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: How do I help my friend leave her abusive boyfriend
when she always goes back to him and then gets mad at me for trying
You are a good friend, let me just start by saying that. Her anger
at you is simply because you are safe to get angry at. You need
to arm yourself with knowledge, information, and a support network
so that when your friend is able to leave and stay gone from her
abusive husband she will have the resources to stand on her own,
begin to heal herself (which will include a lot of work on her
self esteem), and begin taking care of her own needs.
I know it
must be very frustrating to want to help your friend and then
when you are successful she goes back to the dangerous situation
you helped her out of. It would be helpful for you to talk with
your local professionals who could advise you of the resources
in your area and when your friend is ready could help her make
a viable plan to get out of her relationship permanently.
The difficult part is the denial your friend seems to slip back
into, which along with the feelings she has for her boyfriend
gets her sucked back in. It is difficult not to take the anger
she throws at you personally, but know that it comes from a very
wounded place. You may consider seeking the support of women in
a survivors' support group. Seeing that other women have been
able to get out (sometimes after numerous attempts like your friend)
may give you some hope. Also remember to think of your own safety
as her boyfriend may also see you as a meddler and begin to take
his rage out on you. There is no reason to do this without some
support network of resources and other concerned people. It will
keep you from feeling as overwhelmed.
Member: My friend keeps going back to her abusive husband,
time and again. Is there anything I can do to help? Will she learn
on her own? I'm tired of trying to help, but I can't watch her
suffer any longer either.
(See also the previous letter's answer)... It doesn't mean you
are a bad person or even a bad friend if you cannot watch your
friend suffer any longer. Only you can decide for yourself whether
you can continue to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.
Get some information and support from your local professionals
who work with battered women/domestic violence. They can give
you a listing of resources that you could pass along to your friend
and then letting her know that you will help her when she's ready
may be what you need to do to "keep your own sanity." Taking care
of yourself, arming yourself with knowledge about the resources
should you need to use them, and then letting her know you care
and are available would be setting appropriate boundaries for
yourself. Take extra care in regard to your own safety also as
her husband may decide to expand his targets for acting out his
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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