Zero tolerance for domestic violence is wrong

It’s been four days since I documented my own domestic violence, in almost real-time, between me and the Farmer. The most common response I’ve heard is some variation of: “Zero tolerance for domestic abuse!”

And you know what? I have zero tolerance for things I am not prone to tolerate as well. That's easy, isn't it?

It's much harder to see the issue from the person's perspective who has the issue.

I’ve spent days reading the 500 comments on my blog and the comments about my situation on other blogs, and I’m absolutely shocked by the collective hatred and disdain for women who are in violent relationships.

Here's what someone said on my blog: “Victims of domestic abuse suck at pressing charges.”

Yes. It's true. Women don't like to press charges. Because they love the guy. You, maybe, are unable to fall in love with a guy who is violent. Good for you. But do you have to hate women who aren't like you?

For some reason, people feel it is honorable to rip a woman to shreds if she is living with domestic violence. Here's an example from the comments section on James Altucher's blog:

“[Penelope Trunk is] out of her mind to think that her children are not being abused. She, in fact, is as guilty of that abuse as the farmer that beats her.”

The high-and-mightiness that emanates from the public discussion of domestic violence is breathtaking. Everyone is an expert. Everyone knows what's right.

Here's an example from the comments section on Jezebel, a supposedly feminist community that is full of anger towards women who live in violent households.

“No one gets another chance to hit me. I don’t care that I have the training to fight back.

“One incident, and YOU LEAVE. Violent people don’t get better without a lot of work, and it’s not *your* problem. Once someone raises a hand to you, you owe that person *nothing.* It’s likely that the violent behavior will escalate. Sometimes it is deliberate. Either way, YOU LEAVE.”

This person sees everything very clearly. If there's abuse, you leave. Even if it's small. Because all small abuse gets huge.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that if the guy hits you twice, the kids are better off living in a single-parent home and hearing their dad called an abuser. What people do say is that the odds are it won't stop. The odds are it will get worse. The odds are, the kids will be worse off, in the end, having lived with the dad.

But the truth is that we do not believe that men who leave two, visible marks on their wife should lose their kids.

You know how I know we don't believe this? Because if Child Protective Services sees two bruises on a kid at two different times, the kid is not removed from the home. Think about it: Is that kid better off with parents who might be able to stop, or in the Foster Care System for the rest of their life?

So we are making bets, right? Is it better to leave, because it is likely to get worse? Or is it better to stay because the benefits from things improving, although unlikely, are huge?

I'm in the startup community. It's the world of high risk. You bet big on yourself, you kill your family's credit, you put your house on the line, and maybe, just maybe, your company will make it.

So why wouldn't I bet big on myself now? I am not the whole problem in my family, but I am half. And over the last year I have described multiple situations where I was half the problem.

I can improve my own half and see what happens. Have you been to couple's therapy? There's a saying that a marriage is a gear system. If one gear changes, all the gears change.

Blog commenters will argue against this idea by telling me not to change because It’s not my fault.

But really, how do they know? We know that I grew up in a home where there was lots of violence. So it’s likely that I will be in that kind of house when I’m an adult. And surely it’s possible that I am contributing to the mix since I am statistically likely to create a violent household. Here’s another thing: You don’t know what I did leading up to the bruise in the photo.

I’ll tell you what my mom used to do leading up to my dad hitting her:

One night they were wallpapering. They had been wallpapering the living room after work for a week. My mom got mad at my dad and threw red paint all over the wallpaper. Ruined all their work. He didn’t respond. He was stunned. Then she knocked over the table with the wallpaper and the glue. It ruined the newly varnished floors. He held her arms so she couldn’t do anything else. He held tighter and tighter. She kicked him to get loose. She left no mark. He hit her in the face.

If she blogged about it, and showed the hand print on her face, she might get 500 commenters telling her it’s not her fault.

Should she leave with me and my brother because our dad is violent and we should not live with him? Or should she work on her own behavior to see if she can single-handedly stop the violence?

I think the most grown-up, good parenting thing for her to do would be to understand her own behavior and stop it so that me and my brother could grow up in a home with both our parents. She didn’t do that, of course. She had little insight into her own behavior and she and my dad ended up taking most of their anger out on me.

My mom had good choices she could have made because, in fact, part of the domestic violence was her fault.

“It’s not your fault” completely limits a woman’s choices, because you are saying that she is powerless to control the situation. And if you tell every woman “it’s not your fault” then they can’t improve. How do women get better at not creating a violent household? Probably by changing their behavior. This doesn’t mean “always tiptoe around your spouse and become a mouse”. But it can mean a wide range of positive changes.

We are all growing personally. It’s not your fault is almost always a path to no growth. It’s what Oprah founded her show on, right? Personal responsibility. Why don’t we go there, first, before we go to “it’s not your fault”. The truth is that if we take responsibility for the problems in our lives, we can solve the problem. If we blame other people, we are always running. People who blame other people can’t get along with siblings, can’t get along at work, lose friends quickly. People who facilitate that behavior say, “It’s not your fault.”

Most of the success of my blog comes from my reliance on the idea of personal responsibility. There are no bad bosses–it’s only you. If you can’t get a job it’s not because of the job market, it’s because you are unemployable. And you can fix that. Your heavy workload is not because someone gave it to you — you gave it to yourself. People like what I say because I show them how they can fix anything when they take responsibility for fixing it. That’s what I truly believe.

And that’s why I’m staying with the Farmer.

Posted in Self-management, Women
596 comments on “Zero tolerance for domestic violence is wrong
  1. redrock says:

    the majority of comments were those of concern, another large percentage pointed out that the post is not the whole story, a few got very scared for your safety (that might be the backlash for blogging and drama in real time), some wrote from personal experience, some pointed out that your behavior might play a role. Others indicated they might react differently, some told their own stories. I guess I missed the ones who wrote about hatred towards battered women.

  2. Bill says:

    I support you, Penelope.

    • smokytrees says:

      Ha!! See nelope, knew it. The poking was/is part of it. You don’t have to mention me in your article but I was right on. You had some fault in it….at least your admitting it.

      The only other thing Nel is this…If a person is not medicated….BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN!!! You can be sorry, try better, hope for more…It’s not going to happen because your brain chemistry is off. How do you argue with that??

      MARK MY WORDS…THERE WILL BE MORE DOMEST VIOLENCE POSTINGS…The root of the problem needs to be addressed.

