married to someone else and he treats her the same way but leaves us alone now.
well....the abuse can be psychological as well as physical....power and control by the abuser. people don't want to be abused, but by the time the damage is done it can be hard for some to pick themselves up, when they don't feel well, are tormented, ashamed, have low self-esteem etc. because of the abuse. some folks find it hard to stand up to their tormenter, especially when living with someone - people don't see or want to see what's happening until it is too late...unless someone steps in and intervenes before the abuse is out of hand - many times people don't interfere in relationships because most of the abuse is kept private - by the time the abuse is noticed and/or out in the open, the abuser has quite a bit of power and control over the one they are abusing.
Besides all the reasons mentioned before me, sometimes the abused feels trapped due to financial restraints. Often the abuser makes sure the abused person has no easy way out.
Johnjfernando-I'm not quite sure if you are really wondering about this subject as in, "I'd like to know more about this b/c I don't understand it" or if you are asking this question in an incredulous and judgmental manner. The reason I am puzzled by this question, which I believe you set before the HP community, is that you really want to get into a topic debate.
Because, if you really are puzzled and want to understand the reasons why women (or men) stay in abusive relationships, there are so many resources for you to tap into - Hubs from the community being only one of them, I am sure you will discover several reasons.
Why people stay in relationships that are not healthy is a very complex subject. It is a combination of being the right two partners to replay this 'family of origin' scene. And, when you are bringing a woman (or man, b/c they are also victims), who has been kicked around growing up, with no self esteem, into a relationship with an abuser they recognize it as 'normal'. It is what they are used to.
I actually have a major research for psych., but want to get a general understanding from my own opinion to what others have to say and see if anything is different or not. Also, I never attended that particular lecture. Thanks for your feedback though, Denise Handlon.
Hmmmmm. I feel kind of set up here- why didn't you include this info in your original question at the top. It would have helped to know where you were coming from regarding this question.
So, from what I understand you stating here-you wanted to form your own opinion based on what other people had to say? Or, were you comparing your already formed opinion on what others had to say? I'm not clear about what you are saying here...
BTW--what 'particular lecture' are you referring to that you did not attend?
(lol...) No, no. I'm not setting up anyone and I would never take someone else's work to supplement my own opinion unless I cited them.
I already stated, 'want to get a general understanding from my own opinion to what others have to say and see if anything is different or not.' So I'm just comparing really to see where my argument stood. I'm a guy so I can't really tell you or anyone else how a woman is to feel about what she goes through in life the same way a woman cannot tell, accurately, what a man goes through in life, in terms, of a negative impact. It doesn't make sense because you'd require experience and women and men can't switch positions in a situation like this based on the topic of my assignment. Thats why I came here to ask, expecting most of the women who have gone through such a terrible experiece to share what they had gone through and what it took.
I never had a childhood because father abused my family and myself, severely, as if it would never end. I can relate to what many here have gone and even worse, but this question is central to the experience of women. I would've have asked my mom, but she is not here with me.
Sorry if I offended you because I did not mention this in the beginning, but I'm willing to start over and ask the question again.
Its for psych.(psychology)
Thanks for the explanation. No hard feelings, really. It's too bad that you are unable to ask your mother's opinion. Hers would be the one that would seem to count the most.
I'm sorry that your father was an abuser. I didn't have that same experience with my father and it saddens me to know their are households where children do not experience the 'normalcy' of life without abuse.
Good luck with your project. You should be able to get your info from the indication of hubbers here. And, I suppose if you 'search' domestic violence in the search box plenty more will come up.
As a social worker who deals with a lot of abuse cases once told me, a lot of perfectly strong women with generally solid self-esteem don't leave because the husband threatens to get custody of the children (and women who think there's no way a husband would ever get custody know far less about how things can work than those women who stay in their relationships because they don't naively believe that courts do what is best for the children).
Some of these women would rather be knocked around themselves than risk their abusive husbands getting the kids, having their kids separated from their own mother, and maybe knocking them around his wife isn't around to be his punching bag. Also, younger kids who aren't abused may become victims of their father's abuse once they're old enough to set him off.
That's a common misconception that Lisa just touched on. Like she said...these women (and sometimes men) don't always suffer from low self-esteem. They have simply found themselves in seemingly hopeless situations for whatever reason(s) that makes it extremely difficult to leave. Sometimes it's financial, sometimes it's picking the lesser of two evils, sometimes it's just waiting for the right set of circumstances to come up that will allow things to click into place. It's just not cut and dry.
KCC, I'd like to add that I've recently (well, not all that recently) read that strong with high self esteem are often more at risk of finding themselves in an abusive situation in the first place. Another misconception is that it's women with low self esteem who, by virtue of the kind of person they are, attract abusive partners. That happens, but strong women aren't needy. Abusers don't like anyone that needs anything back from them. So, strong women with high self esteem can be targets.
The may or may not manage to keep the good level of self esteem. They may know very well that it's not their fault. They don't worry about what they can do to make the guy happier with them. They know the whole picture isn't what it should be, would like to leave, but (as you said) have some very real obstacles.
Maybe particularly at risk (I'm guessing) are very strong women who outwardly come across as gentle, loving, reasonable, people. They've got the strength and "non-neediness" some abusive individuals like; yet they have the lack of aggressiveness that makes a person a good candidate for bullying. They may be particularly understanding people who try to support a spouse, and the spouse may capitalize on how much such strong women are willing to overlook at first. From "at first" things can just escalate.
They may look in the mirror and still seem someone as worthwhile and/or attractive and/or strong as ever; so the guy may not have destroyed all that in them. One thing they may be affected by, however, is that they may find themselves ashamed not about who or what they are as human beings, but because, even though they're strong and capable and otherwise self-assured, they haven't been able to stop the other person from treating them abusively. They become ashamed of the helplessness in them - not necessarily "the rest" of themselves.
Worse, maybe, they don't know where or how to get some types of emotional support because there are so many misconceptions and misguided believes/presumptions about abused women; so they may feel that even professionals who would be there as support don't know anything about how some women don't lose their self-esteem or strength - only their sense of pride in otherwise not being willing to take crap from anyone.
