I don’t normally write about this at all, let alone on public, due to my own rules about family drama making it onto my blog, but sometimes it’s just too much.

This cycle is so fucking stupid. I don’t want to run Marika’s life and I know that’s wrong to even think, because it’s counterproductive and manipulative and shit, but sometimes I just want to grab her like a Barbie doll and make her do The Right Thing™ and dump this guy, move back here (she can be on her own, I promise!) and get real counselling for the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother so that she can find a place of peace and stop. getting. involved. with. abusive. men. who are nothing but replacements for her mother’s crazy ass bullshit.

After a quiet Christmas season, Marika and I were chatting often and we joked that since her mother has been “normal” (ie. gone) for a few weeks that she’ll probably contact her soon with some manipulative, random text message that says something to the effect of, “You don’t love me! You never loved me! YOU NEVER TEXT ME!” just out of the blue to try and goad her through guilt and hysteria into paying attention.
We were laughing, but only because it’s probably true. And sure enough… on New Years’ Day Marika got a letter from her mother, several pages long, IN CHAPTER FORMAT, that was a dramatic re-telling of Marika and Krazy’s life up to this point from Krazy’s point of view.

And it’s just about as entertaining as you can guess it is. There was a part one “The good times” which involved Marika and Krazys perfect life without dads or sisters or other devils who would turn her to the dark side, then there were the “fighting times” where she was in turmoil and running away and going back and forth and still very vulnerable to her mother’s abuse. This was the point where her mother still had a lot of control and would forbid her from seeing us, or dad, for all sorts of random reasons and we had to play her game in order to get as much time with Marika as possible to just LET HER BE for a fucking day.
Chapter three comes out in a few days, she threatened, and that’s the worst one. It stars me and will be all about her life at my house when she made so many mental, physical (and even scholastic) improvements.
Some hilarious quotations include, “She [Heather] convinced you to run! The beginning of it all. Run!” Which doesn’t even make sense, because I had no idea she had run away until she’d been missing for over two hours and the police were involved. Remember, this woman is both a theatre teacher and an actress. Yes that’s right, she works with children on a regular basis. Remember all those random threatening emails telling me I was going to hell, was a bad mother, was a monster, wishing death and destruction on my family and children, etc, that I was getting while Marika was staying with me? THOSE WERE FROM STUDENTS, AND PARENTS OF STUDENTS THAT TOOK CLASSES FROM HER. People I had never met in my life and who knew nothing about me other than what she’d told them (and boy did she tell them!).
I’m pretty happy with the karma of talking about her under an assumed name on the internet after that shit, yo.

Anyway… that was fun. She managed to get through it with mostly good humour, though there were definitely parts of the letters that were incredibly painful. For instance, Krazy characterizing the worst bout of isolation and depression Marika endured while sent to her aunt’s house and literally locked indoors with no contact with the outside world for WEEKS as “a tantrum over having to obey some rules”.
Dad suggested Marika write her mom back with the actual version of the story, but Marika said it wasn’t worth her time and I don’t blame her. On one hand I’m happy Marika has reached a point in her life where she’s capable of seeing her mother’s manipulative abuse as what it truly is and is able to get through it… on the other hand it saddens me deeply because I never wanted it to get like this. I always had this spark of hope that somehow, sometime, her mother might suddenly come around and they’d work it out and be stable. It didn’t have to be perfect, but at the very least have some sort of semblance of a functional relationship. Marika, dad and I all worked so damn hard to ensure that Marika got counselling from multiple avenues, had opportunities and safety and boundaries and privacy to work on her issues when she needed to… we put up with the verbal and emotional abuse from her mother day after day after day for years in hopes that it would help keep the path open for the two of them to reconnect. We watched Marika try and try, only to be burned badly, and then we’d all hold her while she cried and wondered why her mother acts like this. We made sure to never speak ill of her in front of Marika and keep both our tears and our pain about it all private to never sully her image in front of a daughter who was desperate for her love. That was agony. It was fucking agony watching her get hurt over, and over and over again and being so helpless to stop it even with all the effort we were putting in.

Dad dropped out first. He couldn’t handle Krazy anymore and just cut off contact. He was done. Curtis begged me to stop, but I didn’t let go until Marika was out living with her boyfriend and Krazy had no more reason to involve me. I’m proud of myself for making it through that without cracking – and I do not know how I would have done it without the help of weekly therapy, thank you very much – but it was one of the most emotionally difficult things I’ve ever done.
And now it’s like it’s happening all over again with her boyfriend, who has become this … I don’t even know. He can be awful. I’m sure he can be wonderful, too… and I know everyone fights and teenagers can fight worse than any of us put together, but fuck. As a friend pointed out, it’s like she’s found someone else to be her mother. 3am phone calls in tears, lots of coming here and leaving, coming here and leaving, police involvement, everything… it’s awful and I feel completely helpless. She’s not even in the same town anymore. I want to come in there, pick her up and put her in my trunk and force her to leave him, but I know I can’t do that or even suggest it. I kept supporting her up until last month when I finally told her I can’t approve of their relationship anymore and that I’d like to see her leave him. She said she knew I was right, but she loved him too much. I’m sure a good portion of people here know this situation all too well.
In their last argument he crossed the line and called her mother to support him. I told Marika that any partner you’re ever with, no matter whether or not they even believe you were abused, should never, ever, EVER put you in forced contact with your perpetrator. Ever. For any reason. He effectively used her mother to manipulate her, told Krazy what she wanted to hear and then taunted Marika with things like, “You need to suck it up and just be nice to your mom. All you do is run away from your problems and beg people to pamper you” while Krazy groomed him with compliments and tears about her apparent victimization. It was a bad scene. I ended up calling the police so that he’d leave and she’d be able to get out of the house and come here to spend time with us. All the while I listened to him verbally abuse her while she was on the phone with me and do everything in his power – from name-calling and disgusting threats all the way down to crying and begging – to get her to get off the phone with me and stay. He even missed his work so he could ‘guard’ her.

In the end, with the help of the police, she got to the ferry and is on her way. This time if he follows her (as he did last time, and got her to go back with him) I’m going to put a restraining order on his ass myself. I’m trying not to hate him, or feel any sort of horrible thing toward him, but it’s hard when it’s my baby sister and I’ve seen her go through so much already without needing this bullshit in her life right now. I know this is the way this cycle often goes, I know that it will get better, but I’m fighting with myself over the correct thing to do other than be nothing but a ‘soft place to land’. It’s a very powerless place to be.

I would be most grateful for anyone who has ever been in situations like this (I say this because many others tend to simply go with, “Don’t be dumb and dump his ass”, which is unhelpful and insulting), either with a mother like Krazy, or boyfriends like this one, to leave some words of support and wisdom that I may pass on to Marika while she stays here for a few days to get some space. It would help.




  • Anonymous says:

    I went through something similar with my ex, who I now have a restraining order against. He had threatened to have me raped and murdered and went so far as to put my home contact information on rape fantasy websites. He alienated me from family and friends, made me quit jobs or be fired because of his harassment, and made me leave school so he could control me. We were together for six years.

    Unfortunately, you don’t leave until you’re ready to. And she’ll eventually learn when enough is enough and give up.

  • genbean says:


    let me preface this with I started this relationship when I was 18. Honestly, my father was so abusive and manipulative, that escaping the horror I went through made it easier to cut myself off from him too. I wrote this a few months after I finally left. It took seven years. I knew after the first 6 months that I wanted to leave.

    I have to admit that a lot of the things that happened to me and subsequently my children were abuse.

    We had a few fights, I slowly realized that Brian would lash out violently when he felt guilty, so I tried not to make him feel guilty, but other people, who didn’t know he took it out on me, would sometimes say things to him.

    The fighting was never really a daily thing, it would happen sporadically, sometimes most of a year would pass before the pressure would start to build again. We had another huge fight when it took me a few weeks to find another job, he was angry because money was too non-existent for him to get high. I was about 2 months pregnant, he threw me into the wall and my head rang and my ear made a horrible thud against it and throbbed as I slid to the floor. He left, and I cried until I vomited, then fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I called a friend of mine and tried to tell him how bad I felt, but couldn’t, instead I just chit-chatted and promised to send pictures of the new baby when it was born (I didn’t yet know the gender). I collected myself, and by the time Brian got back late that night, I realized I probably wouldn’t be able to ask for help, or leave in time to escape his grasp, I accepted a weak apology. Soon after I returned to work, Brian and I had another fight, he broke another mirror (hung in the same spot, over the kitchen sink, I still remember cutting my hands on the glass trying to get it out of the sink, after he left, numbly watching my blood ooze down the drain).

