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#90337 - 10/18/06 05:21 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Dianne]
Dotsie Offline

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Dianne, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandson and DIL. I replied to your request for prayer in the other forum. I've got you covered girlfriend!

Maybe it's time to mention something you else you talked about in the book Dianne. You wrote about how behavior gets passed down from generation to generation. When we live a certain way, we believe it's the only way.

I am so grateful for all the survivors who have broken the family chain. I would bet that when women do this, they don't get much respect from their families because they are forced to see they too should change.
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.

#90338 - 10/18/06 05:59 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz
Allison_Bottke Offline

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Minnesota
It’s been almost one week since my last visit to this Forum. I posted my first comment on 10/12. And just like I said, this can become addicting! I’m beginning to freak out because my October 30th deadline is looming and I’m finding myself reading forum chats, posting messages on my blog, reading emails…I’m sure many of us can relate!

And Queen JawJaw, while you were teaching me “everything you know,” why the heck didn’t you teach me how to stay focused? Huh? And how about teaching me how to change the word “Stranger” from under my name in the left sidebar of this post? I’m a Member! And where is my photo any way? (insert smile here.)

Pleased to meet you, Dianne, Lynnie, Dee, Cathi, PJ and the rest of the amazing women on this forum. PJ, you (and Chloe) look fabulous! Congrats on the fabulous weight loss. I’m especially touched by your willingness, Dianne, to be so vulnerable and transparent with us. I really can’t wait to read your book…sounds like you have some cutting edge opinions on how to handle the issues of abuse. Thank you for being the Featured Author and for responding to comments with such wisdom and grace. And, Dee…hang in there as you “make your way back.” There are a lot of us out here who have made phenomenal u-turns in our life!

I wanted to quickly comment on Cathi’s 10/16 posting about “holier than thou” clergy and church members who espouse opinions that would encourage abused women to remain in an abusive environment. I work full time in Christian outreach ministry. I write and speak from a Christian worldview and all of my books are published by Christian publishing houses. I have the opportunity to speak in churches of all denominations all over the country and it’s been a very long time since I heard a clergy man or woman encourage a woman to remain in an abusive situation. In fact, they will often help a woman escape and find a safe house.

That’s not to say there are not some old-fashioned folks out there who are clueless, I’m sure there are. But by and large the bottom line is to get a woman and her children to a safe place. Sure, a member of the clergy would of course hope and pray that the marriage could be saved—that healing could happen (because it sometimes does.) But I pray you will not lump all of the “church” into the category of being holier than thou when it comes to this subject.

Okay, I’m back to work now, ladies. I’ll check back in a few days. Hope you are feeling better, Dotsie! And thanks again for your vision to connect women like this. It’s clear to see God is using you in a mighty way just as he is using this forum to help his daughters find hope, healing, and strength to live in this crazy world. Have a blessed day to all!

Allison Bottke
Allison Bottke, Author/Speaker
Standing in Faith
Kneeling in Prayer

#90339 - 10/18/06 06:49 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Allison_Bottke]
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
Dots, it's that chain of iniquity mentioned in the Bible. I feel that fathers are more responsible than the mother for what kind of man his daughter will be attracted to. If he treats her with love and caring, she will immediately know there is something wrong with a man who isn't a good guy. I couldn't recognize it because of the way my dad treated me and it created a familiar feeling. Like, I had known him my whole life and I my father.

My mother refuses to acknowledge that I work with battered women. She won't talk about it. I stopped trying to figure her out a long time ago so don't even question it. She isn't a part of my mission in anyway. Her attitude won't change what God expects of me.

Allison, when I was told to stay with my abuser it was 1989 so there has been some change since then. Not enough change but change. I think what bothers me is some churches thinking that abuse is a spiritual problem, which it is in a way, but it's a learned behavior and really takes a lot of input, support groups for batterers and therapy and even then, the percentage of success is extremely low. Many women stay in this horrible situation and pray for a miracle and many end up dead. Plus, it hurts them spiritually to not have their prayers answered and makes them feel worse. Men batter because--they can get away with it, they've learned it and they like doing it.
If it doesn't feel good, don't do it twice.

Boomer Queen of Shoes

#90340 - 10/18/06 07:59 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Dianne]
Wisdom&Life Offline

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA

Sometimes I don't explain things clear enough. My message was to those that hear a priest or minister tell a battered woman to stay with her husband. The ones that make her feel that it is her fault. I was trying to convey to anyone that has had the experience not to feel compelled to stay with the abuser because some priest/minister told them they had to because that is how God wants it.

What you are doing and what those organizations who are trying to help, are doing are a wonderful thing. I was merely trying to send a message that God will not fry anyone that is divorced as some churches teach. Those churches are teaching falsly, IMO.

When I left my husband, my priest heard his side of everything and he told me to go home. He refused to hear my side of it. That's what I was referring to.

I am glad you came in and informed us of churches that are there and willing to help.

I hope I clarified everything.


