Friday, May 04, 2007

How Not To Murder Your Wife


The owner of a manicure shop next to the launderette I patronize was murdered a week ago Sunday. Mai Banh was found dead in her workplace, where she spent 10 hours a day, six days a week, so she could give her children a better life. Her two sons, ages 4 and 8, were placed in the custody of Child Protective Services after her estranged husband admitted to bludgeoning her to death. He had reported her missing, although they no longer shared a home, and was also the one who "found" her body. Jeff Nguyen led police to her shop at 10 p.m. on April 15th, telling them he had found her dead on the floor. The victim's uncle had also arrived and was sobbing uncontrollably while her husband acted as if nothing had happened. Suspicions aroused, the police recovered his wife's wallet and jewelry from his garage. His vehicle also yielded evidence of his involvement in the crime. He is being held on one count of murder.

I hope their children have relatives who will raise them and love them so they don't have to be farmed out to strangers as they have now lost both their parents. It's impossible to understand why someone would murder his spouse, the mother of his children. The end of a marriage should not mean the end of life for one of the partners. Nobody has the right to determine when another's life ends. How hard a concept is that to master?

Years ago, I managed a domestic violence shelter in North Carolina. It was my job to counsel the clients as well as to keep the building running. The hours were long, and I often had a police escort home after midnight because of death threats. Some men were displeased that I stood between them and their human punching bags.

The officer would follow me home and check out my house for intruders before allowing me to enter. Since I lived on a remote dirt road in the country, it would have been easy to attack me after he left, but we went through the charade anyway. It made him feel safer.

To work in the domestic violence field is to have your heart broken every day. One of my clients was a woman whose two daughters, ages 11 and 13, had watched their father string her up above a wood stove and beat the bottoms of her feet with a hose, then burn her breasts with a blow torch. He raped her with a bottle while they screamed for their mother. The rope broke and she fell onto the stove, where he left her. A relative brought her to me. Most of our counseling sessions concerned her intense feelings of guilt because it was her fault he'd been arrested. His whole family was mad at her.

I tried to make her understand that she didn't deserve to be abused, and she finally agreed to be relocated to another state with her children. A month later, she left the shelter I had sent her to, bailed her husband out, dropped all charges, and returned to domestic bliss with him. He murdered her that night.

Another client I still remember was cute, blond and pudgy, a young Natalie Maines look-alike. She arrived at the shelter on Christmas Eve with three small daughters, a diaper bag, and a large plastic shopping bag filled with wrapped presents. She asked if I had any band-aids because "Stretch marks bleed if you get hit on them."

My eyes filled with tears, and I looked down at the toddler in my lap. "Cindy, I have to ask if you have any drugs or weapons with you," I said. She shifted the baby slightly and dug into her shopping bag. She extracted a package wrapped in bright green paper with Santa Claus hugging Rudolph all over it, carefully removed the paper and handed me a .38 Special. "It was the only way I could get it out of the house," she giggled. "It's my husband's. I was afraid he'd shoot me if I didn't take it."

When I took her and the children to their room, she proudly showed me a tattoo on her butt of Garfield raising a beer stein. It said "BOTTOMS UP" in large letters under the picture. Later that night, I called the police because her husband climbed onto the roof while his mother and two brothers stood in the street hurling rocks at our windows.

Another client asked me if I had ever been beaten by a man. I told her that I hadn't. She regarded me with pity, her big, dark eyes filled with sadness. "But you're so sweet and beautiful," she said. "I can't believe that no man has ever loved you enough to beat you."

64 comments:

EsLocura said...

What an intense post. I once worked in a mental health clinic, where one of my patients was an abused woman with a 3 month old baby, her husband, followed her to one of her sessions with me and held us captive in my office, police, guns, it was ugly and he was shot. it's too long a story to post in full. I guess my only point it that the dynamics of the abused and the abuser are earth shattering in a multitude of way/levels.

Bob said...

it is utterly beyond my comprehension how these men can do this to someone who they supposedly love, someone who loves them. I also cannot comprehend how these women stay in these relationships, how they come to believe that the violence is an expression of affection and that they are deserving of it.

I just can't imagine feeling either way.

I admire that you helped these women, I don't know if I could survive such a job with any hope for the future of humankind.

Christina_the_wench said...

Wow. Heart, you have always be admired by me, but this just tops it. I can't imagine what you went through, much less what the women that you treated went through.