      One more thing…Nel, I’m gonna go on a limb and say that you possibly deal with Multiple Personalities….BUT…this is not your fault…it stems from the sexual/physical abuse. You can continue to fight it and do your best but the “internal infection” will always be the root/one of the roots of your problems that will continue to flare up and cause you problems unless you address it.

      For a start…Read “Switching Time”-A doctor’s harrowing story of treating a woman with 17 personalities Richard Baer is the author.

      • Nono says:


      • Christine says:

        It’s very common that an abuser will tell the person they are abusing that their “brain chemistry is off” or their “thinking is off” or that they’re “crazy” or that there are other things wrong with them. Please do not look to a person who has abused you for information about yourself. They don’t say things like this to you because they’re true.

        • Karin says:

          good advice! the abuser will say anything to keep his/her control over the abused…including telling him/her that their brain chemistry is “off.” if YOUR inner voice has told you this BEFORE he has told you this, that is one thing, but if this is news to you since he has introduced the thought to your head, then beware…

      • Dorothy @ Singular Insanity says:

        I was psychologically abused for 18 years, to the point where I attempted to take my own life because I was made to believe that I was worthless and insane and a burden to everyone. This is what abusers feed on….

        • Karin says:

          I have been exactly where you went, too. After the SECOND attempt (he had another man take advantage of me when I was intoxicated…I’d call that rape!), I finally had enough of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that I had and the physical and emotional abuse that my girls had (thank God he didn’t sexually abuse the girls…). Should I have tried to stick THAT out?? I think not…

    • Virginia says:

      I think the violence happenning between these two will continue at the expense of the children because Penelope will not leave her meal ticket. Despite all her business accumen she alludes to, I doubt she makes enough to support herself. It has been a big fake all along, this 40ish Aspergers woman dragging fatherless kids house to house to be with men who won’t give her oral sex but she lets them urinatre on her. This current one seems to stick and actually takes a liking to the kids. But at the end of the day when Penelope needs to get hours of heavy thought processes off her chest and he wants to sleep, well it goes sour so she feels the need to tweet when she checks her vaginal mucus during a meeting. It seems as if she has trouble with boundries. To live like that can come to no good but to tow along a couple of autistic kids into the fray seems immoral. I believe violence begats violence whether is is nagging and demanding till the other blows or repressed anger explodes on a hair trigger. Or if you know it is going to recurr and you stay in harms way taking the brunt so you have a drama for the next blog installment. Everyone has a responsibility except the children. iT IS NO LONGER ABOUT YOU,YOU, YOU Penelope. You must shift that focus always trained on yourself as the victim or the perpetrator or the sex image all mixed together and get a clear view of what you are doing to your kids while acting out your fantasies. At the end of the day, Here is a guy who whas let you in his family home, fake married you to keep you out of irs trouble, works hard, askd for little, you give him little in the way of comfort and then demand he hear your crazy rantings when you say, how you say, where you say. It ia all violence and everyone gets to feel it especially your kids.

      I don’t believe you have cash or remunerationm from your ‘startups”, you knew how to write a blog directed toward 20 somethings, easy to fool from a 40ish functioning aspie, and now you’ve latched onto your meal ticket but finding reprecussuions when yoiu dump more than he wants to tale. I say GET OUT and leave that poor man alone. You’ve driven him to distraction in his own home, have a large following believing your biased blow by blows, his family ran when they saw you coming. I don’t think you have ever worked enough in your own life to stpport you and your kids. From the day I first read your advice I thoght this was a sham but I was an ex-pat in New Zealand soon to be returning home and thought I’d try to get a heads up on the lay of the land. But the more I read, the more I though this was a sattire or something stupid that x,y & zers would read ’cause they were too nyoung and inexperiencec to know bettre.

      Now I believe it is the sthing, a nmentally ill mother of two playing out her pathology, which narcissm is involved along with other varied and asundry disorders. Kind of like the Octomom. So somepeople have the time and energy to bolster up and play into her manipulations. I like to say it like I see it and later down the track if I am partially right, it validates my sense of smell.

      • Anita says:

        Wow! I don’t have both sides of P & F’s story. I know however that you can be responsible for pushing someone to breaking point – men and women do it to each other all the time. I question the huge vitriolic anger in your comments though. If it evokes this response from you the I reckon you should stop reading P’s blog. Now.

      • Miles Allen says:

        Can anyone say “Broke Drama Queen”? Ya know, I pity the Farmer, no kidding…..his folks saw the nightmare coming, and made the only sensible choice. Thing is, P is whack, and most readers realize that….btw, my mother was worse than anyone would believe, and I really believe she was an aspy. Folks, she would literally hound my father saying the cruellest cap I’ve ever heard, and she couldn’t stop herself…..I always thought it was gonna end up in murder, but it didn’t.

      • Virginia says:

        Number One:
        My apology for hitting “send” on my earlier post before editing, hence too much anger in my typo’d response.

        Number Two:
        I can’t keep watching the destruction of these kids. I know this is just a blog and it’s easy to be judgemental in the ether but I believe one thing to be true on P’s blog -her kids are suffering.

        The only thing that I believe on this blog is that these children are suffering at her hand

        I don’t want this in my inbox anymore.

      • Sabine says:

        Virginia–If it makes you so angry that you write so poorly then you should seriously consider unsubscribing. Simple solution. You chose to read Penelope’s blog quite extensively, yet you think it is a sham. Weird to think of a judgemental world traveler spending so much time reading a blog you hold is such low esteem. And you take the time to comment. Also, how can you really judge her finances. Do you have access to her tax returns? Are you a hardworking rich person or something? Or perhaps you are just a rich person who looks down on others. Your self righteousness is apalling. The sad thing is you aren’t suggesting that she leave because of the violence like other people on this blog, you want her to leave the “poor man” alone because you find her issues irritating. So weird, Virginia, so incredibly weird. I can’t imagine spending time reading a blog when I hate what I’m reading.

      • ossicle says:

        For heaven’s sake, Virginia, please leave. You’re an irritating narcissist with uninteresting thoughts.

      • Jana says:

        I agree with every word in Virginia’s post. I used to read Penelope’s blog but stopped when I realized how much she lies. And also, to be blunt about it, I found her to be a disgusting pig. How ironic that the disgusting pig lives on a pig farm. I saw her name mentioned on a blog today (all commenters were in agreement that she is vile) and checked back in to this trainwreck blog to see what was going on. I’ve got to believe that there’s something seriously wrong with her husband. Who, other than a crazy person, would enter in to a relationship with such a pathologically manipulative, horrible human being? I’ve said my piece, and now I’m outta here – this place is just as creepy as ever.

