Ballad of The Abused

DV

*Recently, in the news, there was a horrendous story about a firefighter who killed his wife and then killed himself. Although there were no preliminary reports of domestic violence it was a subject that struck close to some that Jefe knows and one in particular who reached out for help/advice. Usually, Jefe likes to keep things light but he sometimes has to give thought-provoking content. This is one of them.

Frustrated and Confused wrote:

I have been married for almost 21 years. I have two children – oldest being 21 and youngest just turned 18. My husband is a firefighter and his schedule has him away a lot. When he is home, we dare not disturb or make him upset. He is quite volatile and the slightest thing can send him off the deep end. He will yell and raise his voice at me and or the kids. He will sometimes throw or break things. I am ashamed to admit that he has placed his hands on me during fits of rage (although it was a long time ago) and that police have been called to my house but I didn’t have it in me to file charges either time. 

He is extremely controlling and manipulative. We have to check in with him if we go anywhere. When he is away at work, we have to answer his calls or texts right away. He doesn’t like my family and I hardly ever see them. We always do things with his side of the family but even then, he’s distant from them.

I don’t want to paint him as a monster because I know he had a rough upbringing and he is a terrific provider for us. He is emotionally detached however and almost everything we do as a family is centered around him and what he wants. I’ve prayed for him and things to change but they seem to be getting worse. I’ve tried to leave several times but something always keeps me coming back. Funny thing is that when he gets upset with me, he usually threatens divorce. I actually called him out on it recently. The following morning, he threw the divorce papers in my face and said if I wanted a divorce, I should be the one doing the paperwork.

I’m extremely frustrated and confused. What should I do?

F&C, first off let me say that your husband is probably a sociopath and without a doubt – a coward! All I need to know is this and I’ll make it simple for you: He’s put his hands on you before. I don’t care if it was a long time ago or not, that is flat out wrong. Second, he knows nobody else will put up with his crap so that is why he put the ball in your court, as it were, to have YOU start the divorce process. He is probably so sure you wouldn’t and he knew he’d be off the hook. Also, I have close friends and family that are firefighters as well and they’re not away as much as you say he is. But that’s neither here nor there. That’s a whole other response.

You know, I was fighting with how to respond so I had to reach out to an acquaintance who battled through over sixteen years of all kinds of abuse at the hands of her husband. It was only when she had been beaten within an inch of her life that she decided to leave. She told Jefe that fear and manipulation play a big part as to why women stay. She said that nobody can really understand unless they’ve been in that situation before. She said that it took her being beat so bad that she woke up in the ICU that she finally decided enough was enough. She didn’t have a plan but knew she had to file charges and most importantly get out. It was then in that process that she realized how strong she really was but because for so long her husband put her down and beat her, she never really knew her self worth.

I hope you know your self worth but YOU have got to want to change your situation. What’s it going to take? Are you really willing to stick around to find out? Your friends and family may want to help but what good is it going to do if you keep going back? What keeps you going back? History? Not wanting to be alone? Pride?

I have a friend who is a counselor and so is his wife who ironically enough, specializes with women who have been abused. Her first marriage was marred by domestic violence. Thank God that she can share her experience with others and help them heal and overcome. Anyways, my friend gave me this great anecdote that I hope is beneficial to you and those who may know of situations of domestic abuse/violence and need help:

“You know I used to be a life guard instructor and the first thing I would ask every new class was this: what do you do when you see somebody drowning? I’d get answers from, “get a pole” to “throw a life ring”. Then I’d ask: what if you don’t have none of that? Almost every time, I’d get this answer, “swim out to them and proceed with life rescuing procedures”.

Did you know that is the worst thing you can do because the person that is drowning has so much adrenaline pumping through them that their thrashing about can actually take whoever is trying to save them down as well. You actually have to get beyond arms distance and wait for them to exhaust themselves to the point where you see them start to go down below water. It is only then that you know it is safe to go get them.

