Having An Affair (Final)

by Sherry Riter in Abuse,Affair,Relationship,Self-Development  

This posting is a continuation of Having An Affair Part 5 which is the story of my friend, Sophia.

abused woman
“After we made love that night, my heart was wrenched with pain. While Mark was at work, I wallowed in self-pity.”

“Mark was angry that I had gotten pregnant,” Sophia said. “He ignored me and wanted nothing to do with the children or my pregnancy. He stayed gone more often and went on business trips that lasted longer than they had ever been. I decided, at the prompting of my doctor, to see a therapist.”

This was confusing to me. How could Sophia be in the mess she was in now if she had sought the counsel of a therapist earlier?

“I went to see the therapist regularly throughout my pregnancy,” she continued. “I know she helped me because I was finally able to see that Mark was abusing me and I didn’t deserve it. It took me a while to gain the confidence to stand up for myself.”

My depression angered Mark and there were many times after Jeremy was born that he either beat me or raped me. There wasn’t any tenderness in our marriage – just violent rage and anger.”

arrested“Finally I learned enough new skills from my therapy that I began to act differently with him. There was a turning point one day. I decided he would never hit me again. I let him know that I would call the police and press charges against him if he continued to hit me. He was shocked and asked me why I would do that to him.”

“I can’t believe him,” I exclaimed. “The nerve of implying that you would be doing something wrong if you had him arrested!”

“Yeah,” Sophia said, “He’s nervy because he didn’t believe me and when he slapped me, I called the police. They arrived within minutes and with the glaring red hand print on my face, there was no question that he had hit me. They even took pictures of my face. The officers left me with information and a phone number to call for help. I didn’t call. I regret that because I suffered when he got home.”

Now that ends the history of Sophia and brings me to the day I met her.

“Mark’s explosive anger was scaring the children, so rather than lock them in their rooms, I gathered them together and checked into the hotel late that night,” Sophia said.

I was working late that night. I took one look at Sophia and her beautiful children when they walked through the sliding doors and I was never the same person again. She stood looking at me over the counter…defeated, with bruises on her face, neck and arms, a busted lip, and a black eye which was obvious proof that she had been beaten. Her children were wide-eyed and scared. My heart sank. I wanted to help her, but had no idea what I could do. I became a mixture of hotel General Manager, mother and friend.

emergency room treatmentMark was arrested again and Sophia finally made “the call” willingly. Before he was released from jail, Mark had a restraining order against him and Sophia had filed for separation/divorce. Within weeks she had moved to another state into her own apartment, found day care and a job. It seemed that the nightmare was over.

At this point of the story, it feels like a happier ending and I thought it would be too. You’ll recall that Jeremy was a handsome one year old when I met Sophia and she told me her story which I have recounted over the past week. Jeremy is now six years old and Sophia has been on her own for the past five years. Things have not always been easy, as I’m sure you can imagine. Mark doesn’t visit the children as much as he could, but he hasn’t harassed Sophia. On the contrary, he has ignored her and left her alone…until a few months ago.

He has “seen the error of his ways” which is really bad enough. However, he “wants to make a fresh start together” and Sophia is being pulled into his web of lies. I have encouraged her to go back to therapy because it was the one thing that helped put Mark and his abusive nature into perspective for her. Sophia doesn’t want to go back to therapy because she doesn’t think she needs it anymore.

Sophia is lonely. I’ve been lonely. It is a miserable feeling when you are lonely and hopeless. The future looks like a black hole of misery. An endless misery. When the sun came up each day, I would wonder how it was possible that life continued on around me when I was so unhappy that I could hardly function. Why didn’t the world simply stop spinning? When someone has reached this point, it is easy to fall prey to the “something or someone is better than nothing or no one” mentality. That type of thinking never has a good ending.

Believe me when I say, SOMETHING or SOMEONE is NOT better than NOTHING or NO ONE! If you are presently in an abusive relationship, please believe what I just said…SOMETHING or SOMEONE is NOT better than NOTHING or NO ONE!

I felt sick when Sophia told me that she was “casually” dating Mark. I asked her what exactly she hoped to gain from this relationship with him. Was she dating to look for a suitable mate because obviously she had already gone down that road with Mark and he wasn’t suitable.

“You are being too hard and bitter,” Sophia said.

young women of domestic violence“If I am honest, I guess I am hard and bitter when it comes down to some things,” I responded. “For instance, when a man beats and rapes his wife over several years, I don’t feel like he deserves a second opportunity to beat and rape his wife again. The physical abuse may have healed, however, the emotional and mental abuse is continuing and you are allowing it.”

