I have a friend who was in a very abusive relationship for over ten years. He was extremely possessive and dictatorial toward her, and yes, he would even beat her with an extension cord. She told me of a time when she had to run out of her apartment in bare feet and her nightgown to get away from him, in the middle of downtown Manhattan. He once trashed her apartment and carved the word "Betrayal" into her antique wardrobe when she had gone on a trip out of the country and he imagined some affair she wasn't having.
Today they are good friends. In fact, he introduced her to her current husband, a good man to whom she is happily married. Her ex's health is declining and she will sometimes do things to help him out. They are all past the abuse, and any possible bitterness. I had a hard time with her forgiveness of him; I was angry that she forgave him, because I couldn't. She is at peace with all of it.
BUT, she couldn't have gotten to that point if she had stayed with him and tried to work it out or teach him love and humility while under his strap and enduring the pain. She HAD TO end it, she HAD TO leave him, she HAD TO confront him with the reality of what he'd done to hurt her. She also had to look at why she put up with all that. She needed distance to do that -- so she moved to another hemisphere, actually -- and learned how to love herself better. Then she found love in that country with someone else for a time. This was a period of personal growth for her. She did not come back to the states until she knew he couldn't and wouldn't hurt her anymore. I think there was about five years of no contact between them before she could see him again and he made amends. That was huge because he'd never acknowledged that he was abusive before that. And then he became seriously ill and she forgave him. Not only because she had never stopped loving him, but also because she now had a strong sense of who she was, and she wasn't someone who put up with abuse anymore. So she had stepped through that door to the other side.
So, my point is, that you do no one any good to tolerate abuse, but it is possible to enlighten other people by taking care of yourself. However, you don't do it for him or anyone else -- Cookie may never wake up to see the harm he is doing to you. YOU have to wake up and put yourself in a truly safe place, without all the wistfulness and wishing things were better than they are.
Last edited by nycindie; 03-19-2012 at 07:38 PM.