Other people have told me that what I grew up with was emotional abuse. I've never believed it until now. When you explained the way people don't trust their own feelings and carefully watch others in order to know what to do to avoid conflict, my blood ran cold. I spent my childhood and most of my adulthood watching my parents, older siblings and others in authority in order to know what to do, what to say, and what to feel. I still struggle with giving my own feelings any credence.
Thank you. I hope this helps me heal.
You mention opening up your house to the abused sister as a safe house. While this may be ok in this particular situation, if the other spouse is physically violent this is NOT a good idea! That is why women's shelters are 'hidden." If the husband would be violent and the sister is at your house, it could put your family in danger as well. Having an escape plan, a bag packed (but kept hidden), money stashed away, important documents gathered and placed in the "escape bag" and even a code word to tell a trusted friend that means "I'm in danger" are all things that should be considered here.
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