As a former domestic violence survivor I can attest to the emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuse they go through on an almost daily basis. Most of them are addicted to their abuser. When I was with my 3rd abuser if I dared to defy him when he wanted to do something, he threatened to leave me. I would shake with continual tremors, chain smoke, vomit, and have dry heaves. I was told later that trying to rid yourself of an addiction to another person is like coming down from heroin. We always think I can change him if I try harder, if I do what he says. I even asked my therapist in the early stages of my recovery when I hadn't built my strength up yet, to please write a note to him asking him not to abuse me anymore. She told me that would only make things worse. I begged and pleaded and finally she gave me the note. After I got home my husband read it and in a cold rage said, I told you not to share our personal life with anyone. She was right. The abuse got worse. At one time I lost my mind, laying under a chair and calling for my mother while I sobbed in fits over and over.
Unless you've been with a domestic violence partner it's difficult to undersand the dynamics that happen. People say, just leave him, you chose him, now stew in your own juices, tell him no, call an attorney, just get a divorce, I'm not helping you, it's your choice and other non-supportive comments. I even had a daughter tell me after I finished recovery and rid myself of my molester that she had planned to wait till the end of the year and if I hadn't gotten rid myself of him she was never going to have anything to do with me again. She'll never know the pain that her statement caused me.
Non are so blind as he who cannot see. This truism was biblical in origin but in the last few centuries it's been re-written many times until the the final result says it all. That daughter was married to an alcoholic, she was both bulimic and alcoholic and she was an incest survivor. Fortunately, she later committed herself to an addictive disorder center and today is rid of her abuser, 14 years sober and active in Acoholics Anonymous.
If you know anyone who is married or living with an abuser she needs love, she needs support, she most of all needs understanding. Make her aware of what there is out there to offer and then let it go. It's her life and she must hit her bottom before she finds the courage. Some of the most courageous women I've ever met have been domestic violence survivors. Just be there for her, no matter how many times she goes over and over all the abuse he's doing. Remind her that a 911 call will bring the police out if it gets that bad.