Why Do They Ignore an Abuser

Question: Dear Luise: My boyfriend and I have been together for over 5 years. His cousin is dating a girl that I was introduced to and became very close to. One day she called me to help her get her things out of his house because he abused her. The next day she went back to him. And a month later then the situation happened again. I stopped talking to her for about 3 months, praying the situation would get better. Then in January I decided to reestablish the friendship. She said they had broken up, and that she did not love him. But that same night he came back to her house and was raging. He choked a friend of ours and yelled profanity at me. Despite his rage, she stayed with him. His cousin apologized to me through my boyfriend and my boyfriend thinks that’s enough. Abusers always apologize and that is how they make way for the next one. I stopped being her friend because I felt like she does not care much about her friends or their safety. Throughout all this I feel as if my boyfriend does not care much about how I feel. I told him I do not want to have anything to do with his cousin and her. But then he calls me a “hater” and still spends time with his cousin. My boyfriend’s family also knows about the situation and projects that “I don’t care” attitude. I was not raised like that and I do not believe his cousin is safe to be around or will change. I lost a friend through all of this. I do not want to be seen as the person who never got over it because that is not how it is. I understand that is his family, but regardless of family or not, his cousin should not have done what he did.  I just don’t want to be insulted by my boyfriend and I do not want to lose him. I feel like I just do not what to do. Where am I wrong? I have explained it to him. I’m lost as what to do in this situation. P.

Answer: Dear P.: You aren’t wrong to my way of thinking, they are.

If you stay with the guy, you will probably have to continue to face a serious difference in basic values. It is not only dangerous to look the other way when a family member behaves the way his cousin has but also to call you a “hater” and ignore you concerns is insensitive, not loving.

They aren’t going to change and if you stay; there is a strong chance that you will. However, it’s up to you. You’ve made yourself very clear and have been ridiculed and blown-off. Is that what you want to learn to get used to?

I think the hardest lesson in life is learning to have other people be the way they are. I’m serous.  Once we can get that, we can make wise and self-supportive decisions. But until it becomes a reality, we can waste a lot of energy trying to remake those around us by means of logic and/or pressure. Even when they want to change and really try, it’s often a lost cause. Blessings, Luise

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