A friend.

An abused wife.

abused womanThere are friends at work, friends at church, friends in the neighborhood, friends at school, and the friends that don’t fit in any category. Most of the time, none of the friends in the different groups meet each other. At least, that is how it is in my life..

In the small category of “friends that don’t fit in any category” is a woman that is kind, loving, intelligent, serves her family, and doesn’t blog, read my blog or know any of my other friends. I know that if she did read my blog, she would not be offended and would hope that it helped someone somewhere. Even though none of my family or friends would know her if I used her real name, I am just going to call her Sophia.

In a beautiful home in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of town, Sophia lives with her husband, three children and a little dog name Rosco. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Mark, for eleven years and they have been blessed with three children: Jacob, 10; Meredith 8; Jeremy 6 (all the names have been changed).

Sophia is a beautiful woman and I find her to be very intelligent, quite witty and enjoy long conversations with her. She has many friends, but no one really close until one day when she opened her heart to bear her soul to me.

depressed abused womanI have that affect on people and I don’t know why. I do wear my emotions on my sleeve most of the time or when I think it is concealed, it shows in my eyes. I just am not that great at hiding my feelings. Sometimes friends and sometimes perfect strangers tell me things that they don’t intend to tell me, but once it is out in the open, they don’t quit talking. Often it is very personal information, which leads to lots of tissues being used by them and me. I cry too easily too. When I was young and people started this “tell all” I didn’t know how to react, but as I have grown older, I have learned to listen and show compassion. I hope I have also been able to impart wisdom from time to time. I think this has molded me into a better friend and person. I often think that if “this were my daughter” I would want someone to listen to her.

While talking one day, Sophia tells me that her husband has a violent temper. This immediately makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I guess I fear a man’s physical strength and I have seen the damage that it can do to a woman’s body. Strong men with hard fists scare me. Not wanting to pry, I simply say, “Oh.”

“He didn’t used to have such a bad temper,” Sophia said almost trying to lead the conversation to a topic she found unpleasant.

What followed was a long pause because I did not want to encourage her to talk about it. I remember selfishly thinking, “I have enough on my own plate.”

When the pause actually became uncomfortable to me and guilt set in, I finally responded softly, “Do you want to talk about it.”

I knew she was going to spill her guts and I tried to brace myself for the onslaught of emotions that I was sure would take over my rational thinking. I become involved from the first moment and I pour so much of myself into helping someone that it is often hard to let go. I keep working on this aspect of my personality.

Sophia opened the flood gates and began telling me her story.


“A beast does not know
that he is a beast,
and the nearer a man gets
to being a beast,
the less he knows it.”

~George McDonald~

I don’t want to give you a novel to read in one post, so I will try to catch you up to the present over several posts that you can read and digest rather than dumping it all in your lap. Hopefully the story of Sophia can help other women who suffer the same agonies of an unhappy life. Please feel free to give your opinion and advice because I am often at a loss for words yet my heart aches because of her sadness.

Are you a good listener or do you run before the conversation gets tough?

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)


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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.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gamma Sharon November 9, 2009 at 4:41 am

I tend to have that same effect on people as well… kind of went with my job, I was a manicurist for 25 years. My husband use to call me the counselor.
This is a very sensitive situation and it depends on Sophia's belief system. I, on the other hand, would not put up with a man physically or mentally hurting me and I am a Christian that would have to do a lot of praying and I still don't think I would stick around. But I have never been in that situation sooo… I have known a lot of woman including family who have been and I have helped quite a few get away from that type of situation but in the end it has to be them that makes the decision. Even my daughter was in a very abusive marriage and it took her 4 years to see it. She just kept trying to make it work.
Sounds awful to say it like this but I am looking forward to your next post.


2 bluecottonmemory November 9, 2009 at 5:20 am

I can be a good listener if I can keep my mouth shut long enough! However, I don't ever run from a conversation! BTW, I really like how you have set up your blog and the other bloggy areas. It's much easier to maneuver. I would also put a button up, but I cannot really find it. You give directions, but I cannot find the place to cut and past. I am a technically channged blonde who doesn't give up and asks the stupid question, so please be compassoinate!


3 Teresha@Marlie and Me November 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

Bless your heart for being a sounding board for your neighbor. we all need a sympathetic ear.


4 Pam November 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I tend to be a good listener I guess. Lots of people open up to me. It's wonderful that you are there for your neighbor.


5 Tammy Howard November 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

My heart hurts for her already.


6 Judy Harper November 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm

People tend to call me to talk about themselves. Or,like you, shall secrets. Usually, I listen, but, as I said on my blog just lately, I want to sing Toby Keith's song, "We talk about you, you, you but sometimes I want to talk about me,me,me!"
But I don't. My daughter had a verbally abusive husband. As far as I know, he never physically harmed her. Thankfully, they're no longer married. But it took forever for her to leave. I feel for Sophia.


7 WhiteSockGirl November 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Sounds too familiar. I have a friend who managed to escape the violent claws of her ex lover. I feared for her life, but all I could do was listen to her, be there for her. Cause I have learned that the best I can do is to shut up, listen and don't force my believes down her throat. Cause that is not want she needed at the time, she needed me to be there for her, not judge her,… or to make decisions for her.
And yes, I am a great listener.


8 McVal November 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

I guess I'm a listener. I found myself in that same situation a few years ago with the mother of some friends of my kids. He was violent and scary. Since then, she has successfully removed herself and her two younger kids from him permanently and they live about an hour or so away now.
At the beginning, she told me everything and had my home be the place where she could see her kids, as she had to have supervised visits at the time. It was a twisted horrible situation. She's much stronger now and happy.