    I tried to formulate plans to leave, I stayed with my brother for a few days, but failed to tell him how bad things had gotten.

    His jealousy returned, even though he pretty obviously didn’t want me as a romantic partner, he had come to depend on me to communicate to the outside world on his behalf. He didn’t know the names and dosages of most of his medications, and I had talked with his doctors more than he had, I had even filled out his disability applications three times. He had always been very possessive, and suspicious, even before his bouts of infidelity had begun.

    After one of our arguments, he left big purple marks on my arms where he had tried to drag me out into the cold after soaking me with cold water. I had lost a lot of weight following the diet his doctors prescribed for him, and could not longer put up much of a fight. I showed the bruises to friend, he told me I had to get out. I agreed, and tried to hide money to leave.

    I finally started talking to my co-workers about it. Women who had escaped nightmarish marriages started describing patterns that sounded all too familiar. I had once again told Brian that I was leaving, he said he would see me dead first. One day, he hovered over me with his knee on my chest and his forearm on my throat screaming at me, the neighbor heard him and came over, he went to answer the door and I crept out the back door to his mother’s house, still dizzy from the pressure in my head. He left a bruise on my throat. I didn’t tell his mother what had happened, just started doing the laundry, she didn’t ask.

    Then he wrecked the car. I told him I was still leaving, I gave him what little money we had and asked him to fix the car or find another one. He bought a truck. It cost a third of my paycheck just to get to work. He promised he would change, he threatened me, he threatened to take my children, I didn’t back down, I told him I was leaving.

    I showed my friend the bruises and welts, and he said he couldn’t let me go back. I still wonder if Brian would’ve killed me, he could have, easily, and reminded me often enough. I was awarded custody of my children and they moved into the first place with reliable heating they had ever lived. Brian destroyed most of my things, but I didn’t care. He refused to sign the divorce papers for two years, but finally signed them.

  • heavynleigh says:

    my bil was in love with this girl: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/29/jennilyn-watson-was-in-me_n_789064.html

    there was a big article about her in Cosmo, I think, as well. it focused on the dangers of abusive relationships and how to safely get out.

    i hope Marika can find the strength to get away

  • mikachubelle says:

    I was in several abusive relationships before I met my wonderful husband. My mother is a pill popping vodka drinking bag of crazy as well. You are doing all you can even if you feel you aren’t. Knowing you have support from someone who loves you unconditionally is the only way to get out. It took forever for me to get it and get out. It isn’t love if he went to those types of lengths its manipulation at its finest. I am sending positive thoughts and vibes both your ways and hope she can see through the blindness that love can cause. She deserves more than that and she IS more than that. With your support she will see it as she did with her mother I hope. I completely agree with the restraining order and hope it doesn’t come to that. Best wishes and hugs.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had a mom like krazy and finally when I was 14, I was taken out of her house by child protective services (US) and eventually placed with relatives. At first they made me talk to her on the phone but a year later, after a weekend visit was cut short by her and I having a huge fight and me coming back on my own devices, they decided to not make me visit her anymore.

    After I moved in with my family, I didn’t want to stay in contact with her but they thought I should. Any time she would call it’d be her telling me how awful of a daughter I was, how much of a victim she was and why she was innocent of any wrong doing. Finally they decided after the failed visit that I was old enough to make decisions about staying in contact with her and they didn’t make me talk to her. She’d cry on the phone to my new parents and beg them but they’d lie to her and say that I wasn’t home. They noticed my mood improved and I was less sad. It was because I wasn’t being told on a weekly basis how awful I was. Because I was a good person and she was sick.

    I grew up telling myself that I was just a kid, I had no control over her decisions and that it wasn’t my fault. That was half a lifetime ago and I still feel empowered knowing it wasn’t my fault. I tried having a relationship with her soon after graduating high school (for the sake of my little brother) but that ended badly after 6 months. I’d talk to her on and off on the phone and that would be ok for a couple of years but she was always pressuring me to come and visit (I lived less than an hour away) but I didn’t want to see her in real life. It didn’t feel right. I felt safer talking to her on the phone.

    She finally called me over Christmas a couple years back and I sent her to voicemail. She left a nasty message telling me she wished I was never born and blah blah blah and I decided not to call her back. What do you stay to that anyway? She called a couple weeks later and I answered so that I could confront her and tell her what she said was hurtful. She freaked out and I told her to never call again. That was 5 years ago this month.

    It sucks that I was cheated out of having my bio-mom out of my life, esp now that I have 2 small children but I have a handful of mom role models in my life and I feel better knowing that I will not be subjected to her abuse anymore.

  • annemarie_a says:

    I’ve been reading your journal for years, but this is the first time I’ve commented. It’s been really emotional to read through everyone else’s comments and see so many versions of the same situation. I apologize in advance, I tend to be really long-winded.

    I grew up in a big family with many different types of crazy. I was verbally and emotionally abused by both my mother and step-mother my entire life. Everyone in my family knew about the abuse, but it was seen as “just the way it is” and I was raised to just deal with it and “be respectful of adults”. If I tried to defend myself in any way, I was punished. I moved to a different town right after high school graduation, with a guy I ended up with from ages 17-22 (living together the last four of those years). Things were really good between us in the very beginning, and I spent over five years trying to find that person again. He became very close-minded and controlling, and it only got worse, until I had zero self-esteem and didn’t even recognize the person I was. Everything about me was wrong- my hair, clothes, weight, what I ate, my hobbies. I couldn’t have friends outside of our circle, I wasn’t allowed to drink. There were sex issues, which I won’t talk about. He didn’t like my family, but denied that their treatment of me was wrong. Somehow, I didn’t see this dynamic as unhealthy. Instead I felt that I was wrong and disgusting, and was thankful to have someone who loved me enough to tolerate it and try to help me. We did occasionally have good times, and those felt like my reward.

    It wasn’t until I began working a job where I met a lot of open-minded people with similar interests, that I started to see something wasn’t right. It took a couple years of slowly opening up to coworkers for me to work up the courage to break up with him. When I finally tried to, he cried and begged, offered to go to counseling, promised to change, etc. We spent another year trying to “work things out”. Then one day he came home from work and spent about four hours telling me all the ways in which he was unhappy and unfulfilled by me. I was devastated. He was my entire world and I didn’t know how to live without him- I had gone from an emotionally abusive childhood, to an emotionally abusive adulthood, with no idea who I was. I had learned to keep going each day by seeking validation from the people keeping me down. A few days after we broke up, I drove to a bookstore by myself, ordered a coffee, and spent a couple hours reading alone. It was so simple, but it felt amazing. That’s when I realized it would take awhile to adjust, but that *I would be OK*. Some weeks I needed to be around people constantly, other weeks I isolated myself completely. I’m sure it was exhausting for those around me. But our friends (who were originally his friends) all stood by me and remained supportive, even his brother, and many admitted to noticing the way he treated me. Eventually I made the decision to move three states away and start over completely. I moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone, learned how to be alone, and learned who I was. It was the single best thing I have ever done for myself. I met my husband. I cut off communication with the majority of my family. Sometimes burning bridges and building walls is the healthiest thing you can do. Although the people who hurt me also suffered abuse in their lives, it doesn’t make their behavior acceptable, and it doesn’t mean I deserve it. Sometimes people are just hopelessly broken.

    It sounds like what you are doing right now is the best thing for her. Sharing your feelings about her situation in a gentle and non-judgmental way, listening to her, and providing a safe place to go. Showing her that she can trust you is the most important thing. Just know that when she finally frees herself, she not be herself for awhile, but she will figure it out eventually.

  • res_urrected says:

    I did all these things as an older teen: I “ran away” from an emotionally abusive home to go to college a year early, I pushed myself so hard in school to try to push everything about my family away that I had a nervous breakdown, and I ran from school straight to a man who treated me just like my mother had treated me and how a string of men had treated her. The anger and angst and drama and hurt is strangely familiar and comforting because if you’re from that situation you KNOW how to deal with that. I never knew how to deal with calm, or peace, or how to be friends or be real partners with someone. I married the guy, and the abuse only ever got worse. It took a lot to leave– I thought I still loved him, but our marriage counselor suggested we “take a break” and… I can’t say how much better it felt, for the first time. It was very very difficult, and to this day he has said things to try to get me back, especially because we have a kid together. But I’ve never done something that made me feel more empowered or that had a better effect on my life than to leave him.