      • Melinda says:

        Hi. I think you might be really interested in this research here. There are two kinds of domestic violence and yes, some do go away. Maybe you can write a future blog post dealing with this topic further. You are a brave soul and I commend you!

        • Penelope Trunk says:

          Melinda. Thanks for this link. The conclusion of this research rings true to me.


  3. csts says:

    Good for you, Penelope. I think you explained brilliantly. It’s your job to decide what to do with your life. We can be nervous at the risks, and we can worry about how we’ll feel if it goes wrong for you, but you get to call the shots I was thinking yesterday, when you posted your list of top posts, headed by your favorite on your son selling his pig (also my favorite), that you had strong reasons for wanting things to work out. May they indeed do so! All the best to you.

    • karelys says:

      people are so crazy. Can you believe all the hateful comments!?

      i think that it’s reasonable the physical violence will continue because they both haven’t workout the root of the problems. So yes, it hurts the kids when there is violence in the household.

      but i guess they have the same 50/50 chance of being okay whether they stay with their parents and hopefully they work things out or they may continue beating each other, or going into the foster care system.

      I read many people say that the kids should be taken away or that cps should be involved. really, they got the same 50/50 to land on a good household or an abusive one.

      this is too complicated to be so simplistic with one liners advice!

  4. Mark Ifi says:

    so do i!

  5. Frank says:

    I wish you lots of success in improving your situation in 2012.

  6. brooklynchick says:

    There is surely some middle ground between taking away a woman’s agency in her life and relationships (“you are never responsible”) and accepting violence (as a consequence of your actions) from those who claim to love you.

    I’ve never been in a violent relationship, so I don’t have a personal experience with this. But quite a few of your commenters have experienced it, and have moved on to form non-violent partnerships (at least according to them). So it seems it is possible to change the situation…by BOTH changing your own behavior AND by changing partners.

    I’m curious – did your children’s father hit you?

  7. Jade says:

    Penelope, I still you should consider the possibility that the interaction dynamic between you and the Farmer has an intrinsic tendency to erupt in violence as evidenced by previous events. Not saying it’s a reason to not create personal growth, but that a different relationship (or say, living in a collective), might be healthier for your growth in general.

    Please, please consider what you are teaching your children when they witness this kind of violence and your defense of it. Think about what it will do to their relationships in the future, and what they will consider to be okay.

    Children are not necessarily emotionally healthier off in a series of foster homes than in their original home, but it may be time for you to consider the merits of moving to California. And raising your kids in a collective living environment so they can see all sorts of relationship dynamics and not use yours as the model to build their future relationships on.

    Just some unsolicited advice. :)

    • JericaLinn says:

      Penelope. You sound like a martyr for your stance of “taking personal responsibility”
      I was abused by my first love for almost two years, and he was such a manipulative chameleon, and was able to play the strings of my heart, play up his role as a victIm in life, and within our twisted whirlwind of hollow love, I was responsible for everything. To a degree, I chose to put up with it, but the psychological devices and traumas that operate at a subconscious level, keep us in these waking nightmares. Enough mental awareness to stop ones own violent tendencies takes a lot of emotional awareness and development, that the general population has trouble developing due to societal expectations. Start thinking about the children and their emotional welfare. Their psyches won’t wait for you and the farmer to figure your problems out. You two are the adults and quite simply if you can’t get along then it ISN’T working and it’s YOUR responsibility to lookout for these children that have no choice but to rely on you and your decision making skills and the example you set

  8. JW says:

    Only you know what is best for you. I would be interested in the Farmer’s perspective of the events. As you rightly point out, there are two perspectives; only a blend of the two is closest to what really happened. (Not to imply that hitting another person is ok because it’s not.)

  9. Lindsay | The Daily Awe says:

    Almost seems weird to say, but good for you, Penelope. You’re right – we have no idea what you did leading up to getting that bruise.

    I still think there is no excuse for violence – not ever. I think when people are telling you it’s not “your fault” that he beat(s) you, they’re right. You could’ve spit in his face right before he did it, and it’s still not your fault. He’s the one who hurt you. He didn’t have to – he made the (irrational) choice to do so. I don’t think the “not your fault” thing is making you a powerless victim – it’s saying HE is the one who made that choice to do it.

    I hope 2012 brings you and the Farmer closer to having a healthy relationship.

  10. Daryl Martin says:

    Good for you. Why is it we can solve everyone else’s problems so much better than our own?

    • karelys says:

      because someone else’s problems give us the advantage of being out of the box. then you can see things better. when you’re inside the box you’re drowning with (at least) emotions! it’s so hard.

      when i’m arguing with my husband i feel paralyzed with emotion. when we are good we make agreements on how we should argue better and how we should not go to certain places and be mean to each other. but in the heat of the moment i forget. i say things, i can’t make good decisions, etc. it’s pretty awful. makes me feel like a child. makes me feel so inept!

  11. A. says:

    Here’s what I think:

    * I think you don’t publish a post like your last one unless you want exactly the reaction you’re now railing against. What reaction did you THINK you were going to get when you posted a picture of that bruise?

    * I think the commenters here are to some extent enabling you, by providing you with the illusion that you have relationships with them (per your comment in your last point about feeling closest to your kids and your blog commenters). I think people who really cared about seeing the abuse stop would stop rewarding you with hundreds of sympathetic comments restating the same thing over and over.

    * I think that you have a very twisted idea about what’s good for your kids. Driving hours to take them to violin lessons, home-schooling them, and … letting them a witness a relationship that, at a minimum, is giving them a terrible template to model their own on? Because you think that would be preferable to divorce? Ask a therapist about the wisdom of that one.

    • CW says:

      Very well put. I am just catching up on these blogs and I was struck by the contrast from the “I am dying” blog to the “I am staying with the farmer” one. I do think that people can provoke violence, but it does not make it OK in my mind for the other person to use that as an excuse for hitting unless it is in self-defence. I have been in abusive relationships. I got out, but I also have the ability to see right from wrong, which I think is where Penelope has a hard time finding the boundaries. Penelope, I wish you all the best. I wish that you would quit prolonging the drama if you don’t intend to do anything about it. Trust me, if the Farmer ‘can’t stand’ you talking to him late into the night, he’s not going to ‘stand’ you any better if you ‘fix’ yourself.

    • Sharon says:

      Wholeheartedly agree.