9 The Blonde Duck November 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I have to keep my mouth shut, or else all sorts of commands and lectures come out. I just want to fix people!


10 Nancy Campbell November 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm

I am a listener as well, and I understand that feeling you expressed so well. When you're about to hear a story like this, it feels like you're at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and there's only one way out—the hard, challenging road ahead. You can do it, but you know it's going to be grueling.


11 Yaya November 9, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Oh dear. I know what you mean. I tend to be one of those people who random strangers even open up to me about random life issues. Bizarre.

I feel for your friend. My ex boyfriend was physically and emotionally abusive and it is a vicious cycle that is near impossible to get out of unless you have at least one person there to unconditionally support you. Please be aware before you embark if this is something you are able to take on in your life…


12 Lolli November 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm

That is so tough. Yes, I am a good listener, too, and people do often tell me things. A friend of mine recently told me about her husband's affairs. What a rotten place to be in!


13 2 Toddlers and Me November 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I feel so bad for your friend. Hopefully the story has a happy ending. Truthfully, I need to work on my listening skills. I always catch myself thinking about my reply before the speaker is done talking.


14 Carla B. Reeves November 10, 2009 at 3:10 am

Hello Redhead,
You are a very good listener and teller of the story in a kind and compassionate way. I have learned to become a good listener and like you people do tell me amazing things. I'm a Realtor and think that because I spend so much time with people in an emotionally charged situation perhaps they feel it's ok. I do want to try and fix things which isn't a good idea. I was married to an abuser for 11 months in my early 20's, but wouldn't put up with it, so I just left. Consequently I have a difficult time with people who just stay in situations like this.
Keep us posted…


15 Life with Kaishon November 10, 2009 at 3:35 am

I think I am a good listener. Sometimes I look at my friends and realize we haven't talked in such a long time about anything of substance. We are always dropping the kids off at each others houses or dashing in and out and we just don't take the time to talk and listen. I miss that.


16 Opus #6 November 10, 2009 at 4:54 am

Good listeners are a gift from God. I am sure you are a blessing to Sophia's life. I am in tears for her already. I hate to imagine what is coming. But you would not have posted this unless the story was significant.

You are correct, though, that telling the story of domestic violence will help the world in some way. Pulling the veil off of this issue empowers women who may be present or future victims to find the strength to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

I hope your mother can keep this in mind and be strong for you. I really can't think of many more important topics to blog about than this.


17 2cats November 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

I am a listener and people often open up to me however, in this case I would have to contain my anger. I listen but at the same time I would want to take action.
I had a boyfriend throw me across the room. I picked myself up and walked out the door. I was determined to leave, but I was 2,000 miles from home. I went to a friends until our other roommates got home and only then did I go home. I got a plane ticket as quickly as possible and never looked back. I figured that if he was doing that sort of thing early in the relationship it was only going to get worse.


18 Danica-Dragonfly April 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Hmm. I seem to be a similar personality. People tell me things. I get entirely too emotionally vested in the problems of others … wanting to help – fearing I won't be successful.

It's a big reason I have withdrawn myself so much socially.


19 Joyce May 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Yeah, I have that affect too – Usually though, whatever it is that one shares, I have lived through it. I am willing and able to be open – so hopefully it is a good thing when people share with me.
I am a survivor.


20 Pink Party Girl... May 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I like to talk AND listen! Funny thing, however because I seem to get the same reaction from people – they come to me with their stories, problems, etc. to share, and never think twice about it….
It must be because i'm also a REDHEAD! 🙂


21 misssrobin June 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I have been the giver and receiver in these areas, although sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the two.

It is a special gift that you or anyone who listens without judgment gives to a person who is struggling. I believe my own struggles have helped me to be a better listener.

It is also a great responsibility to carry these stories with you. It seems like you understand this and meet this responsibility well.

God bless you each time you listen to someone to know what to say and when to be quiet.


22 Curiosity August 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

A man once told me upon meeting, that he was a beast.. I took that comment lightly and later lived to regret it! I believe men know they are beasts, but to them it is the norm and they are nonchalant about it. They are indifferent to those who are civil and humane.


23 MaryB September 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

People seem to bear their souls to me as well. It can be a heavy burden and also a great blessing.


24 jan September 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I'm a good listener, and like you, I think it's because I wear my heart on my sleeve and am very open & honest. I am interested in continuing to read this series of posts, because I was married to an abusive man at one horrible point in my life. By the grace of God, I got out of it and have now been married for the second time for 27 wonderful years. sammiejanL40 at aol dot com


25 Small Footprints September 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm

For many years, I experienced the same thing … people coming to me, almost searching me out, to talk. I hated it and thought of it as such a burden. Until one day when I realized that I had something to share with them … something that would help. At that point, I just accepted it. The funny thing is, I think it was all part of my own healing. The subject of these talks was always the same … something which I had suffered through and which was hard to accept in my own life. When I healed, people no longer came to me for support. So … was our meeting really for them, as I had thought, or for me. Maybe both!


26 Jen October 2, 2010 at 2:30 am

I am ashamed to admit that many times when a friend was telling me something traumatic, I was so afraid of how it would affect me emotionally that I would not encourage her to talk about it and would hope it would be one of those things she didn't really mean to mention … but after I think about what my friend is going through, I realize how incredibly selfish it is for me to think of myself and not her. I ask for forgiveness from God and I give her my ear for as long as she needs it.


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~William E. Rothschild~

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