    If I could say one thing to your sister it would be this: that you’re worth more than you can ever imagine, that your very Self is worth more than anyone can explain. Even if you stay with this guy, even if everything in you says you need and want him still, please don’t tie yourself to him in any way– don’t share bank accounts, don’t sign a lease, don’t marry him, don’t have a baby with him. None of that will fix it or make the hurt stop or make him treat you better– it makes it harder to get away when you do finally need to. Marika, I don’t know you, and I don’t claim to know your mind or your situation apart from what your sister’s explained here, but I do know that as the child of an abusive parent and the ex of an abusive partner that nobody can fix them but THEM, and nobody can fix you but YOU. You have it in you to make your own situation so much better. I hope you can see how much you’re worth. *random internet-stranger hugs, if they’re welcome*

  • To: Marika

    It’s been almost 8 years since I left my emotionally abusive ex-husband (started dating at 18, married at 19, divorced at 23). I’m still haunted by the memories, the abuse. It gets easier, but the ghosts don’t go away. There were a couple of things that convinced me that I had to leave. First, he hit me, just once. Not hard, but it was still in anger and a major flag. Second, my shrink finally convinced me I couldn’t change him. No matter if I did everything he wanted me to do, if I talked to him, explained it enough, he wasn’t going to get better, he wasn’t going to change. He wasn’t going to be that wonderful man I knew he was but that I hadn’t seen in forever and very few had seen at all.

    As a teenager we think first impressions are the ones that matter and are true. They aren’t. It takes time to get to know someone. If that someone has changed and they blame you, saying they’d be this wonderful guy if only you’d do that or not do this or stop being so stupid, etc, then they were never that wonderful guy. They acted like it to trap you.

    Oh and don’t fall for the trap where he tells you, you’re just as abusive and monstrous as him. It’s you defending yourself, the only way you know how. Once you find a decent guy, it’ll be one of the first things you notice you’re not doing. It’ll be a liberating sign of your freedom. Your ability to be yourself, while still in a relationship.

    It’s unbelievably hard to break free, but it can happen. Lean on the support of family, the ones that love you and let you be you.

  • ourstreets says:

    Hey, delurking here to share a book recommendation. I was raised by someone like this and have finally, after four years of intense therapy, have gotten to the point where I feel like I can acknowledge his character for what it really is. My therapist had encouraged me to read The Sociopath Nextdoor, and through reading this book I was able to really understand my own upbringing in a way I wasn’t capable of before. Accepting that the mind games are intentional and that the “good parts” are little more than manipulation to keep us coming back/hooked was like breathing for the first time in my life.

    Sociopaths (and Krazy certainly sounds like she fits the bill) will not change – they will only convince you they have, until you let your guard down, and then they strike again. They have no conscience and do not adhere to laws of morality, for they see things like love and care only as weapons in their arsenal. Coming to terms with that saved my life, and allowed me to sever ties that were drowning me. Please check out this book, I honestly feel like it might provide some of the answers it sounds like you both are searching for – especially Marika, to begin to be able to recognize the patterns to help keep herself healthy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hope this helps…

    I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship for almost five years. When I look back, I realize how much time I wasted and how I could have spent that time being happy. Leaving a relationship like that is one of the hardest things your sister will face. Relationships like that drain you emotionally and mentally and leave nothing left but the shell. I eventually believed him and felt worthless and like it was all in my head. It was this reason that made me stay for so long. But I realized, and I hope your sister realizes, that she does matter. Her feelings are valid and should be respected. And most importantly, she is strong enough to achieve anything and strong enough to transform her life into one filled with happiness. The right one is out there for her, but it really begins with her. I don’t know you or your sister, but I hope everything works out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Of controlling mothers and toxic boyfriends

    My mother was emotionally abused by her father, and when I started dating, it triggered her issues and she and I then entered into an emotionally abusive dynamic.

    She’d flag a guy as “safe” and the guy (and me) would be get carte blanche. Or something would trigger her memories of dad, and she’d flip emotionally abusive to me, ignoring me for moths at a time save for horrid passive-agressive comments about me and my sexuality.

    A guy got a “pass”, was 24 when I was 16. When I grew up more I understood that he was with a teen because he was too huge of a loser (I use that term loosely) to connect with people his own age. I chose to leave the relationship and she rejected me outright. The guy started stalking me and I had to call the cops myself because my mother was having him over for coffee to console him. A totally nice guy my age I dated after, got flagged as “bad” on their first meet, and after months of trying to carry on a normal teen relationship, he burst into tears in his car in our driveway after how badly she went after him, “why does she hate me.”

    Here’s the overlapping parts. She died really suddenly when we were STILL embroiled in this drama, to some degree. I was 19. I immediately got together with a guy, and entered into a very destructive, co-dependent relationship. Over time I was manipulated into taking over debt, financially supporting him completely. It took me years, and the support of my entire network of extended family behind me to come up with my “exit plan” and execute it.

    It took another five years in therapy to realize what happened. What my mother did that was so destructive, was suggest, than reinforce for me over and OVER, that I was not capable of making my own decisions around relationships. That my judgement was flawed. I didn’t trust myself. Marika’s mom has done this to her with respect to her life decisions. I said to you once that I thought you were doing a fantastic job with Marika – and I said that because I saw you trying to reverse this. You allowed Marika to make positive and personal decisions, and helped guide her to what was best for her. I think you just didn’t get to do this early enough and long enough to make Marika believe she CAN make good decisions and she CAN execute her own plans.

    One of my other huge insights (and anyone who has been to therapy, yourself inclusive, will recognize this) in therapy was that we recreate our childhood family dynamics with our partners. You already see this, and him contacting M’s mum takes this to a whole other level of insane. You could try saying to her, describing this phenomenon, “Marika, something I’ve learned from my therapist is that we tend to recreate…” and describe situations from YOUR life with your family that she might be able to see. “I sometimes react to Curtis this way, and I think it’s because my mom….” And encourage her to think about how her childhood effects how she relates to people.

    The last thing that had to take place for me to leave that last bad engagement (yup, I agreed to marry him, that was great for my credit score…) was for someone to sit down with me and hammer out all the PRACTICAL aspects of the departure. I was so overwhelmed by the, “but he lives with me,” “he’s the co-signor on the mortgage and I can’t refinance,” “I co-signed his bad loan,” “he can’t pay for his medications without me,” – that the powerful part of me would just shut the fuck down and it became “easier” to stay. Let her tell you what is practically standing in her way, and together, come up with the practical plans and solutions. After you get through five or six, she will start to see that there are solutions for all her worries, and that you are there for her to help her find them, and execute them. No matter how silly she thinks they are.

    Sorry this is so long. I see a lot of myself in her, and all I can say is that I wish I’d had a big sister. I really believe you are doing so much right, Heather, just keep going. Help her become as emotionally literate as you are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: Of controlling mothers and toxic boyfriends

      Oh – one more thought – again, so sorry for the length. I resisted psychotherapy for so long because I thought it was self indulgent, a massage for my brain that I hadn’t done anything to deserve. Everyone deserves it, and without saying “your life is so fucked up,” try to make her believe that she has come through struggle – and that everyone who comes through struggle or trauma benefits from reflection and processing. That she is WORTH the mental massage.

  • _delphiki_ says:

    I have things to say but I’m not willing to write them out unlocked. Do you mind if I PM you?

    Edit for missing word.

  • bluealoe says:

    I have no words about Krazy. It’s just beyond comprehension. And the fact that she had her STUDENTS email you…that has got to be breaking some sort of teachers’ ethical code. It’s absolutely unbelievable. I mean, even when I was a depressed and vulnerable teenager, if one of my teachers had told me about problems with their children, it would never in a million years occur to me to email their child’s sister and tell her she’s going to burn in hell. Where does she get these things???

    It’s so sad that it’s gotten this far, despite all of Marika’s and your dad’s and your hard work to try to get a semi-healthy relationship. But it has to go both ways, and if Krazy isn’t willing to at least try…I don’t see what else you can do.

    She said she knew I was right, but she loved him too much.

    This gave me chills. I can’t only see this ending badly, and I’m scared for Marika.

    I’m sorry I don’t have any advice, since I don’t have direct experience with this kind of abuse. But I’m glad Marika’s staying with you for a while, and remember to take care of yourself, too. *hugs tight* I love you, and I’m sending god thoughts your way.

  • Oh yuck, so sorry that you had to deal with another round of Krazy. I was just telling a friend last night that there seems to be SO MUCH “CRAZY” going on all around us, it is amazing that any of us still have some perspective on what is “normal”.

    I sure hope that your time with your lil’ sis’ can bring some peace and reflection for her.

