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Lucy was abused in her first marriage and then in next relationship. Her new husband says she has been through a lot. She says her boyfriend beat her. No one is going to fault a woman for being abused. There is enough out there about battered woman’s syndrome and reason woman don’t leave. They feel powerless, diminished in their capacity to earn a living on their own, their self-esteem is shattered, or they still love their partner who has shown his good side many times between battering episodes.

Her present husband dotes on her and makes all kinds of accommodations for her unresolved anger, her temper tantrums, emotional outbursts and manipulation by guilt BECAUSE “she has been through a lot.” He further expects his family to accommodate her whims and her control over family gatherings, visitation of grandkids, etc. For her, it is never enough. She wants more and when she gets it she still wants more.

Persons targeted by abuse need therapy. So do those who marry them if they have not resolved their previous issues. Unresolved problems of abuse get transferred to the next relationship. One can only feel compassion for a person in this situation. But one does not have to take on the consequences of what was done by a former abusive spouse. The new spouse and the in-laws do not need to aide and abet the process but need to be strong and resist the urge to accommodate the formerly targeted individual’s pain and suffering.