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Where to turn when your husband is abusive

Dear Annie: I feel for the woman who is being ignored or criticized by her husband constantly and who wants out of the marriage. I’m in almost the exact same situation, with an unloving husband who begs not to get a divorce. I wanted to offer some suggestions for resources she can use.

She should go to the local women’s shelter. They will help her keep a record of things that happen, and they will give her access to an incredible amount of resources, usually including lawyers. Because there’s abuse, there are family and divorce lawyers who will help her pro bono (for free). The shelter could also offer help with counseling, classes, job searching, getting restraining orders if necessary, and even emergency shelter, should she need to take her kids and leave.

I hope she is able to get out of her situation. She should record everything, go talk to the women’s shelter, and keep moving forward to get him out of her life completely. She deserves a happy life with her kids, and without her abuser. She should know that many of us believe her and wish her the best of luck. — Trust Me, I Know

Dear Trust Me: Thank you for your letter. When you are going through a tough time, it is helpful to have other people reach out and share their stories as to how they got out of their particular tough time. I hope your letter brings comfort to those going through similar situations to know they are not alone and to know that there is help out there.

Dear Annie: The reader who signed her name “Nothing Gets Better” was dealing with an abusive husband and not sure where to turn. I felt for her, and I wanted to offer an additional possible solution for her: the YWCA might also be a place for her to call and/or contact.

Thanks for your column. — Another Suggestion

Dear Another Suggestion: Great advice! Thank you so much for writing.

Dear Annie: You have recently featured two letters from people regarding being interrupted. Your suggestions to them were good. I have also had an experience with this that I found to be effective.

One time when I was interrupted, I spontaneously put my hand up in the air toward the interrupter in the “stop” signal position and said, “Please let me finish.” This worked wonderfully.

I did and said what I did as a simple response to their behavior, and I said it without rancor or anger. When I did it, the person stopped talking and seemed to reflect on what they were doing. None of the other people in the group seemed to take any particular notice of this exchange either. It was just like a traffic signal, giving important information with nothing personal intended.

For me, it was a gratifying moment of asserting myself, my boundaries and my rights. Being spontaneous, it came from my inner emotional experience of self-care when being frustrated by the behavior of another person. However, now that I have had that experience, I have added it to my repertoire of responses in such situations. — Being Polite

Dear Polite: I applaud your boundary setting. The most important thing you are doing is that you are setting the boundaries without coming from a place of anger. You are simply setting a boundary for yourself instead of judging the interrupter. Good for you that you have worked on yourself enough to be able to do that. People feel intention.

— — —

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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