DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Daughter of an Iron-Willed Mom," whose mother is against her reuniting with her abusive boyfriend. Perhaps she will listen to someone who's been there.
My ex-husband was abusive. I continued to forgive him and go back to him over and over, until all my family and friends refused to help me anymore. My 10-year-old daughter and I were homeless and at our wits' end for nine months before I finally landed on my feet. It was pure hell.
After seven years of hard work and heartache, we are secure and stable and have no more worries about that man returning. He finally found some other poor woman to terrorize and has remarried.
Please, Abby, inform the woman that abusers talk a good game because they really believe what they're saying -- until the next time they get mad. Then the deep-seated patterns that lead to abusive behavior reassert themselves, and they are unable to control their anger, no matter how many promises they've made. I know. And I have the scars to prove it. -- NEVER AGAIN IN ASHLAND, ORE.
DEAR NEVER AGAIN: I'm printing your letter in the hope that "Daughter" will see it. Although a minority of batterers can change, the vast majority of them will not recognize that they are the ones with the problem. They are convinced that their victims "deserved" the battery. They are sociopaths -- unable to identify with the feelings of other people.
The worst kind of batterers -- the psychopaths -- are the ones who turn up in media reports. These sick male batterers are responsible for the murders of at least four women a day in this country -- and when secondary victims of their unbridled rage (children, relatives, neighbors) are added, the numbers probably double.
My experts tell me that batterers rarely accept responsibility for their violent behavior, and because of that, they are not motivated to change.
The victims of domestic abuse are the ones most likely to be helped by counseling. They often believe the batterer when told the abuse was their own fault, but with the help of a trained counselor, this untruth can be exposed and the unwarranted guilt can be erased.