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Old 08-06-2011, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,244 posts, read 14,018,762 times
Reputation: 6063

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I've been running a pet rescue for years. One of the couple's that used to foster dogs for me recently separated. Apparently there'd been a very long history of domestic violence in their marriage and she never uttered a word to anyone. This time got so bad that she had to take their son out of the country for a couple months. He was arrested three times before she left and another four times after she got back.

We stayed in contact while she was out of the country. She said when she came back she'd have to stay in a homeless shelter. She's been a stay at home mom for the last four years and has no income. He has his monthly pension but had lost his job that he'd held for quite some time when his psych problems got really bad. Because of the violence and the fact that even though he was court ordered to not be in the house he kept returning and continued to be arrested, she didn't feel it would be safe for her to go back there. I totally agree.

Because her son is pre-school age and seems kind of .................... special needs ................... I told her she could stay with us when she got back to the state while she looked for a safe place to live. I just didn't think a homeless shelter was a good, safe place for them. Her husband made it clear to everyone, including law enforcement and the courts when he was arrested, that when he found her he would kill her. Hubby and I are both retired law enforcement so I figured if she was safe any place it was here. We're in a VERY tiny community and on a first name basis with our sheriff's office, who took this situation very seriously. Her sheriff's office - a huge county with a LOT of money - pretty much blew her off like she was a nut case over reacting to the situation.

Anyway, I picked her and her son up from the airport and they came straight here. Now, we're in no position to offer a lot. I've got a two room master suite that I emptied for her. I emptied my den and sold a ton of stuff in my storage unit to make room for her things. She didn't want to bring her furniture that was in her home so I went and bought a bed for them to sleep in.

After she got back here we took her to her house - my husband and son drove over with her and I stayed here with her son - and they had the sheriff's office there go clear the house. They did a horrible job, so my son and husband cleared it after they left and found where someone had been in the house while their SO was clearing it and went out the back door to the woods when he came in. They only sent one deputy to clear the house even though they had all the court paperwork showing the guy is armed and has stated he'll kill anyone that gets in his way of getting to her. Anyway, point is, we know someone had been staying in there.

The house is in a very upscale neighborhood, a gated community. The neighbor next door said she'd seen the husband and a bunch of people that looked like homeless people coming and going through the woods behind the house while she was gone and living with us. The entire house was totally trashed. You couldn't see a single spot of floor for the clothing and garbage that had been left strewn all over. He and his 'friends' have totally ruined the place. The pool has wild animals that fell in and he left them to decompose. It's just unbelievably bad. He even set fires in the house!!

Anyway, while they were there going through everything, finding what she could salvage, she had told my husband and son that after she went through everything they could take what they wanted because she found out he'd stopped paying the bills 5 months earlier and the house was in foreclosure. She had a riding mower and told my husband if he could load it on the moving truck he could have it for helping her out. Told my son he could take some DVDs. The bank had already been out and left a note that they're changing the locks on the doors so everything was going in a dumpster.

Long story short, they loaded what she wanted, he did get the mower loaded and our son took 5 DVDs from the hundreds they had there. They got home and I unloaded most of the moving truck and put the stuff in the den with the other stuff of hers she'd left here before she moved. They unloaded the mower and found he'd sabotaged it - dumped oil in the gas tank and started it. We called our mower guy and paid him to come get it, fix it and service it and bring it back. We paid the bill.

A week later hubby and I took her back since she wanted to get more of her stuff. By this time her husband had been picked up and put in jail and the judge refused to release him until his court date. Hubby cleared the house to make sure none of his 'friends' where in there then she and I went in. I took the camera and took tons of photos as well as walking the property and house on video so she can take it to court.

After walking through with her and seeing the condition and talking about what she owes vs what it's last value was, I told her she'd be stupid to let it go to foreclosure. She's got a good bit of equity in that place, even with the condition. Luckily they didn't do any damage to walls or anything like that. She can have the lawn mowed and someone come to clean the pool, then get a dumpster outside and just throw everything in it. The furniture she has is VERY high end stuff, most of it ordered from other countries and shipped over. I told her if we get a dumpster and toss in all the garbage we can bag all the clothing, bedding, etc and donate it to Goodwill. The move all furniture to one room, all the books DVDs and CDs and stuff to one room, etc. and have an estate sale. Even if she sells stuff for fractions of a penny of what it's worth, it gets it out of the house and we don't have to move it. I'm packed to the roof in storage and the den and the dressing room of the master suite she's in and I still have things packed in the back of my SUV of hers that I don't where to store. Then we can do a quick clean and list the house as a distress sale and see if we can get it sold for her for what's owed and she just takes the loss on equity but at least doesn't have that foreclosure. Told her she just needs to call the mortgage company and see if they'll give her a 60 day reprieve on the foreclosure. They've been through that house - they don't want to deal with it.

