Battered Wife Syndrome Is Not Always Physical. Domestic Violence comes in many forms. I see quite a few women in therapy due to tolerating bad behavior. Statistic show 1:4 women will be a victim at some point. (Family Violence Prevention Fund 2004). You don’t have to be physically abused to be a Battered Wife. Males/husbands in relationships can also suffer from batter wife syndrome, however, this article focuses on women.
I’ve been working with a middle aged women who has been married for 10 years. She is an accomplished well educated professional working in the capacity where she takes pride in what she does. She is independent in that she makes her own money. The problem is she tolerates a verbally abusive husband. She understands she possesses some codependent traits. Her rationalization about their relationship and why he is the way he is has made life quite difficult as she has lost her sense of self and is depressed.
Her husband suffers from a psychological disease that is treatable but is in denial about his condition. His highs and lows have created disdain for this client as she is deciding whether she should stay or go. As she makes an informed decision she understands she has three options:
- Keep the status quo and do nothing
- Require him to manage his mood swings and move forward in marriage counseling
- Move on to separation and divorce.
She cares about and loves her husband but cannot remain in a relationship where there is verbal abuse. The high level of anxiety she experiences is making her life a nightmare as she doubts her every move. Because his illness is treatable it is his choice to accept the treatment available. Because you can only control yourself and not another person, it is basically his choice to get better or not. It is up to my client to put boundaries in place and stop enabling his bad behavior so she can live the healthy life she desires and not the codependent life she had been living.
At this point she needs to concentrate on herself and know what she wants so she knows what she wants and deserves in a healthy relationship.
There is good prognosis if her husband decides to move forward receiving the treatment necessary to manage his emotions.
For more information on codependency and getting out of an abusive relationship contact me at (858) 735-1139.