“Sophia? Would you want your daughter, Meredith, to go back to a husband that acted like Mark?” I asked.

She couldn’t answer me or in reality, she didn’t want to answer me, obviously. Sophia knows that I think this choice is a poor decision. I do not want her to make an even worse choice.

She hasn’t called me since telling me the awful news. She may not call me again and I do not feel inclined to call her with unwanted advice. I have to choose between being silent or restating the obvious in hopes that she will actually listen. Mark terrifies me!

I have often contemplated why our paths crossed. Once she had divorced Mark and was on her own, Sophia blossomed. She made friends. She built relationships. She increased in confidence and self-esteem by being promoted at work. She found peace again. She didn’t “need” me. We didn’t talk often, but that was okay. I felt that I had in essence “served a purpose” in her life and that was enough for me.

But now, when she is teetering on possible doom and gloom by her own choice, she reconnects with me. I am thrust into an ocean of emotions. I am a different person than I was five years ago. I am more…let’s call it forthright. I say what I feel and make no apology for it. When you ask my opinion, I prelude it with “Do you really want to know the truth.” The truth is powerful albeit sometimes painful. I rather hear and know the truth than be told a lie. Some people say that, as a matter of fact, most people say they prefer the truth, but they don’t really mean it.

I practice the same principle with forgiveness. I really mean it when I say I prefer truth and I forgive you. I may forgive you, but that doesn’t mean I want you in my life. Some people say that they forgive you and yet they constantly remind you of your mistake. First of all, that isn’t forgiveness. Secondly, that isn’t me. So, I am forthright.

CinderellaI am still compassionate and sympathetic.

I am still forgiving.

I still cry easily.

I still wear my heart on my sleeve.

I am still understanding.

I know how it feels to be Cinderella.

I know how sweet it is to wear the glass slipper.

I have been Cinderella.

I also know that Prince Charming does not cheat, beat or rape Cinderella.

That is a nightmare. It is a nightmare that I do not want Sophia to experience again.

I do not know how to help open her eyes to the course she is following to sadness.

I believe Mark would abuse her again.

I am thankful for my mother who had the internal fortitude to leave an abusive relationship. She walked away with practically nothing in order to preserve her life, worship God and raise her daughters in a peaceful, loving home. I appreciate her sacrifices and I know there were many. Mom has gone from rags to riches and by leaving the abuse, she was thrust back to rags with two children. That isn’t easy and it was frightening with two little girls relying on her…and constantly watching her example.

We didn’t have much, but we had her and that is truly all we wanted.

Mom practiced what she preached.

She gave me and my sister everything she was and everything she had.

Thank you mom. I know it was hard.

Thank you for years of teaching, directing and encouraging me.

I am proud of you and if I could stand on the top of the world and shout it, I would do so.

You are a wonderful woman.

You are loved by many, but mostly by me–I had to say that even though I know everyone in the family will dispute it! I am only speaking the truth! (smiling)

I hope I will be inspired to say the right things to Sophia if she calls me again. Most of all, I hope she will make the right choice for her future and the futures of her children.

What would you do and say to her if you were me? Would you wait for her to call or would you call her? Would you write her? Send her emails? Or would you just sit and wait for her to make the next move in the relationship? Would your advice be different if Sophia was your daughter or grand daughter? If you could, what advice would you give now to any woman or man that is presently living in an abusive relationship?

Please feel free to write as much as necessary in order to answer the questions above. I want to thank you ahead of time for helping me, for all the wonderful comments thus far, for following this story that was hard to write, painful to remember and equally hard for you to read.

Emergency Hotline for Domestic Violence
1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
On the web at National Domestic Violence Hotline
at http://www.ndvh.org/

Resource List for Abused Women (divided by country and state/province) at http://www.safe4all.org/resource-list/index?category=2

Having An Affair Part 1
Having An Affair Part 2
Having An Affair Part 3
Having An Affair Part 4
Having An Affair Part 5
Having An Affair Part (final)

 

The Redhead Riter

 

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carla B. Reeves November 16, 2009 at 4:10 am

This story is as difficult to read as it is to understand WHY anyone would stay in this situation, let alone return to it! Especially with children in the picture…Perhaps I am cold about this, but having experienced abuse by an exhusband, getting out….in a hurry (11 mos), before I had children…I ask again WY go back!? And have MORE children with this man??? Don't you know what makes babies??? How could you expose another child to a man like this?
Women DO have the power to make a better world for themselves and especially for their CHILDREN!

