Minding my own business.

@GardenGerty (90189)
Marion, Kansas
July 25, 2012 7:29pm CST
I am old enough to have been around the block a bit and to have seen a few things, not all of them good. My sister was married to an abusive man for thirty years. I saw my uncle try to kill his wife in a drunken fit, because she did not take his boots off right. My neighbor murdered his wife. That is the situation that haunts me in a way. My first house that we owned, was in an older neighborhood. The single lady next door married this guy, and he managed to put her into debt that she could not afford, including a second mortgage on the house her aunt had given her. We were friendly enough that occasionally my son stayed there for an hour or two, but I knew they both had a drinking problem. Their only other social life was her mom and step dad, then her mom died, and things got worse. She was always depressed, and they would fight at night. I never called the cops, because they were my neighbors. I did offer to give her a place to stay, and get her help, but she refused, because she could not afford to keep the house if they split and that was all she had. He got drunk, mad, and strangled her and fled. I wish I had not been so good at minding my own business.
6 people like this
21 responses
@jerzgirl (7805)
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
26 Jul 12
It's true that we should always report abuse in order for there to be a chance to protect them. Unfortunately, when someone is under the control of another so completely that they are virtually helpless, we can't always do anything, even when we try. Until they are able to stand up for themselves and realize they are worth more than they're allowing in their lives, they will always acquiesce. However, sometimes even trying to stand up for themselves can push the wrong buttons. Far too many women are killed AFTER getting away and putting up restraining orders against their abuser because he can't handle being denied control. There is no easy answer, other than to do what we can to help. We should mind our own business, yes; but, when there is obvious abuse, we should definitely step up to at least plant the seed that help is available.
1 person likes this
@jerzgirl (7805)
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
27 Jul 12
I believe that those of us who are emotionally weak seek out those who we perceive as stronger, often to our detriment.
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
28 Jul 12
I know I have seen lots of symbiotic relationships that were not good.
• Jacksonville, Florida
26 Jul 12
I am sorry that this haunts you. That must be terrible. Like someone else said you don't know if you had done something that things would have been different... The cops could have gotten there 2 minutes too late or anything. You just never know. I wish this memory would be swept away from your thoughts!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
When he killed her they were not arguing. It seemed to be premeditated, and he did it in the basement. He had some crazy behaviors, but did not get to plead insanity.
• Jacksonville, Florida
26 Jul 12
I do wish she took your offer though and left. =(
• Jacksonville, Florida
26 Jul 12
Oh wow, that is even more awful! Yikes, he was just a crazy person!! How terribly sad.
@jennyze (7048)
• Indonesia
7 Aug 12
Oh my... I am so sorry to hear it. You have been a friend to her and you couldn't know if thing could get worse. Hope she is in a better place now.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
22 Aug 12
Thank you, there are some things I might have done differently, but I hope that I am never in that situation again.
@jennyze (7048)
• Indonesia
23 Aug 12
You did what you can and what's best at the time...
• China
27 Jul 12
Such type of neighbours were a big headache for you.Grant that you have not been good at minding your own business,but you could do nothing to help.It seems that drink was their ruin.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
28 Jul 12
I think it is important for communities to act against this kind of abuse. Of course a person who does not want help sometimes suffers serious consequences.
• China
28 Jul 12
Those people in question were bogged down deeper and deeper in that situation and ended up committing a crime.There must be an organization that solve such kind of problem by persuasion and education at the start.Maybe those people couldn't make a mess of things.
@peavey (15865)
• United States
26 Jul 12
I read this earlier and have been thinking about it. If we had as good hindsight as we do foresight, we would all do things differently. I don't mean to be flippant, but it's the truth that if we could only see into the future as well as we see into the past, we would act differently. You did the best you could with the knowledge that you had and the person you were at the time. That's all that can be asked of anyone. I think we all have regrets - I know I have my share, but we can only look to the future and know that we've learned a little along the way, and leave the past in the past.
1 person likes this
@ravisivan (14051)
• India
26 Jul 12
I also feel the same way you have said that our friend has done what best can be done under the given circumstances and he need not regret.
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
I remembered this because of someone else in a discussion wanting to help someone. I think she should learn what her community offers so that she can honestly give good advice. I am a different person now than I was then, and society views these situations as more urgent, and thankfully there are more places to get help now.