    • purejuice says:

      this. your bloggers are enabling you, and, i would suggest, you are acting out so you can blog about it.

  12. Angela says:

    Girl, in 4 days you went from

    1. a pity party post full of DM clichés (“he beats me, but it’s my fault”)

    to a

    2. hear-me-out empowerment post full of sophisms (really, where did you see a “collective hatred…for women in violent relationships”?)

    Oh, and Btw, victims of real domestic violence don’t press charges for many other reasons besides “they are in love”.
    Please don’t trivialize it.

    • Richmonde says:


      Ditch the “empowerment sophistry”. Stop the analysis. Hitting people is wrong. Stop talking about who, how, why or whatever. Go! Go now!

      And I hope you don’t see this as an attack on you or other abused women. Abusers can rationalise abuse 20 different ways before breakfast. You just don’t have to join them.

      • Rachel says:

        I agree with you, this is how women get killed! It seems they don’t see how dangerous their situation is. They blame, themselves, their past, their spouse etc while the situation deteriorates. Who cares whose fault it is? Get out before either of you end up in jail, or in the morgue!

  13. Paule says:

    “”It’s not your fault” completely limits a woman’s choices, because you are saying that she is powerless to control the situation.”

    Totally agree on that…

    And I really hope you didn’t interpret my blogpost about you as what you call “hatred and disdain for women who are in violent relationships” and as for Altucher blogpost, I believe there really was good support in it.

    Reading your post, I believe even more strongly that violence (domestic just as the one you felt in the comments) has something to do with convenances.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Oh, I want to be clear that James Altucher’s post was lovely – I emailed him and thanked him, in fact. The person I’m quoting is someone who commented on James Altucher’s blog post. Not James Altucher himself.


      • Paule says:

        Oh, I see. I was just wondering why it wasn’t online anymore…

        Anyway, good luck with all that…

        I said that I agreed with that :

        “It’s not your fault” completely limits a woman’s choices, because you are saying that she is powerless to control the situation.”

        But I personnaly believe that this is only true if you love yourself enough to make good choices for yourself!!!

    • redrock says:

      I respectfully disagree: saying “it is not your fault” can lead out of the trap of feeling solely responsible for an event where there are at least two parties. I agree that there are provocative actions which can lead to violence – the partner in the altercation is driven so much into a corner that he/she cannot see a way out. So it should say correctly: this might be partially your fault. However, there has to be a way to break the vicious cycle: either both change behavior, or one walk away. Evidence suggests that very few one or two-way abuse relationships end up with a change in behavior. Laying blame solely on one part in the relationship completely paralyzes – it is not a solution. Taking away the blame is liberating and opens the way to more creative solutions.

  14. A. says:

    And one more thing: You have a career where you ask people to look up to you, to take your advice, and to believe that you know what’s best for them. At some point you’re going to squander the credibility you need in order to make a living doing that. If you’re going to transition to a different type of blog, fine, but you really can’t be telling other people how to live their lives and careers when yours is so rocky. Where does your credibility come in? (That’s a sincere question.)

    • smokytrees says:

      People aren’t taking Nel’s life advice…the more grounded ones anywho…we are taking her technical advice….far, far different.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I think it’s fair to say that you don’t know the real personal life of anyone who gives you advice professionally.

      So you have to just read their advice and decide for yourself if it will work for you — regardless of what their personal life is like. And, I assume you’d do the same for the advice I give.

      If it’s a prerequisite to approve of someone’s life before you listen to their advice then you will probably find yourself listening to no one.


      • Erica says:

        Yes but the tag line of this website is, “Advice at the intersection of work and life,” so I think A. has a valid point on this.

      • roro says:

        That’s ok, but then just give the advice you’re promising. Don’t tell me that you’re “dying” but you like it or mention some Farmer. I don’t want to know you’re f’d up personal life. If you’re gonna give some kind of business advice, stick to that, but I guess that’s not your only purpose, so I guess this blog isn’t for me. Good luck though.

    • karelys says:

      it was interesting to me when i read the Jezebel post that women said they’d never take her advice given her personal situation.

      it’s amazing to me that we can’t separate things. I mean, Penelope’s advice is how to advance the corporate ladder in America not how to live and how to navigate your romantic relationships.

      I remember one time gushing about John Mayer (i loved his early music) and my husband said he hated it. I asked why to which he responded “because he’s morally bankrupt, he is seen going in and out of hotels with different women all the time.”

      I was stunned. I understood his dislike. I can’t respect a man like that. But his music was excellent nonetheless. Nothing to do with personal life.

      I have applied penelope’s career advice. some works some doesn’t because i’m not in corporate america.

      and of course her personal life will be intertwined because she works from home; which tends to blend things a bit. plus career is such an important part of americans’ lives that we can’t dismiss the impact that personal lives have in it.

      but saying that she should lose credibility for not having everything together in her romantic relationships or even parenting is crazy.

      the women doesn’t offer advice in that area. she blogs about her problems and how they affect how she deals with career/earning money.

      i guess i learned to separate these things when as a kid my dad hurt my feelings bad and then offered advice about something later on. just because he dealt with a situation really bad doesn’t mean i’d ignore his insight in another. it was hard but separating those things really helped me through my adolescence when most girls were at the whims of guys.

    • karelys says:

      it’s amazing to me that we can’t separate things. I mean, Penelope’s advice is how to advance the corporate ladder in America not how to live and how to navigate your romantic relationships.

      I remember one time gushing about John Mayer (i loved his early music) and my husband said he hated it. I asked why to which he responded “because he’s morally bankrupt, he is seen going in and out of hotels with different women all the time.”

      I was stunned. I understood his dislike. I can’t respect a man like that. But his music was excellent nonetheless. Nothing to do with personal life.

      I have applied penelope’s career advice. some works some doesn’t because i’m not in corporate america.

      and of course her personal life will be intertwined because she works from home; which tends to blend things a bit. plus career is such an important part of americans’ lives that we can’t dismiss the impact that personal lives have in it.

      but saying that she should lose credibility for not having everything together in her romantic relationships or even parenting is crazy.

      the women doesn’t offer advice in that area. she blogs about her problems and how they affect how she deals with career/earning money.

      i guess i learned to separate these things when as a kid my dad hurt my feelings bad and then offered advice about something later on. just because he dealt with a situation really bad doesn’t mean i’d ignore his insight in another. it was hard but separating those things really helped me through my adolescence when most girls were at the whims of guys.

  15. missyone says:

    fine – but are your kids safe?