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2 Anonymous November 16, 2009 at 5:35 am

Thank you Sherry, you and your sister were worth it and so was I. Just tell your friend you love her and hope she will be happy what ever she chooses. She will be back one day if she chooses to go back to her husband. My greatest wealth are my jewels, Sherry, Audrey, Brittany and our Alyssa. I will go on living after I am gone in all of you, especially Alyssa who seems to be more like me than any of you. I know her spelling frustrates you as much as mine does,lol. You are a great daughter, a wonderful friend and the very best mom. Being lonely is awful , but being lonely with someone is the worst of all situitions. I have known it all, and there are worst things than not having a man in your life. I am married but I work on trying to maintain my self, to stand alone, without Tom. Marriage is hard, it does not get easier with age. Maybe the Amozon woman had it right, cage them to mate with them then kill them, lol. I am only kidding, My luck would be to get one who knew nothing about mating,lol. Never close the door on your friend, let her know you are there as always. I love you

mom

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3 Teresha@Marlie and Me November 16, 2009 at 8:10 am

I don't know what to say. I am conflicted. It's a miracle that Sophia got away, but so disappointing that she would let him back into her life, much less go back. She does need therapy. I would let her know that I will always be there to listen with an open mind and heart, will never judge or criticize her decisions, and will help in any way I can. On the other hand, you can only help those who want to help themselves.

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4 Cairo Typ0 November 16, 2009 at 9:58 am

I went back and caught up on the parts of this story i missed. I know people in the library are looking at my oddly because i'm crying for and about Sophia. God, i hope she manages to break away from this horrible evil man.

I have a friend who is being emotionally abused by her husband. I think i'm going to forward her your links so she can better understand where her husband's actions may lead.

Sophia was lucky to have you as a friend. I hope she made the right choices in the end.

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5 Under the Influence November 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm

As a friend, I would let her know I am available for good and bad. I hope she makes a decision that results in GOOD.

As a parent, I would drag her far, far away from that a-hole and I would kick his a@@ if he came near her or the kids.

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6 Judy Harper November 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm

This ending isn't what I had expected, Red. I have to rely upon what your Mom says. Just be there when she needs you. I have mixed feelings. It all comes to the children. I hope she rethinks her selfish motive for going back. Because if something should happen to one of the children, guilt would be three times harder to live with than loneliness. Thanks for this post. I hopeyou are able to put it on the back burner now and not be in a quandry as to what to do. From reading the last few months of what you've written, I have a feeling you're going to worry about Sophia. I wonder if that's not one of the reasons for you writing this post.

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7 Amy November 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I would call and write to her and let her know you were there for her. Everyone needs support. Even if you are not happy with what she has done you should still be there for support.

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8 Lisa November 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Maybe I should have, but I really didn't see this ending coming. You can't save a person from themself. Maybe he's changed? I hope so for her sake…

Lisa @
All That and a Box of Rocks

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9 PictureGirl November 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Maybe if Sophia would just read your posts of her abuse.

She needs to realize, if she cares nothing of herself, if she thinks she is worthy of nothing better than being abused, she should at least want more for her children.

Does she not know that she is showing her sons that men abuse their wives? Does she not know that she is showing her daughter that it's okay for your husband to knock you around?

What happens when her boys will become the age when they will want to protect her from being beaten up. Will Mark turn on the boys then?

Sophia needs to read your postings and the comments from everyone. I don't know if that is the answer or not but it might help her.

Kudos to your Mother. I think she is a great Lady to have had the courage and the love for her children, to have wanted to give them a better way of life than one filled with the terror that children surely must face in these circumstances.

I will pray for 'Sophia' and her children.

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10 McVal November 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I didn't see this ending coming either! I hope and pray that he's changed, and I hope she wises up before she plunges her family back into that hell.

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11 Melissa B. November 17, 2009 at 1:06 am

Thanks for this post. It's always a good thing to raise our awareness about something as serious as domestic violence. Bravo for Mamasita!

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12 2cats November 17, 2009 at 1:42 am

I waited until the whole story was told before I left a comment. It broke my heart to hear of the abuse she suffered, but bless your heart for helping her through.