F&C, I really hope it doesn’t take you to “go below the water” to finally get out and or help. By continuing to go back you’re teaching your children it’s OK for men to treat women/their wives without respect and like possessions. You are also teaching them that you’re fine with it and that they should be as well.

I’m praying that you find your worth and strength again.

1WS

You Are Now Free To Move About The Internet

Just Wondering wrote:

Last week, when I flew, the flight crew guy caught my attention and I think maybe I did a little. I found him on Facebook when I looked up his employer (airline) and I wanted to know if it would come across as weird (stalker) if I add him on Facebook.

J-Dub, let me answer your question with a few questions.  Would you think it weird if somebody looked you up through social media (like Facebook) and then added you on said site?  Would you consider that person to be a stalker or weirdo?  Would you ever consider streaking at the Super Bowl on a dare?  OK, that last one was just testing to see if you were still reading.

With technology being the way it is, everything (and I do mean everything) is just a short click away.  It doesn’t help that TV shows like CSI, NCSI, & Magnum PI, have everybody thinking they can be super sleuths.  I applaud your enthusiasm but you might want to slow your roll.

Does it seem weird or creepy?  Yeah, a little bit but that’s the age in which we live in.  Here’s the biggest problem I see.  By “friending” him on Facebook, you opened yourself to a total stranger.  Let’s just say he accepts you on FB – then what?  What if he is a total creep?  What if he starts stalking you?  Then again, he might just be a total gentleman.  He might just be a really sweet guy.  It’s a double-edged sword.

Seems you already set the wheels in motion so I suggest you proceed with caution.  It’s a crazy world out there and even crazier on the internet.  If I might so suggest – next time you actually see somebody (en vivo) you’re attracted to, try saying “hello”.  I know it’s a foreign concept in today’s world but it might just make things easier.

Submit your questions to: ask_jefe@yahoo.com

Sister & The Hood

Frustrated Sister wrote:

My little sister is in her early twenties and is dating a total douche bag.  Nobody likes him and we all have grown tired of him and his rotten ways.  I knew he was bad news the first time I met him because every other word that came out of his mouth was “f’n hummm”.  Oh, there’s more!  He doesn’t get a full-time job because it interferes with his other “job” of selling drugs.  He smokes around my sister even though he knows she has problems with her lungs.  He trashed my sister’s  Volvo and didn’t help her repair it.  My sister’s car had a flat while they both were in it and he didn’t know how to change the tire; she had to call our brother to come out and change it;  her boyfriend didn’t even offer to help as our brother changed the tire in the rain!   They have been on and off for a while and I don’t understand why she keeps seeing him.  How do I tell her that he’s a loser but in a nice way?

Frustrated Sis, Jefe is 99.9% sure that your little sister knows her boyfriend is a loser.  I know that love is supposed to be blind but even Stevie Wonder can see that homeboy is a total douche!  Sad as it is to say, the problem is not Mr. D-bag but your hermana.  She allows this pendejo to get away with so much.  The real question is why?

For the many discrepencies (watcha, big word) that her viejo has, your sister holds accountability for allowing them to continue.  That’s the biggest concern Jefe has because the boyfriend knows she won’t do anything or leave.  Why should he change if she doesn’t seem to mind how he is?  His piss-poor attitude and way of living will remain the same no matter what you say to your sister.  It’s up to her to see how low she has set her standards and the reality of being fine with them.

What you should try to do is ask her how she feels when the boyfriend acts immature and disregards her feelings.  Tell her to be honest with you.  I’m sure it pains you to see her treated that way so tell her.  Put the focus on her and not him because it’s her brokenness and insecurities that have caused her to be in this relationship for way too long. 

There’s only so much you can say or do because in the end, it’s up to the person who is getting the raw end of the deal to say enough is enough.  That should in no way stop you from being there for her and encouraging her to raise her standards and to love herself for the person she is.  Hopefully, she’ll see it sooner than later. 

