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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Seeking Help From Abuse

Respler-Yael

Dear Dr. Yael:

After reading your April 18 column, “To Remarry Or Not To Remarry: That Is The Question,” I wish to share my story.

I am now happily remarried with a great mishpacha after getting divorced just a few months into my first marriage. However, while I support your encouragement to others to stay in their marriages, not all marriages are salvageable. My first marriage is such an example.

I married after a few dates, but quickly realized that my husband was mentally ill and emotionally abusive. I knew that I could never build a home with him. The advice I received to muster the courage to divorce him before we had children was invaluable. My experience should be a lesson to all: it is better to dissolve a marriage right away if you see major issues in your spouse. If not, future children will suffer terribly as a result of your spouse’s problems.

Regarding the aforementioned column, the couple seemingly should have never divorced, and should marry each other again. But I say “seemingly” because we don’t know the particulars, and every situation is different.

Based on my experience, here’s my advice: everyone must do extensive research before marrying, and if they unexpectedly encounter unsalvageable problems they should end the marriage. Thank you for listening.

A Happily Remarried Person  

Dear Happily Remarried Person:

You obviously made the right decision to leave your mentally ill and emotionally abusive husband.

That being said, I wish to share with you Shalom Task Force’s impressive work in our community. Its work is often targeted toward young women in high school, while also helping the general population deal with issues of abuse. I urge people in an abusive relationship to consider seeking its services.

Shalom Task Force writes:

In an abusive relationship the abusive spouse believes that he is entitled to be in control of his spouse in every way important to him, and will use a variety of tactics to gain and maintain that control. While most people think that it isn’t abuse if there is no physical violence, the reality is that she can be afraid of what her spouse might do, in any number of ways, even if she is not actually afraid that he will be physically violent.

The following is a list of the different types of tactics that abusers use. This is only a partial list, but recognizing several of these tactics in your own relationship can help you start to name what is going on – things that until now might have been confusing to you.

Control Through Isolation

Does your spouse (try to) prevent you from spending time with friends or family by

aggressively preventing you from doing so or by subtly making it difficult for you (picking a fight, acting miserable when everyone gets together so you don’t even want to, embarrassing you so that you don’t feel it’s worth it, etc.)?

Does your spouse watch your every move?

Does your spouse call you several times a day to check up on you?

Does your spouse force you to account for your time?

Does your spouse expect you to only do things, go to places and get together with people he approves of?

Has your spouse tried to undermine your attempts at schooling or working?

Control Through Finances

Are you on a strict budget while your spouse is not? Must you account for every penny?

Does your spouse harass you over all of your expenses? Are you questioned endlessly about this? Does he expect to make financial decisions as he sees fit?

Must you hand over any money you earn, but don’t have access to it except for whatever amount your husband decides to give you?

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