  • allenjaphy says:

    On one hand, I want to say, “yes totally I’ve been on the receiving end” and I sort of pause and think that when I was not sober I was probably on the giving end of the Krazy too. I’m willing to speak about it, but I’m not sure it would help.

    • admin says:

      I completely understand if you’re not comfortable speaking about it, and by all means you don’t have to. If you want to you can leave it under an anonymous comment, as a number of other people have done, and even request I leave it screened (anons are screened by default: I get a LOT of bot spam since my journal started getting more traffic). But I will say that EVERYTHING so far has helped. Every point of view and story. It’s amazing how many things people have talked about, even the ones that they think sound totally helpless and desperate DO help because it’s showing her that other people have been there and they did eventually get out and find a healthier life… even if it took a while, they all reached a point where they can talk about it and say, “That happened, it was awful, and maybe I made some mistakes but I did get away”. And that, above all else, is what I wanted to be able to translate to her. I haven’t experienced this myself, so I can’t give her personal, tailored advice on how I managed to make it through… and being able to share with her these stories and personal accounts from people who actually care about her well being even though they’ve never met her is very special during a time when she’s feeling really pissed off and betrayed and hurt.

      Anyway, don’t take this as pressure, but just know that every bit helps. 🙂

      • allenjaphy says:

        I’m comfortable speaking about it, so first the episodes of when I was the victim:

        One partner lied for 3 months that she had past lover die, to one day have that very lover call. A ton of emotional/psychological abuse going on “I’m with you because she died, otherwise I’d be with her”, tons of acting out of “grief” You basic Fucked Up shit. I ended that relationship after it was clear to me that there was some form of unfriendly organic crazy going on, that I could not help and I could not be a witness to anymore.

        I had another partner who had intense anger issues. We were together for 5 years, and it was mostly how he acted out his anger verbally (swearing, screaming at me, fights) I got an order for protection after he hit me and split my lip.

        Now on to when I was the bad guy:
        Drugs are a hell of a thing. They altered my personality profoundly. What I thought was clear, real, rational, highly logical, intelligent, and kind, was anything but those things. I put my husband through hell. A lot of realizations came about during the process of getting sober, namely that no amount of reasoning, logic, or dialog will get through to someone, if they are truly convinced that they are correct. They cannot make the choice between what is more important “being correct” or “peace” The abuser is “correct” and their world view is “correct” and anything is in play to make the other see the “correct” view. In parallel someone who is being abused, has this sheer level of confusion of why they cannot just “Get it”. The sense of “What am I not seeing? What am I not doing?” is so profound that there is very real fear that they are leaving something rational, reasonable, and “Correct”. Love is there right? So it has to have elements of truth…right?

        This is just my experience, and a bit of my training as a therapist. Honestly, I would take Marika aside, go through the Wheel of Healthy/Abusive relationships, and then have her list the models of healthy adult relationships she has in her life…I’m guessing it is you and Curtis…and?

        • admin says:

          Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’re in a better place now, and you sound like you’ve been able to make some peace with yourself. Getting past addiction is an incredible challenge.

          And yeah, healthy relationships are not a big spotlight in Marika’s life unfortunately. Other than myself and Curtis I don’t know anyone that she knows very well that is stable and long-term… I mean, no one’s perfect and I don’t expect anyone to be and I’ve always been open with her about when Curtis and I had problems and fighting and such, but there definitely hasn’t been many models of good relationships… if any at all… up to this point in her life.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m not going to pretend my situation is as bad as Marika’s… but I have recently just gotten out of an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship. It was good at first but it all went downhill in the past year (we were together 3 years.) But really the only thing you can do is let her figure it out on her own time. I don’t know if it will be the same as it was for me, but no amount of my mom, friends, cousins, aunts, dad telling me that I needed to leave him made me actually want to do it. I know I needed to leave him but I had to do it on my own terms. I know that if I had done it too soon I would probably have just gone back to him anyway. And even now after having been broken up for several months on my own terms I still miss him, he still texts me, I still want to see him. I live with my mom and I’ve considered meeting up with him behind her back because I know she’d be pissed at me if I did it. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, other than it isn’t easy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Being a support system for Marika, providing a soft safe place to land, modeling healthy, loving behavior with your husband, helping her see all the great things about herself, showing her what it’s like to be happy away from him. Talking to her in so much as she is willing or able to hear it. It sounds like you are doing everything that you can, keep doing it, be there for her. She’ll have to make the decision herself, but you can provide a safe landing spot and food for thought to help her make the realization herself.

    Take the advice about safety from a previous poster seriously. I knew my ex had “gotten his ex to have sex with him when she came to get her belongings after finally leaving him,” and I have no idea why this didn’t sound like rape to me at the time. He also continued to hack into her email even years later. When I left him, I had to cut off all contact, take two friends with me to get my stuff from him so I’d never be alone with him, get a new email address, new phone number and repeatedly block him on facebook. Five years later and I am still paranoid that he’ll show up on my doorstep.

  • the_wanlorn says:

    I wish that I could be like, hey kid! It totally gets better the longer and further you are away from your mum! She’ll probably mellow out and you can “save” the relationship and everything will be puppies and rainbows once you’re older!

    Except it doesn’t.

    I had to cut off contact with my family for a while, and when I resumed contact they weren’t any different, but I was better able to let their bullshit roll off my back. But they weren’t anywhere near as fucked up as Krazy. Their shit was something that was kept in the immediate family. Part of what helped me was that I didn’t expect anything from them anymore. If I needed support or love or whatever, I went to the family I’d built myself out of friends and their families. Which, again, isn’t really helpful at all!

    But you’re doing really good. If I’d had a sister like you when I was growing up, it probably would have made all the difference in the world. Just having a safe space to go would have. Really, the only helpful advice I would have had for Marika would have been to find somewhere she could go, find a safe place with a friend or some other family member, and she already has that, which makes all the difference in the world.

  • twirlie says:

    I’m very cautious about writing things like this on the internet as I know my ex’s current wife still googles my username. But I couldn’t not reply.

    I used to BE Marika. Your stories about Krazy have always resonated with me because you might as well be describing my own mother. To the point where I moved to effing Texas at the age of 23 to escape her without even 24 hours notice. The only difference between Marika and I was that I had no one, literally to turn to.

    My relationship with my mother was also similar in that while I wanted to escape from the age of 18, I was literally paralysed. I couldn’t leave. Some weird sense of obligation, need for love, attention – I don’t even know, kept me rebounding back to her. I made a complete mess of my late teens and early 20’s because of it, to the point of dropping out of uni and throwing away any healthy opportunities I may have had. (there were other health reasons too, but.. yeah)

    In 2004 I moved to the US to be with a guy I’d known all of six months. I WOULD have done this anyway, but I definitely jumped into it to get out of the situation that was brewing at home. I married him and had a child with him. (Same time as you had Xan, coincidentally!) He, and all boyfriends bar one were very like her in that they wanted someone to ‘rescue’ or control. It was like I saw that character trait in them and grabbed it because it was all I knew. Equally, I’m pretty sure I encouraged them to act on those traits. It’s not like they were terrible people. I just was looking in the wrong places for the worst ways of showing love and affection. At the time, I guess I didn’t want or need better.

    Anyway, needless to say – it was awful. We had some good times but equally, we brought out the worst in each other and it became a horrible situation very quickly. It all came to a head when my son was 3 months old and after a row where I yelled horrible things, my ex left us in the UK (where I’m from) and returned to Texas without us. Had he not done that, I’m pretty sure I’d still be stuck with him. I didn’t have the willpower or strength to walk away – no matter how unhappy I was.

    It’s taken me 5 years to get to the point where I’m at now. 5 years of COMPLETE single parenting, a restraining order against my mother and no contact from the ex. It never gets completely better – I just started my first serious serious relationship since I split from the ex (everyone else got dumped after a few months because I was too scared of getting involved) and I’m petrified I’ve fallen into the same trap even though he’s nothing like any of the boyfriends before him. I’ve had years of the ex coming and going from my sons life (we’ve cut him off completely now) and up until a few months ago he was still reading my online accounts secretly – so its clear he’s was knowingly or unknowingly using his relationship (or lack of) with our son to hurt me.

    As far as changing my thought processes, its been a very back and forth process and I’m still working on it – I fear I will be the rest of my life. Councelling is tough but it works. It’s SO HARD to sit there, week after week and rehash a part of your life you’d rather forget, but it works.

