I found it repulsive. And yet this is where I was ordered to go for "treatment" to "raise my self-esteem." Some women had been away from their ex's for six to eight years, yet continued to go to the meetings. It was like their victim hood was an all encompassing identity. They were addicted to being a "victim" so people would feel sorry for them.
Many said that although their husbands never actually abused or controlled them, they didn't always agree with them. So that was abusive. Many other women said, "I never knew I was being abused until I came to Independence House." [Hmmm...]
One woman who was not being abused, but I guess was just lonely, would often talk for the entire two hours. She was very loud and aggressive, constantly interrupting others. She told us that she was taking night courses, and her (male) teacher had asked her to stop interrupting and dominating the classroom. She proudly told us that she called him at his home and informed him in no uncertain terms that he had verbally abused her. It was easy to understand why she was lonely. The support group was like a social club for her, where she had a hostage audience.
There were other women who were, as my teenagers say, right off-the-loop. They were so intense and obsessive that they frightened me. Some would rock on the floor and wail, or curl into a fetal position and cry loudly throughout the
meeting. One wanted to go to court and get a court order to have her ex sterilized so that he could never have children with another woman. Another (divorced from her ex) wanted to know where his P.O. box was.