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Let's Save Some Lives

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                 Wednesday, March 3, 2008
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<%BLOG|Let's Save Some Lives%>

A very warm welcome from Carmen Sutra:  

We often talk about how to make a relationship BETTER, but
almost never discuss warning signs of bad or abusive relation-
ships. Domestic violence affects the victims, their children,
families, and society at large. I included a letter today to 
help the dear reader and shed light for others as well. Please 
read her plea.

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Today's Topic: Let's Save Some Lives

Dear Carmen, 

I'm going through I very tough & stressful problem in my life 
right now. Let me start off by saying that I and 25 years 
old, I have a 5 year old daughter, which is not his, and I'm 
14 weeks pregnant. My ex-boyfriend and I argued but it never 
was like this. We did have a good relationship. About 3 weeks 
ago, my ex and I (we were living together up until this point) 
had gotten into a huge argument and it escalated into him 
screaming, yelling and calling me every name in the book and 
eventually led into him pushing me into the door stomach first. 
(Luckily, my daughter was not there to witness this.) I don't 
think it's right for him to push me at all, but especially 
now that I'm pregnant. 

After that moment, I left and never went back. At the time, 
I thought I was doing the right thing. After a week of not 
talking to or seeing him (even though I thought about him all 
the time), I did end up answering a phone call from him and 
we ended up getting together and talking. Maybe it was me 
wanting him back and missing him so badly, that what he said 
to me made me feel like it wouldn't ever happen again and 
that we were better off living together than not. We were 
supposed to be a family, right? 

It got me thinking harder and harder about the situation. Was 
it the right choice, should I have gone back and tried to 
work things out, etc. I told him that I wanted to be with him 
but as of then, maybe living together was not such a great 
idea. Maybe we needed some time apart to realize (more for 
him, not me) what the situation really was and how it could  
be fixed. Unfortunately, he couldn't guarantee that it 
wouldn't happen again, although at times, I'm convinced it 

We did talk on the phone and saw each other every so often 
but it wasn't really the same. He ended up breaking up with 
me, saying he couldn't do the whole not "completely" being 
with me idea (which I think it's something else or there's 
more to it than that.). My question(s) to you is, has anyone 
else gone through this and what did they end up doing? I want 
to be with him and every time I go to tell him I'll live with 
him again, I don't because the whole pushing thing gets in 
my way. Is worrying about this a waste of my time because 
he's "abusive" and it will happen again? Should I follow my 
heart and gut instinct or should I let it go? The stress 
level I'm at right now is not healthy for me or my child 
and any level of advice from you and/or your other readers 
is greatly appreciated.


Thank you so much for sharing your situation. It takes a lot
of courage to come forth and share such personal details. 
The crux of domestic violence is the concepts of power and
control. The abuser generally behaves in a way that demon-
strates one or both of those to berate the victim and even-
taully wear them down so much that they feel they are to 
blame and that they have no options. Physical violence 
includes literally anything physical - pushing, hitting,
shoving, using a weapon, etc. 

Emotional abuse is more difficult to describe. It's a pattern
of EXTREME jealousy, control (with finances, schedules, etc.), 
isolation of their partner, intimidation (a look from across
the room, standing above the person, etc.), and much more.
We all get jealous from time to time, but be aware of PATTERNS.
Additionally, the abuse typically follows a cycle: the abuser
acts out (physically or emotionally), apologizes for it and
says it will never happen again and the victim accepts them
at their word, followed by a "honeymoon" phase when all is
temporarily good (the abuser might treat the victim really
well and lavish her with gifts). Then the cycle begins again.

I have had extensive experience and training with domestic
violence and know that it tends to escalate. It often begins
with emotional abuse, and the physical actions tend to become
more severe over time. This is why I strongly believe that
if this reader's boyfriend pushed her against a wall while
she is pregnant, then he is likely to do it again. Indeed,
he even said he could NOT guarantee it would not happen
again. Additionally, his threats of breaking up and an "all
or nothing" attitude are a form of manipulation (eg control)
to get this reader to come back to him.

I wrote to this reader personally, but wanted to share this
story because it affects everyone. There are millions of 
women experiencing this right now, but no one talks about it.
Please know the abuse will almost definitely continue and
escalate. It is up to this reader if she wants to remain 
with her boyfriend, but she also has a young child and baby
on the way, and she is responsible for their safety, too. 

Continued below...

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If you know anyone in an abusive relationship or are in one
yourself, please complete a safety plan. When you are in the
room with the abuser, be aware of how close you are to exits
and a phone. Have an emergency bag packed with clothes, 
financial documents, a cell phone, etc. in case of escalation.
Please call the National Domestic Violence hotline 24 hours 
a day, seven days a week. They are trained crisis management
workers specifically for domestic violence and understand
the dynamics involved. Their number is: 1-800-799-SAFE.
The website is www.ndvh.org   Please know you all deserve
goodness and no one can do anything to deserve abuse. Hugs.
As always, I remain...

Devotedly yours,   

Carmen Sutra   

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Questions? Comments? email us at: 
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