Submit your questions to: ask_jefe@yahoo.com

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? To Bed, Hopefully

Sleepless wrote:

My friend is going through a really tough break up.  We are roommates and I’m trying to be understanding but the past week was nerve racking because she kept me up late at night wanting to talk.  She keeps wanting answers about what went wrong and I’ve tried to tell her that life is just crazy and has a way of working itself out.  I try talking about other things but she keeps going back to her boyfriend.  What should I do?  I think I need closure more than she does!

Sleepless, like Chaka Khan once said, I feel for you.  Jefe applauds you and the effort you put forth in trying to be a good friend.   It’s a pretty safe bet to say that everybody had some type of heartbreak that has left so many questions.  We all have wanted answers but sometimes, the answers never came.

You need to be straight up with your amiga and tell her the closure she wants may never come.  She has to be OK with that.  In a perfect world, we all get to have closure and move on knowing the answers we sought.  Let’s just say she does get her answers – then what?  Will she be able to move on or will she try justifying in her mind the need for more answers just to be able to talk/be with him again?  Part of closure is letting go.  Is she willing to let go?

The need for answers is just our subconscious trying to make excuses for things that went wrong.  If we know what went wrong, we can fix it and then, hopefully, fix the relationship, even if only in our mente.  The heart of the matter is a control issue.  When you truly care for somebody, you’re not out to control them or the relationship.  Pete, Re-Pete and Friends ask, is she willing to let go?

It can be tough when you’re trying your best to help a friend get through a broken heart.  You need to find the right balance of gentleness and strength.  Have gentleness when you are the shoulder to cry on and the ear that listens;  have strength for when you are the voice of reason and for when she needs a good kick in the colita!   Good luck and I hope you get some rest.

Confused or Just Delaying?

Going Nutty in the IE, wrote:

I’ve been seeing a really great guy for the past two months.  Things are going good but my ex keeps calling and wants to get back.  I’m not going to lie, I still have feelings for him but the new guy is just so sincere and is the opposite of my ex.  I feel like I have an obligation to the ex because we were together a long time and he was kind of like a project for me.  I’m confused about what I should do because the ex swears he’s changed and I’m kind of curious to see if it’s true.  Then again, the new guy treats me great and does things for me that I’ve never experienced before in a relationship.  He treats me like a lady.  I’m torn.  What should I do?

Nutty, you said a lot to say so little.  Seems to me you already have your mind set on getting back with your ex.  A lot of times, people will write to Jefe and not realize that their mind has written what their heart has spoken.  Watcha, that was kind of deep.  Anywados…

I’m not saying you’re Tina and your ex is Ike, but when you say the new guy treats you great and you’re experiencing things in a relationship that you never have before, e.g., being treated like a lady, then that doesn’t speak well of the ex.   It also doesn’t speak well of who you are and the things you accept in your life.  You need to value who you are as a person because a woman should never let herself be treated less than a lady.

Jefe dislikes when people use confusion as an excuse to buy time.  Let’s be real here.  No, I’m not talking about the vato from Cypress Hill.  What I am talking about is how people say they are confused about a matter in a relationship/life because their mind is set and they want to see how long they can get away with being selfish.  That type of confusion is decision delayed.

Jefe suggests you try being alone for a while.  You’re not being fair to yourself and especially the new guy.  Having feelings for an ex and considering getting back with them while in a new relationship is just wrong.  Let’s just say that you do get back with Ike.  Will it be because he was your project, obligation or because of love?  You need to figure out a lot of things, chica.  Jefe wishes you well.  Don’t settle for anything but the best.

Submit your questions to: ask_jefe@yahoo.com

Family Ties Or Family Fights

Ellie wrote:

I recently ran into a family conflict. I knew the date of something important to the extended family.  However, I had other plans in effect. I know it really bugs the family but I had to do what I had dedicated myself to previously.  My brother won’t even acknowledge me. I just try to let it fall off my back but it still hurts. I know the extended fam is disappointed that my family and I were not at this engagement.  What should I do?

Ellie, family is important whether it’s immediate or extended.  Every family is going to have their share of pedos (arguments, disagreements, y todo).  Things can get messy if the parties involved make no attempt at a resolution.  Let’s try and dig a little deeper into your dilema, shall we?