I think what needs to happen is for you to send her through the mail copies of what you remember from your phone conversations. As close to the actual words as you can remember. Send them by email also. Wait a bit for a response and if one isn't forthcoming send them again. Send her a copy of these posts and all of our responses. Send her the abuse hot line number in her area.
Finally if you don't hear anything from her there are two things to do. One, send her a note telling her that you will always be there for her. That you love her and will will help her when you can. Secondly, turn your worry for her over to God. He will take care of this and it is not for you to worry endlessly about.

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13 Gamma Sharon November 17, 2009 at 7:35 am

I agree with some of the comments about sending her these posts with the comments. And also with letting God handle this so that you arn't worrying endlessly. Your Mom is right, she has to look within and catch a glimpse of that light. It is so up to Sophia and I hope she truly thinks about her children first. (shaking my head) It is just soooo hard and sad!

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14 Christine November 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Come what may, Sophia is the Captain of her fate. She's in charge and whether or not you're along for the ride, she's the one that makes the choices in the direction she's going.
I'd say be there for her if and when she contacts you. Be true to yourself. If you agree or don't agree with her decision, whatever it is, let her know. That way your conscience will be clearer and she'll know where you stand.
I know it's hard, but sometimes we've just got to let go, for the sake of our own well-being.
I wish you peace in your decision.

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15 Mesina November 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I've just caught up on this story, since I was away with company.
Let me just say, you wrote it with such passion, my heart is breaking so much for Sophia. As I mentioned before, I have been the friend to someone who was abused. Although her husband managed to rip us apart before the abuse started. I had to walk away from her and told her my reasons, but I said if ever ever she needed me she knew my number. A few years later she called. He attempted to murder her.

Now facing lonliness again she struggles day in and day out to find a trustworthy partner. She craves the love that life has to offer and I stand by her supporting her choice in someone who won't abuse her. She is so strong in her desire for the right love and I can see how someone might be willing to give another chance to an abuser if they seem to have righted their wrongs. But don't be confused, I do not understand why they would consider another chance with such a monster. I can see because I have spoken, in length, with my friend and seen the results of what being abused can do to your self esteem, your desire to be loved, the lonliness, the terror, the nightmares the list goes on and on.

But one thing that I feel can get through to some women isn't emphasising what the men can do to them, because some are so willing to take that chance. It's reminding them what it's doing to their children. If she ever calls, remind her how scared her kids were of their Daddy. Ask her if she is leading them into healthy future relationships not only with future partners, but a healthy relationship to their own father. If leading by example is true, then she is showing them the lack of strength she has by allowing them to be put back into the home of an abuser and think it's ok. She could lose the respect of her children, who won't have a stable parent to turn to when they get older, who will lash out in thier own lives in whatever way they see fit. After all, who wants to take advice from someone who allows themselves to be beaten in the name of love? He never has to lay a single hand upon those children to abuse them. When you abuse a Mother, you abuse the whole family.

I hope so much, she sees there is no changing a man who hits, rapes and psychology abuses. Not like that.

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16 KK November 27, 2009 at 4:07 am

I saved these until I had time to sit down and read them all together. I don't know what I'd say. Obviously this is a horrible mistake, but how do you stop her? The part of me that wants to mother her, would tell you to call and check on her. But, would it change anything? You can call social services and ask for a well child check at any time. They will at least keep an eye on the kids.

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17 Jen @ After The Alter December 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm

wow what a story…before offering up my opinions..I wanted to say I had a similar situation with a friend who was staying with her husband who was on drugs…I was there for her..and although he kept going back to the drugs and treating her like crap she stuck by him…I tried to be there for her, but eventually you can only help someone so much. People are sometimes their own worst enemies! I feel that women sometimes talk to people who they think will tell them what they want to hear…now that Sophia is back with her horrible husband she doesn't want to hear from you that she made the wrong step…but you said the right thing in my opinion. And I don't think you can contact her. How can you watch this person destroy herself and her children…she may think having this man in her childrens life is the best thing but it's not…if she doesn't want to help herself then you can't help her anymore…it's so sad:(

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18 Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I got out of an abusive relationship and didn't go back. What helped me was focusing on how the abuse effected our kids; daughter = submissive, son = abusive. There was no way I could let our children think that was an appropriate way to have a relationship. Your friend has to make her own choices, just be there for her and hope she comes to her senses before it's too late-my friend was murdered.

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19 Danica-Dragonfly April 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Wow.
It's hard to imagine going back after breaking free. This is such a terrible story. I feel fear for Sophia. She's likely to end up dead at the hands of this man.