    The main bit of advice I can give to Marika is to work on herself and her ambitions first. Don’t expect too much too soon. Unless you do, you risk substituting one ‘mother’ for another and that just gets you in a horrible place very quickly. BUT – there is hope. In a way she’s lucky because I’d give my right arm to be her age again. I wasted decades of my life being sad, confused and hurt and developing various autoimmune conditions because I bottled so much up. Its only now I’ve let go that I can start moving on.

    In a nutshell – second guess everything and don’t rush into relationships in the hope of finding whatever it is you’re looking for. Most importantly, BE SELFISH! No one else is going to look out for your best interests, so you owe it to yourself to do it. The biggest lesson I’m learning is to assign myself the same value I do everyone else. It feels wrong the majority of the time because its not what I learnt as a child, but time and time again I’m amazed how much better I feel when I put myself (and my health) first.


  • _tzigane says:

    You know what I hate about manipulative people? They’re like magnets. No. Like planets. Every time you’re around them you get drawn back into orbit whether you wanted to or not. I cannot have any form of contact with my ex for that reason. If he were to text me right now I probably wouldn’t sleep well for at least a couple days… and that’s without me even answering.

    How can you love someone who is so horrible to you? People ask that a lot. It doesn’t.make.sense, but as much as I’m “wtf, Marika, why do you love him?! HOW?!” I also know that I was in that same position of loving someone abusive and manipulative. I hate to say it, but that relationship was the closest I got to marriage, children, and the whole enchilada.

    When I was in the process of breaking up with him this book got passed along to me:

    Why Does He Do That names 9 types of manipulative and controlling men. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I skimmed the types until I found the ones that fit my ex. Two of them described him PERFECTLY. I was in tears… I mean, you think you’re CRAZY. These fucking people make you feel nuts. But you’re not. Seeing it all on paper really helped. I mean, it’s not the reason I ended it with him for good… but it helped. It might be worth it for Marika to read or skim it.

  • uneko says:

    the only words I can offer is that people change. And that change isn’t always for the better. In fact, I see, all too often, people change for the worse. Sometimes, change isn’t better OR worse. Sometimes change is just DIFFERENT. Different isn’t bad, or good. Just different. The problem when people become different is that they’re not the same. That may seem obvious, but sometimes things like this bear repeating.

    Sometimes, the person–the being–someone changes into is someone we can get along with better. Surely everyone has had a friend that they’ve grown closer to over time… as both friends grow and change, developing new interests, and as their personalities evolve as a result of LIFE happening around them 🙂 Or take that friend who you imeadiatly bonded with, but drifted away from over time… maybe you changed… maybe they changed.. maybe you both did. Or maybe it was just your perception of the other–other many months and years of friendship, you can learn more about your friends that you just can’t learn over a few days of chat… sometimes this is a good thing, but sometimes it’s not…

    In any event, change isn’t a black or white good or bad thing. change is, as I said, different.

    Sometimes, the people you love (or like 🙂 ) change into people you.. well, don’t love. And that can be hard because you look at them and see someone that you care a lot about. But sometimes, that person *isn’t there* anymore. In ways, it’s harder then someone dying and losing them that way. because, when someone dies, they’re gone. There is no coming back from dead. So you can start the healing process. Letting go, moving on…. but when you still see that person, walking around you each day, their face, it’s hard to accept that that person is no longer the person you LOVED and bonded with.

    I have a friend I miss very much. She was a dear friend of mine. I LOVED her in a lot of different ways, and she will always hold a dear close place in my heart. But she changed, and she changed a LOT and it was hard to deal with. I had to let go of her, and.. move on. I did. I left. I stayed away. I made new friends, new loved ones… the hurt stayed a long time. we eventually started talking again, but every time, we just hurt each other. She was no longer one of my BELOVED people–she was mean and agry, sharp and bitter. Self centered and still carried the… weapon she hurt me with (sorry to be vague, but this is a figurative weapon, not a REAL weapon). And I no longer worshiped the ground she walked on, which angered her. It took nearly 6 years for both of us to be ready for a friendship again. She was no longer the person who had hurt me. but she also wasn’t the person I had LOVED either. She’s different. I see echos of the person I knew, nearly 10 years ago, now and then, but that person is long, long gone and will never return. I miss her and what we had together… I like the person she is now. But they’re not the same person and never will be.

    And that’s okay.

    i guess the tl’dr, is… it’s okay to love the memory of a person, even when the person is still alive. But loving that memory… isn’t a good enough reason to stay near someone who hurts you. Or someone who disrespects you…. Even if there are good moments. Even if there are AWESOME moments… it’s not worth staying for them. I promise, they just come fewer and farther between. and that moment when you really let go.. and .. GO… it’s like a huge relief pulled off of your shoulders. Like suddenly remembering how to breath. It won’t be easy. There will always be moments where you miss them. but stay with it. It’s worth it to be respected. to be treated fairly. To be loved as you love.

    Just take that step <3 You have a net that will catch you if you ask them to.

    • uneko says:

      Also I should mention.. My friend wasn’t an abusive boyfriend, girlfriend or anything like that… but they were a very deep very close friend who I was in a very complicated life situation with. (she was my only friend, a cross country move, and … there were… feelings a lot stronger then friendship involved)… So, I don’t claim to quite be in the same position…. but there are a lot of things that are… very much similar. Being trapped, being… the one who was doing everything wrong. the one who should be grateful for everything. The one who had to work, and clean, and be available whenever her whim wished it, regardless of when I had to be awake, or what I was doing.

      It’s… a lesser form. But, I’ve had many years to think about everything. and I think… I hope my words will still.. matter. I hope they help.

  • Anonymous says:

    Insert [similar situation] here

    I know that if I had started my late teens/early adult life in a place of positive self worth and confidence, things would have played out very differently. As it was, I needed others to gauge my self worth. I had none and no way to measure it if I’d had any. I just knew that [yet another guy] was justified in how he treated me, somehow though I knew it was wrong I still felt it was all I deserved, and it was certainly the last chance I had at anyone wanting me, so I’d better make it work. After years of depression, self loathing/abuse, and bad relationships, I ended up in a situation in which I was completely and totally alone. I was 100% dependent on myself, no recourse, because I was constantly betrayed by those on whom I should have been able to depend. I also accomplished a lot in this situation (in a professional, non-personal sense). I came out of it a different person (at about age 27), and the problems of my youth were gone. I had inadvertently proved to myself what I was capable of, emotionally and otherwise. No more did I need anyone else to tell me what I was worth. I finally realized that what I was feeling for those guys was. Not. Love. but some bizarre addiction.

    I’m not saying you should abandon Marika. This was just what happened to me. I think you are doing all you can. You’ve said what needed said, you set the example, you practice what you preach, you listen and provide a fall-back. My point is to suggest to somehow get her into something she can accomplish all on her own. A qualification, a skill, anything to teach her from the inside out that she really is as awesome as you, Curtis, and your dad tell her she is. It won’t change things overnight, and it wouldn’t be the only change necessary. It would just give her one more tool to work with. From what you’ve described, she spent her childhood trying to survive the one person who should have been helping her. She(M) never had the chance to develop the tools, measuring sticks, and coping skills a person needs in life. She never had the chance to really succeed on her own merit (instead of out of fear).

    Do you know where Krazy’s crazy comes from? Is she flat out mentally ill or was she hurt/damaged in her own way? My own mother, though not as abusive, was incredibly and hurtfully manipulative, and it all came from her own damaged psyche and unmet needs – which in turn damaged her relationship with me. When I figured out what and why with my mom, we were able to balance a bit more and heal each other. I know you all are working on it and it’s hard for Marika, who is still growing up; but if she could begin to understand what makes each person who hurts her do so, she could begin to fight back, defend, or at least be able to cope without so much raw pain. She could realize why these type boyfriends are parasites and what she’s feeling isn’t love. It isn’t her job to fix Krazy, but understanding the why might help her build a buffer zone.

    There’s no simple answer, no magic words. But she’s got love and an awesome sister on her side. She can totally do this.

    • admin says:

      Re: Insert [similar situation] here

      Thank you. 🙂

      Krazy has a lot of skeletons in her closet and getting to the bottom of them probably wouldn’t be a task she’d enjoy. The only two things I know of are that her elder sister, who does not have contact with the family, is severely mentally ill (perhaps psychotic and/or scitzophrenic) and physically abused her briefly as a small child. She doesn’t remember this, however, and was told it by her parents.
      I also know that her first and only boyfriend other than our father raped and stalked her from the time she was 16 until she got together with dad and he scared him off. Dad said she refused to get counseling for this and got really weird about anger. If they had the smallest fight and he got even mildly irritated or snappy she’d go off like a klaxon and freak for days about how he was the most crazy ass monster on the planet.

