Her ex beat her

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m asking this question under the influence of alcohol. I do not mean to be disrespectful. It’s just, I found this site at this time. Recently, I had a traumatic event happen..My boyfriend, now ex, beat me. It was horrible for me. I left that night, and have not seen him since. It had never happened before, and I’m so scared that I’m still in shock of some kind. The night in question happened last November. It’s been a long time, but I’m having nightmares! It would take an article to write the whole sequence of events that happened that night, but it ended with me on the floor, him pinning my down and slapping my head as hard as he could…about a dozen times. I couldn’t move my head after he was done. It scares me to death to remember. I drove away after I could, and haven’t seen him since. I’m so confused, about what made him do that. I’m having problems… many. I’m safely away, but don’t feel better. I feel scared, of myself, of him, of the future…. What should I do?

A: What a terrifying, terrifying situation! It’s no wonder to me that you are still very upset.

There are two levels to your question: The psychological and the legal.
Psychologically: The symptoms you are reporting are consistent with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). You are right to describe this event as traumatic. Your persistent fears, nightmares, and general feelings of being unsafe are hallmarks of someone who has been traumatized. If you could have put this incident behind you on your own, you would have done so already. Please. Find yourself a therapist to help you process and metabolize what happened to you. You’ve already suffered more than enough.

Legally: What your ex did to you is assault and battery. It’s a crime. Nothing you did or said warranted that kind of treatment. If you were still in contact, I would advise you to call the police. Since it’s now many months past, only a lawyer can tell you what, if anything, you can do to hold your ex accountable for what he did or whether it is even wise to pursue it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Her ex beat her. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/26/her-ex-beat-her/