I don't agree with your statements-they are filled with speculation and contradiction.
A 'strong' woman (what is your definition of this?) does not stay in an abusive relationship and is NOT a target. A strong, HEALTHY woman sees the red flag that the abuser is waving and walks the other way.
A woman who has her own sickness that is unrecognized will walk toward the abuser and it is a complex, and often covert dance within the relationship.
Not sure where you are getting your info from but there is so much more about this sociopsychological syndrome than can be presented here on this thread.
It's complicated.....the woman is mentally beat down with a low self-esteem which interferes with judgement. It's like a no-end situation they think they can't get out of, especially if there is no family members to help.
But, what if some did and how would that be possible?
Okay, I'm confused with your question here...clarify please.
What if some did.... (what if some did what?)
how would that be possible? (how would what be possible?)
Sorry, I meant like what if a woman is able to see outside the box of a 'no-end situation' as donotfear stated. Would they still feel scared or would they be strong and move forward in life.
Jjf-that would depend on the woman and the circumstances. Each situation is different and individual. Yes, there are many cases of women actually 'waking' up to the fact that NO ONE deserves to be beat and that they are worthy of more. And, they walk out or end the relationship without 'burning the bed' with him in it (aka Farrah Fawcett style).
Psych 101 project? Are you majoring in psych-if so than know that there are patterns that can be observed, however, one thing about human nature is that there are always exceptions--and each 'case' has to be factored in on the individual standpoint, not the cookie cutter response of similar situations. If you think you have it figured out that is usually when we discover we couldn't have been more wrong!
Staying open to what appears in the moment and what is the truth underneath the predictability is one way to stay fresh with learning and understanding knowledge.
Thanks Denise. I'm starting to get the picture. You have been very helpful.()
I'm glad to have been of 'assistance' Jjf. Sometimes I get on a soapbox, so please forgive me if I came on like a lion(ness).
Hahaha. No worries. When I'm on hubpages, its where I feel like I don't feel alone and feel like I finally belong somewhere because I never had that saying 'their is no place like home' as a little boy and when I'm on here with everyone, its only home that comes to mind and all these hubbers are family to me, including you. Thank you so much for all the help and advice you've given me and not just for the project, but for me to think on in life.
I can speak only from my POV, but I stayed because the same man that made me feel like s*** most of the time occasionally made me feel like a Goddess.
As sad as it seems, I loved my ex (part of me still does.) For me I saw that he was hurting and it was okay (for a while) because it seemed like him hurting me made him hurt less.
I also knew/know that I can be a high-riding bitch and it takes a lot of patience to love me. I just always kinda assumed that it was his way of dealing with it.
~Shrugs~ Four years of therapy and experience with a happy marriage showed me how horrible our marriage really was, but I couldn't see it while I was in it. It just seemed like normal life to me then. Most of the time I can't even imagine feeling like that again, but then I have to communicate with him and I feel small, ugly and stupid within minutes. I will almost always fold to him just to stop that feeling.
You describe some very common experiences. I do feel that there is a sort of 'justification of martydom' that many victims engage in. It is a complex phenomenon and not one simple answer.
I wonder if you really support yourself in the statement you made describing yourself. It is unflattering and does not honor who you really are. To degrade yourself in that manner cuts into the value of who you are.
Good for you for stepping out and doing some inner work to understand the process and therefore increase the outcome of NOT repeating with a second partner.
My opinion that I can be a bitch? I absolutely support it. It's not a cut at myself, it's self honestly. I think that I am a very kind person, but I'm too sarcastic and blunt to be considered a truly nice person. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be hard to deal for others on a daily basis.
I came out of the last marriage, which ended in a very big horrible way, very bitter and damn close to turning into my ex-husband. Which is something that abused women (especially those who started out fairly strong) need to worry about.
Which brings up a point... Not all abused women end up in a corner crying and begging. Some become retaliatory abusers. (not to be confused with women who fight back to defend themselves) For the first year of my relationship with my current hubbie, I had to work very hard to not overrespond to disagreements.
Good for you for recognizing that and working on change.
I suppose the real message here may be that not all abused women are the same, any more than all abusers or "all anyone else" in any group are the same. Besides those who end up crying (and, I guess, begging), and those you mention (who can become retaliatory (I don't much about them other than those extreme cases when someone ends up murdering a husband); there are also the "strong, silent" types whose response is anger and disgust rather than crying; but who know better than to to try to verbally deal with the situation and/or even try to stop it. Maybe this third category is women who are "only" verbally/emotionally abused. I can see how be beaten up physically would result in crying and begging. Sometimes, though, women are "only" verbally/emotionally abused, but who see it appearing to be escalating, can be too intimidated to take anything but one of two options: be silent or else leave and never come back. There's no inbetween, and there are no options when dealing with someone who is being that unreasonable and aggressive.
For some, embarrassment can also be one of the factors that keeps a woman from leaving, as silly as that might sound. Even though their should be no shame on the behalf of the abused woman, there may be embarrassment in having to admit she was abused and "allowed" this to happen. Finances can also be another factor, if the woman has not worked for a long time (and often abusive men will work to restrict any form of social support network and financial independence) then the thought of going it alone financially can also be very frightening.
But, every relationship as every woman is different and there can be dozens of reasons which collectively keep a woman in an abused relationship.
I was just thinking about this topic when I logged onto hubpages. True answers can be found straigt from the horses mouth. This morning, I was talking to a woman who shared with me about being in an abusive relationship. I mean I thought that my stories were bad but hers brought tears to my eyes. One of her reasons for not leaving was the fear that he would come and find her. She was afraid,and she felt the only way she could get away from him was if he went to prison. His last time beating on her put him there.
