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Should You Date a Woman Who Has Been Abused?

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  • Should You Date a Woman Who Has Been Abused?

    What makes a woman turn psycho? I have some ideas.

    I have had the misfortune of dating and/or even marrying women who were psycho and am trying, belatedly, to learn from my bad experiences.

    At least two of my psycho ex-girlfriend/wives told me early in a relationship that they had suffered horrific abuse in a past relationship or as a child. I ignored this to my own peril because I was distracted by hot sex or something else.

    Now, I have the greatest sympathy for victims of abuse and in no way wish to denigrate the victims. However, many abuse victims have never received the help they need. It is very difficult for an abuse victim to get help because it is so painful to revisit the past.

    So what often happens is that the abuse victim will "take it out" on their significant other. Because they are hypersensitive to minor pain and stress you are likely to be viewed as a surrogate abuser during the downs of a relationship...which you will not like.

    In essence the abuse victim who has not received help, will often become abusive to their loved ones. In my experience this is in the form of emotional abuse, withholding affection, "going off for no apparent reason" or all the psycho behavior described in the article about psycho woman on this site. You may end up needing treatment for abuse yourself after coming out of a relationship with an abuse victim!

    Take heed. If a new girlfriend says something like "my ex boyfriend used to beat me black blue and gave me a black eye and sent me to the hospital" the relationship should end asap - unless there is evidence that the lady has successfully worked through the abuse issues by getting help from mental health professionals.

    This may be controversial and I am not saying abuse victims should be avoided in the dating pool. However, there is a great risk in dating an abuse victim, in my opinion, if they have never successfully received treatment.

    Any thoughts on this?

    KJM

  • #2
    I don't think I've ever dated anyone who had been the victim of physical abuse ... like beatings. I can see how that would pose some huge obstacles ... because they would be likely to project the actions of their previous abuser upon you. In other words, it seems like they would expect you to abuse them ... and they might pre-react as though you are going to abuse them. Serious counseling is what they need ... because the baggage a person like that could carry might be enormous.

    They also might genuinely respond well to kindness ... so the flip side of what you are saying is that they could be the most appreciative person you could ever possibly date. Have to take them on a one-by-one case though - everyone is different.

    In my late 20s, I did date a woman who I later learned had been sexually abused as a young teenager. I'd say that over time I learned that she had a diminished sense of self-worth that showed up periodically. For example, she could seldom look me square in the eye when I spoke to her ... she often looked away. And I thought that was a bit strange at the time. I mean - I just thought she was really shy ... but it went way past being shy. She was a really nice girl, too.

    People who abuse others do far more harm than they ever can imagine ... because that abuse shows up elsewhere for the rest of the lives of those they abuse, and ultimately it affects a lot people.

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    • #3
      I ran across this older thread and thought it was worthy of bumping up…My ex-wife was a victim of serious emotional abuse, mixed with occasional physical abuse and some level of sexual abuse. During our 10 years together, she never fully disclosed to me the full extent of the sexual abuse…but I did uncover a few stories near the end. Most of the physical and sexual abuse came from her father…the emotional abuse came from her father and mother as well as several step-fathers. I don’t think she was ever actually raped by her dad, but I know she was knocked around quite a bit by him, and I know of a handful of occasions where he was drunk and would “confuse her” with a girlfriend and make some sexual advances, from what she told me, I think she was able to fight him off every time, but every time she would start to open up about it, she would only get so far then completely shut down emotionally for several weeks.

      Early in our relationship, she was very strong and took pride in the fact that she was able to overcome her past…she was great for years and was very appreciative of me as a great family man and a wonderful father to our daughter. As our daughter approached the age where the abuse memories started for her (about six years old), my wife started to really become distant from me…and almost acted like she didn’t trust me around our daughter. I didn’t understand this at the time and that’s when problems started. She started putting herself between me and my daughter and I couldn’t live with that.

      Eventually she started to shut down emotionally. She always had a great relationship with both my mother and father who she saw as the happy nuclear family she never had, but somewhere along the way she started to hate them and tell me how she thought they were trying to interfere with her relationship with our daughter, which was never even close to the truth.

      She was a very attractive woman. She got through college and had a good career going for her. I always had a great job and was involved with the community, including being elected to a local political office…we had a great new house, nice cars…pretty much the American dream and she left all that to go be with a man her father’s age (about 25 years older than her) hopping around between blue collar jobs and unemployment and a heavy drinker.

      As far as I know she is still with this guy, but I don’t ask questions. We have joint custody of our daughter and in spite of all her emotional problems, she still seems to be capable of being a good mother. I watch this closely and keep tabs on everything quirky she does in the event I ever need to make an attempt at increasing my custody rights. To date, I have not seen anything that warrants this to the extent that it would be better for my daughter to have some distance form her mother as long as I can continue to provide a happy and healthy home for the half of the time she lives with me.