Ok, so flash forward to last night. Hubby and I were cleaning our room, emptying it of everything except the largest of the furniture so we could clean the floors really good. I want to re-paint the room so the fewer things in there the better. Hubby took his guitars and their cases and stacked them in a corner of the dining room. He'd taken three bags of CDs from her house that had been all apart - CDs loose from the cases, the inside leaflets from each of them just laying around, etc - and had gone through all of them putting them back together. It took 2 bags once they were back together the way they should be and he put them in the den with her other stuff so we can take them back to the house to sell with the others. So, as we're all eating dinner she starts to question my husband about the guitars and CDs. She claims the guitars belong to her husband! He's had those things for years, one of them I bought him for his birthday. He told her that but based on her attitude, I think she thought he was lying. Then she asked if he's going to sell all of her husband's CDs from the third bag. He was confused until he realized what she was talking about. He'd taken in three bags partially filled, put the CDs and all back together and put them in two fuller bags. He told her no, explained what happened and told her they are all in the den and she can go through them. So she did! He told her he didn't take anything from the house. She rode back with us. If we took anything, she'd have seen it in the car anyway!

So now I'm getting irritated. She's been here a month. We've fed her and her son. We've give up half our house to them to live in and store their things. We got rid of our own stuff to make room for hers. We've not asked her for a penny for food, fuel for taking her to and from the county she has her house in which is an hour and a half away, etc. Her son is very spoiled and is making us nuts. We're trying our best to keep our mouth shut, but he kid really needs his butt beat. Ok, he probably needs therapy because I'm sure he's grown up seeing dad treat mom the way he treats mom, but it's making us crazy. Our kids NEVER would have gotten away with a fraction of what this kid does. I'm sure it's irritated her, but when he talks to us that way we tell him that he will NOT talk to us like that or he'll go to his room. We've caught him hitting our dogs - a MAJOR no-no in our house - and I've told him if I see him do it again I'll beat his butt. To which he replies I can't do anything, I'm not his boss. To which I reply it's my house and my rules so yes, I am your boss and I will bust your butt and you won't have a place to live. He won't abuse my animals, period. During these times she just sits there quietly. Never says a thing to him.

Hubby took them up to the school the other day to get him enrolled. They start Monday. As they were leaving he said she told him that he likes the school already and would feel bad changing his schools and she's thinking about staying here for the year. Now, our area is VERY small. There are on apartments at all in the county. There are a couple duplexes and they're not vacant. I checked with everyone I know here and no one knows of any place that's available for rent. Here, you buy or you get lucky to find that rare rental and then you hang on to it. So, staying 'here' means staying in my house.

I've had it with her not doing anything to move on with her life or get things done. I've had to take her to court appearances because she wasn't going to go. I've had to take her to get protection orders because she wouldn't go. I've had to get information on filing for divorce because she just shrugs her shoulders. I took her to get money from their joint account. There was nearly $2000 in there and she took $500. I told her she's entitled to half of it and she wouldn't take it. They've got the electric bill due at the house and she won't pay it. The water has been turned off, she won't pay the bill and turn it back on. I told her that if she's wanting to sell what's in the house and clean it out and try to sell it she has to have the electric and water on when people come in. But she just shrugs and says she doesn't have the money. I told her to use the money in the joint account but she says she doesn't think she's allowed. I tried to explain that if she has receipts for what she's spent the money on she's allowed. By law she can pay the bills and then take 50% of what's left. Nope. Won't do it. I think questioning my husband about the CDs and stuff is because once I mentioned selling it all, she thought it was a good idea so now she wants back everything she gave away - the mower and the 5 DVDs my son took.

I'm not a cold hearted person. I don't want them homeless and won't kick them out. But I've had it with the kid. I've had it with her not doing anything to move forward. I don't mind taking her to get things done. I don't mind taking her to look at apartments. I don't mind helping her find the info and things she needs. But I expect her to help!!! I raised my kids. They've all moved out and have their own lives. I don't want to raise a woman that's nearly 40 years old and her monster of a kid. I'm always willing to help people out, but I'm feeling taken advantage of. And questioning my husband like he's a thief after all he's done for her? That just pushed me over the edge. He's disabled and after helping her move things that first day spent days in bed unable to move. And she's going to accuse him of stealing things from her?

