“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Aug 11, 2014
DEAR AMY: Several years ago a co-worker I was friendly with suggested we get together on a day off and barhop, shoot some pool and drink some beer. We met at a bar we both knew about and then left in his car.

He said he needed to stop by his house for something and invited me in. While inside and with no warning he proceeded to backhand his wife across the mouth in front of his two small children. His daughter burst into tears and his son looked like he wanted to kill him. I was dumbfounded.

As my mind raced through the options I couldn't decide what to do. I could have beat him to a pulp, spoken up, walked out of his house, etc. But the fact remained that he would again see his wife and kids without me or anyone else around -- and then what? I also would have to see this so-called man at work.

I did nothing and acted like everything was fine the remainder of the day but then declined all further invitations to spend time with him.

To this day I don't know what I should have done differently.-- Conflicted in Iowa

DEAR CONFLICTED: The sheer audacity of the man who would strike his wife in front of his kids and a visitor is an indication of how arrogant and dangerous he was. Obviously you were caught completely off guard and given all of the circumstances you mention, you were paralyzed.

Beating this man to a pulp in front of his family exposes everybody to an unacceptable level of trauma, but you could (and should) have reacted by yelling, "Whoa. Hey! What the h--l?! Stop it!"

The reason to do this is so this man's wife and young children -- especially his son -- could see another man standing up and expressing, "This is unacceptable. This is not right. This is not how men should behave."

Instead, what the children witnessed was the worst combination of human behavior: their father's brutality and another man's silent passivity.

At the first chance, you should have called the police and/or "hotlined" him by calling the local department of children's services and reporting the violence.

I have received many heartbreaking testimonials from adults who witnessed domestic violence and/or were abused themselves as children and realized that other adults (neighbors, family members, etc.) were aware of it and did nothing.

Frankly, this seems like a time when seeing dad taken out of the home in handcuffs might have been a good thing.

DEAR AMY: Through my son's school I have made some fast friends. Our kids are buddies. The adults are energetic, friendly and hospitable, and we hit it off immediately. We enjoy getting together at each other's houses.

The only problem is that I am not as hearty a partyer as they are. They are a lot of fun but I'm getting older and I don't want to stay up late or drink too much. Once I even declared I was tired and ready for bed (which horrified my boyfriend); another time I deliberately ran out of wine in order to end the evening (and my boyfriend offered to buy more).

They don't seem to take offense, but is there a better way to handle this?-- Sleepy in Colorado

DEAR SLEEPY: Your boyfriend is the one who needs to be more understanding. If your magic coach is about to turn into a pumpkin, then he should back you up -- not undermine you.

As you become more intimate friends, they will come to understand and accept that you are just not a late-night partyer. At your house you can excuse yourself and say, "You all, please feel free to stay and hang with Mike, but you know me -- I've just got to pack it in."

DEAR AMY: "Technically Frustrated" was a young adult daughter dealing with her mother's insistence on posting personal photos on Facebook without her permission.

My mother went through this phase, but I sat down with her and reviewed the privacy settings. She didn't understand the ramifications of posting photos. Now she seems to get it.-- Savvy

DEAR SAVVY: Terrific response. Thank you.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 Aug 11, 2014
1 Yeah, you should have spoken up, that way there is another reason to hit her.

2 ??? Nothing about the evils of alcohol?

3 You just hate that picture of you with your braces.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Detroit, MI

#3 Aug 11, 2014
1- this was several years ago, why are you writing in about it now? Anyway, you should have cheered him on and told him to hit her harder

2- "good, everybody's drunk, now drive home"

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#4 Aug 11, 2014
LW1: The problem is that the ding bat would continue to stay with the guy, no matter what you did. Even if you call the police … even if you beat the guy up … even if you say something. There really is no good solution.

I would have said something and tried to calm the situation, but it’s not going to change anything in the long term for a relationship where one person is abusive and the abused is too dopey to leave.

LW2: How about you bow out when you need to and let the party keep going for those who wanna keep it going.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#5 Aug 11, 2014
Team Sublime on both letters. (I'd probably feel the urge to call the police if I saw anybody slap a spouse and make a child cry. But that could do more harm than good as you said.)

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#6 Aug 11, 2014
L1: Not much you can do. If you said anything there is could have stopped it or it could have escalated it. I would have probably opened my mouth (although that's probably not the way to go -- but I know me) and then reported it.

As for whether or not the spouse leaves, with children sometimes people can't see past not having money to feed and cloth their children so they stay. Sometimes their self-esteem has been battered down so low they believe they deserve it. It is sad for everyone.

L2: I like Amy's advice and I am surprised she gave that advice.

L3: Good for you!(Yawn.)

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#7 Aug 11, 2014
Toj wrote:
As for whether or not the spouse leaves, with children sometimes people can't see past not having money to feed and cloth their children so they stay. Sometimes their self-esteem has been battered down so low they believe they deserve it. It is sad for everyone.
That explains why the person is dopey. It doesn't change the fact that they are dopey. Only a dope would stay with someone who hits them ... not only hits them, but does so in front of the children.

To claim you are staying with an abuser for the benefit of the children, when your children witness you being abused and all the damage that causes is beyond dopey actually. IMO, the abused is just as much at fault as the abuser for the damage wrought on the children.