My ex was physically abusive and I stayed too long as well. The 9mm to my head was the clincher. I was lucky.

I pray these women are still alive to watch their children grow up. It is sad they see life like the last client you mentioned. Very sad.

Have a blessed weekend, Heart.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for sharing these dark stories. We all need to be aware and to understand that these things are happening. More of us should be willing to do something about it.

It must have been difficult if not horrific doing that job but it must have meant the world to some of these women.

Pendullum said...

So very very sad...

furiousBall said...

This is one of those tales of perspective that make me realize that life isn't that bad. Despite going through a divorce right now, we all still love each other and physical stuff never was an issue. It's not the same for everyone.

There is no weaker man than one that strikes a woman - a lesson I want my son and daughter to both understand.

La Cubana Gringa said...

It's a psychological sickness these women who are beaten tend to have...they stick with the men that beat them because they think that when times are good, they're really good. So much so, that they sometimes provoke arguments so that they can just get the beating over with. It's insane! Sadly, I see it all the time. I'm just glad there are shelters out there, like the one you worked at, to help these women...even if it takes a while to convince these women they deserve better.

Odat said...

Bless you for helping these women in need. I'm sure this is just one aspect of your life that has given you the wisdom that you gladly share with us now.
Peace

QT said...

This gave me goose bumps. My ex was very verbally abusive. The day he held a knife to my throat and told me he would slash my face if I tried to leave him was the day I realized there was no way I could help him and live a normal life.

I also feel that I was incredibly lucky to get out of that situation only emotionally damaged, not physically. The scars don't go away very easily in either case.

seventh sister said...

I was in a somewhat abusive relationship for a long time. Nothing as violent as the ones you describe but enough so that I was not comfortable getting out of it until I was able to put a lot of miles between him and me. I have a vague understanding of the dynamics of these realstionships. If the victim does not grow out of the victim consciousnes, there is not a lot that can be done to get her out of the situation.

monicker said...

The last line of your post absolutely floored me. I sometimes forget how lucky I am - no one's ever hit me but once; fortunately, it was the last time.

meno said...

Your last quote actually makes me nauseous. I just don't understand. I don't.

In the end, the mentality behind that quote explains a lot.

Sad.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Eslocura,

Wow. What a terrifying incident you experienced.

I'm so very glad that you were not shot. It could easily have gone another way.

Bob,

It is truly one of the more horrible ways a person can be wounded. So much damage must be present for anyone to believe that violence means caring.

All the comments this post has received would give me hope for the future of humankind, even if I didn't have any before.

Christina,

I had no idea that you had been in such a dreadful situation. We are all blessed that you are still with us.

I hope your ex doesn't get to see your daughters.

In leaving, you not only saved your own life, but theirs as well. Children often repeat the behaviors of their parents, and if you had stayed with him, they might have assumed that abuse was part of love. Thankfully, you gave them a strong role model.

Squirrel,

It was gratifying to be able to help when I could, and devastating when I could not.

The average abused woman goes back for more 8 times, and the abuse escalates every time.

Some women are more afraid of leaving than of remaining in a situation that while horrible, is familiar. (Pun intended.)

Pendullum,

It is. I cannot believe that anyone's life is meant to end like that.

Furious,

I love you for saying that you want both your son and daughter to understand that abuse is wrong.

I thought that you and your wife had worked things out. I'm so sorry. If the love remains even through whatever difficulties there are, it seems as if there must still be hope.

You and your family have my warmest wishes.

La Cubana,

Abused women are usually the daughters of same, or have otherwise been so damaged in childhood that they lack self esteem. Such women magnetically attract abusive men. It's a particularly grim kind of symbiosis.

People don't change until they are ready, though. The desire has to come from within themselves, and all the well-meaning friends, family and professionals in the world cannot do it for them.

Odat,

I learned a lot there about human behavior, and also came to understand myself better.

I had been in many abusive relationships, but because I was not beaten, did not recognize it as abuse.

Psychological abuse is the hardest to escape because a woman's best qualities of loving and forgiving are turned against her. She is constantly made to excuse unacceptable behavior to prove that she is a good and loving person.

Girls with damaged self esteem are too susceptible to such relationships. It begins in their families. Girls must be taught from birth that they are worthy and valuable. If they are not, they will struggle terribly as adults, and some won't make it.