      She’s never talked about either of these things with Marika though. Marika has expressed on numerous occasions that she knows more about my mother and her life than she knows about her own. Krazy told me that stuff about her (and dad told me the other part later) when I was a teenager before Marika was born. She seemed moderately normal back then… or at least she could hold it together. After Marika was born she developed PPP and went totally insane. And it’s like she never returned from that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Insert [similar situation] here

        Oh wow. That’s awful! What happened to her doesn’t make anything she’s done right or better, but I can see how without the proper help Krazy never had a chance 🙁 That bit of information made so much sense (again, similar to my own mother). I can imagine it’s a small part of why you held out hope for so long that progress could be made; she’s still hurting in her own way from something that wasn’t her fault – though it has morphed into something infinitely worse. If only she would share this with Marika, at least then Marika might truly believe it’s not all her fault. She can’t help her mother but it could be yet another void Marika can fill in building her sense of self worth and confidence. Maybe someday when Marika has more life experience she can help but right now she just needs to believe in herself, trust her heart, and break this blasted cycle!

  • bluekermit says:

    Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself in the long run. Listen, finally, to the little voice inside you that has been telling you what it is since that very first moment something was weird. Believe in your strength. Let yourself land on the soft spots to let your strength recover and rebuild itself from your core to your outer layers. Just believe in yourself.

    And bloody dump his sorry ass, and be the best of you he won’t let you be. You know. You.know. He doesn’t deserve your love, he’s proved it, again and again. Believe.in.yourself.

    Major hugs.

  • inertiaflux says:

    I’m not ready to talk deeply. But I knew my ex husband for four years before I married him. he was a sweet, wonderful guy but after marriage I became his object, his property to do whatever he wanted to. I lost my first child because of his abuse and paranoia. He locked me in the bedroom constantly. Police involvement and friends finally intervened and saved my life but it went on a year where I sat in denial, shame, depression and grief and at that point after losing my daughter I just took the sexual, physical, mental abuse and stopped caring. I eventually was granted divorce, restraining order, a whole mess. But friends, family, therapy, and time….now I’m married again and the happiest I’ve ever been. It wasn’t easy at all and I still am working on some through issues I have from the past with my husband but everyday is better than the last.

    I guess you just really never know and if hes okay treating her like this now…it worr ies me what he will think is okay to do down the line.


  • sofamiliar says:

    I have been in this situation.

    I dated someone who was emotionally manipulative and abusive, in ways that still affect me six years later and in a happy marriage. I tried breaking up with him, but I couldn’t make it stick – I didn’t feel beautiful unless he told me I was, and working for his approval gave me purpose when I was in a deep fog of depression. I was terribly lonely. I just wanted to feel like someone loved me. I wanted to believe he did.

    At one point, he was talking about his gaming and I decided to check out RP. I found a great little writing based game, and got involved. I was a good writer, and I had lots of time to get involved – I was spending all my time online anyway. I found other people who liked me, and who liked talking to me, and unconsciously, I distanced myself from him. I would just ignore his IMs and calls because I was in the middle of a scene that i’d rather be doing instead of dealing with him. And I still didn’t have to deal with myself, which was good – I didn’t like myself, I didn’t want to think about me, or him, or anyone. I just wanted to scene. Eventually we went out, and he started in on his BS, and I cowed a little, and as he went to go to the bathroom, I thought, I do not have to put up with this. when he came back, his cockiness was irritating instead of frightening. I told him I was done. He could find his own ride home. And I left.

    After, it was hard. I blocked him everywhere. My parents weren’t really told anything about him, but since I lived at home during this time (uni), they could guess. Dad made sure he never came to the door. When I missed him, I’d cry and hate myself for getting rid of the only guy who could care about me, and then i’d get online and RP.

    After awhile, I found someone really wonderful. I went abroad to… Find myself, I guess. Things slowly got better. I’ll always have scars, but everyone does.

    She has to make the choice herself, but you can show her the options. You just have to be there for her right now.

    I know it’s hard.

  • ryissa says:

    She said she knew I was right, but she loved him too much. I’m sure a good portion of people here know this situation all too well.
    Man do I ever. It took me eons to get it through my head that this ugly thing of a man should be as far away from me as possible. That quotation you put there from her boyfriend may have well been from my ex. I was broken and shattered emotionally by him with the whole “no one else will want you!” nine yards and everything.

    I think being around and meeting new people who actually treated me like a real person is what really woke me up once I started to hit rock bottom. Once that started to happen and I had ‘healthy’ people to surround me, the rest was downhill and I kicked my ex’ ass to the curb. It was so hard getting to that point. I actually had to get used to being treated normally, and even now there are some things I still am not used to.

    My friends and family just watched this all happen. Things weren’t very good at home, and I think that’s what made me ignore all the advice and warnings they gave me about him. I think if I had felt more loved and supported at home I may have left him earlier, but it’s hard to say. Love and support to a teen can be interpreted in so many ways. However, I would have loved that ‘soft place to land’ when I was getting in trouble. A place that made me feel safe and just… comfortable. A ‘gentle’ place as it were.

    I think if I had Marika right in front of me I’d tell her that she may love him, and it will be very hard to gather the strength to leave him, but this isn’t what a normal relationship is at all. What her boyfriend is showing is none of what a real relationship is – it’s not of ‘true’ love nor respect. It’s control and it’s manipulation. Doubts will be normal to feel when splitting up, and it’s gonna sting, but it’s the best thing to do before it gets any worse. She’ll be breaking up, but also she’ll be getting herself out of danger.

    She’s a beautiful person and deserves someone who will make her happy, and make her feel beautiful inside and out. A real man should dry your tears and ease your pains, not create them. Lastly, hold on tight to those that really love you in this time. Leaving anyone is hard, but you’ve got people right there to help support you, have a shoulder to cry on, and ease the sting.

    Oh I hope something in there is helpful. Felt like I just babbled (my thoughts just kinda get jumbled when I talk about this stuff). I wish all of you well and hope things can get settled in the least freakin messy way possible.

  • arlen_esq says:

    I grew up with a bi-polar mother (who was undiagnosed and untreated until I was in college). In my early 20s, I had a crazy boyfriend (a few years after I left him, post-stalking, post-restraining order, post violation-of-restraining-order, he spent 8+ years locked up in the state psychiatric hospital after stabbing and nearly killing someone). I have some cred here, I think.

    My words of wisdom, for what they’re worth, are mostly for you. You’re doing the right thing–being supportive, available, but not critical/judgmental.

    Here’s a kind of long story: I was 22, and finally getting ready to leave my crazy ex. I’d agreed to see a couples’ counselor with him, but told him he needed to leave me alone the week before the appointment. 2 a.m. of the morning of the appointment, my freaking house burned down. Pretty traumatic (we’re talking major fire–housemates pulled off of the balcony by firemen, standing in the snow barefoot in -10 degrees weather, total destruction–all 12 housemates did make it out alive, although two cats didn’t).

    8 hours later, I was at my aunt’s house. Another aunt showed up, my (crazy) mom showed up, and my older, protective, sis happened to be in town for work that day and was there. And I called my crazy ex to tell him that I couldn’t make the appointment, because, you know, my house had burned down, I didn’t own anything except the pajamas and borrowed boots I was wearing, and I had other things to deal with. He proceeded to *argue* with me, about how I never put him first, etc., etc.

    I didn’t notice at the time–but my Aunt Lori told me later–my sister was clearly getting angry, and turning bright red, and was about to grab the phone from me and lay into the guy. Aunt Lori told my sister–“Leave it. She needs to do this herself. You’ll do more harm than good.”

    And Lori was right. If my sister had intervened, and told me (and him) what she thought, I would have gone into defensive mode and things would maybe have played out much differently (after a few days, I realized what an ass he was and finally really ended things). What I needed was to know that I had the support of all these wonderful female relatives who were rallying around me, and that I had their support–and that’s what got me to the point where I could leave.

    Sorry, long story. I wish I could offer more specific advice on how to deal with a crazy mom–but honestly, I remember very little of my childhood–I dealt with it by withdrawing and ignoring, which is probably not the best.

    I hope this is helpful in even any small way.

  • bicrim says:

    I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship when I was between 14 and 17. There was a lot of manipulation, sex with very dubious consent, and some pushing and holding and threatening. I did not leave until I met someone else who was kind to me. Three weeks after I left him, he raped me.