I'm not sure why I posted. I know we need to sit down and talk to her. I know I need to push her and the child into some therapy. She got married at like 18 or 19 and he's taken care of her all her adult life, and abused her most of the time. I know she is probably very lost and needs direction. But I'm trying to give it to her and she's just shrugging it off. I don't want her to think she can stay here forever. I want my house back. I want my privacy back. And don't get me wrong; we're no gem to live with either. We are up until 2 or 3 in the morning and like to sleep until noon. We like peace and quiet, which living with a 4 year old doesn't provide. We have 13 dogs here (1 is hers) and it can be chaotic. And she has been helpful with taking them for walks and helping with dishes and stuff. Honestly, if it weren't for the kid and this recent theft accusation, I probably wouldn't mind her staying.

Again, don't know why I posted. Looking for sympathy I guess. Maybe thoughts on how I can get her motivated to start taking care of her life. She's a good person in a bad situation. I'm glad I've helped. But I hadn't planned on taking on new family members. Just not sure what to do anymore.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: NYC
7,370 posts, read 12,755,961 times
Reputation: 10319
If she isn't motivated enough to do things like appearing in court and filing for divorce, she never will be. I think you will be unhappy for as long as she continues to live there. If it were me, I'd give her 30 days to leave. You can't help people who won't help themselves.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:06 PM
 
4 posts, read 21,763 times
Reputation: 18
I can see the frustration behind her not wanting to help herself, or her son, but if what I read is true then there's way more than probable cause for why she's staying closer to you and your community than going back to one that's well known to her and her husband/ex-husband.

You said her son's just beginning school, and if they've been married for as long as he's been alive at least, then she's probably been beat throughout all of those years and right now you're pretty much her escape goat. She's not going to want to move on until she knows he is put away and is unable to hurt her.

Honestly, I applaud you for what you've been able to help her with. There's not a lot of people in my community that would offer their house, and with these kind of circumstances, I really do admire what you have done.
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Old 08-06-2011, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,244 posts, read 14,018,762 times
Reputation: 6063
Thanks to you both.

I know I need to get her on her feet and into her own place. We're an hour and a half from where she used to live. There's a bigger town that's over an hour from where she was. So she doesn't need to move to the old town she was in. As a matter of fact, I told her from day one she CAN'T go back there. She has a baby to think of and it's just not safe.

I'm just trying to get her to do the things she needs to in order to be able to support herself and the baby. He's been so controlling for so long that she's not willing to do anything on her own and is afraid she'll get in trouble for everything. Having to force her along is frustrating.

When this is over, I'm hoping helping her out won't have ended a friendship. I haven't known her that long, but she's a good person who just - frankly and crudely - needs to grow a set. I understand that after years of abuse that's not an easy thing to do. And honestly, I'm not sure how to prod her into doing it. I want her to be able to go on and have a good life for her and her son. I even told her I wouldn't be the least bit shocked or think any less of her if she moved to her country with her family. They've got a beach house they told her she could have to raise the baby in. Heck, that's about as safe as you can get. But he's got her convinced that if she takes any money from their joint account, leaves the state let alone the country, or pays bills without him allowing it she'll go to jail. And nothing we've been able to do so far has helped her see she's wrong. Just hoping when she gets to court Monday they can open her eyes.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:29 PM
 
3,771 posts, read 5,471,135 times
Reputation: 2990
I don't have any really good advice, except to make some house rules that will make you feel more comfortable. Then set a deadline for her to move out, like 6 months from now and require her to get a job to pay minimal rent in a couple months.

I read that women have very controlling husbands because they have difficulty making decisions. So they can think that they would do this or that if only it weren't for the controlling husband. But really, if they had freedom, they would have no idea what to do. She sounds exactly like that.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:34 AM
 
Location: France
156 posts, read 328,550 times
Reputation: 297
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixTheCat View Post

I read that women have very controlling husbands because they have difficulty making decisions. So they can think that they would do this or that if only it weren't for the controlling husband. But really, if they had freedom, they would have no idea what to do. She sounds exactly like that.
That is very true. My father in law used to be very controlling and now when he is gone, you would think that my mother in law can enjoy the freedom and the fact that she can do whatever she wants, no questions asked. But she just changed one type of co-dependency (the late husband) to another one (the son, and to some extent, me). They have been used to this type of life and I really don't believe that one can change from something like this.