@allknowing (55123)
• India
26 Jul 12
It is commendable GG! I see in you a 'perfect lady' emerging from a not so ideal environment. It teaches us a thing or two really. You did the right thing as these matters are best left alone. There is little that a third party can do to sort out such matters!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
You have to have hope in every generation. My mom chose to move away from her environment and raised me differently. All the people in my family tend to try to help others. I do believe that communities need to help those who are abused, but as many have said they have to be ready to be helped.
@allknowing (55123)
• India
26 Jul 12
Those who are abused do not come out with all the facts and it is therefore difficult to reach out to them. I do a bit of reaching out through my Trust by offering financial aid and also by taking up issues with authorities singly. I do not like the idea of joining any committees because I feel there one's individual capacity is stifled.
@MsTickle (24966)
• Australia
31 Jul 12
I could throw all sorts of platitudes at you GG but you still have that burden on your shoulders. Remember though, I'm sure you and they were not the only people in your street. No one else reported events either. And who is to say the police would have been successful in stopping the murder? I'm pretty sure that 99.8% of people would have sat back and done nothing and I'm equally sure that most offers of help would not have been taken up. You acted in a way that you thought was right and we can always whip ourselves with "I should haves" in retrospect. I'm sure no-one here will judge you harshly.
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
31 Jul 12
Oh, I am sure you and all the others here are right, and I seldom think about it, but some things came up on here and at my work that made me remember this. I think the big take away, even for me, is to know what you need to do.
@KrauseHome (33250)
• United States
27 Jul 12
Wow!! This would be so hard to live with, and I know from time to time if it was me, I would be always blaming myself as well. I know when you are around other people sometimes even when you feel like a situation they are in is not always the Best you are afraid to say something thinking if you do it will only make matters worse. But in a case like this how were you to really know, but I am hoping for her sake the husband did get caught, and spending time in Prison. He is one sick man.
1 person likes this
@winterose (39931)
• Canada
27 Jul 12
I am not used to such violence living in montreal, don't get me wrong, we do have husbands abusing their wives, but we have very few murders. When we do the majority are gangland shootings. I would call the police without a second thought. As I would want someone to do that for me if I was in that position.
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
28 Jul 12
We have had four murders in this town in about fifty years, so not a lot. I have friends who have yelled at each other and it was fine. I tended to judge them that way until she opened up about the abuse. I had made up my mind that the next time it happened and I could hear them through my open windows I would call. Unfortunately the next time you could not hear what happened. He surprised her in the basement.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
27 Jul 12
The truth is that some things can't be prevented even if you jump in there with both feet. You may have offered those women the moon, but no one actually thinks they will eventually be murdered by the men they love and will, more often than not, refuse the help. It is sad but there are very few women that "get out." Domestic violence is a huge problem. More people suffer from it than is realized.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
27 Jul 12
I am sure that is the truth. I can say that in my sister's case I had first hand knowledge of the many roads she traveled before marrying this abuser, partly to spite our parents, but she always chosethe wrong people. You are right, if we love someone, it is hard to believe they would ever deliberately hurt us, even if they were mad. I guess I just would never live that way, but I had living examples of what not to do.
• United States
26 Jul 12
GG, you can't think that way. Some things are just meant to be and are better off left alone. Who knows what would have happened if you had her come to stay at your house..you might not be here today. I think just by offering was enough and someone else was watching over you, so don't feel bad. I'm sure you have helped many, many people in your lifetime without even knowing it.
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
27 Jul 12
I firmly believe that we will be blessed to know in the end how we helped others and what we did for our world. I know that it would have been a huge emotional burden to take on to help her, but we were willing. She was fighting against herself.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
26 Jul 12
You should not blame yourself in any way. The woman stayed with him because she was mentally ill and nothing you could have done would have made her leave until she was ready to. Battered spouses are dependent emotionally on their abusers and you can call the cops all you want but they'll keep welcoming their abusers back and even bail them out of jail. As I understand it, until they decide to help themselves, most of them are stuck where they are and you can't do anything about it.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
The next time a crazy person moved into that house, we decided to move. We had been looking for something better. The next crazy did threaten me, but his girlfriend was the type to go back to her roots and get out. I think the difference was that she had family to go to, and no substance issues, and she had a career goal. It is amazing what happens on little quiet streets.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
26 Jul 12
I am sorry to hear that you have had such experiences GG. I would not feel too bad about minding your own business though as you never know what will happen when you do get involved with crazy people. You might not be here to tell the story if you had. And he still might have committed the same crime anyway. You never can tell. So please don't beat yourself up about it. I know it must be tough to deal with, but feeling down about it will not bring her back.