      It’s all very sad in a lot of ways…my ex-wife is a smart and attractive lady who has simply overwhelmed herself with her past and is simply unwilling to face those demons. She has become a narcissistic recluse and always finds reason to blame everyone else for her problems. She has put on a lot of weight and let herself go and I haven’t seen her look happy in years…this is the type of damage than can occur for abused children. She had every opportunity get therapy and deal with this, but she chose to believe that the rest of the world just “doesn’t understand.”

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      • #4
        1 in 3 women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend.
        1 in 4 college report being raped or attempted rape since they were 14.
        1 in 4 girls are molested before age 18.
        est. 60% of rapes are not reported meaning not included in the above statistics.


        That means just about everyone has dated an abused woman. Question is will she admit it?

        That being said crazy woman sex is well....the best. It is just one of those sad facts. For that matter most of the drop dead beautiful ones are also crazy just cause they can get away with it.

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        • #5
          source for statistics?

          Hi, Midlife,

          Thanks for sharing those stats w/us. I could use them in a workshop I'm giving. Could you tell me the source?

          Maria

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          • #6
            CRAP! I'll admit fall into 3/3 categories! OK myself- somehow resilient enough. But just thinking about young ladies going through that.... Personally I became quite a bit less tolerant of sexual explicit joking as a result, and especially once I had a daughter.

            Think it takes a huge amount of patience to handle that in a relationship. Very sorry it impacted your family so hard, PB. Sound like she did not get the care, feeding, and treatment she needed. And um, for the record- i endorse the mental health professionals for treatment, from personal experience. Probably won't work through it without that- I have one friend that did, but she is unique and I believe that to be rare.
            Last edited by A OK; 05-24-2010, 08:09 PM.

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            • #7
              While I feel bad for those who have suffered....take it from me, run the other way,as fast as you can....RARELY are they ever 'right'...despite therapy/counseling etc.
              Last edited by SamtheDog; 12-15-2011, 09:58 AM.

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              • #8
                I can totally relate to this thread. My last LTR was with a lady who had extreme Father issues. She found out while I was dating her that her Dad didnít think she was his biological daughter. She comes from a large family and she told me that she always felt rejected by her Dad. How her Dad treated her as a child all made sense after she found this out. This bad relationship with her him effected her ability to have a healthy relationship with any man her whole life, still does to this day and sheís in her forties. This woman is very beautiful, has a good career and seems like a great catch. I was the youngest guy she ever dated, sheís 2 years younger than me. Every other guy she ever dated was a least 15 years older than her, one of them being the same age as her Mom. She was married once to the father of her child for a short 8 months. We dated for 3 years and as much as I loved her, ultimately I had to break it off. She started to have a negative effect on my family and it all related to what she had gone through. Being in a relationship with someone that has had some sort of abuse can be tough. All you can do is to be supportive and realize that you canít fix them, they have to do it themselves. Iím not heartless but unless the person gets help to fix themselves they may inflect their problems into your life. So my take, based on my experience is, unless they are willing to seek help, move on as quickly as you can.

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                • #9
                  My guess is that most people we meet and/or wind up dating would be very hesitant to admit having been abused in a prior marriage or relationship - no matter the type of abuse. And if they do admit it, I would bet it would not be right at the start of a new relationship ... because that could scare someone off, right???

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                  • #10
                    I was married for over 30 years to a man who suffered horrible physical and emotional abuse as a child. When we married, at ages 18 and 20, we promised to nurture each other into adulthood as our parents had not nurtured us, and to nurture our children as we wished we had been nurtured. He swore the abuse he suffered stopped with his generation, and would not be passed down to his offspring.

                    We got it half right. There was a lot of mutual nurturing, especially in this first half of the marriage. And he was successful in that the physical abuse he suffered as a child never spilled over into our family. Many times I saw him stand up to defuse physically abusive situations involving family, friends and sometimes complete strangers, and he had a special eye out and heart for children surviving abuse,

                    But he could not escape its affects completely, and self-medicated with every substance he could get his hands on in order to numb the pain. He did not seek counseling, and as far as I know it was never suggested for either of us. In the end alcohol took him down, complicated by meth, antidepressants and opiods. Yes, all at once. He internalized the pain, took it upon himself like a sin eater, and took that pain with him alone into an early grave. Was it an act of cowardice, of great bravery, or the sad spinning out of a crazy, drug induced man? I will never know, and will likely spend my remaining days ever pondering the question somewhere deep in my heart.

                    Would I run that relationship again if I were given a chance? Mostly i would say yes, because I got two amazing, wonderful adult children, and four beautiful grandchildren out of the deal, and who wouldn't be happy with that? Beyond that - well, now we are knocking into MY crazy places (and I wonder why I can't get this relationship sh#t together ...)