It doesn't take intelligence to say gee, this person hits me, I shouldn't be by them. Wild animals understand this too. I think a 3 year old understands this dynamic. At one point do we start holding adults to a behavioral standard that is below that of a 3 year old or a wild animal?

I can't stand the, it's not the victims fault b.s. Yes it is the victims fault because they can remove themselves from the situation. They just don't want to ... to them it's easier to stay than to have to go out on their own and fend for themselves. <<<< that's what it is and they will sometimes even expose their children to a lifetime of witnessing abuse for this reason.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#8 Aug 11, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
<quoted text>
That explains why the person is dopey. It doesn't change the fact that they are dopey. Only a dope would stay with someone who hits them ... not only hits them, but does so in front of the children.
To claim you are staying with an abuser for the benefit of the children, when your children witness you being abused and all the damage that causes is beyond dopey actually. IMO, the abused is just as much at fault as the abuser for the damage wrought on the children.
It doesn't take intelligence to say gee, this person hits me, I shouldn't be by them. Wild animals understand this too. I think a 3 year old understands this dynamic. At one point do we start holding adults to a behavioral standard that is below that of a 3 year old or a wild animal?
I can't stand the, it's not the victims fault b.s. Yes it is the victims fault because they can remove themselves from the situation. They just don't want to ... to them it's easier to stay than to have to go out on their own and fend for themselves. <<<< that's what it is and they will sometimes even expose their children to a lifetime of witnessing abuse for this reason.
I understand what you are saying, but I don't think it's that simplistic.

Here's a good article about it: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/romance-r...

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#9 Aug 11, 2014
Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
I understand what you are saying, but I don't think it's that simplistic.
Here's a good article about it: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/romance-r...
I understand this, but again everything in that article just explains why the person behaves irrational. Explaining why someone behaves irrationally doesn’t transform the behavior into something that is rational.

I wouldn’t say an abused person likes being abused. I think that is ignorant. I think it is more likely a cost/benefit analysis. For whatever reason, they feel staying is better than the alternative, whether it be because they love the person, think they will change, have no self-esteem, or think surviving on their own would be too hard.

Contrary to what that article suggests, I believe honesty is always preferable to excuses, even if it hurts. That article would have you believe it’s better to sugar coat the situation and tell the abused person it’s not their fault that they stay, because they only stay for reasons X,Y, and Z, even though staying for reasons X, Y, and Z is irrational. I fail to see how justifying a poor choice is the better alternative to just being honest about the situation. Some people don’t want to hear the truth, I know.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#10 Aug 11, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
<quoted text>
I understand this, but again everything in that article just explains why the person behaves irrational. Explaining why someone behaves irrationally doesn’t transform the behavior into something that is rational.
I wouldn’t say an abused person likes being abused. I think that is ignorant. I think it is more likely a cost/benefit analysis. For whatever reason, they feel staying is better than the alternative, whether it be because they love the person, think they will change, have no self-esteem, or think surviving on their own would be too hard.
Contrary to what that article suggests, I believe honesty is always preferable to excuses, even if it hurts. That article would have you believe it’s better to sugar coat the situation and tell the abused person it’s not their fault that they stay, because they only stay for reasons X,Y, and Z, even though staying for reasons X, Y, and Z is irrational. I fail to see how justifying a poor choice is the better alternative to just being honest about the situation. Some people don’t want to hear the truth, I know.
I took it as going beyond blaming the victim and trying to find the answer and help to get the victim out of that situation. The article stated in their research and experience, telling them to just leave if they don't want to be abused didn't help.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#11 Aug 11, 2014
Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
I took it as going beyond blaming the victim and trying to find the answer and help to get the victim out of that situation. The article stated in their research and experience, telling them to just leave if they don't want to be abused didn't help.
What does he propose doing other than telling them to leave and that they have other options? I don't see him offering any solutions to the problem in his article. He just explains why it happens and criticizes Mark Warden's ignorant comments, rightfully so, but he doesn't say what he would do?

When a grown woman wants to be with a man, she wants to be with him and there isn't a damn thing anyone else can do about it. About all you can do is let her know she has other options and hope that one day she wakes up and sees the light. This isn't something that can be imposed upon her, however.

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#12 Aug 11, 2014
Toj wrote:
L1: Not much you can do. If you said anything there is could have stopped it or it could have escalated it. I would have probably opened my mouth (although that's probably not the way to go -- but I know me) and then reported it.
As for whether or not the spouse leaves, with children sometimes people can't see past not having money to feed and cloth their children so they stay. Sometimes their self-esteem has been battered down so low they believe they deserve it. It is sad for everyone.
And often they've been threatened with death if they leave. Not just theirs, but the children and or family. If they watch the news at all, they know that it happens all the time.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#13 Aug 12, 2014
NWmoon wrote:
<quoted text>
And often they've been threatened with death if they leave. Not just theirs, but the children and or family. If they watch the news at all, they know that it happens all the time.
I have to agree, unfortunately. One of my sisters experienced this. She never told anyone until after her husband died. It explained so much. He threatened to kill her sons from her previous marriage. So he had no emotional ties to these young men and as far as he was concerned, it would be no big deal to kill them.

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