If this was someone that had confided in me, I would have a hard time not super imposing myself onto the situation. (Thus driving myself crazy)
This is a tough situation. She needs to stay away from him, but it will be difficult to save her from herself.

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20 Alice April 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I know of a very similar situation. The husband did not hit his wife, but he hit their kids when he was angry at her. He cussed them out incessantly. He was bitter and angry. He accused her of having an affair when it was HE who was having the affair. He told her and the children that he hated them – when all along it was HE who hated his own self.

Sometimes women WANT to leave. Sometimes they can't because they have realized that leaving will hurt the children more than it would if she stayed. Sound crazy? Maybe. But the times of outburst are far less than what she and the kids go through when the woman has grown a set of balls and moved out.

The children suffer because the abuser takes it out on them. He won't give her a divorce without dragging her and the kids through the mud. Even mediation fails. There is no money to retain a lawyer. It's just simpler to stay and be amicable as much as possible.

There is no love, there is no respect. It's just surviving. And it's a gray line. This type of abuser that I'm speaking of is only sneaky, underhanded, and nasty when he is not getting what he wants. Most of the time (NOW – not before), he's quiet. Sleeps often – it's his depression. She can't help him (or maybe 'won't' help him – she doesn't care anymore).

When the children are adults and can fend for themselves, she will leave. Until then, she lives *her* life to the fullest. She loves her children with her entire will. She knows in her heart that there will be peace … eventually. Patience – it will all happen in it's time.

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21 Three Owls May 30, 2010 at 5:31 am

What a powerful series of posts… I happened upon it from random clicks… I am currently waiting for the decision in a custody trial involving my two young daughters. I really appreciated your comments at the end about your mother and how her leaving had such a positive impact on you. I hope I can have that impact on my daughters as well and save them the pain that I went through. My heart goes out to Sophia, and I have gratitude for you and all of my friends who have taken the time and compassion to listen to my truth.

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22 sherri June 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Thank you for telling us this story. It's a difficult road to travel…this journey that Sophia is on is her own. She has brought you into it….But she will most likely not take any of your advice to heart. This is something she has to go through for whatever reason, and no matter how crazy that sounds. Some women can know no other love other than the abusive kind. In their minds, negative attention is love, just the same as positive attention. They are not able to break away from it…without any attention, they are not loved. I know how twisted that sounds. Maybe Sophia grew up in an abusive household? Maybe she witnessed abusive behavior as a child? Who knows…. the worst part about this entire story is that she is going to subject her children that she loves to more abuse. About the only thing you can do is look out for the children. I would call child protective services or something along those lines if I were in your shoes. There is not one thing you can do or say to help Sophia unfortunately…. so sad.

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23 Cottage Remnant June 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Whoa!!!
Sadly this is not a rare story.
My parents had a "hostile" for battered women when I was a teenager…. Heard some pretty sad stories as well….Statics say that an abused women will leave and return 8 times…

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24 misssrobin June 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I cannot answer those questions. For me, each instance is different. And I do not approach them with my mind. I pray and ask for God's guidance. I do everything I can to let Him lead me. He knows what they need. They are his children and he loves them, too.

But I cannot solve their problems either. They need to learn and grow. It is their life and they need to live it. I never try to force my ideas and/or choices onto anyone else.

You are the only one, besides God, who can know how you should handle it. You are the one in the situation. While you have told the story beautifully there are nuances and side stories that may change your path.

May God be with you.

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25 Gypsy July 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I agree with Teresha. "You can lead a horse to water. . ." Abused wives are a tricky buisness to get involved in. I would contact her to make sure she's doing ok. Although if she's not, she may lie to you to sListen to her, don't judge, but watch yourself. Don't get too involved. She's the only one who can make the changes she needs to make to benefit her life. If you try to force her to leave, she will only run to Mark faster. I say watch yourself because it's easy to become consumed in other people's problems and lose yourself in their mess. Just do what you have been doing by staying open as a friend and a sounding board if she needs it.

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26 Donna1264 July 10, 2010 at 5:02 am

Wow. Who would have ever guessed that Sophia would return to Mark? Certainly not me.

I was raped during my marriage to my first husband and ended up getting pregnant with my second daughter. Fortunately for me it was the only time he raped me.

After that I left his sorry ass high and dry without me or the kids. Actually, I left shortly after I discovered I was pregnant and returned to the safety of my parents home.

I was granted a divorce, had the baby and raised my daughters on my own.