Qt,

Thankfully, you got out. Scars can be dealt with as long as you're alive to do so.

Sometimes it takes a dramatic gesture like that to make us realize that something is really wrong.

Sadly, this afflicts highly intelligent women as often as those who are less so because it's an emotional issue. People don't always realize that abused women are not stupid, they are severely damaged.

I'm so glad that you're in a better place now. I am, too.

Seventh,

Distance is very helpful. I was in a scary relationship, too. He followed me to several states I moved to, and I had screaming nightmares about him for many years even after I married Flip. The thought of him still scares me.

He performed demonstrations of violence regularly to show me what he could do.

Whenever I hear of a murder, I wonder if he did it.

Monicker,

It floored me, too, when she said it. It explained a lot about where to begin working with her. Until then, I was making certain assumptions because it had never dawned on me that anyone could believe that.

Meno,

It was and still is shocking to me. And I'm sorry I made you nauseous. I hate it when people read my posts and vomit.

The next one, whatever it is, will be more cheerful, I promise.

Jocelyn said...

I have not words.

You are amazing.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jocelyn,

Thank you for reading it. I always appreciate seeing your face and name in my comments.

Josie said...

I can't imagine the horror of being a child and watching abuse like that happening to your mother. I must admit I felt a bit sick to my stomach after reading that as well. You must be a very strong person to have helped these poor women and their children. Were there no repercussions for the men who did these things?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Josie,

Not nearly often enough because abused women are especially quick to forgive, and their abusers count on that.

It's very hard to convince someone that she is not responsible for his appalling behavior. Far too many women are conditioned from childhood to feel guilty about everything. I'm convinced that it starts there, which is why reclaiming such a person is usually a lengthy and difficult process.

It's just terribly sad.

flutter said...

Isn't it amazing, that in some way we tell our little girls that a man only loves you if he beats the crap out of you?
I don't understand, I just don't and it breaks my heart that people live like this, just breaks my heart.

Cece said...

My mom worked w/a man who killed his wife AND an off duty police officer, who was a friend of their family & was walking her home as protection from him.

She went to get a restraining order against him & the PD wasn't much help so she left mad & w/o the order. She was killed that weekend.

Molly said...

Oh my God. And to think that I bitch about my lovely husband...you must have intestinal fortitude to spare, and a loving, compassionate heart. Which I knew, of course, from reading your posts.

My Reflecting Pool said...

Today my hearts breaks with yours. These stories are everywhere all the time. I give you loads of credit, it takes a strong person not to lose themselves in it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Flutter,

I cannot believe that any mother would deliberately give her daughter such bad information. Unfortunately, kids go by what they see at least as much as what they're told.

Cece,

The trouble with restraining orders is that they are mostly ineffective if someone is truly determined to hurt someone else.

And the police won't do anything until you have already been hurt, even if they would like to, so that avenue of help is often closed.

How horrible for your mother that this happened to people she knew.

Molly,

I think that most people are compassionate. They just don't know what to do.

Now go and give your lovely husband a kiss, and I'll do the same with mine.

Reflecting,

The rate of burnout, not surprisingly, is very high in that field.

I lasted longer than most, and left because the director, who had no contact with the clients but specialized in appealing for grants, fired me because I was "too personally invested in the clients, and therefore not professional enough."

I think her feelings were hurt because repeat visitors to the shelter who called to let us know they were coming in asked for me. She thought that I had made them "dependent" on me, but she was wrong. They just knew that they could depend on me to care.

OK, venting over.

Parlancheq said...

As usual you have a way with words that makes an already powerful tale even more so. Thanks for putting the story out there for others to read.

For those who don't understand why women stay in abusive relationships... Leaving can be much harder and much more dangerous than it may seem. When I made it clear the relationship with my abusive hubby was over, the violence spun COMPLETELY out of control (many times worse than it ever was when we were together). I tried the whole restraining order route to no avail and finally had to leave EVERYTHING, move half way across the country, and live without leaving a trail (harder than it sounds) for a year to get 'free.' After awhile I stopped looking over my shoulder all the time, but I still wouldn't be entirely surprised to be 'found' at some point. Abusers don't give up easily.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Parlancheq,

I know that your grisly story is so much worse, even, than you've stated. Words can only go so far.