#90341 - 10/19/06 07:07 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
I recently wrote this for a shelter newsletter and wanted to share it with all of you. Remember that this is from an emotional viewpoint and doesn't include police who don't help the victim, judges who make bad decisions, etc.


It’s a legitimate question, asked by those who don’t understand. If a woman is being abused, she’s free to walk out the door, never to return. This is common logic and especially if you have never been a victim of domestic violence.

Our first mistake is assuming a victim is thinking logically. We don’t understand that she is frightened, confused, dependent and carrying the burden of shame on her small shoulders. If she believes that she’s the cause of the violence, it’s also normal for her to feel that she’s the solution. If she can stay long enough, try hard enough, love him enough, then he will change and stop abusing her. Her daily life revolves around proving herself worthy of his compassion and caring.

She is also waiting for the man she first met and fell in love with to return. While blaming job stress, personal circumstances, alcohol and drugs, or even his family history for his outbursts, she remembers how he was when they first kissed. If the outside factors weren’t present, she would be able to once again be happy with him. She doesn’t understand that the “nice guy” was a façade and the abusive nature is the real essence of the man.

The fear of death if she leaves is very valid. When I suggested to my ex husband, a very abusive and angry man, that we should divorce, he told me that if I ever left him he would kill me. I knew he was capable of murdering me because he had demonstrated it many times. I was afraid to stay with him but even more frightened to leave. Statistics prove that a woman stands seven times the chance of being killed when she leaves. Battered women aren’t stupid—they don’t want to die!

One of the main problems with staying, besides the obvious danger is, the longer she remains, the more confused she becomes. If you look at the word “confused” the first part is con. She begins to con herself that he will change and he is conning her too. Combining this, she is no longer able to think clearly and accepts violence as something she deserves. Every time she is beaten, she tries harder to be what he demands rather than realizing abuse is nothing more than a choice he’s made.

It’s ironic that we have more shelters for animals in our country than safe havens for victims of domestic violence. But, I believe that the public looks upon animals as helpless and thinks battered women aren’t. They are helpless in their minds. They aren’t capable of thinking rationally when all of their energy is focused toward survival. They can’t concentrate on finding resources to help, finances to enable, or a hand to lift them up. They’re too busy meeting his requirements of the perfect woman.

I dissected the cycle of domestic violence (Tension Building-Explosion-Honeymoon) and discovered that the most important segment was found during the Honeymoon stage. I went back in time to when I was married to my abuser and using complete honesty, remembered how I felt, what he said, what actions were taking place and why I stayed. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me. Let me share it with you.

1. An abuser will normally buy the victim gifts during this stage. Mine was no different. Was this why I stayed? No.
2. He was showing remorse and sorrow. He cried and promised it would never happen again. Did I believe him? Only after the first episode. After the second time, I was becoming a part of a pattern along with him. To my present mindset, I was more of a volunteer, rather than a victim at this point in time.
3. Was it due to finances? No. I owned my own business and could easily move and find another place to live and support myself.
4. Was I afraid to be alone? Not really. I didn’t want to go through another divorce and the first time he beat me we had only been married one month. I believe I was more embarrassed than anything but it wasn’t the real reason I stayed with him and listened to his apology.

Let me explain to you what happens. Considering a victim has no control over her life and her words and actions are controlled by the abuser, when he’s crying and pleading for another chance, this is the only time in the relationship that she has a say. She feels a sense of power, although a false sense, that for this small time frame, she can make the decisions. Finally—she’s like a normal human being that is being taken seriously. Until one lives in this environment, it’s difficult to understand how meaningful a small amount of authority can be. During the Tension Building and Explosion stages, she isn’t able to respond with real emotions and tell him what she thinks or his anger will flare. There is no fear of abuse during the Honeymoon stage because he’s trying to prove something to her. If we remove the fear factor and add a small dose of power, it’s a very heady experience for her. It’s not something a victim is allowed to savor very often so it’s easy to understand how she can become addicted to this rare feeling.

Right after the Explosion and before the Honeymoon, is the best time to work with the victim. Reaching her before the apologies and tears can cause her to consider staying with him is the opportune moment to reach her with the truth. She can be directed on a new path before he has the chance to alter her direction and conviction. Time is of the essence because she’ll be desirous of the high she needs, which only he can provide.

We should also be aware of her need for validation. When he’s condemned her, he’s the only person who can take back the words and actions that have demeaned and hurt her so deeply. This is another reason she is pulled back into the cycle. She wants to hear him confess that he was wrong and the abuse wasn’t her fault. This always seems to be a strong point for women, even after they’ve left the abuser for good. “Why can’t he just admit that he was wrong?” I always remind her that it isn’t important for him to take responsibility for his actions because it won’t change the past, even if he does. But it’s very important for her to know the truth. And, the truth is that she didn’t cause the abuse and the best revenge is to live happily, something he said she’d never be able to do without him.

