Bowles is a licensed clinical social worker currently working
in California as a medical social worker at a county hospital.
She obtained her Master's degree in social work from U.C.L.A.
Since graduating in 1993 she has worked in a variety of settings,
including private practice, with children and families, frail
elderly, and chronically and terminally ill clients. Prior to
becoming a social worker she was a deputy sheriff. She believes
this law enforcement background provided her with an increased
sensitivity to abuse issues, including domestic violence.
She has seen
first hand the damage domestic violence does to the individual
and family. It crosses all demographic barriers: financial, racial,
ethnic, age and sexual orientation.
Our thanks to Jennifer Bowles!
Member: For about a month I was living with a boyfriend whom
while we were dating we were only able to be with each other on
weekends. Things went OK for a while, but as time went on he basically
became controlling, distrustful, and the amount of time spent
in doing things for him got to the point to where it felt like
a second full time job. Part of this was needed, as at the time
he was unable to drive, others were things like whining when I
would not get up and dressed (while trying to sleep) to take him
three blocks to get a drink without caffeine.
At times he
showed signs of having a temper with a bit of a violent side,
such as his responses to neighbors above us moving around at night,
hitting the keyboard when an online thing was not working, and
throwing a phone when on hold too long.
I had moved in with him, into a place where my nearest other person
I knew well was 4 hours away, I felt very trapped, and left.
he has admitted that he was wrong in several things, and has promised
to make things different and wants another chance, saying that
losing me jolted him into realizing how things were.
more complicated however when I found out I am pregnant with his
child, the first one for either of us.
I know he
would want to be involved, and I really feel like I should
tell him. I am pretty sure that telling him he will have a child
will only intensify his wanting to get back together. It would
seem to me that it would give him even more reason to change when
he knows exactly what he is going to lose if he doesn't.
everyone is warning me to simply write him off as abusive and
to focus on my other options. I have been told that things still
should have been in the "honeymoon" period of seeing no wrong,
and that if he is showing even those signs of not being in control
of his temper when his patience is tried, that it is very likely
that at some point he will also act without thinking towards a
baby which of course would try anyone's patience.
I am confused and very torn and have no clue which way is up right
now. In your opinion, are the signs there that this is likely
to be an abusive relationship if I were to go back trusting he
will change and with a baby brought into the picture, or are they
simply being a bit overcautious over normal things that will work
themselves out over time when he adjusts both to having me live
with him and to the child?
I would like to be able to give you a definite answer that would
ease your mind. Did the people giving you the advice to consider
other options know this man? Usually our friends and family have
our best interests at heart and it is a very good idea to strongly
consider what they are telling you. What has this man done to
make changes other than tell you he woke up to reality once you
I think it
would also help you to read the questions and concerns of the
other women who have had children with abusive men. It becomes
a potential nightmare when engaged in a battle over visitation,
child support, and custody (not to mention divorce, should you
marry this person). It is very frightening to leave your child
in the hands of an abusive person AND be under court orders to
do so. It is an extremely helpless feeling.
Having a baby,
even under the very best of circumstances is so very stressful
and can put strain on the most loving relationships. You are at
a place where you do have options. Consulting with an attorney
to find out what your rights are should he find out you are pregnant
(if you decide to have the baby and raise him or her yourself)
wouldn't be a bad idea as it could help you to make your decisions
from an informed position. People generally show us who they are
and we need to see that reality and not distort it with the picture
of who we'd like them to be. A month does seem like he should
have still been "on his best behavior" with you, "the honeymoon"
period as your friends have suggested. It is certainly an emotionally
complex problem and being pregnant and feeling vulnerable will
make that potentially more difficult. It sounds like you have
a caring support system should you decide to go into motherhood
alone or choose to consider other options. Don't rush yourself
into a decision.
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Questions and Answers (Click on the linked numbers below):
2. Divorced, did
not keep documentation for protection. What should I do?
3. I'm getting divorced.
Do I tell the judge about my husband's anger? Should my daughter
be with him?