In my case, there is a history of abuse that started when I was a child. I never wanted to end up in an abusive relationship, but my first one happened when I was 21. The guy was older than me, and I didn't know it at the time but he was a drug addict. Twice we got into arguments and he choked me, one day I came home just to find that he had cut up all of my clothes. Another time, I was making up the bed just to find that he had a knife under his pillow. I wanted to leave so many times, but I felt alone and afraid. I didn't want to go home. One day I did leave and went to my sisters house. He would call and make me believe that he was so miserable without me and he even told me he was gonna change. I believed him,and went back. The last time, we got into a fight, he pulled me across the floor, choked me, and pulled my hair so bad I could hear it breaking. I remember trying to leave the house so that I could go and call the police, we didn't have a house phone, but he wouldn't let me out of the house. Finally he let me up to go to the bathroom, I prayed so hard that night for God to help me get out of the situation. In the morning when I combed my hair there was so much of it coming out. I went to work, but ended up coming back home. He showed no remorse for the night before. Anyway he had to go see his parole officer, and he was locked up when he got there for violating his parole.
Even after that, I still tried to be there for him, I went to his court hearing and he ended receiving a sentence of 10 years.
When I think back on it, I don't know why I still stuck in, but one day I woke up and cut off all contact.
Silly me though, I was afraid of what he would do to me when he got out, so my plan was to get married.
I've been married for nine years now, and though my husband has never physically harmed me, his abuse is more verbal and emotional. I can honestly say that the reason i've stuck in for so long is because I was just being hopeful. I've threatened to leave him so many times, and when I did he would be nicer and more mindful of the things he'd say, he would make promises to change and I'd believe him. Hoping that somewhere inside of him, that nice guy would come out. Even now, I've found an apartment, and i'm moving out next month. He knows this, and after being angry and arguing, he's being really nice and trying to watch his temper and what he says. In my heart I feel it's just an act though. So i'm sticking to my move out date. It's scarey, starting over. I've got so much anxiety. I even worry about the day when I move and it finally hits him that I really left.
I keep trying to find reasons to say well, he's doing better so maybe i should stay, but each time I think that, I get butterflies and all of my reasons for us separating surfaces and drowns out his good deeds for today.
Women in abusive relationships stick in for so many reasons, my abuse wasn't as bad as the lady I spoke with this morning, but it's still abuse. I think I have this thing about being accepted and loved, because i've been rejected so many times in my life. But I know now that you only get one life, and you've got to make it your best life. So for me my happiness is important, and that's what I have to look forward to, as I start this new journey.
Many women, whatever their circumstances, and whatever the terms of abuse, get to the point where they're "ready" ready to go. I wish you the very best of luck, although I'm sure luck has nothing to do with it. If you have lived with this abuse for so long, you can easily live without it. Once you arrive at the better place though, don't be to quick to jump in again with another man. The thought of being alone, is way more scary than the reality.
Mrs. Nita-thank you for sharing some of the details and the pattern of your experience. It is not going to be easy, b/c you have some lifelong habits and low self esteem that you are trying to rise above.
I would encourage you to get therapy to help you understand and recognize the times when you may not listen to the wisdom of your better judgement and instead, listen to his voice and false promises. If you cannot afford therapy, see what is available along this line for free services. Most communities have somewhere they can refer to a person in your situation.
If you are in school, colleges have a counseling service. If you are employed, many places of employment have a counseling service like EAP (employee assisted program) which they offer free services. And, if you belong to a church, there are pastors/ministers, etc that offer counseling.
The other thing is: try to find positive role examples to help you move forward. This is a complex situation and there are many, MANY layers of healing. The important thing is that you have taken the smart first step. If you do not have a solid support system in place look around and see who you can lean on for that emotional support.
Good luck to you...
Thank you Denise, actually before my big decision, we started going to marriage counseling. We also took some marriage classes, and they were helping at first, but i'm not sure what's underlying his anger which is what I shared with our counselor. She said that she didn't think I should move, but that I had to do what was best for me to get my peace back. I know it's going to be hard because even now i'm thinking well it's not as bad as what most people go through. He's really being nice and sweet, and by his behavior i'm almost positive he's convinced that i'm gonna stay. I was thinking about reminding him that i'm still leaving but then i changed my mind. I know that I haven't been the perfect wife, but at the same time, I just can't do the angry outburst and then the manipulation afterwards. We go back to counseling Saturday, but i'm wondering if he'll still want to go when I put the deposit on the apartment Friday. Oh well, i'm just taking one day at a time, and praying that God will give me the courage and the strength I need to press forward with this journey.
Mrs. N-I'm not sure a counselor is being 'professional' by giving an opinion of whether they agree with a party moving out. ESP in an abusive relationship in which the victim has been physically beat up and could use the 'separation' of distance. That is disturbing to me.
Secondly, does she (or he?) aware that your husband went to prison for his assaultive behavior. Your husband should be in a support grp for anger management-there are specific organizations that deal with domestic abuse. And, you need to be in contact with getting some real info about the patterns and continuation of the abuser. If she thinks this is okay behavior you just remind yourself of the big word: MANIPULATION
OMG-stay true to what feels right for yourself and don't measure 'how bad it was' in a comparison statement. Just remove yourself so you can get some clarity of what actually was going on!!!!
BTW I sent you an email thru your contact address.
My husband is not physically abusive, he's more verbally and emotionally abusive. The guy who I was with before him was the one who was physically abusive. That's the guy who went to jail. My husband tried to restrain me one time, but that's the only time things have ever gotten physical. I did let him know that my purpose for leaving was because I'm fearful that it may become physical. I have a temper myself but you have to really push me for it to flare and that's what he's doing with his angry out burst. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Thank you for the support and response.
I knew a women who was "Miss the city she was from". She was gorgeous. Yet she let a man destroy her self esteem and sense of self worth. She got out and eventually married a wonderful guy, but it took a heck of a lot of courage!
From the horses mouth: fear.
Everything else stems from that. The fear is what everything else is founded upon. The longer you stay, the more the fear grows, the more the fear grows, the more you want to leave. Everyday the fear just keeps on getting bigger.