I’ve heard responses to the question, why does she stay and all of them are valid. “Don’t ask this of a woman because it victimizes her again.” Or, “Don’t ask why she stays but ask why he abuses her.” But, as a survivor I want to add my own response—“Don’t ask the victim something she doesn’t have the answer to. She doesn’t know why she stays because she lives in a world that is made up of lies, denial, guilt and confusion. Once she finally discovers the truth, she’s gone and will never return. All of the excuses she’s used for staying such as finances, love or children will fly out the window.” Like the Bible states, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” She finally found her own truth.
If it doesn't feel good, don't do it twice.

Boomer Queen of Shoes

#90342 - 10/19/06 08:14 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Dianne]
Jane_Carroll Offline

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 1521
Loc: Alabama
That's the article that Dianne sent me when I spoke to a group of nurses and social workers on DV. I read it during my talk--it actually got several women in the audience to share their experiences.

They all said Dianne was right-on in describing their feelings.
Jane Carroll

#90343 - 10/19/06 08:37 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Jane_Carroll]
Anno Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 4434
Loc: Minneapolis Minnesota
This is beautiful Dianne. You are a wise and beautiful women. God bless you for your continuing work with abused women.
Follow our story of living, loving and laughing with a debilitating disease:

#90344 - 10/19/06 08:47 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Anno]
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
Thanks gals. I appreciate it and hope it helps others.
If it doesn't feel good, don't do it twice.

Boomer Queen of Shoes

#90345 - 10/20/06 12:24 AM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: Dianne]
chatty lady Offline

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 20267
Loc: Nevada
I think once these women see an or hear the TRUTH often enough it does help them. When they know they are not alone, not the odd ball, they can feel more secure in knowing there are so many women suffering the same fate. Also that there are even more women who have survived this horror and been able to move on, get healthy mentally and actually find happiness. You and women like you Dianne are a Godsend.
Take a peek at my BLOG:

#90346 - 10/20/06 12:18 PM Re: Our very own Dianne Schwartz [Re: chatty lady]
Wisdom&Life Offline

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Dianne, if I was to find myself in a situation where I am having a conversation with a victim. How could I best comfort her?

I understand the, "why don't you just leave?" part. In the beginning of my marriage, about after a year, I realized I made a mistake. I have been mentally and verbally abused. I felt like a loser and couldn't do anything right. I then was trying to find a way out, develop a strategy. Then I found myself pregnant with Sofia. I then thought, maybe a baby will turn him around. I have seen this in real life many times. How men and women change when they have a child. During my pregnancy, he became worse and made me feel fat. He would look at me in disgust. Again, I realized this wasn't going to work, but what can I do? I just couldn't pick up and leave. On top of it, I was having a very difficult pregnancy which required me to rest most of the time. His reaction, "women have been having babies for years, why can't you handle it?" Needless to say, I had to be hospitalized because I was eclamptic and had seizures. I needed an emergency C-section because the baby was in trouble by that time. Whilst in the hospital, his comments were, "you're so lucky you get to lay around all day, while I have to go and work." This all made me feel so small and worthless.

Anyway, numerous times I had tried to leave him and then he would get really panicky and beg me to stay. That he couldn't live without me and he would try to change. My parents did nothing but complain about what kind of a husband he was. But when it came down to me leaving, they would want to hear his side of the story. Then they would join the chorus of "give him a chance". I stopped working when I became pregnant and didn't start until she was 2 years old. On and off I had been working because he couldn't handle his part of taking care of her.

Dotsie, you met him, doesn't he seem like a nice person? This is how he presents himself to others, so that places a negative on me.

As I stated earlier, I left him about 3 years ago. I had everything working against me. I couldn't find work, and I was so emotionally drained, all I wanted to do was cry and sleep, cry and sleep. My daughter wanted to stay with me, even though she was leaving a nicer house behind. It was always me and her, me and her doing things together while she was growing up. His #1 priority was playing tennis and hanging our with his friends. Their needs came before ours did. I feel so bad now and she is still trying to recover from all this. She is not as bad now as she was then, and through therapy, she is making progess. He had told her things about me she really didn't need to know. He did it to turn her against me. He even told her I didn't love her anymore. I didn't know that until I got her to fess up, and she was snapping at me several times.

Well, 8 months later, he really wanted me back and I saw what this was doing to Sofia and I was broke, and needed surgery.

So I stay, and live my life my way and he lives his way. I leave him alone as much as possible. My concentration is to myself and Sofia.

My shrink even told me this wouldn't be the right time to leave him because there is so much going on. But he emphasized the fact that I need to take care of myself. Both shrink and therapist are on the same page and have stated that they will be there for me and guide me.

Sorry for writing a long one. I guess I am just adding my experience to the "why don't you leave him?"

Back to Dianne's article. How do you guide anyone in the physical abusive situation when you understand it is not that easy to leave the husband? It would be nice to be able to help someone plan an escape. That would be a useful organization. What I mean escape, I mean taking the children and leaving a State. Changing identification, at least temporarily. I know this may sound far-fetched, but I am a believer in not just throwing ideas to someone, but offering your help, giving someone a solution. I am thinking along the lines of her and her children's life being in danger.

As for the shelters, I noticed there was absolutely nothing available for my situation. I might add, Virginia is not a very friendly divorce State for women.


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