You are dead-on that leaving is often harder than staying. A lot of women get murdered AFTER leaving an abusive partner whose philosophy seems to run along the lines of "If I can't have you, nobody will."

I moved to several different states to get away from someone who followed me to all of them. I had children; it was impossible to leave no trail. I do hope so much that you are truly safe now.

Since you had to break all ties, I'm guessing there is no way to find out what he is up to now. If he has found someone new to abuse, he will have lost interest in finding you. It's an awful thing to wish on someone else, but sometimes, that's all we can do.

Please be careful.

I am not Star Jones said...

"But you're so sweet and beautiful," she said. "I can't believe that no man has ever loved you enough to beat you."

damn.

I wonder how many women are going to bed believing that tonight.

Thank goodness for you. I wouldn't have had the patience to live through this type of suffering.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Star,

That line made me realize that I was dealing with a thought process more bizarre than anything I had ever known before.

I wonder how many, too. Certainly many more than I would ever guess if I hadn't worked with them.

It was quite hard to do, but I learned things that I also needed to know. Nothing is ever all one-sided.

Michael C said...

You can't understand how sad I am after reading this. At the same time, I have the deepest respect for you and the job you did as well as the women who have or are dealing with this.

It is so hard for me to understand anyone ever wanting to strike their spouse or inflict any mental anguish on someone they say that they love.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Michael,

I do not understand any kind of family violence, including spanking children. It it terribly wrong to hurt a "loved one" physically or emotionally, and proves only that there is no love, just control issues or worse.

Sienna said...

I think you have a heart (and wisdom) as big as San Francisco.

I appreciate and am thankful for your postblog Hearts, that you and these other wonderful people who have came into comment and care about people in the world and their plight(s).

Domestic violence is a terrifying thing to experience, and a horrifying way to live.

I have something that may part explain why a victim may stay in such an enviroment Bob:

If I may Hearts...I'm sorry I'm not certain where this part-there-of-explanation has come from, I copied it from an acquaintance:

People will undoubtly say, "get help, there is support out there"...and therefore shift the blame to the victim because they choose to "not get help".

The fact is that many men and women who are abused when young are unable to be "fixed".

Each have developed ways to respond to situations, repeating learned behaviours designed originally to help them cope, which in the end leads to enslavement.

There are many cases of abuse that are never reported. Sometimes loving relationships fall apart because this abuse is never uncovered, the victims so ashamed that they cannot even share their experience(s) with the one they love.

Afraid they will be rejected they turn away from loving partners because they feel "unworthy" of receiving love.

They stay within abusive relationships not because of freedom of choice, but because this relationship feels "right" for them, they do not deserve better, and if offered better, reject it because it does not match their self perception.

An inaccurate perception.
This is the problem.

Abuse victims are like any other person who is enslaved.

They don't know they need help...even though to everyone else it is as clear as day..."


http://www.actabuse.com/cycleviolence.html

This link also part explains the "Cycle of Violence"

For children in an enviroment of domestic violence it can be devastating, a war zone...you just hope and pray enough awareness and help is out there to break any cycle of violence so these kids don't go on to be either victim or perpetrator..
My thoughts and prayers go out to Mai's soul and her two little boys.

Thankyou HeartinSan
francisco, for everything you have done to help people that have really needed our help.

Pam

MsLittlePea said...

This post broke my heart. At the same time I thank the heavens everyday that I didn't marry my highschool boyfriend. He was older and one of the 'cool people' I was all of 90 pounds and he used to really bully me. Things got really physical towards the end when he knew he was losing his "power' over me. For a few months after I moved out and into my own apartment he was stalking me-he would laugh when I said I would call the cops because his father was a cop and always got him out of trouble...it didn't end until I met my husband and moved in with him. I look back and I wonder how the hell did I let that happen, it's not like we were living together? I didn't grow up in an abusive home so it's all confusing to this day how I got caught up in a relationship like that-I can only blame the fact that I was so young and sheltered, I stupidly thought I could help him. Now I'm hearing that kind of abuse in teens is as common. Even then I told myslef, oh he really loves me or else he wouldn't be so passionate and now I look back and I think that's CRAZY-I should have told my father after the very first time. That's probably what these poor women tell themselves.
It's such a sick cycle.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Pam,

Everything you have said here checks off on the master list of why people stay in abusive relationships. For a variety of reasons, they do not believe that they deserve better.