  16. Toto says:

    There are things that are instinctively wrong about your arguments. To a certain respect we are not all growing personally. As adults we are the mature being that we are. You are describing a circle that women in domestic violence situation fall into – somehow you believe it might get better.

    Maybe Farmer just did this once (?) and he will never do it again. How many beatings would one have to measure to realize the other person is not changing? Is one to two tolerable, maybe, over 30 is excessive? That would be insane.

    And how does a person brings this upon herself? You want to take the responsibility, but a person should not abuse the other. We do get into arguments, but how does one create a situation where the other person deserve to hit you!? It can’t never be that.

    I hope you can find your happiness, as your last postings cry with sadness and sorrows. I am indeed sorry for you and your children to live in such a situation.

    I wish you all the best and hope you find the strength to make the right decision.

  17. Dbp says:

    I was hoping that this post would be you exclaiming your freedom from this terrible life you are living. I was so upset and disturbed from your last post, I felt terrible…now I feel pity. Good luck. I am unsubscribing to your blog. It makes me sick.

    • smokytrees says:

      HAAAAAAA!!!!! Nel is living a “terrible life”?? Whu? Huh? Say who?? Unless your Paris Hilton with servants its hard to beat (no pun intended) her life. She lives on a farm, eats whole food, has some stability, has loving children etc. My guess is that she has a better life than most.

      You must not have read this post.
      5 reasons to stop trying to be happy

      Nel has decided to live life for the interesting part, not the fake and very, over exaggerated “happy” life. This would explain her staying with the farmer.

      When life wallops you over the head and your rich husband leaves you with nothing, maybe you’ll come back. Good luck though.

  18. kt says:

    A is right. This entire blog exists as a tool for you to get the response you desire, perhaps even need, at any given moment. You pretend to have this overarching method/design that makes sense of it all to those who are willing to study your brilliant thoughts closely enough. But come on now, we all know — there is no method. It’s just you, your contradictory whims and bottomless need for adulation, pats on the head, admiration, even worship. I suppose we are meant to be too polite to point out that you contradict yourself at every turn. Enough with the politeness. You are full of shit. The empress has no clothes — literally!

  19. sara l. r. says:

    Your mom did an awful thing to your dad. You often write about the awful things you do to the farmer. And you know what a mature partner does in response to having awful things done to them? Leaves the person who is doing awful things. They do not hit them. They do not do an awful thing back.

    I agree that you need to do a lot of self-work. It is screamingly evident in your blog that the ten years of therapy you’ve previously referenced having only chipped away at the tip of the iceberg of harm that was done to you and that has shaped you. But you need to do self-work because you need to do self-work, not because it will make the farmer stop hitting you. A person who sees hitting as a reasonable response to bad behavior is someone who needs to do metric tons of self-work themselves.

    Mutually abusive situations, which you are clearly in, are not situations one person can fix by themselves. You can start to get yourself better, but the farmer needs to work on himself as well. The only chance your relationship has of not becoming mutually abusive is for both of you to work on yourselves. If you can get yourself into a therapeutic situation that will help facilitate that, great.

    I don’t think the farmer is terrible. I don’t think you are terrible. I think that both of you are pretty clearly carrying around quantities of pain such that you are not able to have healthy romantic relationships right now. You need to do self-work, and so does he.

    • Michelle says:

      What Sara said. “responsibility” is the ability to respond. Responsibility is not fault. Responsibility is not blame.

      A person who sees the storm coming and chooses violence, instead of shelter, is solely responsible for that choice.

      Meanwhile, please make sure that your children do not have access to weapons, including tools that can be used as weapons. If they come to your defense, this could get much worse for everyone.

    • Lola says:

      This. This exactly. You both need time away from the situation. You need time to work on yourselves. And you need to give your kids the chance to grow up into mature, functioning adults who can express themselves without violence.

  20. Can't stop watching says:

    You’re kidding yourself. Nobody was directing hate or rage at victims. But you have now officially chosen victimhood; as Gavin de Becker says, you are now a volunteer. So, no more pity – no more than I pity addicts who keep using, drunks who keep driving, sex addicts who bring STDs home. You have a problem, but you are choosing not to deal with it – choosing to enrich the problem, to let it embed itself more permanently into you and your identity and your life.

    You want to wreck your life? Fine. You’ve been on that path most of your life, and you were first pushed in that direction by people who didn’t know better. But you have a choice, now, and you’re pushing your kids down that path too. Who will rescue them? They certainly aren’t learning to rescue themselves.

    I hope the Farmer is prosecuted for DV, and if you threw the first punch, I hope you are as well. Maybe then you’ll take it seriously.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, this. I SO agree.
      Sorry Penelope, but this post is purely and simply a rationalisation for your decision to stay. (Combined with a traffic-grabbing headline.)
      Although, I can’t seem to stop watching either…

    • Beth says:

      AGREED. What your mother did to your father was wrong. What your father did to your mother was wrong. What you and the Farmer have been doing to each other is wrong. Sadly, you see it as “normal.”

      Even worse, and what breaks my heart is what your boys now think is “normal.”

      I think of how scared they must be and how this cycle will continue. Take responsibility for your children and for their emotional health.

  21. Steve C says:

    Good luck. Hope you aren’t wrong.

  22. Sara Gardner says:

    Penelope, from one Aspie to another, of course you are doing things that are aggravating, even infuriating, to your husband, and even more so when he is tired. You will probably always be a bit difficult to live with.

    Kids with Asperger’s are difficult too – do you, for one minute, think that means that people are justified in losing their temper with them? I mean, yes, I guess it’s understandable if someone loses their temper, but really, one is EXPECTED to be in control of oneself and control oneself, at least to the point of not hitting or shoving. By the time one reaches adulthood, anyway.

    When my ex and I broke up, my then-6-year-old son was relieved. He said, “you and Dad are like fire and water.”

    What I’m saying is, maybe it’s not either one of your faults. Maybe the combination just doesn’t mix. Although frankly, I have a hard time imagining that the Farmer won’t be a hitter/shover in another relationship, but I don’t know him.

    So, yeah, insomuch as your behavior is a catalyst for his bad behavior, I suppose you could say it’s your fault. BUT, the reality is that you will NEVER be able to be “good enough” to control his bad behavior, and if you TRY, then you will find yourself deep in a co-dependent relationship.

    Read the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, and if you’ve already read it, read it again. You need to be really clear about what you can own and what you can’t.

