|Beaten Wife Syndrome
I have a friend whose husband beat her up pretty badly. I offered to take my
aluminum baseball bat and go have a chat with her husband. That seemed a little
drastic to her. So she decided she'd look into counseling.
She got the yellow pages and found a family counseling firm called Streisand, Sarandon and Sheen. We figured that hey, with a fancy and alliterative name like that, they've got to know what they're talking about.
She sat down in the first session with the "experts" and told her story. She asked what she should do. Their first reaction was, "Why do anything? Hey, I know wife beaters that are worse."
She just sat there. They said "Why don't you just give him another chance? There's got to be a way to appease this guy."
She explained that she'd given him lots and lots of chances. For quite some time now he had been getting more and more devious and more threatening. She'd warned him many times that he should try to live up to his commitments. But he simply wasn't changing his behavior. Occasionally he'd make a token gesture, but there was never any indication that he had any intention of making any substantive change. She thought it was time to take drastic action.
They said, "So youíre going to divorce him for the money."
Oh, no, she said, I donít need his money. In fact, I have more education and more ability to earn than he does. Itís not for the money at all, how could you even think that? He beat me up! Can't you see what he did to me?
But the counselors began to chant ďNo divorce for money. No divorce for money.Ē It was surreal.
Listen, she said, my friend (thatís me) offered to go in with a baseball bat and make sure the guy doesnít bother me any more.
"Your friend sounds he has some violence issues."
Oh, no, she said, Heís the most gentle and peace-loving person youíll ever meet.
"Yeah," scoffed one, "With a gentle and peace-loving baseball bat." Then the counselors exchanged high fives. The gal that said it chuckled at her cleverness. "Iím all, like, 'Yeah, with a gentle baseball bat.' "
Well, my friend (that's me) says that living under a bully is not living in peace.
"Listen, dear, what did you do to provoke this guy?"
My friend just sat there, puzzled. What? I mean . . . what did I do?
"Oh, you must have done something. Maybe if you find out what you're doing wrong, you can change and he'll leave you alone."
I didn't do anything to provoke him. He just loses control; he gets unreasonable. What could I do that would justify what he's done to me?
"You must have done something wrong. How do you know he'll do it again?"
He's planning to do it again, I know he is.
"Now, Dear, you don't know that."
I do know! I have evidence. Do you want to see the evidence?
They didn't want to see the evidence.
"If you try to stop him from beating you, you'll just give him more cause to attack you. You can't go this alone. You can't win."
My friend said she wasn't going it alone. The police were on her side. The law was on her side. All her friends and neighbors agreed she had to do something and they were going to support her. She pointed out that the group of counselors were the only ones that didn't think she should take action.
"A divorce is painful, getting the police involved is very unpleasant. Do you like unpleasantness in your life?
I don't, I mean . . . So you think I should just do nothing?
So my friend came away from the session somewhat less than satisfied. I trust that she has the good sense to ignore the absurd advice of the counselors and take care of her problem.