The cycle of violence is a major factor. People who grew up in abusive homes become abused or abusers, depending on which parent they identify with, usually the same-sex parent.

You mention abused men, too. Yes, there are also many cases of spousal abuse of men by women. I did not go into that issue in this post because it was primarily about the recent death in my city, and from that, I included a little about my own experience as a counselor.

My shelter only took women because of space limitations, and also for obvious other reasons. However, most cases of abuse against men are unreported out of shame.

As you said so eloquently, Pam, until people's self esteem can be repaired, they will remain in hurtful situations because they believe they have somehow earned such punishment.

They spend all their energy and resources trying to help their partners instead of caring for themselves and their children because they are also victims of their own twisted thinking.

Sweet Pea,

I am also glad you didn't stay with that guy.

It's not surprising that abuse is increasing among teens because kids have more freedom to act out what they may have learned at home. Gangs are also far too prevalent, and they often require violence as payment for the feeling of belonging they give their members.

You have put your finger on one of the key factors, I think, the belief that passion equals love. Many women get used to the excitement of being in an abusive relationship, and a calm, normal, loving one seems dull to them. They become junkies for the constant adrenaline rush, and the making up, the contrite flowers after the broken ribs, is what they live for.

Until their life is taken away from them.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Stunning. Beyond words. I know it's a dance two people, a dance of death. I also know we humans are capable of depravity, as am I. But I also have to remember the people like you, running the good race. What heartbreaking stuff. It reminds me of a woman I recently dealt with locally, buying classified ads from her at the local paper. A few days after I talked to her I read in the paper of her being murdered by her husband. She had talked with her best friend, a coworker, about going to a shelter. She never made it. Sad. I felt like a knew her.

Lee said...

Jesus H. Christ. To be human is horrendous.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Pawlie,

You did know her. The battered woman is someone in line at the supermarket, glimpsed getting into a taxi, your mother, your sister, your child's kindergarten teacher.

Spousal abuse is epidemic. It cuts across all lines and unites women of different races, religions, nationalities and socio-economic classes. They all feel pain exactly the same. They all need help and understanding. They are all at risk.

Lee,

Sometimes it is. But it doesn't have to be. Education is the key. Boys need to be taught that tenderness is strength, and girls need to know that cruelty is never love.

Laurie said...

Such sad stories and just the tip of the iceberg as far as domestic abuse goes. Thank you for bringing more attention to such a terrible problem.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Laurie,

Abusing and being abused are both terrible ways to spend ones life.

I believe that we can all do better, as we must.

Travis said...

I don't understand what makes some women think they deserve to be beaten. And I don't understand why a man thinks he has a right to beat a woman.

It doesn't make any sense to me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm with you, Travis. I don't get it either. It's crazy.

Jay said...

As you know, I've worked in the field too, and it is exhausting to have to be strong for that many people at once. But as you know, as many poor outcomes as there are, you can and have made a difference.

Lee said...

Unfortunately, I think my boys may be learning that it goes both ways. Men become trapped too.

Crankster said...

Jesus.

Never mind doing this to someone you love. How could someone do this to someone else at all? My mind doesn't have the capacity to understand this kind of cruelty.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jay,

You're so right. There are good outcomes, too.

I found apartments for those who really wanted to leave, and got local merchants to donate furniture, clothing and other household items. I also hooked them up to Social Services as many were eligible for AFDC.

I also instituted a GED program in the shelter as some of the women did not have high school diplomas and couldn't get jobs that would support them.

Lee,

It does sound as if their father has gotten himself (and them) into an abusive situation. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, most male victims don't report their abuse because of shame.

Another thing that needs to change is our society's perception of men as strong and invincible. Even those who are not macho guys seem to think that they must always solve everyone's problems (except my first husband, of course, who said that he would see his children starve before he'd give me a penny because I left him.)

Crankster,

I know. It's one of the many things we like about you.

It's impossible to grasp if you're not wired that way. I struggle with the concept, too, even after all I witnessed.

My heart runneth over... said...

Wow! Your an amazing person. When I was younger I always wished I could run away to a safe house like that. Instead we ran to family where I felt ashamed and embarassed. Those women you spoke of lived such brave lives, my heart breaks for them. Thank you for being there for them and the millions of spouses and children being abused today.

All the best,
M

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Maria,

I'm so sorry that you had to suffer this as a child. I've always imagined that most families want to be there for each other, but that wasn't my experience either.

