The experience of loneliness of battered old women

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Abstract

The present article is part of a larger study examining the life stories of battered old women (Buchbinder & Winterstein, 2003; Winterstein, 2002). It is based on long in-depth interviews with twenty-one aging women who lived with violence for a significant portion of their lives. While the larger study examines a broad range of their experience, including loneliness, regret, expectations of the future, and an attempt to build a monument to their suffering, the present study focuses on loneliness, which appears to constitute the central theme of their existential experience. Content analysis of the interviews shows that loneliness is experienced on all ecological levels, including the self, the family of origin, the violent partner, the children, and the extended family. It also permeates the social relationships of the women and becomes the predominant motif of their social interactions. The combination of loneliness, violence, and old age creates suffering that colors everyday life and becomes not only the constant background against which life unfolds but also the governing variable in their experience. Their cognitive maps, emotional world, and overall sense of self, as well as their sense of existential continuity in the world are all affected by loneliness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Battered old women
  • Family violence
  • Loneliness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gender Studies

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