First, it’s wrong of your brother to ignore you.  I know it must hurt but something tells me deeper issues are involved.  You said that your absence really bugs the family, why is that?  Why are they really bugged out while the extended family is just disappointed?  Your immediate family must know things  the others don’t.  Maybe it had something to do with your other plans.  Only you know so be honest with yourself about it.

How long has it been since you’ve seen your extended family?  Did you not want to see them?  Do you have conflict with any of them?  I understand that life happens and you have a family of your own but you did say it was an important event so missing it for whatever reason rubbed people the wrong way.  Jefe comes from a huge family.  He’s Mexican so that shouldn’t come as a shock.  The point is, Jefe tries not to miss any opportunity to see his big family.

You need to talk to your brother and be honest about the issues that are causing this rift.  Something tells me it goes beyond missing a family gathering.  Hopefully, your conflict can be resolved and you can make it to another family event.  Dang, I’m hungry now because I’m thinking about my tia’s carnitas and my other tia’s potato salad…oohhh (Homer Simpson stilo).   Jefe, out.

Submit your questions to: ask_jefe@yahoo.com

Tom Petty Games

Upset wrote:

You can be cool and like Tom Petty or you can be a culero by being petty.

I told my boyfriend about a close friend’s birthday party two months ago.  He had planned to go and everything was fine.  Recently, we got into a discussion about some of his close friends and I told him that I was uncomfortable around a few of them and didn’t want to hang around them.   I explained why and he was fine with it or so it seemed.  When time came for the party, he said he couldn’t make it and made all kinds of excusesI know him so well and told him to quit making excuses and just own up to the fact of why he really didn’t want to go.  I know it was because of our discussion.  He just said we’re moving past it.  I want to move past it but then he says things in daily conversation that contradict his excuses of why he didn’t want to go.  I’ll bring it to his attention and he gets upset and says I thought we moved past it.  I’m hurt and irritated because I want to talk about it and not just “move past it.”  What do you think? 

Upset, let me play devil’s advocate here.  Roll playing can be fun (que no?) but that’s neither here nor there.  Why are you so upset?  Why do you want him to just own up?  What do you want to accomplish?  Are you trying to make a point to him or just trying to validate yourself?  Think about it for a bit.  Jefe will come back to that train of thought. 

Obviously, your vato was being petty by not wanting to go to the party.  It’s not cool to renege on plans he made with you.  Jefe don’t dig on him telling you, we’re moving past it, either.  That’s just his way of trying to avoid discussing the issue(s) with you.  I think he’s embarrassed that he pulled that movida so he’ll find ways to not talk about it.  It’s stupid on his part but then again, guys are pretty stupid in relationships. I’m sure you hurt his feelings when you told him that you didn’t want to hang around some of his amigos.  What guy doesn’t want his girl around his best buds? That still doesn’t justify him being a baby (I’m being kind). You both need to sit down and get to the heart of the matter.  Cliché as it may be, communication is the key (rhyme not intended).  There’s the likelihood that resentment will creep in and cause a bigger divide if you don’t talk.   

Let’s get back to you.  I’m not saying you don’t have a valid gripe.  You most certainly do.  What I am saying is check your motives.  As stated earlier, are you trying to make a point for him or yourself?  Jefe has had to put himself in check on many occasions.  Experience has taught me that I don’t always have to be right or try to prove a point.  Ego and pride can destroy a relationship.  It’s much easier for words of wisdom to teach that lesson instead of experience.  

Again, you do have a valid gripe but make sure when you finally talk, it’s with a humble and sincere heart.  Do your best not to let hurt and disappointment take over the conversation.  There’s a good chance that he’ll see how petty he was in the whole matter.  There’s also the chance that he is just oblivious (or a pendejo) and then you’ll have to ask yourself if you’re fine with that.  Here’s hoping for the best.

Submit your questions to: ask_jefe@yahoo.com