If Sophia ever contacts you again, I would suggest that you be upfront and honest with her to the very end. She may not make it out alive this time, however.

Pray for her soul and for the souls of her children. Let them see that Mark is a bad example as a father and as a person in general. Let them know that he is not the 'norm'.

God Bless for sharing such a story. It can be life-altering and very eye-opening, indeed.

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27 Donda July 12, 2010 at 5:27 pm

You are a wonderful story teller. Although that was a horrific story, I was totally engrossed. I almost burned my girls lunch. I am not sure that I would tell Sophia anything different than what you already had but I would make it a point to give that husband a piece of my mind. I think abusers are allowed by their victims to continue to abuse but I also think it is much easier because even if people know about it they don't say anything for whatever reason. Once you have been called out for anything you start to watch yourself because you don't want to be that person that other people see. Make sense?

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28 Holly July 17, 2010 at 8:18 am

You tell this heart wrenching story so beautifully. I think how blessed I was to actually heed the right council when I did to get out of a bad relationship. 6 weeks after the I DO… And pregnant, of COURSE! Even for years after it was over I was afraid for my life if he were to come look for me. I was in weekly therapy for a whole year.

Now I find myself seeking the same advice with my younger sister. This guy TERRIFIES me and gets out of jail in September. He has threatened to kill her, holds her prisoner, he's very paranoid, he throws her into walls, punches her, kicks her, has held a knife to her, etc… She gets away from him and then goes suicidal… Either he's going to kill her or she's going to do it for him. I so do NOT want to see September come and the drama and emergency crisis begins again. I can't figure WHY she defends him and wants him BACK! So if the solution is found, please pass it along to me.

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29 Batman July 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I read this whole story straight through, as I am a new reader to your blog. Very painful. Speaking as a guy that would be confrontational to the guy in question, Mark, I can't expect you to do what I would do, so, I don't really have any good advice, however, I'm sure you know that for evil to flourish, the good simply do nothing.

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30 Melissa July 27, 2010 at 4:58 am

Some of what I say may be a repeat – I see you have lots of comments and honestly, I haven't read them all.

I was in a similar situation. The woman in my case was someone who worked for me on a temp assignment. When she was in a relationship she had nothing to do with me. Never returned phone calls or emails. (Unlike your friend, she was never married and even though she dated different men they were "all the same guy.")

When the abuse got to a certain level – or if the guy dumped her – she came running back to me and obsessively came to my house and called. I think the reason was because I gave it to her straight and she knew the advice I gave her was the right thing to do.

I haven't spoken to her in a few years. The last I heard she'd found a "new guy." My guess is that the abuse hasn't gotten too bad for her or hasn't started… yet.

I'm not going to call her because there's no point. In your friend's case, she has kids. If I were you I would try to contact her. You are perceptive enough to tell if the abuse has started again. If so, you might "threaten" (I hate to use that word!) to call Child Protective Services if need be. Tell her, is she willing to choose this guy over her kids?

She has lived successfully without this jerk for years and she can do it again. Remind her of that. Also, she probably needs to go back to therapy. Otherwise, she's just going to keep repeating the pattern.

I wish I could formulate my thoughts better and say something profound. My best advice is to pray for her. That's the best you can do for her.

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31 Sandy August 9, 2010 at 2:53 am

Hi Red,

I think you probably have done everything you can do. If she contacts you again give her the same advice you did before.
One thing that I think is important that I didn't see any of the other comments mention is that I would be VERY CAREFUL as to how you continue with advice. When a man has a temper and fits of rage he will want to take it out on someone, and you don't want him blaming you for them not getting back together. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be there for her the same as before, but I definitely would not email her your story on this, or anything that he could "find" along these lines that came from you. I would just keep that in mind.
You are a powerful woman RED, and a whole community is helped by all the different articles you write. You are a good person who did what you could, try to rest in that.
xoxo Sandy

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32 Michelle August 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Reading your post, I nearly felt myself suffocate in sadness. I just cannot imagine living in that nightmare. I've lived through some ugly times in my life but they were relatively short stints..thankfully. It's sobering to realize that there are so many people being abused on a daily basis… what a good reminder to us to be kind to those we come in contact with. Ours may be the only smile they see today. <3

