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Old 08-08-2011, 10:37 AM
28,905 posts, read 46,851,845 times
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Another adage that comes to mind is "No good deed goes unpunished."

You and your husband are obviously kind-hearted people. But there is an enormous gulf between being generous and being used. What's more, there are resources and agencies in the community that are better prepared to deal with the social, emotional, and legal dimensions of this woman's problems.

It's time to do the kind thing and refer her to an agency. As in today. You cannot solve her problems.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:10 AM
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,828,311 times
Reputation: 5455
I made the mistake of letting one of my best friends and his wife stay in my apartment in Seattle quite a few years ago and it was supposed to be for a short time but it ended up lasting months. It did get pretty old but I never asked them to leave. At one point they finally found their own place but his wife left me with this huge telephone bill because she was always calling her family in Minnesota and she never did pay for it which was very irritating. Nevertheless, I would still be willing to help someone out but I recognize that there's always a risk that it's just not going to work out and I could end up being taken advantage of.
At least the OP was willing to also help out someone which I think is an admirable thing to do.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:35 AM
Location: Knoxville, TN
346 posts, read 443,436 times
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This will continue indefinitely, as long as she is comfortable. So you tell her that within the next six months she has to move out, and then you help her make a list of short term and long term goals. In the end, you can't undo 40 years of her life, you can only continue to be loving and helping, and stick to your guns. 6 months is enough time for her to work up some kind of plan, and if she doesnt then she can move into the shelter where they will hopefully have more/ different resources for her. Perhaps living in the shelter will make her uncomfortable enough to do what needs to be done?

When you make the list of goals, she needs to be the one thinking and examining her life. What does she want, where does she see herself in one year, five years? What practical steps is she going to take to get there? Etc.

I wouldn't be surprised if she has trouble coming up with goals......

But at some point you will have to put your foot down.

We have had people live with us, and each time they stay until kicked out. Lol
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:05 PM
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First of all, may the heavens bless you for taking mom and child in to stay with you. I've seen the behavior you describe before--it's battered wife/(spouse for the pc among you) syndrome. She's been through so much and psychologically she's shutting down, a kind of self-paralysis and a depression because she is beyond overwhelmed. How much worse off would she be if you had not had mercy on her and offered your very strong support. Try to forgive the disagreement regarding the CD's and DVD's. Victims of abuse and PTSD can be aggressive, hypervigilant, suspicious and deeply mistrustful of others. They have been gravely wounded. Until they heal, it goes with the territory. If she were well and had not experienced long term abuse, this probably wouldn't have happened.

To give her 30 days and just put her out would be putting her son at risk. She's not functioning, possibly clinically depressed, so she won't be able to provide stability for him. They actually could wind up on the streets or injured by the estranged husband. Take a breath and decide that you are going to "keep your hand" in this family's life until they're safe. They may not be able to continue living with you and hubby, but work to find her the best place you can. She needs you desperately and she is grateful even if she doesn't show it.

Would it be possible to take 30 days and do some research on the battered women's agencies within say a 50-100 mile radius of your town and connect with an intake counselor there who could walk her and you through the process of getting admitted there? The counselor can help by giving you more information about what she is going through and she can counsel her. As a client at a good battered woman's shelter, she and her son will be safe, will have their basic needs met, he can go to school in a nurturing environment, child care providers in those places are usually sensitive to the issues of children with mothers who are battered. they can receive the services of a social worker who can assist them with counseling, medical care and a transition plan when they attain stability. I have heard of some shelters that provide efficiency apartments for the families; not all of them operate in a dormitory setting. The National Domestic Violence Clearinghouse has a wealth of information on resources available in all 50 states. I'm sure they have a webpage. Try to help her get into the very best shelter you can find for her even if it's an hour away and keep in touch with them on a regular basis. They get the help the need and you guys can kind of get your own lives back.

I think she is making too much of the belongings and the house left behind. The man sounds very dangerous. None of the items she is worried about is worth her and son's safety. Millions of women have to leave just about everything and start over from scratch when fleeing domestic violence. I know it's been difficult for you, but don't abandon her out of frustration. Sounds as if she has a lot of problems, but staying (prudently!) involved will bless both her and you.

Last edited by laorbust61; 08-08-2011 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: finish post
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