Domestic Violence Discussion with
Jennifer Bowles, MSW, LCSW

Jennifer 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!

 

61. StorkNet 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 to help?

Jennifer: 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.

StorkNet 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.

Jennifer: (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 rage.

If you like this article, we'd be honored if you shared it using the button below.
Bookmark and Share



Questions and Answers (Click on the linked numbers below):

 1.  Husband's temper
 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?
 6.  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 damage?
12. Husband abusive and terminal. I'm pregnant. Can I make it on my own?
13. Therapists and false memories
14. 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 the holidays
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.
25. Is my boyfriend showing signs of being abusive?
26. How can I prevent visitation rights?
27. Question about one of Jennifer's comments
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 his temper
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 baby
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 support
44. Surviving molestation
45. Our arguing has turned physical now
46. I left my verbally abusive husband
47. Woman realizes she is the abuser
48. Husband's health is making him angry
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, threatening husband
54. Are my boyfriend's actions abusive?
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 of hope
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 stayed
69. I left and now I'm confused
70. Thank you, Jennifer
71. My husband mentally abuses me
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 reporting?
75. My husband is frightening me with his anger
76. 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 us
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!
90. My husband is in prison and we're divorcing. Visitation rights?
91. If you are in immediate danger

Copyright © 1996-2016 StorkNet. All rights reserved.
Please read our disclaimer and privacy policy.
Your feedback is always welcome.

StorkNet Family of Websites:
StorkNet's Blog | Pregnancy Week By Week | Exploring Womanhood | Books for Families | EriChad Grief Support

Bookmark and Share
Find Us on Facebook
Twitter