used chicago
Do you have a beautiful home in a nice suburb? A sky-high condo? Or a third-floor walk-up? The trappings of success will not protect you from domestic violence.

Maybe you think you are simply losing your mind. After all, how could this be happening to you? You have a perfect life. A charming husband. A great job. What are you are doing wrong? Why do you feel terrible all the time? Why is nothing you do good enough for him?

Does a bit of dust or a dish left in the sink send him into a rage? He “gives” you a beautiful home, the best of everything, why don’t you appreciate him? Why don’t you adore him? He will punish you if he feels he isn’t getting the proper appreciation.

With fear tactics, similar to guerilla warfare (which generally involve surprise and terror) they get you off balance, accuse you of terrible sins against the relationship, and batter you with words until you are nearly ready to confess to anything to make it stop. This tactic wears you out, tears down your ego and self-assurance, and when you start to doubt yourself, the warfare escalates. Now he’s into the big time; and so are you.

Why does he need to control you? Who knows? Maybe you’re stronger, bolder, better educated or you intimidate him in some way he can’t explain. Maybe he’s just a bad little boy who never grew up (and used to torture small animals).

If you think you are being abused (here is a comprehensive list of “options”), or even just frightened for no cause (guerilla warfare), you might want to check out the information on HelpGuide.org (a non-profit resource).

But then what do you do? If you suspect and/or finally realize that is what is happening to you, what do you do next? It’s your call. You can get out before it gets worse, or wait for it to get worse and end up not having a choice.

If you feel you have time to plan, there is an excellent Safety Plan the Safe Horizon website. Or, you can consult a marriage and family counselor.

If you feel you are in terrible danger, don’t wait to pack your high school yearbook, or your mother’s china. It’s all stuff, and it’s not worth it. Grab your kids, your ATM card and your car keys and run for your life. If you wonder why I say this, here is another link to check from the New York Times.

p.s. My family lived in this house when I was a kid. It’s had a serious facelift. The whole street looks prettier. (But it looks exactly the same from the alley…)