Battered Spouse Syndrome

No, it’s not what Mom is claiming to have now (surprise!). It is what I think may be part of Dad’s problem. Here’s why.

I talked to my cousin, who said that while my aunt and uncle were down prior to the kids recital, they witnessed Mom being physically violent with Dad. Not just once, but at least twice. Yelling (which is standard for Mom), throwing things, hitting him, and tearing at his clothes. This is something that I don’t ever remember before – well, maybe once when I was 6 or 7, but I can’t remember if it was physical violence, or just yelling.

My cousin also told me of a few of the messages that Mom has left at her house. On one occasion, her kids (who are all post high-school) had some friends over. Nobody picked up the phone, and the group of kids in the living room was treated to several minutes of Mom berating my cousin via their answering machine. Once her daughter answered when Mom called. I don’t know what was said, but she was angry and never wanted to see Mom again. She also didn’t want my cousin to ever have anything to do with Mom again either. That’s Mom, continuing to win friends and influence people.

The physical abuse is most troubling. Nobody really cares if Mom wants to drive everyone off and die miserable and alone – at least nobody that I’ve talked to. But since January, Mom has been telling me (and my voicemail) about how violent Dad has become – pushing her, hitting her, shoving her around, and breaking stuff. Mom has also told me about how I need to watch out for my wife, as she will ‘stab me in the back or cut my penis off’ (Yes, that is a direct quote; Yes, I have it on tape). The troubling part is that Mom projects all her behavior on others, especially Dad and my wife. If this is something that she is projecting, then she may really be a danger. And my Dad wanted me to let the kids go over for a visit, knowing this.

That does put a little different light on Dad’s behavior, especially knowing that he has been dealing with verbal abuse from Mom for decades, probably since they were married. Eventually, I think he just acquired learned helplessness. I know I can see quite a lot of those patterns in myself as well.

Things have gotten a little more complex again. It was simple before I talked to my cousin. Mom is nuts, Dad was helping her stay that way. Both were a problem, and I had planned on distancing myself (read removing completely from our lives – with restraining order if necessary). Now, Dad is almost as much of a victim as everyone else. I guess I won’t be able to extricate myself from it quite as cleanly as I had hoped.

~ by namegoeshere on June 28, 2007.

One Response to “Battered Spouse Syndrome”

  1. You are in a rough spot. Who to help the most…Your first priority has to be your family, wife and kids, and then you have to make the decision as to who you can help most – dad or mom. I don’t envy you this dilemma.

    Best suggestion, lots of prayer. In reality only God can help you and your family, your parents and your extended family.

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