You've been through so much in your life, but I'm sure it has helped to make you as compassionate as you are.

Ian Lidster said...

What a harrowing tale. I admire you immensely for the work you did. The quote from the young woman at the end of your story says it all.

Ian

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ian,

That comment was an eye-opener for me as well. I realized that I had to do even more groundwork in my counseling than I had thought. Instead of starting from ground zero, I had to rethink everything and begin in the minus numbers, if that makes sense.

Liz said...

This is the 4th time I've read this post and it still brings tears to my eyes. Stories like these make me wish medieval torture could be used on the perpetrators of such violence against women.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Liz,

I agree. Live by the sword...

I'm sorry I made you cry, though. Can't you go out and have somebody wreck their car or at least send you flowers? You know, just to cheer things up a little.

thethinker said...

It's really shocking that the woman you mentioned would bail her husband out of jail after torture like that. It just shows that domestic abuse is more than just the physical pain. I don't think I'll ever really understand why she would forgive him, but more importantly, why any person would put another human being through that much pain for any reason.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Thinker,

Her name was Sheila. She was a quiet, earnest woman, and she left a horrendous legacy for her daughters.

And the beat goes on...

Open Grove Claudia said...

It is a big wide world, isn't it. For the thousands of clients I worked with, the dv cases drove me completely batty. I still have one ex-client who says that she longs to be with the ex who battered so badly she barely, and I mean barely, survived.

I don't know.

It's a big wide world, isn't it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Claudia,

Yep. It's a big wide wonderfully stupid and crazy world.

It really makes you wonder, even when you pretty much know, what went so terribly wrong.

urban-urchin said...

oh susan. i just don't know what to say. bless you and all those who do this work.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Urchin,

There is still so much more that needs to be done. And a good place to begin is with some of the Directors of DV programs.

The one I worked for, (who fired me for caring too much, which she considered "unprofessional,") spent a fortune in funding money renovating her office building across the street from the shelter.

The shelter, however, was falling apart and had bare wires hanging from electrical fixtures. The batterers had their court-ordered "intervention counseling" in the beautiful, upgraded building while the women we were supposed to be helping (and my office) were in slum conditions.

A year after I left, the shelter burned to the ground. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it could have been avoided if they had brought the building up to code.

Sadly, they weren't really interested in helping our clients, who served as a means to get huge donations. So in a sense, the administrators were also abusing these women, which was really sick.

CS said...

I have worked with women just like this, and it is their chidlren I grieve for most. It's a difficult thing to hold those stories, I know.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cs,

Yes, it is. It has taken several years for me even to write a post about it. There is so much to say, but so very difficult to say it.

I feel terrible for the children, too. They have the greatest chances, statistically and logically, to repeat the behaviors they witnessed, even though their childhoods were destroyed by them.

goodthomas said...

It is posts that like this, HinSF, that leave me speechless. Thinking a million thoughts. Speechless and breathless.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Thomas,

It's more than enough that you read what I write.

Thank you.

Lex said...

And that, my dear, is why I left the field. It's crazy to say, but sexual assault is so much easier than dv in so many ways.

There are so many people who just don't understand the cycle: first they destroy everything within a woman that would give her the courage to leave, then the first hit. It's like they read a manual.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Lex,

I'm sure there is an Abuser's Manual somewhere. They systematically destroy her self-esteem, which is not strong to begin with as their radar is never wrong when they choose their victims, then they separate her from her support system like a predator cutting the weakest animal from the herd, and then as you said, the physical abuse begins.

After each episode, there is some form of flowers and candy and tearful promises to be better, along with inferences that she made him do it in the first place.

The whole dance is utterly sickening. I truly do not have the stomach to do that work again.

The work you do now is very difficult, too. It must be very hard not to let it seep into your own relationships.

katrice said...

I cannot speak.

Just tears.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Katrice,

Crying right along with you. I think we all are.

Anonymous said...

Mai was my hairdresser for nine years, and I still can't believe that this happened. I think about her every day, despite only having spent a total of 8 hours a year with her. I can't begin to comprehend how those who knew her better are coping with her death. No matter how good of a mood I was in, she always managed to make my day just a little brighter.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Anonymous,

Mai sounds like a beautiful person. Everyone who knew her has really nice things to say about her.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Thank you for writing. I'm glad you shared that.