The trouble is, too, that so often that fear is well founded. What may or may not go on even after the woman gets out of the situation (and at that point with people beyond spouses and instead the very system "everyone" thinks can/will protect mothers and children) can make things worse in one way or another. Some women are smart enough to know some of what can happen if/when they try to leave. Others aren't smart enough to be afraid to leave, and only get smartened up once they do.
I'd like to say that one way to prevent some of the kind of stuff (certainly not all) that can happen when women leave is to start by building some support for themselves with people in their own little circle of friends and relatives. Keeping what's going on a big secret only increases the chances the spouse will "win over to his side" the woman's family and friends. If/when The System decides to start asking for their input, guess who has some people in The System on his side.
The trouble is, sometimes the woman, herself, (especially, maybe, those who are being physically battered) can't believe that "such a nice guy" does the things he does. It's even harder for friends and relatives to believe it. As a result, telling them offers no guarantee that the woman will be believed or not seen as exaggerating. Worse for the woman who risks being beaten (again), telling people in that small personal circle runs the risk that someone won't be be able to keep himself from "addressing the issue" with the husband. So, whether women tell or don't tell (at least those are physically being battered) people in their immediate circle, it can pretty much be a lose/lose situation.
It's not much different, either, if the woman leaves and first runs into people in the The System without having it already well established, and without doubt, that she has been abused. Here's what women get from The System if/when she's dealing with "general" professionals (as opposed to those specializing in domestic abuse): "First we have to determine if, in fact, he's an abuser. We'll start by talking to you and him, together and separately." Well, why they're "determining", what happens when the woman who has involved The System when she meets up with her husband again? Women (and people dealing with the victims of abuse) know that it's when women leave they can be in the most danger. When it's "only" verbal or emotional abuse (and the woman doesn't have a couple of black eyes to prove she's dealing with abusive treatment), the woman and her kids are likely to because of retaliation and/or the grossly inadequate and bungling court system. So, again, lose/lose.
Where does someone go when one way or another it's "lose"? Sometimes nowhere - or at least not far.'
Also (although certainly not physical, and in a lot of ways not the "classic" situation, and not even intentional, and maybe more caused by serious stress and/or depression without the kind of coping skills needed under such stress), "horse's mouth".
Where women can go is to a domestic violence shelter. It works, they are more available, etc etc
If there is no family, a friend might act as a laison to transport the woman/kids, if there is no car.
It takes much courage to decide to leave AND follow thru with it. And, it takes some planning...
Not every person in the 'System' expects to have validation by joint therapy-some are quite capable to determine the situation on the woman's recount alone.
I believe there is always a way out for a woman in an abusive relationship, but having said that, I previously worked as a Probation Officer and my role often involved working with the survivors, but more often the perpetrators, of domestic violence, and I have to say that in my experience "the system" is inherently flawed.
When one of my clients (women) was in a crisis situation, I'd often have to try to find safe houses for them and it really isn't as easy as many would believe. In my experience, and I'm no expert, a women in this situation usually has a very limited support network, often this is because of the manipulative nature of the abusive partner, or the low self esteem of the woman, who does not find making friendships an easy task or has real "trust issues"
In these situations, Womens Aid, or the womens groups I'd refer to, would often only be able to offer emergency accommodation that would literally be miles away from what little support network these women may have had, miles away from their children's schools. What is already a very stressful situation, becomes even more frightening when surrounded by the completely unfamiliar. What some women would perceive as even greater isolation.
Another problem, the police. The police may have been called countless times to a DV situation, by neighbors, friends or family, perhaps even the woman herself. But, a number of reasons may have prevented the woman from pressing charges, as frogdropping puts it, fear is a major factor. Police don't like to waste too much time on those that don't make official complaints, they tend to not take any subsequent complaints too seriously. As one woman once said to me "When will the law protect me, make him move out, make him lose everything?"
One problem is, though, that (at least in some areas) domestic violence shelters are only for women who have already been physically assaulted. Women who haven't been (even if they have seen the behavior appear to be escalating to the point of being physically intimidating) are told the shelter's are only for those in actual physical danger.
In my post, I wasn't even referring to joint "therapy". I was referring to the way (at least in my state) the court brings in people who have nothing to do with something like family or individual therapy; and are, instead, "investigative" people (whether that's lawyers, GAL's of one sort or another, private social workers, state social workers; many of whom may do their investigation "around" the partners and, instead, involve asking people who know either/both). And if none of the people they ask know, they come back with a report that does little to back up the woman who may be in need of backup.
(A whole lot of "bad behavior" can go on (toward the woman and/or the children) with someone from the court still saying, "We have nothing on him." At the same time, the very person (lawyer, maybe) who says that kind of thing may make enough remarks in his private office to make it clear that he, personally, is well aware that there's "something on the person". Whether or not the court will see as "something" can be a different thing.
Exactly, and don't forget, it is usually the police that bring this evidence forth, if they are not willing, it doesn't see the light of day. One woman that I worked with was serving a community order for drink driving. Her worst half, was a detective inspector. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
Lisa-again, this is inaccurate information stating that only if an assault has occurred will a DV shelter take a woman...absolutely untrue. I have first hand experience of using a shelter for several days until my father was available to come and 'rescue' me and my girls...this was from 'threatening' behavior, NOT an assault. And, the person who made the recommendation was the police officer that I called to the house with my original complaint.
It's not inaccurate information in all cases or all places. I have first-hand experience at being told that unless I believed I was in immediate and imminent danger, the shelter was not a place I could go to until I did the next thing. With one incident that went on in my case, I was essentially laughed at. One of the policeman said, "Don't you have a mother in xx town? Can't you go there?" I was told I didn't "look like" I was really afraid. (Well, of course I didn't. I wasn't afraid at the police station!!!! )
I've never said there isn't any help for SOME women. I've said 1) there isn't always help for all women, and 2) there isn't as much help out there as a whole lot people seem to believe there is.
People in situations like mine aren't always the ones who talk about what has gone on because 1) they may be so run into the ground by their situations that they don't have the energy to talk or write any longer; and 2) they know that if they try to tell people how there isn't always help for women, someone is just going to find it way too hard to believe.
