Stage 2 – Acceptance – Setting the true pattern of the relationship
This is tough , as she still believes it can all work and that the good times will come back to stay. The start of this may coincide with the arrival of children or after a very happy wedding!
The victim accepts, to herself, that this is Domestic Abuse. Her existence is now dominated by her need to keep herself and her children as safe as possible. She will develop strategies for coping that will enable her to take the abuse whilst still presenting to the outside world as a “normal” wife and mother. All the time she will be hoping that he will change – a hope that is constantly fuelled by his promises that he will.
Issues & Feelings
All of the list included in the blog for issues and feelings Stage 1 Denial plus:
- Constant bewilderment at what she is doing wrong
- Feeling unable to cope
- A permanent state of confusion as to ‘how to get it right’
- Feeling worthless and useless
- Permanent self-doubt about her ability to make decisions or function properly on her own
- Constant fear of how is going to react to everything and anything
- Desperately worried about the safety of the children
- Constantly finding ways of trying to protect the children
- Having to become a liar – or else she gets it!
- Constantly exhausted by everything he is doing and by trying to find ways of making him stop
- Having little if any control over anything in her life
- Being stripped of her confidence in being able to do anything right and to do even the most basic things – like get on a bus, pay bills etc.
- Feeling ashamed about what is happening
- Afraid to talk to people about it all – especially family and friends who might get impatient because they do not understand
- Becoming dependent on drugs/alcohol as she uses these to try to help herself cope with her living nightmare
- Being ashamed of this dependency and being condemned by others for it
- Dealing with constant threats including having the children taken away or that she and even they will be killed
- Fear that family and friends might make things worse because they might try to intervene
- Fear of not being believed if she does say anything – especially if he is very plausible
- Having to recover from injuries – which can be very serious – while still getting on with everything
- Being abused by his family and friends
- Getting mixed messages from his family and friends – e.g. they will tell her to leave and then blame her if she does
- Being constantly short of money
- Having to deal with his drinking and/or drug taking. This can include having to deal with him urinating all over the house!
- Having to think on her feet 24 hours 7 days a week
- Occasionally being given hope that things will change and the good days will come back
- Then having these hopes cruelly dashed