How do you convince someone to leave an abuser?
March 9, 2012 12:56 AM Subscribe
He says she's crazy, she says she's not. How to help a friend escape an abusive situation?
posted by Chelsaroo650 to human relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I happen to have a very good friend who is nearly twice my age (36) who is a very lonely, troubled woman. I met her through my little sister about 4 years ago when she asked to go sledding with her daughter. She values herself as a mentor to other people. She loves to talk to anybody about themselves... she is a perfect friend, a listener, and I listen to her, as well. She has always been rooting for me from the sidelines since I was 16. She understood me. Since I have made a pretty big turn around in leaving and recognizing my own abuse, co-dependency, and defeating patterns, I would like to persuade her to seek help because I think she is on the fast track to self-destruction and nobody is there to prod her.
She has been in a sexless, joyless marriage for about 7 years now. She has one daughter in the first grade and lives in an apartment. Her husband is a pilot who is gone on long trips frequently. They have had sex but one time in five years. If she attempts to socialize, he becomes suspicious. If she reaches out to others, he becomes angry. She believes he cheats, I do as well. If he is home and she is out, he will seek her to come home but he can leave whenever he pleases. He does little to raise his daughter, does not help around the house.
Her daughter was conceived when they were drunk enough to actually become intimate on the floor in their hallway one evening. They got married because her grandmother would take no part in the baby's celebrations because she was unwed. Shortly after, her grandmother died and she went through a horrible period of mourning. He was not supportive and did not show any sympathy. She sunk into depression and she says the only thing that kept her from suicide was her daughter.
She had to be on anti-anxiety medications for panic attacks around this time and she says she has been diagnosed with narcolepsy. Her husband frequently accuses her of pill-popping. He thinks she does drugs. As far as I know, she takes anti-anxiety meds to function in her chaotic relationship at home and sleep aids because she can't get anything off her mind. He took the liberty of calling her entire family and told them she was nuts, addicted to pain killers. The last time I saw her, she was having kidney stones and did not have any painkillers for this. She does not take pain killers. Her family believes him. He wants to put her away in a facility. Granted, she lives in filthy circumstances and in total disarray, I would not say this is because she wants to.
She hasn't had a job in 7 years because she wanted to be home for her daughter and now is struggling on what to do for employment. I was very concerned when I ran into her at a beauty supply shop in our town about a year ago. She had a blackened eye. She told me she "fell out of a pool" but later admitted her husband was drunk and punched her in the face. Among other things, she has trauma from childhood (parents divorce), her best friend died in grade school, and she was raped on a beach at the age of 15. She turned everything away in her life and decided to move away with her husband, and now this is where she is. She disappears for months on end and then becomes social again. She's a recluse. I know she enjoys helping me, mentoring others, but I think what she needs is help for herself. This situation is dangerous. How can I reach through to her and explain the damage she is doing to herself and her daughter and to focus less on others and more on her future? She has said she would leave him for 4 years now.
I think this situation was perpetuated by his cold treatment and neglect, am I right or am I wrong?