Keep in mind, too, that I live in a suburb where there are no shelters at all. The only shelters are in a nearby city (where "all kinds of stuff" goes on, and where they're over-crowded. There's another sort-of-nearby city - same thing. They don't have room in those shelters anyway at all near me for people who aren't in imminent physical danger. So, while you are fortunate enough to have been able to have first-hand experience at being able to go to a shelter, I have been unfortunate enough to have had first-hand experience at there being no help whatsoever.
Yes, that was unfortunate for you. My experience happened back in the 80's in a little rural town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It apparantly was ahead of its time for that type of protection for women. I'm sorry that your experience turned out differently and hope that you have been able to free yourself up from your abuser now.
I don't know if this is relevant to your atypical situation but I am an old (college) friend of the MA Jury Commissioner. She knows EVERYONE (and everyTHING -- always has ).
If there is any, any way I can be of help to you, you know I want to.
Another snag to the whole leaving matter is this: In the case of woman who hasn't been struck or otherwise assaulted, but who may be dealing with someone whose rages appear to have escalated to the point where physical signs of "puffing up" seem to indicate the spouse is awfully close to making a physical move (if he hasn't already made some "minor" physical moves that aren't out-and-out striking her), here's that woman's problem as far as the police go:
Police won't/can't get involved unless the woman has already been struck (or otherwise assaulted) or else unless she can convince them she's truly afraid for her safety at home. The problem can be this: She's truly in fear at home, but she leaves the home and goes to, say, the court or the police station. She's no longer afraid because she's no longer in the situation where someone is doing a big rage. If she's grown up and not a drama queen, she'll very likely be calm when she's explaining, without emotion, that she is frequently afraid at home, or that she may have gone to the police immediately after fleeing the home in fear.
She may not be worried that the spouse will come track her down. The problem (at least in non-physical situations that haven't out-and-out escalated into "full blown "physical") doesn't always involve the kind of maniac spouse who'll come out looking for the one who fled.
If she's too calm and cool there's the risk the police won't believe her (maybe it's harder in "Bumpkinville" type places) to have police understand that a person doesn't need to be exhibiting emotions and fear for her to be telling the truth). If she's an honest and cool-headed person she's likely to be unable to muster up some dramatic and emotional, but fake, behavior.
So, it goes back to the thing that maybe women are better off to hang around until they get punched the first time; because the police aren't too interested if the person hasn't already been struck and/or doesn't look like a big enough mess to convince them she's truly afraid at home. Again, lose/lose.
Lose/lose is the awful reality for so many women. The escalation to physical violence can be a slow and frightening journey. There have been many cuts in services for women (and many other groups) in the UK recently. When I was working with this client group, back in 2005, there was some provision for women that were considered to be "at risk" although they weren't greatly resourced, they did offer some helpful advice and guidance services. I fear they have probably been swallowed in the govts cuts. I think you're probably right Lisa, a women probably has to get punched before she'll be helped. A sad state of affairs.
I wrote a hub to try help people in this situation. I talked to a woman ages ago who was being hit & asked what she was waiting for . She said she needed at least $10,000 to be able to leave so she could buy furniture . I explained that she could do it on a lot less & if she waited much longer she might not need anything anymore ....
She moved out soon after and was doing ok.
I don't mean to be negative here (and I don't want to "hog" this thread; it's just that I think some of the less understood/more microscopic issues aren't things a lot of people seem aware of), but..
There's almost a kind of irony to the fact that if a woman is kind of mixed up/misguided, or else has had her clear thinking affected by the abuse; then there's help for her when someone else points out something about which she isn't really thinking clearly (as with the "need furniture" thinking).
The women for whom there isn't always any outside help may be the women who do think clearly, have their priorities straight, know they don't deserve to be mistreated, etc. etc.; and who need only protection from the abuse (and any abuse by The System if/when they try to leave). For those women, there's nothing in their thinking that's the obstacle. It's, instead, a lot of things mentioned above as far as The System and any support goes.
It seems as if "the world" still so often has trouble believing that there can be such a thing as a woman who has been victimized but who thinks straight and doesn't need anything pointed out to her. It's always nice if there's a woman who needed something pointed out to her (a woman who is perfectly OK if only she could get herself away from the bad situation), who then leaves. For those women who have already "pointed out all the right thinking" to themselves, what they need is nitty-gritty, effective, help from The System (or someone) in order to live free. There's just not that kind of help available for all women in abusive situations. There isn't.
Women who aren't being physically abused have the choice of either staying, hoping it never escalates beyond just verbal/emotional, and allowing their children to grow up in seeing their parents as their role models (or as "the last people on Earth they want to be like"); or leaving with the "disadvantage" of having not yet been out-and-out struck, knowing that spouses who haven't beaten them up can be far more credible than those who have, and running the risk of putting themselves and their children into far more "psychological/emotional abuse" (although it wouldn't meet the legal definition of "abuse", it can be far more devastating, damaging, and horrifying) both directly by The System and indirectly as a result of how things are handled in The System.
The reality is that the woman who believes she doesn't have to take being bullied, demeaned, or otherwise treated without respect (and has the self-esteem and solid enough parenting know-how to know her kids shouldn't live in an unhealthy situation), and who walks out the door may well be walking herself into a horror movie (put on by The System and its lack of available support for such women) of a kind she never, ever, would have imagined she'd find herself in. There may be no protection whatsoever for her - not from abuse by The System, not from anyone else who has been abusive toward her, nothing. There may also be no protection for her children (and, in fact, her children may suffer far more than if they were allowed to grow up in the unhealthy situation with both parents).
In this case, it's not just "lose/lose". It's "lose/lose bigger than anyone would ever imagine she and her children could lose".
Basically, the reality (and message) for women is: Yes. You DO have to stay and take being mistreated and allow your children to grow up in the unhealthy environment; because - you know what? - if you dare try to leave; one way or another someone is going to make good and sure you are never free to build a completely new life for yourself and your children. Lose/Lose Unimaginably Big. Those are still the options for a whole lot of women.