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
No, but remembering helps me learn a lesson on how to help effectively. That would involve people other than myself helping make changes. I do not know why some people are survivors, and others give up, but it happens. People can be really mean.
• United States
26 Jul 12
I am so sorry to hear that Garden, it is always a hard situation with abuse of a friend or a family member because like you said you just don't know when to butt in and when to stay out. The world is getting so scary you just never know the true anybody anymore and what they may or may not be capable of. You can't blame yourself though... Even if you could of stopped it for the night he is obviously a sicko crazy and he would of just found another time to hurt her
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
And she would have stayed, because she believed there was no hope.
@drannhh (15002)
• United States
26 Jul 12
OMG, but you cannot blame yourself for this. Had you stepped in then any number of things might have happened other than what you intended. In fact, you could have been harmed and your family bereft of you. Or if you called the cops and the husband shot and killed a cop, then you would have felt responsible. I am pretty sure you did the right thing. This is just one more example of what substance abuse can do to disrupt the harmony of a family and a neighborhood.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
It seems to happen more and more, as well. That was only the second murder ever recorded in this little rural town, so of course it was sensationalized. I have lived here for almost forty years, and there have only been four killings ever. This guy even had to be blocked by the court because he kept filing frivolous law suits against the city and county from jail. I think these two sought each other out in their personal illnesses.
@AmbiePam (45757)
• United States
26 Jul 12
I know this won't make you feel better, but even if the cops had arrested him, she probably would have gone back to him. It's a horrible pattern that abused women often take, but you know that. I am sorry that haunts you, as I'm sure it would me.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
A discussion here made me think of it. I was a little younger than you are when it happened. Women or men who will stay with abusers puzzle me, but some do find a way out, with good planning. I guess I have other things that bug me, but I try to be a better friend and neighbor as I grow older. I think some people get into a routine of being miserable, and cannot see any way out.
@ravisivan (14051)
• India
26 Jul 12
You have narrated in detail your experience. Given the situation what you have done is right. we may not be able to interfere in others areas. True you have seen a lot of bad side of people.
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@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
That makes it sound pretty bad for me, but I have seen some really great people and relationships as well. Learning about your community resources is advice I would give to people today.
@bostonphil (4391)
• United States
26 Jul 12
Well, I am no spring chicken either and I have witnessed a lot in my time, just like yourself. If we live long enough, we are going to see and experience an awful lot. Regarding the neighbor who murdered his wife. It seems like you did reach out but that she did not want your help at the time. There is only so much you could have done. Furthermore, if she had accepted your generous offer, you and or your family might have become a victim of the husband. He might have come after your or your family for helping or as he might have seen it, interfering. The police and family lawyers know how dangerous domestic situations are. Myself, I have gotten involved many times and I have regretted doing so. I tried to help someone in a bad situation and often ended up accused and abused by one of the "players". I was often used and set up. I became a scapegoat. Among the things said about me was that i was a busy body. Now, I mind my own business and I wish I had minded my own business back then.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90189)
• Marion, Kansas
26 Jul 12
I am not sure this guy would have been a problem. I had someone else move in there who was dangerous, who accused me of calling the police on him when I had not. I think what I would have liked would have been to be more familiar with community resources to send her to. I have offered to take people into my home when their husband was dangerous, but they refused and got out on their own. She refinished furniture on the side to build up her secret fund to afford the divorce. Some people do want out and do what they can to find the resources.
@ANTIQUELADY (36491)
• United States
26 Jul 12
I know that must haunt u, GG but it was her choice to stay w/him. People do not think there is a way out sometimes but i believe where there is a will there is a way. Noone should have to live w/a sorry sob like that. I'm sorry u ever got involved w/them to start with. U just NEVER know about people.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jul 12
I would have been the same as you were. I truly believe in minding my own business unless it is happening in my eye sight. that is when I have to get involved and say something. You will not need to blame yourself being life is like that for so many of us.
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