    In retrospect, I wish I’d only separated from my ex, because now, 14 years later, we are JUST NOW able to get along a tiny bit better. He is learning, very slowly, what it means to have Asperger’s. And I am learning how to deal with him when he starts to get out of control. (I leave.)

    Best to you, Penelope. And please remember that although the “it’s not your fault” sentiments don’t ring true to you, what IS true is that you can’t control it.

  23. Tracy says:

    Insightful perspective on a complex and emotional topic. Brave to share. You got a tough skin, sister. Here’s to living on the edge of risk and reward. May 2012 bring you only rewards.

  24. figleaf says:

    Hi Penelope,

    First of all, anyone who thinks it’s a no-brainer to leave an abusive relationship needs a few more brains. It’s not easy. In fact it’s really, really hard.

    And no, it’s never anything as simple about stupidity, or weakness, or guilt, or shame, or “tradition.”

    One of the smartest people I read online (we’ve also met in person) is a semi-anonymous blogger named Holly at The Pervocracy on Blogspot. Among other things Holly’s an EMT ambulance and emergency-room worker. Before anyone throws stones at you they might want to read her post Why does she stay with that jerk?

    So yeah, zero tolerance, nice on paper but a lot tougher in real life.

    That said, I’d just point out this isn’t a zero-tolerance situation: you’ve been in this situation with the farmer before, right? Not even all that long before. So zero tolerance isn’t on the table. You’ve already tolerated it.

    Since I’m aware how hard dealing with a domestic abuser is I’m not going to chirp out “and how’s that tolerance business been working for you?” I’ll just repeat that for you and lots of other people zero tolerance isn’t an option.

    That said, you do have other options that don’t include large bruises and object lessons for your children in how to manage domestic disputes. And since you’re another one of the smartest people I know I assume you’re aware of them, you’re aware of their relative merits and liabilities compared to going back to the farmer, and that you’ve probably been considering them carefully.

    So that’s cool.

    I’ll just do what I did last time and ask what you’d do if this was an untenable career situation and not a domestic one?

    The only unfair thing I’ll really say (on purpose anyway) is that out of those 500 comments on the last post there are pretty clearly at least ten and really probably a lot more people — ones you know and not just ones who know you — who really, truly care about you the way you’re afraid nobody ever will. Your choices aren’t farmer plus bruises vs friendless plus a house full of cats.

    Take care,


    • karelys says:

      i really like your post.

      another thing is that i’m so impressed by how we have zero tolerance for physical abuse but not for emotional abuse.

      i mean, i’m recovering from depression. learning to deal with it and stuff. when my husband and i argue there are certain triggers that send me into this crazy downward spiral where i feel like the only relief is suicide.

      and he’s NEVER laid a hand on me.


      is anyone aware that the farmer may have beat her but she knows that it may have been a crazy reaction? maybe penelope can deal with physical bruises but the emotional aspect of the relationship is salvageable.

      i know i sound crazy. maybe because i’ve never written my thoughts on this. not that i think physical abuse is okay at all. i just think it’s crazy how people get all up in arms about it but not so much about being emotionally hurt.

      i’m really sensitive. sometimes i want to gash my wrists with a kitchen knife because the emotional pain is so much greater than the physical one. And i’m someone with very low pain tolerance.

  25. Jan says:

    We all make our own decisions. I am deciding to not follow you any longer and will unsubscribe from further posts. I am not interested in being a voyeur into your dysfunctional life. I enjoyed your blogs for a while, but all good things come to an end. I know when to walk away. Good luck.

    • Shannon says:

      I am unsubscribing from the blog as well. The blog was once interesting, but lately it has devolved into drama after drama. It’s a shame, because it was worthwhile once.

      Good luck, Penelope. I will check back in a year or so from now in the hopes that you have your head back on straight and I can again learn something useful from you.

      • Don says:

        Don’t be cruel. There is a time and a place for honesty about strategic direction. That time is not when a person is in emotional turmoil.

        Penelope gifts us with an honest look at her life experience. We can’t ask her to shut off part of that and retain the great advice that comes from operating without a filter.

        Again, time and place to give feedback just not on a post like this.

      • karelys says:

        regarding don’s comment (below) i absolutely agree that her gift is her honesty. i don’t care how one sided it is. it helps us learn.

        can you imagine if someone let us cut them open while alive so doctors could watch how the body works? but all we have are cadavers. and scans. but it’s not the same.

        this woman is cutting herself open (regardless of what you think of it) i think it’s a gift.

        i think of all the great painters, like Van Gogh. Their most impressive paintings came out of utter pain. Many of them committed suicide. In a way I can hardly express this is very similar to me.

        I study psychology. Seeing inside someone’s mind/heart is a huge gift

  26. Suzanne says:

    The answer is what is right for you isn’t right for anyone else and vice versa. But the reality is *most* abused folks don’t have all the options you do. And I hate to break your day dream/illusion – but CPS folks don’t remove kids with 20 bruises because they have no where for them to go. I understand your logic – but the actions – or lack of – of CPS is hardly a (rational) defense.

    BTW – *why* don’t you send the buys to live with their dad for a while? Where is he in all of this? You talk abut how growing up in a violent household impacted you AND you have the means to remove your kids from that cycle – so *why* don’t you? What is the benefit to THEM of staying there with you?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I try to never answer questions on the blog about the boys’ father. I like him. We have a very good relationship. Suffice it to say that I have sole custody.

      I think what is more interesting in your comment is you saying that I have more options than most women. This is true. I know that. I would be fine financially if I left. I would retain sole custody of the kids, and and I can live anywhere in the world.

      But the discussion of domestic violence should include women like me, who have lots of options. There are plenty of women like me in this situation. Not all women are powerless and without options.


      • Can't stop watching says:

        Your kids are doomed. I hope they’re smart enough to blame their parents instead of themselves.

      • JMDM says:

        I have an MBA and am a female business executive. I support myself very nicely. I was also married to a violent man for 12 years. I thought because I was SO smart I could fix my situation, unlike those “poor dumb unemployed” battered women. Like you are bent on doing now, I tried changing myself, tried counseling, tried romantic vacations, tried to be more submissive, tried to be more…what my husband wanted… I loved my husband. In some ways, I still do love my ex. I came to find out though that I was just like the stereotypical impoverished battered woman, I just drove a nicer car and had an office with a big desk and leather couch. Everything else in the cycle of violence was the same but I didn’t believe it for the longest time. You’ll have to figure the situation out for yourself, but it is really hard to watch you get hurt and to know what is in store for you, knowing what I know now. As an impartial observer without any emotion for Farmer, I already KNOW you will get hit again. I already know that you can’t change yourself enough to make him stop. I wish you were smart enough to know that. Good luck.

