I am in a relationship with a man who is fifteen years older than I am…. The problem is that when he gets angry, he insults me, screams at me, and if I continue complaining about what he has done, he hits me….

I don’t know what to do. We have a daughter who is six years old, and he says that if I leave him, my daughter will complain to me in the future for “having left her without a father.” I am afraid because he already tried to kill himself once by ingesting white phosphorous.

Dear Friend,

You are the victim of a dangerous abuser. He physically abuses you, and then verbally abuses you when you try to protect yourself. By staying in the same house with this man, you are putting yourself in danger, as well as your daughter. We believe that you should leave this man today.

You have given us sufficient information to know that this man has serious emotional problems. He has tried to kill himself, and has used the threat of suicide as a weapon against you. He manipulates you into staying with him, even though he physically and verbally abuses you. He probably tells you that he will change, and begs you to give him another chance, but then the cycle starts over again and, before you know it, he is abusing you again.

Did you know that you are teaching your little girl that it is acceptable to be abused? Every day that you stay teaches her that abuse is normal and she should expect to be abused when she grows up. Every day teaches her to be powerless against those who would harm her. Is this really the kind of lesson you want her to learn? What if he goes too far one day and kills you? What question will your little girl have then?

It is probably frightening for you to think of what he will do if you leave. Will he hurt himself, or will he come and try to hurt you? If you don’t have close family who can protect you, find an agency that specializes in helping women in your situation. They can give you legal advice and can help you make the tough decisions that need to be made.

Some women succeed in getting away from their abusers, but then they feel badly about having left. The abuser always begs and pleads, promising that he will never do it again, causing many women to believe that he is truly sorry. Then he convinces them that it is safe to go back home. This is a serious mistake. Statistics tell us that abusers cannot change just because they decide to do it. They need intensive prolonged psychological treatment.

We wish we could say that religious people are immune to this problem. But the truth is that we have been told many, many cases of abusers who go to church and act like they have a personal relationship with God. They pretend to be pious when at church, but then they go home and abuse their families. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”(1) The will of the Father would never involve physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. So going to church, singing, and even preaching may make the abuser feel better, but these activities will not get him into heaven.

Please take your daughter and leave today,

Linda and Charles
1 Mt 7:21