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33 Shmonae August 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I have wanted to read this series of posts, but barely got to it. How sad. How frustrating. I had a friend that went through a hard time in her marriage that almost overtook my world. I am a compassionate person also which is a blessing and a curse. It was ok at first…at first meaning a full YEAR of listening to her vent. I tried to offer advice, ideas, councel, sympathy…on and on, until I realized it was not fair to me or my family. I cared more about helping her get out of a bad situation than my personal mental health. I had nightmares and was shorter with my kids because I was taking so much energy processing everything.
After much thought and debate *with myself and God* I decided that I needed to separate myself from her. I actually tried to be subtle and it didn't work. Finally I had to be very direct and tell her that I felt like I cared more to save her marriage than she did. *She was not being abused* and was the one straying. She was shocked and hurt but I learned to build boundaries. I had to, otherwise I would be living the pain of her decisions when I had nothing to do with them.
I hope you find a way to give enough to know you tried and then also know when to walk away and safegaurd your own happiness. By reading your posts, I would think you have. Hang in there! I understand…oh too well.
xoxo

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34 Avante Garde Parenting August 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Red, you wrote a beautiful and riveting series on a hugely important issue that isn't discussed enough. Thank you for writing this. I very much enjoyed reading it and I will put Sophia and her kids on my prayer list.

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35 By Word of Mouth August 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm

With such a sad heart do I respond to this post … how eloquent you are and what a dear friend. People cross our paths for many reasons, and your part in her life at least made her take that fork in the road. You made her seek knowledge and you made her believe in herself … you alone it seems helped her make that change.
I am so happy that you are my new found friend here in the blogosphere.

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36 jan September 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I love the post by your mom. What a very very special woman she is & what a special daughter she raised. I came to your blog to enter a contest & now I know I'll be reading here daily. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. That said, I would call your friend & just let her know that if she ever needs you, you'll be there. She's making a horrible decision. It would be bad enough if it were just her involved, but to put her children in that situation is just wrong, IMO. He WILL abuse her again, guaranteed. They do NOT change, ever. My heart breaks for her and even more for her children, & if she's back with him, I fear this will have a very bad ending 🙁 sammiejanL40 at aol dot com

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37 Doreen Lombardo September 18, 2010 at 1:06 am

Reading this story made me angry. How dare "Mark" treat someone in such a manner. Why on earth would "Sophia" take it? How and why are people like "Sophia" so weak. What was lacking in their upbringing that made them that way?

I can't understand, personally, how someone else could make you feel inferior. Had "Mark" told me his reason for having an affair was because I wasn't good enough my response to him would have been SCREW YOU A$$HOLE. No one can make you feel badly about yourself without your permission. I've never given anyone permission.

It angers me that "Sophia" isn't strong enough to stand up to this nut, to stay away from this nut. If she's lonely, well, date. There's other men out there, plenty of them. She does not need "Mark" a low-life, abusive, no good, cheating, lying, dirtbag to fill anything. He offers nothing, nothing at all.

I think the problem is two-fold. "Mark" has issues, granted. However, so does "Sophia."

My ex tried to threaten me. Let's just say, I don't take kindly to threats. He told me if I left him he'd kill my father. I laughed in his face. He told me I'd never see my kids again if I didn't come back to him. Pssst. Let's just say it's HIM that doesn't see the kids.

My ex has a record for hitting women. He's been arrested for hitting a woman in a public park (done in front of my kids) and for hitting his current wife. He has a record for coming to my parent's house and bashing in my mom's front door. Lovely man (I use that term lightly) isn't he.

Sadly, only "Sophia" can help herself. You made the right suggestion, that she go back to therapy. If she refuses and she willingly takes him back, there's nothing anyone can do. It makes me mad as hell that she's going that route and I would love to shake some sense into her (just an expression) and get her to wake up and smell the coffee.

I feel horrible for the children. They will suffer and sadly, they too will be weak and/or abusive. Most abusers are generally weak people. They are weak emotionally, lack confidence, lack people skills, lack social skills, and generally aren't very functional human beings. They put on a good show, but for those who truly know them, it's evident they just can't handle life. They also are often intimidated by those who are strong, confident, truly successful, socially capable and well liked. Abusive men are often book smart, but lack common sense. They are often successful as far as capable of earning, but are clueless about everyday life.

"Sophia" needs to get her act together. She needs to help herself and her children. Sadly, it just doesn't look like she will.

Stories like this make me thank and love my parents more and more. They raised strong, confident children. Had they not, I would have been a victim as well.

I too raised strong, confident children.

I only wished "Mark" would have gotten what he deserved. A good long jail sentence for abuse, rape and adultry.

