Intelligent, Beautiful Mother Stuck In Abusive Relationship And Scared To Get Out
My parents have been married for over 40 years, and my mother has been abused almost every day of her married life. She came from a traditional Catholic family where divorce is frowned upon. She is university educated, witty, funny and beautiful. She also has an M.S. degree.
My father is very insecure, which is why he is so mean and controlling. He feels important when he can control someone so amazing as my mother. My father is an honest, hard working, faithful man but he is terrible to the woman who has been his cheerleader and confidant for over 40 years.
I want my mom to get away from my dad before it's too late. I can see him "blacking out" and saying sorry after he hurt or even killed my mom - he can be a sweet man or a complete lunatic. He is attention and sympathy starved, for instance if someone is in pain, his pain is more, if someone's life was difficult he protests that his was more difficult.
My 3 year old daughter has better sense and behavior management than he does. I love my dad but my mother is not safe with him.
My husband works, helps me cook, cleans, and makes me and our daughter feel safe, loved and secure, he is a blessing! Why do women like my mother stay "stuck" with men that are awful to them, specifically - emotionally, physically and spiritually abusive?
Didn't anyone tell them that they were important, that they deserve respect and love? I am a Christian, but I know for a fact God did not call us to be servants to wickedness and meanness, women and mothers are not called to be "door mats." We are partners, friends, companions and lovers to our husbands. Thank you for your time.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thank you for telling your story here. I'm sure it is very painful to you to witness your mother being hurt for all of these years.
It is natural to want to protect someone you love. Yet when that person is an adult, their own wishes have to be honored and taken into account.
If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend that you carve out a significant period of time to be alone with your mother. Ideally, the two of you would go away alone for a weekend. Tell her all of your feelings, and all of your fears. Hear her out. Respect her viewpoint and her choices, while honoring your own emotions by expressing them in a respectful manner.
After having fully and completely expressed all of your love, fear, frustration, etc. to your mother, you have to let go. The choice is hers.
I get the sense that it would do no good to talk to your dad. However, if you think there is any possibility that he could hear you, sit him down and make it very clear that you do not like his behavior, and that you're afraid he is going to harm or even kill your mother. Of course, do this only if you think there might be some chance that he will hear you. Do not do it if you think it might make things worse for your mom.
Pray for her, and for your dad. Picture her being safe in her marriage, as long as she chooses to stay. Picture your dad getting better. Imagine a miracle, and make that part of your prayer. Believe in the very best of your mother and the very best of your father prevailing over their situation.
And let go. It is their marriage, and you have to let them have it, such as it is.
And say a daily prayer of gratitude that you chose wisely in your own marriage. you broke the pattern.
My very best to you,
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