4. How do I find
an Abuse Center in My area?
5. How can I help
my friend see that she's in a cycle of abuse?
Thank you, Jennifer
7. Is verbal abuse
considered domestic violence?
8. I've left my
husband - why do I feel so sad and guilty?
9. I'm being abused
but no one can tell.
10. How does domestic abuse
affect the children of the marriage?
11. When do you get past the
12. Husband abusive and terminal.
I'm pregnant. Can I make it on my own?
13. Therapists and false memories
Who do we tell if a child in my son's class is being molested?
15. My children are afraid of
their father but he has part custody, what do I do?
16. This relationship is tearing
down her self-confidence piece by piece.
17. I got away from the abuse
but now my daughter is suffering.
18. Why do so many women end
up in abusive relationships?
19. Is yelling verbal abuse?
20. Steps toward recovery?
21. Parents drinking affects
22. My dad was verbally abusive
to me and I now suffer from low self esteem.
23. I can hear the neighbors
fighting. What should I do?
24. My ex says no to counseling,
but I want my kids to go.
my boyfriend showing signs of being abusive?
26. How can I prevent visitation
27. Question about one of Jennifer's
28. Finding strength and independence
29. I worry so much about my
children when they are with him and his new wife.
30. My friend got out of one
abusive relationship and into another.
31. Helping my brother with
32. My husband is an alcoholic.
33. My sister is abusing me.
34. My mom was abusive. Will
I be too?
35. Abusive husband and a new
36. How is past abuse from my
deceased husband affecting my 4 1/2 year old?
37. My best friend chose a controlling
boyfriend, just like her father. Help me explain to her.
38. My husband intimidates me
into sex. Is this abuse?
39. Husband has anxiety and
is becoming violent
40. Separated, pregnant and
thinking of working things out with abusive husband
41. Question about verbal abuse?
42. Is my boyfriend abusive?
43. Ex-husband and unpaid child
44. Surviving molestation
45. Our arguing has turned physical
46. I left my verbally abusive
realizes she is the abuser
48. Husband's health is making
49. Abuse and chronically ill
50. Abusive relationship and
going through divorce proceedings
51. Granddaughter may lose custody
52. Relationship with abusive
boyfriend is like obsession
53. Very afraid of abusive,
54. Are my boyfriend's actions
55. I worry that my children
will be molested because I was
56. Why do women stay or have
a hard time leaving?
57. I need help to get away.
What can I do?
58. Elderly parents are abusing
each other, alcohol involved.
59. Is my daughter being abused
by her stepmom?
60. Do you discuss female domestic
violence towards men and children?
61. Friend keeps going back
to abusive boyfriend
62. Alcohol problems as teens
related to growing up in a violent home?
63. I left my abuser... a message
64. How to help a pregnant friend
65. Resources for domestic violence
in the military?
66. Nephew in abusive relationship
67. My husband is too controlling
68. Advice from someone who
69. I left and now I'm confused
70. Thank you, Jennifer
71. My husband mentally abuses
72. I've taken steps to leave
my abusive husband, but am worried about my daughter
73. Abuse in friendships?
74. Why do women oppose mandatory
75. My husband is frightening
me with his anger
Am I becoming my father?
77. Love and abuse
78. Boyfriend threatens me
79. Husband wants me to get
an abortion, is verbally abusive.
80. My mother-in-law is harrassing
81. Children verbally abusive
like their father
82. Son and daughter-in-law's
arguing affecting grandson
83. Should I call my husband
on each verbal abuse?
84. My fiancÚ babysits and I
am worried about his temper
85. My friend's child is affected
by abuse by father
86. Every time he hits me, he
blames me for it, then repents, apologizes and feels bad.
87. Acquaintances from church--the
woman is attacking her husband. How can I help?
88. Shelters - how do you find
your funds to live on and where to go?
89. My friend appears to have
no way out!
My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
If you are in immediate danger