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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My girlfriend (soon to be fiance) was physically,

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My girlfriend (soon to be fiance) was physically, psychologically, and emotionally abused by her ex-husband of 10 years (with whom she has an 11 y.o. daughter). She has been separated for two years and formally divorced for one. We have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for 18 months. I am quite certain she and her daughter are suffering from deep emotional trauma from her previous relationship, but she does not feel that therapy is a good fit for her. Could you recommend any helpful books that deal with a) battered women generally, and b) with loving an abused woman?


If she is not comfortable with counseling, there are some other things to consider- support groups or EMDR treatment used with those suffering from PTSD; it differs from traditional talk therapy. Some of the support groups are even online and she can be anonymous when using the chat option.

Healing is a process. She surely knows that you're offering safe and supportive environment. As the man in her life who loves her, you want to fix this for her. You don't want her to suffer or bring these issues to the current relationship. But, you also know that resolving these issues will be mostly as a result of her work on herself.

The first book is from the vantage point of a woman who had struggled with the mistreatment of her husband. The second one focuses on what you can look for and do for her (because her mood and behavior can be as a result of her experience. Trauma/abuse and depression can coexist) The third book is for her to help her see how she is reliving and bringing the unresolved issues to her present relationship/life

Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know by Mary Jo Buttafuoco (Hardcover)

When Someone You Love Has Depression by ***** ***** (Paperback )

When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships by David Richo (Paperback )

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm not sure if her reluctance to follow through with individual therapy is stricly rooted in avoiding reliving painful memories (she has told me that during the four months following her initial separation she was so traumatized that she was basically non-functional). I sense she feels shame about what happened to her, shame for staying as long as she did, embarrasment about discussing her past in a group setting (I urged her at the outset of our relationship that she should consider finding a battered women's support group and she wouldn't). That last book seems worthwhile, but I have to believe that with the number of battered women out there, there must be books that deal more specifically with having a battered woman as a partner than simply loving someone with depression. Any more suggestions?
I'm opting out so another expert can suggest that sort of book. Abuse can trigger even PTSD and one's behavior will always be influenced by something else (since behavior is purposeful)

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

There are many resources out there for women who have been in domestic abuse situations. Here are some resources to help you:

Family and Friends' Guide to Domestic Violence: How to Listen, Talk and Take Action When Someone You Care About is Being Abused by Elaine Weiss

Domestic Abuse: How to Help (Resources for Changing Lives) by David Powlison, Paul David Tripp and Edward T. Welch

Finding Your Way Through Domestic Abuse: A Guide to Physical, Emotional, And Spiritual Healing by Connie Fourre

It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence, 2nd Edition by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R. Hock

Mommy's Black Eye: Children Dealing With Domestic Violence by William George Bentrim and Ms. Christi Schofield

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft

Here is a link to an excellent resource on line:

There are many support groups and other sources of help on line and in the community for when your girlfriend feels ready to deal with how she feels. It may be that she was so traumatized that she is unable to face what happened. These resources should help give you ideas on how to approach her and help her through this pain. I also included a few books for your girlfriend's daughter. She may be at a different place with what she experienced so hopefully the books will help.

Let me know if you have any more questions I can help with,


I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks Kate, I appreciate the additional resources you provided. I'm at work so I haven't had time to review them, but I think you've answered my questions. I'll 'accept' the answer now to release payment.

Thank you! If I can be of more assistance, please let me know.


TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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