    I found out later that the few months after the victim finally leaves are the most dangerous, and that women know this subconsciously, and it’s one of the many reasons they stay. I always advise women who are thinking of leaving to create a plan to stay very safe and away from their abuser for a long time after the breakup. It’s very easy to get talked into seeing him “just one more time”, “since you hurt me so much by leaving”. Please tell your sister than when she is ready to leave, to ask for your help in making a plan for safety, and for your help in being strong enough to keep to it.

    I hope she reads all of these responses and knows that there are many, many women who have been where she is and who support her. It’s not her fault, she is brave and strong and smart, and she can be happy and safe.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I was 16-17 I was in a relationship with an almost 40 year old guy. The age difference/power dynamic makes it a little different than Marika’s situation, but he was very much like the boyfriend described in this scenario.

    Some examples:

    I got a new job and on my first day when I didn’t answer his phone calls on time (like the minute I was supposed to be off) he called my job in hysterics accusing my boss of sleeping with me. I had only known the boss a day!

    I had to drop out of school because he called every 5 minutes and if I didn’t answer every time then I’d pay for it the next time I saw him/spoke to him/whatever.

    My first niece was born during this time period and he became increasingly angry anytime I would go see her. He’d tell me I was bother to my brother and his wife and that they didn’t want me around and to just stop going over there. It weighed heavily anytime I spent time with her because he would be trying to make contact with me in various forms.

    Once I said a guy in my class (before I dropped out) was nice and he supposedly called various friends who informed him I wouldn’t have said that unless I was sleeping with the guy.

    I could go on and on. This guy had ben completely wrapped around his finger. I felt like I couldn’t do anything without his permission and honestly I didn’t know what the rules were from day to day. It went on for over a year and then one day when he had me sufficiently beaten down he found someone else to torture and walked away…and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time I thought I would die without him, but I realized in reality I was already dead inside because he had beated me down so much.

    I am in my early 20s now and I see today what I couldn’t see as a teenager. Love isn’t supposed to hurt. It’s not supposed to be some huge struggle where you have to walk a thin line to be treated well. My guy used to cry and beg, too. It’s another manipulation tool. They do it because it works. We feel bad for them and they turn it to where we feel like WE messed up. We forget what they did in the first place and we feel evil for “making” them so angry.

    This is not your fault, Marika. And this guy is no good for you. He’s no good for anyone. He does not love you. What he’s giving you isn’t love. It will hurt like hell but walking away will change your life. It took me about a month before I felt okay again, and then I realized how amazing it was to be able to live without fear. I hope soon you can walk way and see how much better life can be, too.

  • I understand

    I was in a verbal and physically abusive relationship for over 8 years. Back and forth we went I would leave he would beg me to come back, the same cycle over and over. Finally a very good friend saw from the outside what I could not see from the inside. She encouraged me to go to a battered women s meeting with her, I did , I went to several. I stayed with him 3 months longer, and then one day I had enough courage to pack my 3 small kids up (they were 5,8 and 9) and leave him . i stayed in shelter for 6 weeks and from there started to rebuild my life without him. I know now that it is a cycle and it is a horrible one. i hope that she also finds the strength and courage to get away from him soon.

  • It is hard to walk away even when the pain is horrible. My ex husband was an emotional abuser. I wasn’t happy and was in counseling both couples and personal. My counselor asked me this after I came to the realization that he was never going to change. She asked me to think about what I wanted for my life and how I wanted it to look. Could I be happy with my the way my life was right then because he wasn’t going to change. Thirty years from now we will still be going through the same battles. I would still be the lazy self-centered no good person because I didn’t do the dishes or sweep the floor. I would still be tip-toeing around never sure what was going to set him off and always worrying when the next flip out was coming. I knew I didn’t want to be 50 and always worrying if the next punch would be on me instead of the wall and the verbal abuse, I worked hard to get my self confidence after being an awkward teen. I really did not want to lose it….

    It took strength I didn’t know I had and I pray that Marika can dig deep inside and take the first step. It will be the hardest but she has you to help and her Dad. I am sending thoughts of courage and strength your way!

  • sylvanna says:

    This will neither help nor hurt. Yes, I have had a boyfriend like that before, abusive in all of the ways and isolating. I forgot who I was. My friends advised me constantly to get out. I would smile regretfully and do nothing to help myself. The thing about Marika’s situation is she already knows and admits you are right, but like me, is doing nothing to help herself. It takes time for the anger to build, for the love to run out, until she’ll just be so fed up by his shit that the impossible happens: he will have made her fall out of love with him and with the loss of that love goes all his power. Nothing could have made me walk away and I don’t know of anything you can say or do to make her lift a finger to help herself either. The one thing I remember helping me clear my head and feel more like myself (and in control of myself) for a short time was an enforced physical absence and being cut off from communication. It was literally like fog lifting, but then I went back home.

  • Anonymous says:

    This will neither help nor hurt. Yes, I have had a boyfriend like that before, abusive in all of the ways and isolating. I forgot who I was. My friends advised me constantly to get out. I would smile regretfully and do nothing to help myself. The thing about Marika’s situation is she already knows and admits you are right, but like me, is doing nothing to help herself. It takes time for the anger to build, for the love to run out, until she’ll just be so fed up by his shit that the impossible happens: he will have made her fall out of love with him and with the loss of that love goes all his power. Nothing could have made me walk away and I don’t know of anything you can say or do to make her lift a finger to help herself either. The one thing I remember helping me clear my head and feel more like myself (and in control of myself) for a short time was an enforced physical absence and being cut off from communication. It was literally like fog lifting, but then I went back home.

  • jenrose1 says:

    Oh, and the lesson that it is better and easier to be alone than to be in a crap relationship took a long time to sink in. I think I was 26.

  • jenrose1 says:

    My parents say the hardest thing they ever did was take me “home” to my X after K was born. It took me a while past that to figure it out, but I did.

    Learning to get past the emotional manipulation was harder, and sorting things out with my mom was the only thing that really worked… but that was only possible because my mom was trying not to be crazy. When you can’t sort things out with the parent of origin, I’m not sure what the ultimate answer is, but it takes a lot more work and a lot of personal awareness.

    Learning to set boundaries is HARD. And that’s really what she needs to figure out how to do, and the only support she’s had for that is from you.

    And yeah, the issues with the X were nearly identical to the issues with my mom. Same pattern argument, only names changed. When I realized that, a whole lot of things slotted into place.

  • gardenmama says:

    That’s so hard to tell someone with no self esteem or sense of self worth that they are worth more than the way they are being treated. She’s been treated in such a way as to make herself believe she deserves to be treated that way. And you can’t just tell someone they are worth more than that and have them magically believe that.

    For me, it just took growing up. Once I hit my early 20s I finally realized that kind of treatment wasn’t “love” and I walked out, I picked up my pride and called my parents for help, and I never looked back. And I’ve never let anyone treat me that way again. Which is not to say that I have a great self esteem, but the only person I let abuse me now is myself 🙁

    I wish I had better advice or words for you. Just be there for her. Duct tape your mouth shut if you need to, hold her, stroke her hair, and don’t judge. Eventually she’ll come to you and you’ll know because she’ll say “You were right” and you won’t feel the need to say “I told you so.”

  • rdfreak says:

    wow, some people just should not be allowed to have kids.
    I know it’s hard, but when she’s 18, she needs to ignore her mother; as for the boyfriend, thhat is hard. I just hope she sees who he is and leaves him; poor girl! 🙁

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve never before been so compelled to reply to someones journal entry than today.

    Just over four years ago when I was 17 I lived with an abusive partner. The majority of it was emotional abuse (you don’t do anything right, I’m the only boyfriend you’ll ever get because no one else will want you type of things) and though I wondered at the time if I was just being silly over nothing, because when do we ever hear about emotional abuse being something, I managed to break out and finally know that what happened wasn’t right, it was abuse, and that he was wrong.
    I went to counselling awhile after it happened and they called my situation a “cycle of abuse”.

    Everything started out rosy peachy. He was so wonderful and nice. Then an incident would happen and I’m suddenly the MOST HORRIBLE GF EVER BUT HE WILL STILL STAY WITH ME FOR REASONS NEITHER OF US KNOW. Then, I’d get sick of it and start to leave him. Suddenly he is all nice, promising to change and is oh so sorry. So I’d stay. Thus, the cycle continues.
    The only way that stopped the cycle was to break off all contact and delete all his contact details.
    It wasn’t easy and four years later I do still get a little upset about things. It -is- better though. And that makes it worth it.

    I have no idea how to end this, except with good luck (for you both) I guess.

  • That sounds truly awful. Both for Marika, and for the people around her.