NO, that is NOT the message for women, men, the elderly or anyone else in an abusive situation. That is the good part of humanity, there really are people who give a damn and who promote positive change.
Have you ever personally experienced any thing like this: an abusive/unhealthy/toxic relationship? If not, let me assure you it is a complex, but very interesting subject should you ever decided to research, investigate, and really study the phenomenon in order to gain a level of understanding of what really goes on.
I have, and that is why I say what I do. I very much agree that there are "zillions" of people who aren't like this. The only message I have is that leaving isn't as easy as people think it is, and even when women leave they are likely to face abuse outside the home (by The System - not people on a personal level), and that the fact is there is not as much as help out there as so many people believe there is. I could tell you a nice, big, horror story; but I won't. This isn't the place.
It drives me nuts that "half the world" seems to be convinced that abusive situations inevitably lead to lack of self-esteem and/or that women won't leave. Women leave. The court system doesn't always let them leave completely. Worse, in a situation that may have been very much experienced as, and determined by others to be, abusive but that wasn't "the classic case of abuse", walking out the door with the kids can be the beginning of having one's whole life taken away indefinitely (and in ways that either people can't really see - may be able to see, depending.
Right now? I'm not in the classic situation, but I'll tell you two things: 1) I cannot get out or get help from the legal system, and 2) I cannot say here what I'd really like to say here. Boy, I'd love to put on the Internet all the details and who, exactly, it is that is the "problem" in my life (and it's not someone in my personal circles); but I have too much pride, dignity, self-respect, and - yes - the same self-esteem I've always had. I need information, results, and action from a certain lawyer (or some lawyer); but all I've had is having my rights to things like information about the case denied. I won't go on and on, but believe me could end up with the situation I live my life around, it could happen to anyone. It's not just treatment by the courts and the legal system. It's where women end up after the court system has failed them and left them "to rot" (and be in a situation that amounts to abuse, even if nobody actually intends it to be).
Oh, boy, do I wish I could just write on here every last little way that I live like a prisoner or a criminal while also trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life and normal family life. I'd bet I don't necessarily come across (on here, or when I meet someone in offline life) as someone who has dealt with being treated abusively since the 1980's (at one set of hands or another). No. I am not in fear for my life AT ALL; and no, I don't have to worry that someone's going to punch me. I guess I can be grateful for that. I can't get out. I have tried. Again, I can't go into details; but, boy, do I hope I get the bloody chance to live like a free person once before I die; because I was in my thirties when everything began (so do the math).
I've been conducting my personal "research" since 1991. Other than that, and separate from that; I've conducted plenty of conventional research on this subject (for writing, as opposed to the kind of "research" that the court system can force on some women).
If you know anyone or any group in Massachusetts who deals with women who have left marriages out of no choice, had a bunch of lies presented to the court to the point where the person is denied information by lawyers and the court system, and hasn't been able to get any straight answers or results for herself, her kids, or anyone else affected by the mess; and someone (an agency, a lawyer, whoever) who would get someone to look into a 20-plus-year old case, get information from the files, get some things straightened out so that what's in files won't prevent the person from living her "own" life, or generally address such a horror story - please e.mail me the address or phone number of the person, lawyer, or agency. Because - boy- after 20-plus years of trying to get answers, and trying to get to live my life freely, I sure haven't been able to find someone.
AND, it hasn't just been my personal situation (which, of course, means my kids have been affected). I've close exposure to a few situations (including an elderly person with a troubled grown daughter who was abusive), and nobody did anything about THAT situation either.
Most likely due to a lack of confidence in themselves. Abusive relationships strip away the pride of anyone that has ever been a victim to one. Some women stay because the believe they are obligated to stay loyal to their abusers. I was abused all of my life and I honestly didn't believe that I deserved anything better. I felt like I had to have done something to deserve the cruel treatment (which is what every abuser wants their victims to believe.) It takes time and people that will be supportive to help a person end the cycle of abuse.
I think there's a difference if someone has been abused all her life than if she's never been abused all her life, has good self-esteem (and all that), and finds herself being abused by one or more people once she's mature and has her personality, self-esteem, etc. all well established. It's entirely possible for someone like that (the latter person) to be treated abusively by someone and think, "What a jerk. I don't have to take this." What someone like this may not realize, though, is that she may end up taking retaliation or even cover-ups that result when she starts telling "the whole world" who has been abusive to her.
I wouldn't know about a woman who was never beat senseless by her father, or never had to watch her father try to kill her mother with his bare hands, or who at the age of 20 was fighting for her own life as her father tried to kill her. I only know that after living my life in fear that when I was 22 I married a man that abused me...however by the time I was 25 I finally decided that I was not going to live my life in fear of a man anymore. I am divorced and I no longer speak to my father, and I dare any man to try to touch me now. I know what red flags, and trust me, once on goes up I run and never give them a chance to raise another one.
Erin, I'm sorry to hear that you have been abused all of your life. I hope that you are in a better place-free of that and that you are finding some peace.
Thank you Denise, Yes I am much better. I have cut my father out of my life and the man I married that beat me I divorced. After a couple years and going on dates with a few over-control-most-likely-down-the-road-abusers, my friends introduced me to the man I am now with and who treats me great. He just bought me and the kids dinner
I agree with Lisa. I am one of the latter you just described.
However, in spite of a healthy self-esteem and many years (90%) of NOT being in an abusive relationship, it's still difficult to make that break when you now find yourself in one. There are lots of considerations.
I've had to endure friends and relatives ridiculing me for not being the person they remembered because the person they remembered wouldn't put up with that. An outsider doesn't realize the things you end up doing to "keep the peace" or "picking the lesser of two evils".
I love it when I get advice where someone says..."well I'd just tell him to leave". That's all fine and good, but then what? What do you do when he says "no"? What is the next step? Then what? Then what? It's funny how no one has the answers beyond the "just tell him to leave". Sorry...in the real world, we'll be living the next step, and the next step.