Your story of the cheaters you deal with on your job angered me also. What nerve people have.

If one isn't happy, simply leave. Why have an affair, lie and destroy families. I just don't get it. I guess I never will.

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38 Doreen Lombardo September 18, 2010 at 1:06 am

Reading this story made me angry. How dare "Mark" treat someone in such a manner. Why on earth would "Sophia" take it? How and why are people like "Sophia" so weak. What was lacking in their upbringing that made them that way?

I can't understand, personally, how someone else could make you feel inferior. Had "Mark" told me his reason for having an affair was because I wasn't good enough my response to him would have been SCREW YOU A$$HOLE. No one can make you feel badly about yourself without your permission. I've never given anyone permission.

It angers me that "Sophia" isn't strong enough to stand up to this nut, to stay away from this nut. If she's lonely, well, date. There's other men out there, plenty of them. She does not need "Mark" a low-life, abusive, no good, cheating, lying, dirtbag to fill anything. He offers nothing, nothing at all.

I think the problem is two-fold. "Mark" has issues, granted. However, so does "Sophia."

My ex tried to threaten me. Let's just say, I don't take kindly to threats. He told me if I left him he'd kill my father. I laughed in his face. He told me I'd never see my kids again if I didn't come back to him. Pssst. Let's just say it's HIM that doesn't see the kids.

My ex has a record for hitting women. He's been arrested for hitting a woman in a public park (done in front of my kids) and for hitting his current wife. He has a record for coming to my parent's house and bashing in my mom's front door. Lovely man (I use that term lightly) isn't he.

Sadly, only "Sophia" can help herself. You made the right suggestion, that she go back to therapy. If she refuses and she willingly takes him back, there's nothing anyone can do. It makes me mad as hell that she's going that route and I would love to shake some sense into her (just an expression) and get her to wake up and smell the coffee.

I feel horrible for the children. They will suffer and sadly, they too will be weak and/or abusive. Most abusers are generally weak people. They are weak emotionally, lack confidence, lack people skills, lack social skills, and generally aren't very functional human beings. They put on a good show, but for those who truly know them, it's evident they just can't handle life. They also are often intimidated by those who are strong, confident, truly successful, socially capable and well liked. Abusive men are often book smart, but lack common sense. They are often successful as far as capable of earning, but are clueless about everyday life.

"Sophia" needs to get her act together. She needs to help herself and her children. Sadly, it just doesn't look like she will.

Stories like this make me thank and love my parents more and more. They raised strong, confident children. Had they not, I would have been a victim as well.

I too raised strong, confident children.

I only wished "Mark" would have gotten what he deserved. A good long jail sentence for abuse, rape and adultry.

Your story of the cheaters you deal with on your job angered me also. What nerve people have.

If one isn't happy, simply leave. Why have an affair, lie and destroy families. I just don't get it. I guess I never will.

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39 Paula October 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Red, I didnt read all the replies. I do however very much second what your Mother stated: ensure Sophia knows that you are here for her – when that is what you want – and leave it at this. Only one person in the world can help Sophia and that is herself. I know it from experiene if you havent suffered enough, you will not stop doing the same thing over and over again. Have been there – NEVER AGAIN. I am truly blessed that Skip is a caring, warmhearted man which deeply loves me. I will keep Sophia in my thoughts!

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40 Helena October 14, 2010 at 3:34 am

Wow! I am shaking from reading all the posts tonight. Sometimes we, as women, are more afraid of being totally alone than we are of abuse, neglect and hardship. I don't think anyone can ever judge a woman going thru such things. It's just so terrifying and when someone's confidence and strength is so destroyed, it is very hard to make the right call. It may be just too overwhelming to go from being brutalized, yet provided for somewhat, and then out into the streets to fend for oneself.

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41 Michelle December 4, 2010 at 6:09 am

My heart aches for your friend. But there is nothing you can do, if her mind is made up. You can tell her over and over again she is making a bad decision and she will still do it.

The only advice I can give you is to continue to be her friend. Just call her and talk to her, clearly she trusts you because she opened up to you. So be there for her and continue to empower her!

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42 Suzanne McClendon May 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

My heart is so full right now, with things that I can't write about here…

Please know that I am praying for your friend and for you. This isn't an easy road for either of you…for any of us.

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43 Jules June 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Just found this post (these posts). Still crying – and angry; having been there, perhaps I relate a little to closely to Sophia.

Thank you for sharing her story.

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