domestic abuse One Life to Live

How mothers can support daughters coping with an abusive relationship

How mothers can support daughters coping with an abusive relationship

Are you a despairing mother whose daughter is in an abusive relationship and you’re at your wits end trying to work out how best to support her?

Have you opened your home time and time again, then your daughter comes home and you and your family try and help her through the drama she’s having with her abusive partner, but then she goes right back to him?

Is watching the way he treats your daughter breaking your heart?
Judy, whose heart was breaking witnessing her daughter living with an abusive man, made a comment about her daughter under my post Warning Signs that your Male Partner is Controlling you:

“We hardly ever get to see her …. It’s all a lot of small things — calling her names, abusive to the max, being unfaithful. It doesn’t matter what this boy does she takes him back.”

Another mother told me:

“My daughter and I and her dad are really close and love each other loads. My husband and I have always found his behaviour to her to be selfish, sexist, uncaring, disrespectful and at times cruel. When I visited her to talk about what we were seeing, her reaction was withdrawn and non-committal, she was very loving, but said we had blown it out of proportion.”

This mother was advised by Domestic Violence organisations not to push her daughter to take any action and to leave such decisions to her. Current research shows this is the best action in cases where coercive control is involved. But that may seem counter-intuitive to you. I’ll explain how to support your daughter below. Meantime, this mother went on to tell me some ways she tried to support her daughter. This mum’s approach is the recommended way, despite her daughter minimising her experience:

“I tried to keep checking on her — she always said things were fine and they were getting on well. Their wedding went ahead, he behaved very nicely in front of all the guests. All my friends said we were worrying needlessly — however he is very convincing. As time’s gone by my daughter became pale and ill looking, and seemed deeply unhappy. We noticed behavioural changes including she is now saying and doing things to try to please him even when totally against her character and interests. . . . . Recently she seems to be withdrawing from me in particular — doesn’t reply to my emails and avoids taking my calls. Again we told her our concerns about the changes we were seeing in her and about his behaviour towards her. But this time she vehemently denied everything, said she was happy, accused us of having it in for her husband and judging her marriage, and mostly refused even to hear our reasons for concern, so it was all very difficult. Taking her denials as a cue we didn’t mention the word ‘abuse’, we tried to keep it calm and play it down a bit, and at no time did we criticise her husband as a person – only some of his behaviour. I have to confess that I am finding it all a terrible strain and miss my daughter very badly, but realise that there is not much else that we or anyone can do at this stage other than, whenever possible, to monitor the situation, fight against the increasing estrangement of our daughter from us her family, give her a bit of relief from the relentless abuse every now and again if we get a chance to do so, and make sure that if we get a chance to let her know we are there for her.”

See it all here:

domestic abuse One Life to Live Shared

How to identify an abuser

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No abuser looks like an abuser or they’d never find a victim to abuse. When you first get to know an abuser, he comes across as normal, average, like any other guy. He might be a laborer or a professional, young or old, tall or short, skinny or overweight. He might love sports, reading, or woodworking. He might be passionate about art, music, food, or animals. He might love to debate politics or be a member in good standing at church. His finances might be a disaster or in complete order. He might be messy or neat, a success at work, or a complete failure at everything. Abusers come from all groups, all cultures, all religions, all economic levels, and all backgrounds. They are usually expert manipulators and know how to be whatever you need them to be in order for them to catch you in their web.

Most abusers are men though there are women who are abusive. Most abusers are only abusive towards their partners. Sometimes partner abuse extends to the children directly (and always it extends indirectly). Outside of home, they typically control themselves to the point that no one ever suspects what goes on behind closed doors. Being able to control themselves when they want to is proof that their abuse is intentional.

There is no one, typical, detectable personality of an abuser. However, they do often display common characteristics:

He is usually heavily into pornography.
He might push for sexual closeness early in the relationship.
He has a low boiling point and will lose his temper easily and over small things. He will usually will deny that he is violent. If he acknowledges, he usually makes excuses for it and minimizes the seriousness of it. The explosions only happen in front of those he allows it to happen in front of. Others will never see it.
He will often suffer from low self-esteem and insecurity.
He might be jealous and controlling. He might accuse his victim of cheating on him when he knows she hasn’t. He wants to control everything she does.
He makes cruel “jokes”.
He has a victim mentality.
He will be inconsistent.
He is usually moody and easily set off.
He will objectify his victim. Her needs, her rights, aren’t important to him. He may see her as his property or as a sexual object that he can use for his own satisfaction.
He often blames his violence on others, on stress, or on circumstances. He may have had a “bad day” and say he exploded because of that. He might blame his actions on alcohol or drugs or on your behavior or failure to behave as he wanted you to.
He isn’t always abusive. In-between episodes of abuse, he might be “the world’s best husband” (as my mother described my father when he wasn’t drinking and abusing her). He is often seen as “a great guy” by others.
What trait would you add to the list?


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Five Types of Domestic Violence

When a woman hasn’t been the victim of physical abuse by her partner, odds are she doesn’t think she’s a victim of domestic violence (DV).  But the common misconception that a woman has to be beaten or she’s not a victim of domestic violence is not true.  Physical abuse is only one type of DV.  Other types of DV, or domestic abuse, are psychological abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse. Maybe if we dropped the term “domestic violence” and used “domestic abuse” instead, the misunderstanding wouldn’t be so common.  Other women don’t think of themselves as being victims of DV because they have internalized the abuse.  That means they have consciously or subconsciously adopted the belief and have accepted that the abusive behavior is normal, so they don’t think they are being abused.

Read more here:

One Life to Live


… is what he has over her.
Sometimes using their baby, sometimes threats of harming himself.
She loves him (only she knows why); could it be because of the little girl they have together?
Over a year ago they came here, there was no baby then, and like usual, things were better. Sure, there was the lack of financial support to me and my wife for “helping” them out, easier to get on their feet that way, I guess.
A year later (thanks to their income tax refunds) they are actually out on their own, with a car as well.

Sadly, the control is still there.
The drama continues.