KCC, that's the thing. If there's one thing I've seen about so many things in life, it's how so many well intended people think there's so much help out there for so many people with different sets of problems. Programs and agencies can help some people, but if you don't fit into their "stereotypical" situation they'll out-and-out tell you, "We don't have anything in place for someone in your situation."
Then you have the the thing where the person/people involved really aren't people who ought to be sent to prison. People who care about you can be abusive in their own way, and without intending to be. Women who are faced with people who tend not to respect women as equals (even if they respect them for some things) can mean a woman lives with an abusive/unhealthy relationship/situation but nobody even intends it to be that way. As you say, there's a real world; and a lot of people haven't had the time (life experience) or reason to get a more microscopic view of how things really are.
KCC, just do what I did with my ex, I set him up an internet profile on a social network and started to add other women. He started talking to them and found someone who he thought he liked more. Then I acted hurt by it and one day after he beat me once again I said to him that he had thirty days to get out of my house. He said he'd be out in 5 days. I told him he could have everything in the house except the kids. He took everything but the kids and I have rebuilt everything.
There is also an organization named CASA that will give you counseling and help you to figure out how to end the cycle of abuse. They can also help women by relocating them away from their abusers and getting them in college or job corp so that they can find their own feet. I have referred many women to this organization and they have turned their lives around.
No matter if you have been abused your whole life or just in this relationship the truth is you do not desire to be treated that badly by anyone.
For many looking in from the outside their answer is "call the cops". Don't get me wrong, in many cases that can be the best option or even the only option. But, in some situations it isn't necessarily the best decision if he/she is just going to be back out in less than 24 hrs.
So, just in the moment that you might very well be experiencing the most intense real life drama, you're now expected to make life-altering decisions that will most likely affect quite a few people (you, him, any kids involved, relatives, friends, bosses/jobs, etc.).
Some decisions can't be un-done.
It just isn't easy no matter which way you slice it.
If you call the cops he will just become even more angry and you will have to experience his wrath. Not a suggestion I would make....
There is hope but you can not let him steal that away from you. You need to carefully weigh your options and sometimes it takes days and months, or years to lay the ground work to get yourself free. But you can BREAK the CYCLE. If there are kids involved they will see what you are going through and you don't want them to repeat this in their lives by being victims too.
I don't know every detail about your relationship but I can say I have endured abuse and I know how hard it is to get out but never ever lose hope.
A couple of points that I didn't see addressed (and I apologize if I didn't read each post carefully).
1. For some people, abuse is generational. If you grow up in an abusive home you may (not consciously) attract abuse in your own relationship. Just as boys who are abused or see their moms abused often repeat the cycle as adults.
In other words, it can be 'what you're familiar with.'
2. I think there's also a chemical component to it as well. And this is speaking from my own experience. Years and years of non-abusive relationships. Then I got involved with a guy who rocked my world and as I like to say "got his hooks in me." It was a very emotionally abusive relationship. I left him many many times. He left me many times. But we kept cycling back together. It took me years to finally break the ties.
I didn't want to be treated the way he treated me. Knew I didn't deserve it. But just couldn't-quite-get-myself-free. Kept going back for more...
Temporary insanity? Self-punishing myself on some level for my divorce?
IDK. I can't explain it. Just glad to be out of it!
3. Often abuse is not an every day thing. There's the cycle of abuse -- after the abuser's tension mounts and s/he releases in whatever way (violent words, actions) the tension is broken. And the cycle moves into a "positive" phase of remorse and romance. Flowers, sweet words, promises to not do it again, and of course makeup sex.
In other words, even the worst ogre is typically not a monster every day. There is some positive reinforcement in the relationship.
Which further serves to keep the abused person off-kilter and questioning their own sanity.
And of course you WANT to believe you've seen the last of Mr. Hyde.
Until the next episode....
It's all very insidious.
Mighty Mom-great points made here. It is a mystery how some (normally intelligent and logical) women are drawn to a 'bad' or negative force in a relationship - even if it is not physical. And, no explanation can be had to understand it.
Glad to read that you have broken 'the spell'.
I have to agree with Denise. I am glad you are free now.
I was dealing with what was determined to be very much a "classic abuse situation", but I wasn't dealing with a classic abuser at all. I think in our case the chemical component was my husband's stress level and, I think, depression that may have affected his reasoning ability.
It is usually far more difficult for a woman that has been subject to abuse, whether that abuse be physical/psychological/emotional or even financial, to bring a case against an abuser who is in a powerful position either socially or professionally. Unlike the "classic" cases of abuse, not only does a woman have to overcome the usual hurdles, she is also put in a position where she has to discredit the abuser, who may have a significant social and/or professional standing. It's an even tougher battle.
When the balance of power is this unequal, it spills over into the courts and the consequent reporting by other professional bodies. Unfortunately, women in this "type" of abusive relationship are often the ones discredited. And, the abuse, as you rightly state, can be perpetrated by several individuals, willingly or otherwise. I still believe there is always a way though, Lisa. It may just take a more creative way, and a few good friends, to figure out how it can be done.
The marriage is long over (and in fact, the stress and reasons that were at the root of the "unpleasantness") are over. The problem is that, for me, there was no, "I don't have to take this. This isn't healthy for me, you, or the kids. I'm going off to start a new life." There were people who knew they couldn't stop me from leaving the marriage they didn't think I should leave, but between misunderstandings, miscommunication, and having some people who couldn't imagine why on Earth I would be "making such a stupid mistake", even once the marriage was over there was firewall created between me and "the real world"/the outside world.
I'm guessing it's the lawyer and some bad information in the files that have created that "firewall" between me and effective, adequate, legal representation (and having the truth "figured out"). On a personal level, I have friends outside the family, but they're not people who can do anything any more than I can. I have access to the outside world via the Internet, but there's only so much personal business someone's going to put on the Internet, or trust someone with (even if that someone claims to be a legitimate agency, or whatever). I have a few professional contacts, but they're not people I'm about to share my "inner-circle" and/or ancient-history legal problems with. (Besides, that relationship with them is primarily over the phone and online. It's the only way I can work since the court caused me to lose my license with how things were done back in 1993.)
