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Desperate for Advice- Abuse Situation

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whispercloud3 posted 8/17/2014 15:38 PM

I have a male cousin who is like a brother to me. My parents spent many years raising him as their own and I grew up with him. I have always loved and admired him. I have even looked to him for moral advice and support. I have always considered him a very moral person with extremely high standards.

I have recently found out that he is physically abusing his wife. He punches her during fights. I don't know what they are fighting about and I don't care. It is never ok to hit another person. I am crushed because I have no idea what to do. I am so confused because I have known him my whole life as a brother. He is the closest man to me. I don't know his wife that well.

Now my issues are:

1. I can't tell anyone in my family because they are all too old to handle this and I feel burdened by this knowledge and I don't think I should burden them too.

2. I cannot cut him out of my life completely but I cannot pretend like I don't know about it or that it's ok.

3. How can I help his wife? What can I do to stop this? I feel terrible standing by and pretending like nothing is happening when we have pleasant family functions with both of them.

4. Is there anything I should say to him? I love him even though he is doing this but have no idea how to socialize with him from now on. He calls and texts and emails and I have no idea how to respond now.

I am devastated. Please offer support as I could really use some guidance right now.

Want2help posted 8/17/2014 16:59 PM

Please try to be there for his wife and be the support she needs.

I don't know what kind of relationship you have with him, but I was in an abusive relationship for many years during my youth. When anyone female tried to confront my abusive partner, he would threaten them, too. Please approach with caution.

whispercloud3 posted 8/17/2014 17:26 PM

Want2help-
I'm not afraid for myself but is there anything I can say to him that might make a difference? He doesn't know I know yet. I cannot keep pretending that I don't know. I'm sick about this.

Nature_Girl posted 8/17/2014 17:47 PM

Your duty is to the victim, his wife.

Nothing you can say will magically enlighten him so he'll stop the abuse.

Your family members are not too old & frail to handle the truth.

Nature_Girl posted 8/17/2014 17:48 PM

BTW, abuse thrives and flourishes when covered by silence. Please speak out to your family members. Don't remain silent. His wife needs help.

tushnurse posted 8/18/2014 07:03 AM

I agree with NG. You absolutely need to date this ugliness out into the light of day. You also need to offer a path to safety for your cousins wife. You can also offer support to this man with a path for therapy for him.
Physical abuse does NOT just start out of the blue. This is something that has been going on and most likely escalating.
The one thing I would caution is yo be sure that this information is true. If she told you and offered no proof use caution as you proceed. We all know women who unfortunately used this claim to their advantage in the situation that has brought us all here.

MissesJai posted 8/18/2014 12:19 PM

Agree with NG & tushnurse. Expose the abuse.

Want2help posted 8/18/2014 17:39 PM

I also echo to expose the abuse.

In my situation, nothing could have been said to stop him. He had friends try to intervene, and he just cut them out of his life.

There is power in numbers, and silence is his accomplice.

whispercloud3 posted 8/18/2014 17:54 PM

Thank you all for your responses. Telling parents, aunts and other old family members is not going to help and I am not willing to burden them with this. I intend to confront him about it. Does anyone have any suggestions about my confrontation? Any ideas are truly appreciated.

Nature_Girl posted 8/18/2014 18:04 PM

He will either lie to you, minimize it, and convince you that nothing has happened, OR he will have a "break down" and cry crocodile tears to convince you that he is so, so, so very sorry, he doesn't know how it got like this, he needs your help, he wants to change, yadda yadda yadda.

Then he'll go home and beat the shit out of his wife, probably worse than she has ever been beaten before. Abusers are known to sometimes kill their wives when the truth starts to leak out.

I think you are WAY out of your element and are possibly going to make this situation much worse, possibly even deadly, for the wife. You are not a mental health professional, you are not law enforcement, you are not the person who is going to make a difference. There is nothing you can say which will magically open his eyes and make him repent.

You are here asking for advice. The advice is that you expose the abuse. Since you are unwilling to do this, my advise is that you help the wife. Help her. Help her find resources in the community so she can safely escape. For the love of God and all that is holy, do not confront him and make this situation worse for his victim.

Want2help posted 8/18/2014 19:15 PM

Then he'll go home and beat the shit out of his wife, probably worse than she has ever been beaten before. Abusers are known to sometimes kill their wives when the truth starts to leak out.

I agree. A member of my stepfamily said something to him once, about how he was treating me (he pushed me in front of her, very mild behavior for him).

He told her to mind her own business, then proceeded to get me alone where he held a knife to my throat and promised to kill me.