    The thing that finally helped me cut off contact with my abuser (parent) was realizing that I have the right to ask for what I need, and if the other person doesn’t respect that, then that’s great information for how the future could be, and I have the right to leave that situation. My needs are *not* being met there, and nothing I do or say will change that, since I can’t change other people. And, me staying with them, is only enabling them to continue their harmful behaviour. That being said, of course there is a lot of grief that needs to be processed over losing that relationship. But the thing is … that relationship is lost already. However, this knowledge didn’t come to me until I was ready to hear it.

    Putting my foot down and saying no, setting boundaries and sticking to them, is incredibly hard, but has also been an incredibly empowering experience, and has given me deeper respect for myself than ever before. Realizing that I don’t deserve abusive behaviour, and even though I haven’t always behaved like the model daughter, that does not mean that anyone has the right to treat me like shit. I deserve a happy life, and to seek out relationships that bring me happiness.

    My best wishes to Marika.

  • This is hard for me to talk about, but I want to help if I can. While both of my parents are fairly nice, normal people, both have been involved with people who were abusive to my younger sister and myself. My mother lived with her boyfriend/fiance between my 6th and 9th grade years. He was manic depressive, but once he was manic, went off his meds. He was also about 6’8″ and over 350 pounds, with lots of muscles. I have very vivid memories of taking my sister, running, locking the door to my room, and then hiding in the closet while calling our mom, begging her to come home from work. Another time, he tossed the coffee table in my direction because I threw a newspaper on the floor. I was having one of those teenager tantrums, but clearly that was an unreasonable reaction. My mom finally left him after he fucked up and tried to slap my sister in front of her. Before that, he had always plead that we were overly-dramatic teenagers. We never received any counseling because my mother just refused to believe that he had been that awful. Still does. In fact, I recently got into it with her because she said, “I don’t know how women get into manipulative relationships. I would never let that happen to me.” I wanted to slap her. Repeatedly. With a dead fish. It’s fucking stupid I have to tiptoe around the bullshit, when she was the parent in that situation, but I’ve finally accepted that I love my mom, that she has flaws, and that I may not be capable of helping her in some things. I think eventually we will be in a place to address it, but not now.
    Cycles being what they are, I started dating an abusive asshole my senior year of high school. He was 3 years older and went to the local college, so I always had this idea that he was the one settling in that situation. It started out just becoming a more and more passive-aggressive situation, but soon we were fighting on the phone and were both cutting ourselves. I had had issues with cutting before, but had managed to stop until he began saying he was doing it because I hurt him so bad. I started hanging out with my friends less, ditching school more, and sneaking away at night. I very nearly flunked out of high school (and the only reason I didn’t was because an awesome teacher broke the rules and let me double up on classes). At the end of the year, he dodged my prom and graduation because they were lame high school activities and nearly made me stay home as well. Then, he dumped me so he could sleep-around on a school trip. I took him back, only to have him pressure me to quit college mid-semester. To my embarrassment, I complied. He promptly dumped me, but kept using me for booty calls right up until I found out he was married (much later). The incidents while we were still together kept getting worse, culminating in an incident where you nearly punched me in the face, but changed his mind last second, grabbed me by the shoulders, and shook me up against the wall.

    The worst part? I don’t think I would have gotten out of it if he hadn’t been the one to dump me. It was only him leaving, time, and a healthy relationship afterward that set me straight again. My sister MARRIED the abusive fuck she dated in high school. I am so worried about her kids, but there isn’t anything I can really do until she is ready to leave. It’s awful and heart-breaking, but the only thing you can do is be supportive. Be there so that she has options and an out. If you give up (and really, I doubt anyone would blame you, because, man, that shit sucks) it only just make him more important to her, as her sole emotional support. I guess this is probably not much help, but you guys have given her an outlet, therapy, and they keys she can use to free herself, which is probably the most awesome thing. The only other thing I can suggest is maybe watch movies or have her read some books about abusive situations and talk through them. What happens if she get pregnant? Does she feel that she can do his for the long haul? Can she be okay with perpetuating the cycle?

    I’m going to go drink a beer now. This was both kind of therapeutic and depressing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Many Hugs…..

    I wish there was a simple answer, something magic. I went through something similar this with an ex. He was sleeping around and all sorts of things. I finally got the courage to move out, had some friends offer me a place to stay, but I still though we should be together. My saving grace, he moved away hundreds of miles away. One of the other women got herself pregnant so that he would take her. best thing that ever happened to me. I had a mother with mental problems and was verbally abusive, still is.

    The best advice I can give is for you to continue to support her, show her love, be there for her, and help her find her self worth. She needs to see for herself that she is better than this and deserves better than this. This is hard. You can’t point out what is wrong with him, it will do no good. You can point out what is right about her and encourage her along her goals. Distract her from thinking of him. See if she will agree to stay for a bit and get involved in something, anything, to help draw her attention away. LISTEN above all else listen to what she has to say, without commenting, without saying all those things you so desperately want to say about what a Mother-Fer he is. Show her what a good relationship is like (you and curtis). Maybe she would be willing to go to therapy with you? even if at first just to see how it works.

    I will hope that this is her ‘last straw’ and that it will be the end. . .

  • having been through a similar cycle of replacing one abuser with another, the only real helpful thing I can say is, there’s nothing you can do.

    When you come from a place of that type of abuse being normal, when it’s gone, you crave it because it fuels you, and without it you are accountable to yourself and no one else, there’s no one to bull you into doing the dishes or getting good grades and when you don’t do these things because you’re no longer living in fear, you begin to feel the same worthlessness that you felt when you were with an abuser only now all you have to be angry with is yourself, and so a lot of survivors of that kind of trauma seek out replacement abusers to fill that void, it becomes someone to argue with and you feel fulfilled in your cycle of abused powerlessness, you remove the personal accountability and instead give your power completely to another abuser. It’s a sad cycle, but the only thing a friend or family member can do is encourage therapy, finding a way out of that cycle involves some deep self work and personal growth on your own self worth. You need to develop an identity outside of the victim complex of “I deserve this abuse” and find a way to accept your own flaws and faults while still moving forward. That kind of change has to be self directed, as you know, no one leaves an abusive scenario in the thick of it until they’re ready and no amount of “being saved” has any effect until the person being abused is ready to step up and do the work of learning to live without the abuser.

    • You are much more eloquent than I am, but I agree wholeheartedly. I think it sucks that you end up living with the feeling/knowledge that you very well could jump right back in, that it’s almost a missed idea. That kind of fire burns pretty intense and everything else feels a bit lacking.

  • keilababe says:

    I think the thing that finally “clicked” for me in a similar situation, was realizing that the abusive partner was like a drug for me. I knew it was bad, but I kept feeding off the abuse and negativity because that is what I had grown up with. So, like any addict, I had to reach rock bottom. Then I left and slowly pulled myself out of the emotional mire. It would be awesome if she could get out of this pattern now, instead of waiting 38 years like I did.

    The first thing that I thought about when I read this was that I hope you are taking care of YOU right now. You have sooo much on your plate right now with the kids, your pain, etc. I know you want to help her, but don’t stop taking care of you in the process. 🙂

  • ruethee says:

    Oh, poor girl. Yes, I have so been there. In a relationship where you realize a year and a half in that you’ve become someone else based on all of the criticisms. You don’t use certain words, listen to certain music, wear certain clothes, eat certain foods, all in fear of triggering your “partner.” I’m not going to get into the story of my sociopath ex but I had to flee and actively avoid his contact. I knew that I’d be sucked right back in. My advice to your sister is to delete texts and emails before she reads them and don’t answer his calls (or better yet, change her number and DON’T give him the new one.) In this case, absence helps the heart heal and the head clear. Love to sweet Marika.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon Posting…

    I’ve nursed my best friend through two divorces, the most recent this past summer. She was incredibly co-dependent and stifled in a manipulative marriage. The one thing I said to her that kind of caught her attention was this: Would you want to see anyone you loved in a relationship/situation like you’re in? And if you did see someone in that situation, would you want them to stay there?

    I don’t know if your sister has the emotional maturity to understand (my BF is 38…though sometimes I question her maturity…lol) but sometimes if you can get them to step outside of the quagmire of drama and look INSIDE for once…it clicks. Best wishes.

  • My situations have been different kinds of crazy, so I don’t have specific words of wisdom to pass along.

    I did once move out on Welfare and sold Avon for food money – I pray that Marika has that kind of strength, to start all over and fight for herself and her right to be happy and loved. To find out for herself that she’ll be just fine without toxic people.

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