The OP's help may come from the goodness of her heart, but it will end up hurting her and her family. I say give the girl a deadline; she needs to have her own place and be responsible for her and her son quickly!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: beneath the moon & stars
58 posts, read 126,689 times
Reputation: 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
When this is over, I'm hoping helping her out won't have ended a friendship. I haven't known her that long, but she's a good person who just - frankly and crudely - needs to grow a set. I understand that after years of abuse that's not an easy thing to do. And honestly, I'm not sure how to prod her into doing it.

Women don't just walk into abusive relationships. If she came from a home where a family member was abused, she may have been primed and ready for the relationship she found herself in with this man, but chances are he slowly and meticulously (as abusers do) molded her into this weak and unstable person you see before you. It is a form of brainwashing and being abused physically and/or emotionally does rewire your brain's ability to discern right from wrong, reality from fantasy and acceptable behavior from deviancy. I think this is what you are seeing, this is his handiwork. Yes, she is still in there somewhere but no prodding you do will ever bring her back to the surface. She Seriously Needs Professional Counseling.

I applaud you and your husband's brave and selfless efforts to help this woman and her son. I know it's probably one of the most difficult things you have ever done or will do for another human being and especially since it's reward will only be in knowing you made the world a better place for someone in trouble. Truly if every one of us made that kind of effort even in the smallest way for someone else the world would be a better place.

As a survivor of physical and emotional abuse and neglect I can tell you this, this problem is bigger than you and your husband or your ability to make it right. She must and eventually will take charge of her life and her son's but it will not happen because you make it so. Only a professional can really get in there where "she" is and help her dig out of the crap she is under. As an officer I am sure you are aware of post traumatic stress disorder. She may need medication and counseling for awhile. If there is a battered women's shelter in your area they can usually refer you to various resources that will ease the responsibility you have taken on and guide her on the long (and very bumpy) road to healing. I wish you the very best!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:35 AM
 
1,206 posts, read 2,545,920 times
Reputation: 1150
she needs years of therapy and possibly medication. She would also do well with meditation exercises, yoga, a better diet, and exercise and plenty of social support. Of course all this costs some money, but i think that could be worked around. ALso being mentally incapacitated costs plenty more in the long run.

You cant provide that. I suggest give her a short time frame to leave.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:40 AM
 
13,773 posts, read 33,900,148 times
Reputation: 10560
You are a good friend however there is an old saying 'fish and visitors get old after 3 days'. I found that to be true even when I was the visitor.

Tell her you are glad you could help her out but she needs to get her own place. You can only help her so much.. and then it is up to her. Most abused womens shelters help the women find jobs or get skilled and find a place to live. They also usually offer some type of counseling.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:54 AM
 
Location: East of Eden
193 posts, read 385,722 times
Reputation: 395
Mrs1885, you and your husband are absolutely angels for having done so much to help this woman and her child in the face of threats of violence from the husband. Many people would have found excuses to walk away from the situation.

Having said that, I agree with PaganLady's excellent post. You have done so much to help but this is bigger than you. I was going to recommend finding a woman's center or a domestic violence center as well. I know of one in my area that provides legal, financial and career advice as well as therapy.

I think the therapy is key. Like PagaLady mentioned, when you have been abused, you can be hardwired to accept that this is what you deserve. And so, when in a situation where people are actually being good to you and caring about you, I wonder if you can subconsciously start sabotaging it you can get to the status quo you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaganLady View Post
Women don't just walk into abusive relationships. If she came from a home where a family member was abused, she may have been primed and ready for the relationship she found herself in with this man, but chances are he slowly and meticulously (as abusers do) molded her into this weak and unstable person you see before you. It is a form of brainwashing and being abused physically and/or emotionally does rewire your brain's ability to discern right from wrong, reality from fantasy and acceptable behavior from deviancy. I think this is what you are seeing, this is his handiwork. Yes, she is still in there somewhere but no prodding you do will ever bring her back to the surface. She Seriously Needs Professional Counseling.

I applaud you and your husband's brave and selfless efforts to help this woman and her son. I know it's probably one of the most difficult things you have ever done or will do for another human being and especially since it's reward will only be in knowing you made the world a better place for someone in trouble. Truly if every one of us made that kind of effort even in the smallest way for someone else the world would be a better place.

As a survivor of physical and emotional abuse and neglect I can tell you this, this problem is bigger than you and your husband or your ability to make it right. She must and eventually will take charge of her life and her son's but it will not happen because you make it so. Only a professional can really get in there where "she" is and help her dig out of the crap she is under. As an officer I am sure you are aware of post traumatic stress disorder. She may need medication and counseling for awhile. If there is a battered women's shelter in your area they can usually refer you to various resources that will ease the responsibility you have taken on and guide her on the long (and very bumpy) road to healing. I wish you the very best!
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