      • Can't stop watching says:

        So your kids have been exposed, reading between the lines, to two violent men and have an unstable mother. Twenty years from now, when they are incapable of forming healthy relationships, do you think they’ll have the clarity to blame their parents – or will they fall into a self-loathing spiral?

  27. F. says:

    I’ve been waiting to read a piece like this one on domestic violence for a long time. Thank you for escaping the black and white dogma on the issue.

    From a long time reader, may the new year bring lots of positive personal responsibility to you and your family.

  28. john says:

    so, can you post more pics of your ass? thanks

  29. Smile says:

    Thumbs up for personal growth and staying with the Farmer!

    He may be violent, but I suspect this is only when you are trying to pull his strings.

    You should learn to accept his NO-s and think of all the moments that you have been violent to him (non-physically).

    I wish you both luck!

  30. Jess says:

    I think you are both brilliant and ignorant. You need to work on walking away even when you don’t want to (in an argument) & the farmer should do the same. Then you need to leave him alone if ge does the walking away first. I can picture you badgering him or simply pesteribg the hell outta him even when it’s exceedingly clear that he wants you to get away from him or he just needs time alone. My mother did the same shit to my stepdad and would badger the F out of him until he snapped. We were quietly glad sometimes when he had to resort to the physical in order to remove her off of him or simply to get her to shut the hell up with her antics. Now, he never actually gave her bruises or drew blood, but things (she) was so crazy & erratic towards all of us that I’d be lying if I said we didn’t at times wish he would have knocked the crap out of her. I am an adult now and recognize that violence is wrong but I also realize sometimes the ‘victim’ is really the provocateur.

  31. CL says:

    We didn’t absolve you of your responsibility in the situation. Did you do things to make the Farmer mad? Perhaps – you could be as fully culpable in the situation as he was.

    That story actually illustrates a fundamental problem: you seem to think that there can be justification for physical violence. We’re telling you that there isn’t; there’s no such thing as deserving to be beaten. In the story, there was a lot of provocation on your mom’s side, but your dad didn’t have to hit her. He could have retaliated in a lot of different ways, but he wasn’t forced to do so by hitting your mother. And if your mother had left your father, then perhaps you wouldn’t have gone through some of the things that you detailed in your post.

    If you decide to stay with the Farmer, that is absolutely your decision. It’s your life. Don’t gamble with the kids, though. One problem with domestic violence is that it does tend to escalate. Put them somewhere unequivocally safe.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you for saying what I want to say but am too shocked and disgusted to articulate. A crime has been committed, and now a tragedy is going to unfold. Those poor children…

  32. figleaf says:

    Oh and by the way, Holly only glancingly mentions it but one of the reasons people don’t leave domestic-violence situations is that they believe they’re the ones causing it.

    If the farmer gave you that bruise because he was just trying to keep you from harming him, yourself, or others that’s one thing. But…

    I’ll just repeat that you’re living in a domestic violence situation, one that, sure, maybe, you’re contributing to. But that just means it’s even less fair to you and him if the violence escalates to a point where one of you ends up in the hospital or worse and the other one ends up in jail.


  33. lisa richmon says:

    my zero tolerance is for high and mighty people. offering another perspective is cool when asked but that’s about it.

  34. Swim Bike Mom says:

    I think it’s your life, and you choose to share it via your blog. I think people can click “close” or “exit” when they don’t like what you have to say. Keep on keeping on… you have people who support you.

    • Helen says:

      Exactly. I also don’t see why some have to make a big pronouncement about unsubscribing to the blog. Why are people reading this anyways? They will provided they agree with everything Penelope says or does?

  35. Ken Wolman says:

    Totally astounding stuff here.

    For nine years, after my divorce, I lived with a woman who took to abusing me: punching me in the face and later breaking down the bathroom door while I was using the can. It was the second incident that convinced me I was in the presence of a disordered person who did not love me and who I’d cease to love. In any case it did not matter. Violence begins hatred and resentment, and I didn’t not want to resent her, just get her to stop abusing me. So I moved out at no small expense of myself. I’m not happy now but I’m a damnsight happier than I would have been counting her fingermarks in my face. Again…nobody should have to put up with that crap. What will The Farmer have to do to get you to safety?–fire a gun at you?

  36. Nikki O says:

    I’m sorry Penelope, I know this goes against everything in your blog post, but it is NOT YOUR FAULT if your husband hits you. I know you disagree adamantly, but it’s true. It’s a great idea to work on yourself, but you can’t change other people if they don’t want to change. I’m sorry, but no matter what you did before the incident, you did not deserve physical violence, you really didn’t.

  37. Evy MacPhee says:

    I perceive some good thinking in your post.

    So, my dear, what was YOUR part in what lead to the bruise.

    What are YOU going to do about YOUR part.

    How exactly are you going to make this change? Do you have baby steps leading you from where you are now and your current behavior to this change you intend to make in YOUR behavior.

    It seems to me, from reading your blog that, perhaps, a first step might be looking at and considering your verbal behavior.

    Maybe you might want to look at female friends to talk to so that you are not so desperate for conversation from the FARMER when he is tired and not particularly open to hearing and thinking about what you have to say.

    Perhaps during quiet periods, if any, you might arrange a signal for the FARMER to use when HE is up to conversing.

    Perhaps also a signal from him when he needs to stop listening or being talked at. Could YOU actually RESPECT such a signal?

    Perhaps it will take him time to learn to give the signal soon enough that he is not furious and wanting to attack you. Could you be patient while he learns his own limits and not blame him for taking time to become self aware on this need for change?

    Does he care enough about you to try to learn his own limits?

    Do you care enough about him to learn to gentle and make fewer demands concerning verbal behavior? Do you care enough about him to restrain your demands for instant gratification concerning being listened to by HIM?

    Perhaps, “You never talk to me!!!” is not the best approach.

    Maybe making dates for conversation and sticking to them, might be an approach.

    Perhaps writing him letters, since writing works so well for you, might release some of your intensity.

    Perhaps asking him for suggestions about what would help him release his anger in a less terrible manner when he is overwhelmed by your talking.

    I have read the comments, too.

    You have had numerous offers of phone support from commenters. I will add mine to those offers, though I am not sure that I, who have done phone support for numerous friends, could put up with your harsh, blaming words for as long as you might need me to. I can put up with some.

