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I have been told by my therapist that I have elements of

Stokholm Syndrome. My husband is...
I have been told by my therapist that I have elements of Stokholm Syndrome. My husband is a very heavy drinker, and over the years I have become controlled without me even realising to the point of not being able to speak up for myself in a dispute. My 16 year old son will often talk for me. There have been many years of verbal and occasional physical abuse directed at myself and my 2 children, and only since having therapy for depression, anxiety and PTSD has it occurred to me that I can leave
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Answered in 27 minutes by:
6/18/2011
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Verified

Thank you for requesting my help.

Yes, it is possible to make the break from this relationship and do just fine. You may experience a sort of download of feelings left over from your experience but it is just a matter of working them out and having enough support in place so you can rely on others to help you get through.

Set up your support right now, before you leave (unless you and the children are being abused right now, then leave immediately). Talk with your counselor, contact the domestic abuse hotline, research information about domestic abuse, and connect to a support group, either on line or in person. Here are some links to help you get started:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

http://www.healingclub.com/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm

http://www.ndvh.org/

Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women by Edward S. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig and Janet R. Laconsay

Domestic Violence Sourcebook, The by Dawn Bradley Berry

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

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

There is a lot of support out there for women in your situation. You will be able to cope just fine. If you can survive what you have had to endure, you definitely have the strength to be on your own.

I hope this has helped you,

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Verified
TherapistMarryAnn and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Thank you for the links and book references. I will view shortly. 2 weeks ago I had a really strong resolve to get away, I found somewhere to live and talked with my parents. But We are in a calm at the moment and my daughter is enjoying her dad's company for a change, though the verbal abuse does break through now and again. He is being super nice to me as if he's reading my mind. I really struggle to put myself first, think only of the distress it will cause him, the upset that it will cause my children, the guilt of breaking the family unit apart, and not the healing it will give to me. But then I think about the damage the staying will do to the children, and my head; I think about the lasting marks it has already left on us all, the therapy I need to get for the children, and I feel the guilt of staying this long, the things that they shouldn't have seen or heard or put up with. I know I have to do this, but I can only see the negative sides of it, and my inability to cope. I almost wish we were further through the cycle so that I am driven to take the children and run. I am so exhausted with all the thinking, I make a decision, then Later I forget how I got there and come to a different conclusion. Such a muddle.Rest assured I will accept.Rose
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Thank you for the links, they are excellent.I think I am worried about having to deal with more anger and as yet unseen emotions from my husband, and also unsettling the children. I am sure I will need therapy every day 7/7 to get through- I can't get through the weekend even now.Thank you for answering my question Kate.
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I'm told that my question is open to all experts. That isn't necessary thank you, ***** ***** to stay with Kate.

You are fine with what you are doing already with this thread. You may keep responding to me on this thread if you wish to. If you would like to, you can start each post with my name and that helps the other experts to know that you are working with me. Someone else could answer anyway, but you have the choice of which answer you prefer to go with. The choice is always with you, not us.

It is encouraging that you are starting to think about leaving. I say that because unless your husband is willing to stop all of the damaging behavior (drinking, the abuse, etc), then the chance he will continue the abuse is almost 100%. He has to see his behavior as a problem, to the point he makes a big effort to change it. So far, he is only modifying the behavior on his own and this is usually a way to get you to stay if he feels you might leave. It is part of the manipulation which is very common with abusers.

Keep working on leaving. Whenever abuse is involved, a marriage should not continue. The reason is because of the heavy toll it takes on the victims. The life long damage psychologically is enormous. The effect on the children is also hard. The children have the potential to either become abusers or be in a relationship that is abusive, repeating the pattern they were exposed to as children. When you weigh a divorce with abuse, divorce is less damaging and may even be healthier for the family. Safety and security can be restored which is vital for all involved.

If your husband is really interested in changing and keeping the family together, he can do this after you leave. You do not need to stay for this to happen. You will be able to see it with his actions, not his words. If he is truly serious, he will get sober and start therapy. It may take a while, but that is good. He needs time to make a permanent change.

If you can, try getting the children into therapy now. They need to start working on recovery. They also need to know what normal behavior is for a family and for a father and husband compared to what they are used to with their father.

I am glad you found the resources helpful. I hope they can help guide you and provide you with the support you need to get you through this difficult journey.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Thank you so much Kate.
I have just had a conversation with my neighbour about the house and we have left things open at the moment but it's mine when I make up my mind and she will send me a key in case I need to get out quickly. She is just concerned that it is too close to home (next door), but I need to be near for my animals.
Do you want me to accept again. You have gone to a lot of trouble for me, I am very grateful. Rose

You're welcome!

That is good news. Your neighbor may be right, that is close to home and your husband may be able to get to you easier. But it does give you a place of your own and somewhere to go to lock the door. And if it doesn't work out you can always move further away. One suggestion I have would be to keep emergency numbers on speed dial, just in case, and plan a quick escape route. A back up place to run to would not hurt either.

This is no trouble at all. I am very happy to help you. Anytime you need to talk or just have a question, I'm here.

Kate

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That is the best reply I've ever had. Thank you!

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Ah! I will be back. Thanks for being so accessible, it helps me no-end.

No problem! I'm glad to help.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
sorry Kate, do i accept again? (just had email to ask me to accept)+ gave bonus. let me know. :)

Oh sorry about that. It is Just Answer's assumption that I answered another question for you to accept. It is completely up to you if you choose to do so. If it's a long thread, some people will pay only once and others pay throughout the thread. Each person is different so it is really up to you. Please do not feel it affects how I feel about helping you because it does not.

I have enjoyed very much working with you and hope we can work together again soon!

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
OK, thanks Kate, I will be in touch VERY soon, and surely accept. I value your support. I am having a good week, my husband is away!!

That is very nice of you. Thank you for the accept.

It is probably unprofessional of me, but I had to laugh when I read what you said about having a good week. It is nice to know you can relax and enjoy yourself. Have fun!

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi Kate.
Am logging off this question as I now have a subscription. If it's OK I'm going to start a new question later, please remember me..... Feeling very wobbly.....

It was good talking with you and I hope we can talk again soon. Remember what we discussed and that you do have the strength to deal with what you need to. Let me know if I can help, anytime.

Take care,

Kate

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