So, I live behind a firewall and within a tiny circle of close friends/family who either can't do anything (any more than those "farther out" friends can do), or else who were involved in the situation in the first place and who, as far as I know, may not even think anything was ever wrong at the time. My kids are grown up now. They don't see the whole picture from the perspective of the one who saw it being"built". They see it from having grown up IN it.
So essentially I live similarly to someone under house arrest, someone who only gets to leave the house in the presence of someone else. It may look to someone else as if all is fine, since I'm "out socializing" with people; but the fact is I don't have the freedom to come and go without involving someone (and from that original circle), and I don't have the freedom to work a full-time job, move out of a house that I'm trapped in (for reasons I won't go into here), and get out from behind that closed-in/suffocating little "firewall" that was "constructed" around me and my life when I dared to walk away from a marriage that people thought I was "nuts" to want to leave. What went on back then didn't stop me from leaving, but anyone who worked so hard to make sure I'd never be able to just go on and set up a new, normal, life for myself managed to stop me from doing just that.
I need a lawyer to break down that "firewall" between me, justice, accurate information, and whatever else has created a problem within legal/court files; and then I can get myself out of the small little circle that (even if people don't intend it this way) acts as a firewall between me and "the larger world" and a free life.
i grew up in abusive homes, throughout my whole family. all the points were there,... in my experience growing up i didnt miss one of them it seemed like,... i know i did,... there were worse, far worse lives to be lived,.... and i knew it.
my friends or classmates had situations far and away worse than mine. rural country in tough economic times,... and a culture of quiet.
my grandma told me once that there were just as many child molesters back in the "good 'ol days" as today,... we just didnt talk about it then,... we didnt have oprah then.
my mom's first husband beat her and she beat him. it was loud to my 5 year old ears.
her second husband never laid a hand on her,... he beat her down with words and tone of voice,... and looks,... and remarks.
there were always drugs and alchohol involved,.... hell,... if it werent for drugs and alchohol i'm certain i would not have been concieved.
my step brothers did thier fair share of chemicals as well,... i became very adept at dealing with drunks, stoners and the occasional OD even before i was 14,... and that was just in covering for my brothers and cousins.
i covered for my mom,.... i covered for dad,... i covered for my brothers,.... i covered for my aunt,... and i covered for my grandmother.
her live-in was 17 years her junior, he drank, drove a truck over the road, and did a lot of coke and speed. he would pumle her. sent her god fearing ass to church on sundays with a split lip,... to her fathers funeral with a black eye,... to work with a broken ankle,...
the broken wrist,.... the sliced fingers,... the broken leg,....
i remember the night she called the sherriff for the last time.
you have to realize that this was and still is a very small comunity,... our sheriff had no deputy then,... he wore no uniform.
he pulled jerry off of my grandma and she did her usual "dont hurt him" routine,... he threw jerry to the ground, (the sheriff was a big man) yanked the cuffs off of him,... and stood there staring at her. he had been called to her house countless times,...
"miss eleanor, i'm not coming back here again, so dont you call. every time i come here, you always make ME stop hurting HIM,... you never press charges, and you wont get rid of him. this is your house, your life youre money,... all you gota do is file a restrainig order and i will enforce it with a smile on my damn face,... but you wont....."
"so i'm not comin back here again,.... not until theres a body to pick up,... and to be honest, miss eleanor,... i dont care which one any more"
i remember it all real well,... i was standing there.
i held my grandma a lot while she cried,.... i grabbed rags when folks bled, buckets when they puked,.... and a beer when they yelled for one,.... before i was 10.
i dont tell this to garner sympathy,... i tell it just because it is what it is,..... for so very many of us,.... it is life.
the life of "complex situtaions" that some refer to,.... its just life.
Well now I just gotta know, SCJ.
Which body did the sheriff ultimately come for first?
That story tells it ALL.
You should turn it into a hub... MM
niether,.... they both still live and breath,.... much to the dismay of us all,.... he finaly got too old to beat her i guess,.... he' still horible and i wouldnt piss on him if his guts were on fire,.. (cute little lucal vernacular)... but i still sit down to christmas dinner with them both,.... out of respect for her,...
and to answer a question i know is forming as we speak,..... she's a damn strong woman,.... they all are,.... they could not survive thier lives were they not,.... strength doesnt imply wisdom
When abuse is so culturally ingrained all around, wisdom has nothing to do with it.
It is, as you say, life.
its sad in so many ways.
it was never culturaly ingrained in the comunity as a whole, just in some families,... and even then,... those families always knew it was wrong,... they were just never able to break the cycle.
i never blamed sheriff collins for what he said to my grandma,... he was a good man frustrated with a situation he was powerless to do anything about.
you know,... i dont think any one has covered the cultural reasons to stick it out,.... in the bible belt sense,.... maybe those who adressed embarsment touched on it,.... but to many women i knew growing up,.... you simply did NOT leave your husband,.... period.
the shame of divorce was far greater than that of abuse,..... the sin of leaving your abusive spouse was far greater than the abuse he heaped on you.
st paul would be quoted often,... a riteous woman justifies a sinful man,... and a riteous man justifies a sinful woman,... so many endured and still endure this way of life because A) they view maridge as an UNBREAKABLE bond, and divorce as an unpardonable sin,... and B) they firmly believe that they can get themselves and thier abusive spouse to heaven by suffering,....
and these people were protestants,..... anti-catholic protestants,... willingly martyring themselves.
@lavender3957.. Very sorry to hear your story but you were lucky to have support of your uncle! God bless him!
Women live in such relationship because for various reasons such as:
1) they don't think they will get support to fight against such relationship.
2) have less trust on themselves, that is, they think they won't be able to support themselves without their partner.
3) To innocent to fight against their partner, a very forgiving nature.
4) Confused between love and hate feelings for partner.
5) Unaware of availability of support against domestic violence.
Women often stay in bad relationships because that is all they know.
They were brought up with an abusive father and this was the "norm". Even if they don't like it or think it's wrong, it feels "right"
It takes time and therapy to overcome it.
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