He then systematically isolated me from her and everyone in her family.

whispercloud3 posted 8/18/2014 20:36 PM

Well fuck! So there is nothing I can say or do without potentially causing her death or at least an additional and severe beating. It seems the only thing I can do to help is tell powerless and sceptical old people?

I don't know what to do and I am sick about this. I guess like all else, I must trust my gut. I am going to confront him and if he kills her and beats the shit out of her it's his fault and not mine. I want to help but have no experience with this and never wanted any. I just wanted some support.

I will let you all know how it goes.

gonnabe2016 posted 8/18/2014 20:54 PM

NO!!

DO NOT TALK TO HIM ABOUT THIS!

What NG said (and W2H validated) is correct. His wife is going to *pay the price* for your confrontation. If you confront him, then he is going to know that his wife has been *talking* and she will be punished for that. I will guarantee you that you do NOT want to have to live with what may happen after your *talk* with him.

Don't go to your family members. They aren't in a position to do anything about this situation.
What you do is you go to his wife. You tell her that you know about the abuse and you offer help to her. Take her to talk to a DV counselor at the local DV shelter -- you may have to basically kidnap her under false pretenses, depending upon her mindset, to get her in front of a DV counselor.
Dr. Phil's wife has developed a DV website. The website itself was kinda lame, but she does have an app that can be downloaded onto a device which allows an SOS message to be sent when trouble occurs.

Leave the family out of this. Leave your cousin out of this. Find a way to approach the actual victim. She may be extremely skittish, which will require a gentle approach. This situation cannot continue, but *you* have no control over it. His wife is the one who needs support and will be the one to make any complaints that need to be made.

Focus on her, not him.

And again. Do NOT talk to the abuser about this.

Kajem posted 8/18/2014 21:41 PM

DONT TALK TO HIM!!! The repercussions to her can be astronomical!

If you don't believe us, ask the experts. Call your local domestic violence shelter and ask them how to proceed. They know better than us how this can escalate.

How did you find out he's hitting her?

Not easy,

Hugs,
K

Nature_Girl posted 8/18/2014 21:49 PM

We are trying to support you. You want to help. We're letting you know how to help. You have the ability to help the victim.

What is it you hope to accomplish by confronting your cousin? Do you think that you can make him see the error of his ways? Are you seriously telling yourself that if you have this conversation with him, and he then ends up beating/killing his wife, you won't feel even the slightest bit responsible for triggering that event? My biggest fear when I was planning to separate from my ex was that someone would spill the beans to him or he would otherwise find out before I had my preparations complete. Indeed, it was my church that almost did this very thing (because they were so eager to support him, their brother in Christ). I am convinced he would have killed me and the children.

http://storage.cloversites.com/abuserecoveryministryservices/documents/The%20Facts%20About%20Abuse.pdf

http://storage.cloversites.com/abuserecoveryministryservices/documents/Couples%20Counseling%20and%20DV.pdf

http://www.dvrcv.org.au/help-advice/guide-for-families-friends-and-neighbours

http://www.notunderbondage.com/resources/UnhelpfulComments.html

Myname posted 8/18/2014 22:12 PM

Nothing to add other than I agree 100% with what others have said. Do not confront the abuser talk to the victim.

Call your local domestic violence shelter and ask them how to proceed. They know better than us how this can escalate.

This is a good idea too.

You are in a very difficult position. I'm really sorry.

mixedemotions posted 8/18/2014 23:49 PM

I'm a survivor of domestic abuse. I agree with the same advice you've gotten. Please contact your local DV support center and also call a general hotline to get some professional feedback.

Gently, I think some people's very natural but very dangerous response can be that it isn't really all that bad and the threat of death is unrealistic. I hear a bit of that in your response. This is a scary situation and I can imagine very jarring to find out such different information about someone you feel so close to. That doesn't change the fact that abuse does get worse when the abuser is confronted.

You love him and I understand that. I've been there. Please don't let that love for him convince you to be reckless with his wife's safety. Even if he doesn't physically kill her, I speak from experience in saying that when the threats get worse, she may start to wish she were dead. When each of my former abusers felt cornered, the tension in my home was so incredibly painful and scary. The toll it took on me still has effects years later.

Things only got better for me when I faced the reality of abuse head on, allowing for the duality between loving someone and acknowledging that they are not safe, not blending those two facts or letting the love influence my right to keep myself safe.

As much as you want to, you can't fix it. And as much as you don't want to recognize that he's capable of doing major damage, he is. Please get backup from professionals. None of us would try to set a broken bone or perform neurosurgery without medical training, it's totally appropriate to go to mental health professionals for mental health support. This situation needs it.

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