                    And no, I was never abused, as a child or adult. Beat up a lot at school by other kids, but never abused by family or caregivers.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bluefeather View Post
                      I was married for over 30 years to a man who suffered horrible physical and emotional abuse as a child. When we married, at ages 18 and 20, we promised to nurture each other into adulthood as our parents had not nurtured us, and to nurture our children as we wished we had been nurtured. He swore the abuse he suffered stopped with his generation, and would not be passed down to his offspring.

                      We got it half right. There was a lot of mutual nurturing, especially in this first half of the marriage. And he was successful in that the physical abuse he suffered as a child never spilled over into our family. Many times I saw him stand up to defuse physically abusive situations involving family, friends and sometimes complete strangers, and he had a special eye out and heart for children surviving abuse,

                      But he could not escape its affects completely, and self-medicated with every substance he could get his hands on in order to numb the pain. He did not seek counseling, and as far as I know it was never suggested for either of us. In the end alcohol took him down, complicated by meth, antidepressants and opiods. Yes, all at once. He internalized the pain, took it upon himself like a sin eater, and took that pain with him alone into an early grave. Was it an act of cowardice, of great bravery, or the sad spinning out of a crazy, drug induced man? I will never know, and will likely spend my remaining days ever pondering the question somewhere deep in my heart.

                      Would I run that relationship again if I were given a chance? Mostly i would say yes, because I got two amazing, wonderful adult children, and four beautiful grandchildren out of the deal, and who wouldn't be happy with that? Beyond that - well, now we are knocking into MY crazy places (and I wonder why I can't get this relationship sh#t together ...)

                      And no, I was never abused, as a child or adult. Beat up a lot at school by other kids, but never abused by family or caregivers.
                      Wow - Bluefeather ... that is some exceptionally heavy history. I thank you for sharing.

                      When you said this:
                      Originally posted by Bluefeather View Post
                      ... But he could not escape its affects completely, and self-medicated with every substance he could get his hands on in order to numb the pain. He did not seek counseling, and as far as I know it was never suggested for either of us. In the end alcohol took him down, complicated by meth, antidepressants and opiods. Yes, all at once. He internalized the pain, took it upon himself like a sin eater, and took that pain with him alone into an early grave. ...
                      it means to me that the level of abuse he endured as a child must have been enormous. I know you did not elaborate much on that - other than to characterize it as "horrible physical and emotional abuse as a child".

                      One conclusion from this is - escape from certain levels of abuse may never be possible, from a mental standpoint. Not sure what the threshold for that is.

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                      • #12
                        I'm currently wrapping up a divorce from a marriage in which I was emotionally abused. I've made a decision to refrain from getting into any serious relationships as a result. I feel it would be unfair to involve someone in a bit of my baggage I'm still working through. I really want to feel ambivalent towards my ex-husband, no anger or hurt. That's when I feel I'll be good to go. It's very true time heals a lot and it's very different for each person how abuse has affected them. For me, it's actually made me a better person, stronger and more compassionate and I've learned so much from it all. I've made the choice to grow from it, address and work through it so I don't have it be a negative remnant remaining going forward. Shit happens to good people sometimes. It doesn't mean we are all scarred for life.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JackpotLola View Post
                          I'm currently wrapping up a divorce from a marriage in which I was emotionally abused. I've made a decision to refrain from getting into any serious relationships as a result. I feel it would be unfair to involve someone in a bit of my baggage I'm still working through. I really want to feel ambivalent towards my ex-husband, no anger or hurt. That's when I feel I'll be good to go. It's very true time heals a lot and it's very different for each person how abuse has affected them. For me, it's actually made me a better person, stronger and more compassionate and I've learned so much from it all. I've made the choice to grow from it, address and work through it so I don't have it be a negative remnant remaining going forward. Shit happens to good people sometimes. It doesn't mean we are all scarred for life.
                          I am glad to hear that you are able to put yourself on a path for moving forward with your life.

                          I like your quotes, "shit happens to good people sometimes" and "It doesn't mean we are all scared for life." Every difficult situation we live through essentially becomes a personal growth experience for each of us - or at least that is how I try to look at things. I've never been the victim of any serious abuse though - so at some point, I am sure it changes from "personal growth" to "survival". I can say that I do try to take absolutely nothing too personally - and that helps me deal with some of the more routine forms of abuse out in today's world.

                          One of my female friends was just telling me how she learned her ex-husband was a "gas lighter" type person - which I had never heard of. She has been the victim of his mental or emotional abuse for many years. Here's the definition:

                          ****************************
                          Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief.

                          Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film. It has been used in clinical and research literature.


                          ****************************

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                          • #14
                            I've ridden this train, several times. Great for short term, long term no way in hell. It's asking for trouble. Like you said, most don't get help.
                            http://captainnomarriage.com/

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                            • #15
                              someone that talks about their childhood abuse early in the relationship, has not dealt with if yet. I have met many men and women from abusive childhoods that are stronger and more resilient than those from Betty Crocker/ June cleaver families. It is those that allow themselves to be victim to their past, that destroy their present and future.

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