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Thread: friend's marriage problems; abusive husband

  1. #1
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    friend's marriage problems; abusive husband

    Hi everyone, firstly wanted to say thank you to all who helped me on a post of mine; I have been frequenting the boards and am amazed at the knowledge here and eloquent board members. You all rock.

    My best Friend, we'll call her C, is married to S. C got married in early 20's and has now been married for 10 years. He was her first. he showed controlling aspects early on but it wasn't until she was pregnant with her second child that he told her he suffered horrible abuse growing up.

    Over the years he became more controlling; eating food off her plate, upset over messes and telling her to clean more, treating her like a servant, trash talking about her friends, belittling her, etc. In beginning of her marriage, she had her own bank account but he insisted on joint so now that;s what they have.This past year he picked up her cd player and smashed it against the wall, and threw her laptop too. He threatens and hits the kids and it all came to a climax when just recently her shoved her hard through a door and told her to get out of the house in the middle of an argument.

    She took the necessary steps but is thrown due to how apologetic he is; she keeps fantasizing over meeting other men and wondering about what's out there as she didn't date much before meeting him. I personally think he is creepy and manipulative and am desperately trying to get her to see this won't get better and to leave but she is on the fence. How serious is all of this?
    Last edited by caraviolin; 04-27-2019 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Well, what you just described sounds very serious to me.

    Threatening and hitting children? Pushing a wife through a door? All that right there is not just a toxic and controlling relationship, but straight up criminal behavior. People go to jail for that stuff, deservedly.

    Does she understand that?

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    He is emotionally and physically abusive. She is damaging her kids. She needs to get out!

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Provide her with a safe haven. Tell her to pack herself and her kids up and to come stay with you whenever and if wants/needs to. Be her cover. Let her mail things there or keep things there. Meet her places or drive her places. Watch the kids if she needs to make secret arrangements ( go to a bank, lawyer, etc.). Just listen. That's all you can do. Do not tell her "she deserves better". She knows this. Or "she has low self esteem" and other trite nonsense. Abusers are sociopaths. It's cruel to blame the victim. Fear is the main reason for staying in such situations. Fear of danger, fear of economic devastation, etc.

    Do not endanger her. Do not threaten her. Do not play hero. Do not condescend/lecture. Don't waste your time pawning her off to some generic 800 number, homeless/domestic violence shelters as if she is too stupid to realize they exist. She very well knows she's in an abusiveness relationship, however she is afraid to leave, as most are fearing accelerated violence and especially accelerated violence toward the kids. These are extremely real fears. Partners and kids are at an increased risk of death as they try to leave and a definite increase in abuse. Therefore she must arrange her departure covertly, acting as if all is fine while doing so. Assist her with this.

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    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    What is your level of involvement in all this? You said that you're her best friend. What has she been receptive to so far, coming from you? The reason I ask is because I'm not sure how much help she wants. We cannot force someone to want help or accept help. I'm also a bit put off by your question 'how serious is all this'. What do you think?

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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    The reason I ask is because I'm not sure how much help she wants. We cannot force someone to want help or accept help.
    This.

    I know it sounds odd, but in your shoes, I would not push her to leave her husband. The beauty and frustration of having free will is that we also have the free will to make bad decisions. Pushing her is simply doing the same thing he is doing - telling her that she is stupid, that her gut instincts are wrong, that sheís not capable of making good decisions for herself, etc.

    Your role, IMO, is to be a sounding board and a safe haven as needed when she is ready (as outlined by wiseman). Show her, by example, what a healthy relationship can look like and what life can be like. Let her talk it out and come to her own conclusions.

    Besides... it is quite common for people who are abused to return to their abusers. If you push her when she is not ready and itís not her decision and idea, she will likely go back and push YOU away as a result (because she doesnít want to hear it).

    Itís kind of like a deer in the forest. Just be there, show her how awesome it is over where you are, and let her come to you.

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    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    The problem with badmouthing the husband is that it embeds her deeper into her problem. If she kisses and makes up with him, she'll feel alienated from you, which will isolate her further.

    I'd tell her that I'm available for any degree of help, and I'd give her a few professional resources she can contact for counseling, such as a local women's shelter and a domestic violence hotline. Then I'd leave it alone and tell her that you don't want to discuss husband beyond any help you can offer, or it will only make it more difficult for her to stay friends with you if she decides to stay with him.

    It's a tightrope walk between actually helping versus acting as a pressure valve that allows her to vent so she feels better enough to go back to him, while you feel worse, and nothing changes. Skip that. Give her the resources and offer to help with any plan she comes up with--but beyond that, you don't want her to spin herself into a deeper hole to climb out of.

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    Thanks to all of you, and apologies for the late reply. Ye I have been there for her; all documents, texts, and things related come to me and bypass her for safety. I haven't judged her at all, but will carefully keep your advice in mind as I do not want to alienate her. It is just that every time there is a delay in her texting or she misses one of my calls, a pit grows in my stomach. I am worried for her.

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    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by caraviolin
    Thanks to all of you, and apologies for the late reply. Ye I have been there for her; all documents, texts, and things related come to me and bypass her for safety. I haven't judged her at all, but will carefully keep your advice in mind as I do not want to alienate her. It is just that every time there is a delay in her texting or she misses one of my calls, a pit grows in my stomach. I am worried for her.
    Come up with a code word that she can use in front of him if she needs you to call the police. Something like 'umbrella,' where she can say or text, "Did I leave my umbrella in your car? (or at your place, or whatever...)"

    Contact your local domestic violence agency or one found online to learn other ways that you can help--safely.

    She's lucky to have you for a friend.


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