    Writing seems to be something that works for you. There must be some way you can use writing to improve YOUR side of the equation.

    I imagine that, “Shut up, you mean mouthed, energy sucker.” from him would not work for what you want. Maybe you can come up with something you can hear and respond to.

    Melissa used to say “Stop talking!” to you. Could the FARMER say, “Stop talking!” and have you hear it?

    What exactly and specifically are YOU considering for your part of the equation?

    When I read this book:

    from the library, you came to mind. I don’t know if it would do anything for you. I read self help books and books about communication a lot, having been raised by werewolves, myself.

    I highly recommend, Suzette Haden Elgin’s books about the Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense. I have read them, loaned them, gone to a seminar on them.

    I have a lot more to say. I think I will stop here and find out if you are truly going to work on your part of the equation.

    Reading your blog certainly does bring up many things to think about.

  38. Lauren Milligan says:

    And is the farmer staying with you? As I commented in the prior blog, I like the Farmer. From what you write about him, I gather that he prefers calm and quiet, or at least a certain amount of control mixed in with the noise. I also like you, and the odd chaos that naturally accompanies you. Can you two peacefully coexist? Neither of you seem to work well in each others’ environment. I’m glad you’re staying but I hope that means you each will be more flexible with each other. Peace to you both (and the boys) in 2012.

  39. Peg says:

    No one has the right to shame you for staying or for leaving. it is your choice. I hope your changes and personal growth improve your situation, but please do not blame yourself if that is not enough. Taking responsibility for the outcome instead of only your own actions will just get you stuck. Best wishes for a safe and happy 2012 to you and your family.

  40. Roberta says:

    I still don’t think country living is for you but that is just my opinion.

  41. Anhelo says:

    Great post. Now you just have to make it happen.

  42. Anonymous says:


    Is there any situation in which you would leave the farmer?

  43. Dave The Volleyball Mgr says:

    I get the take ownership rationale, but you don’t have to stay under th same roof while you attempt to work it out. Be safe.

  44. Jana says:

    I like what you had to say about domestic violence. I have never been in your place but I do believe people can change and that there are ways to provoke people to violence. I never think violence is okay. (Your wallpaper story was an excellent example.)

    Have you read How We Love, yet? I think this book would give you incredible insight into why you react the way you do and why the Farmer reacts to you. And what to do about it. The focus is forward after considering your past. The authors also do personal counseling.

    Sometimes just being aware can change people. I know that has been the case for me.

    I also think some parents get divorced thinking that the kids will be happier. I don’t think this happens very much. And as adults the pain is still there.

    Praying for you,

  45. AnnieBee says:

    I’m routing for you, Penelope. Always have. And for you and the the Farmer. Always have. And btw, I have domestic violence credentials: I created the first How-to Legal Handbook for Battered Women back in the mid-seventies when no one was talking about that stuff. Awesome post! Love ya.

  46. Joellen says:

    Choose your battles in the future. Not everything is worth arguing about. Then learn the rules of fair fighting and follow them. Then forgive and have great make-up sex.

  47. Jana says:

    I like what you had to say about domestic violence. I have never been in your place but I do believe people can change and that there are ways to provoke people to violence.

    I never think violence is okay. (Your wallpaper story was an excellent example.)

    Have you read How We Love, yet? I think this book would give you incredible insight into why you react the way you do and why the Farmer reacts to you. And what to do about it. The focus is forward after considering your past. The authors also do personal counseling.

    Sometimes just being aware can change people. I know that has been the case for me.

    I also think some parents get divorced thinking that the kids will be happier. I don’t think this happens very much. And as adults the pain is still there.

    Praying for you and your man,

  48. redrock says:

    so, what about the multiple times the farmer asked P to leave the house? It is nearly impossible for him to leave since it would mean giving up his livelihood.

  49. Rosalie says:

    My story is very much like yours, P. I lived with the violence. After a particularly bad incident that left me in the hospital, I had the same thinkings as this post. He only hits me when I pull his strings…so I guess I don’t need to pull them anymore.

    The difference is that I left. I left because I couldn’t live without pulling them. We were perpetually doing things to destroy each other. Bothering each other was just what we did. And we stayed together for the kids, and everyone was miserable. After the divorce and a ton of therapy (both separate and couples), we have a good relationship for the sake of our children. We are both remarried in healthy relationships. Our kids are doing better in every way.

    Taking personal responsibility can come in many forms. I believe 100% that if I remarried my children’s father we would have the exact same problems we had before. We just didn’t work well. Some relationships can’t be saved.

    • karelys says:

      this is incredibly insightful! thank you!

    • Phoebe says:

      Yes, exactly this. Some relationships just can’t be saved. And you’re just delaying the inevitable. The problem is the potential. The relationship has potential to be a great thing. But it won’t. Don’t be a potential-holic.

      At first I thought this post was about the last time you experienced violence. I hadn’t read the most recent bedpost bruise post. The only work I’ve seen that does not suggest leaving and not contact is by Kim and Steve Cooper out of Australia Obviously this is about narcissism, but within that context is verbal, physical and spousal sexual abuse.

      Part of the problem is the definition of violence. It is not okay to throw paint, it is not okay to spit in one’s face and it is not okay to hit the bedpost. It is all violent. Violence is in everyday conversation.

      This situation feels similar, except for the money. Some folks can’t leave and look for anyway out that doesn’t involve shelters and long waits for pro bono lawyers or none at all.

      I get staying. But I am ready to leave and want you to do it first so I can read about it.

  50. M says:

    Any decision you make is one I support because it is what you feel is right for you at the time. So long as your kids are actually safe and their emotional health is being tended to, do whatever floats your boat. I’ve worked with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and also as a child protection worker, and the reality is that the cops and CPS aren’t going to do anything about what’s going on in your home.

    I also want to encourage you to consider DBT therapy for your borderline personality disorder tendencies. I’ve also worked with people with co-occurring Asperger’s borderline personality disorder/tendencies, and I’m confident that DBT therapy will give you some tools to get your behavior under control.

    Many people who experience sustained abuse and neglect as children develop Reactive Attachment Disorder, which when left untreated can transforms into Borderline Personality Disorder, or traits thereof, in adolescence and adulthood. Marriage therapy deals with a small piece of the puzzle, and you’re well aware that you have big puzzle to work on. DBT is training and tool-provision for the pieces you can control more than anything…maybe look into it?

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