What Should I Do?

I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a good friend that is dealing with a personal crisis. Up until now, I hadn’t wanted to get into too many details as my friend is a private person…but I’m at a loss right now, and well, I could really use some support and/or advice. 

Several years ago my friend reunited with someone whom she was very close to back in high school. She had moved out of the area after she graduated, and had lost touch with almost everyone…but thanks to technology and internet social networking…they got back in contact and my friend paid her old friend a visit.

The visit went well and soon after my friend made the decision that she was going to move back to her old hometown with her old friend and his son. They soon got engaged and got married. I was the maid of honor, and I really, truly believed in their marriage. I thought that my friend’s husband was a good guy and I adored his son, considered him like a nephew.

Things seemed okay, though I only saw my friend a few times after the wedding…once when they came down for Thanksgiving, then she was my Matron of Honor in my own wedding (trivia, Hubby and I got engaged on the way home from her wedding) and then they visited when they were going to visit my friend’s family. Each time I saw them, everything seemed good and I honestly thought it was a good solid marriage. They were the reason I took a chance on my own Hubby, despite the physical distance between us.

Not long after my friend and her husband returned from their most recent trip to visit her family, my friend started telling me about some problems they were having…mostly with some trust issues she was having. I listened and gave her advice when I could but I didn’t get too super concerned as I still thought her husband was ultimately a good guy and that they needed to work on their communication skills, but ultimately it would probably work itself out. 

About a month ago or so, my friend messaged me on Facebook and I could tell she was distraught. The problems that they had been having had magnified ten fold and he had taken his son and left my friend. It wasn’t clear if it was a temporary thing, just a break while they cooled down but over the next few days my friend opened up more and more to me and it was clear that her husband was NOT a good person. He wasn’t physically abusive, but emotionally he has been doing a number on her from the time she moved in with him. He was controlling, manipulative, a bully, etc. and Hubby and I spent countless hours that week talking to my friend, giving her as much emotional support as we could, and Hubby helped her get in contact with the right people at the VA who could help her get safe and help her get on her feet.

So right now she isn’t in any immediate danger from her husband…at least physical, but he is still playing mind games and harassing her and people she knows (he attempted to call me a few times, but I let his calls go to voice mail…). When they were together, he discouraged my friend from getting a job so now she is trying to find employment with little luck. She has no transportation, nor money. If it wasn’t for the VA’s assistance, who knows what could have happened…

I am worried sick about her. I sent her money a few weeks ago to help her out….but now aside from daily text messages and phone calls, I don’t know what to do. This situation is taking such a huge toll on her both psychologically and physically and I feel so hopeless. Every day I feel as though I should jump in my car and just start driving, but I know that once I’m there, there won’t be anything I can do really do. I want to get my friend out of there, but I know that until the paperwork is completed and signed, she won’t be able to go anywhere…and he’s holding up that process in order to attempt to control the situation even more. I’m trying to give her advice and emotional support but I don’t know what to say sometimes. She’s beginning to blame herself for putting up with that…and I just don’t know how to convince her that it isn’t her fault. 

And this is also taking a toll on me. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting for me in trying to help but I can’t step away. I know if the situation was reversed, my friend would be doing the same exact thing for me. I do have Hubby who’s been a huge support…and tonight I talked to my Mom but up until tonight I really haven’t been telling her stuff as she was dealing with my Dad’s surgery and hospital stay. 

I’d appreciate any advice or insight. Has anyone gone through a similar situation, and how did you deal? And if you were ever in my friend’s shoes…what did you most need from others?

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12 thoughts on “What Should I Do?

  1. This kind of abuse is insidious. She needs to take the initiative and get away from it. Get counseling, Get her own head in order… If she is not strong she can’t make good decisions. It is NOT all right that he does this. Then she can decide if she wants to try to salvage the relationship.

  2. First, she is the victim here. I’ve seen this play out over and over. She needs to leave and move away from this issue. This will never change. He’s an emotional abuser and he’ll always be an emotional abuser. He’ll look for women that fit his needs and then start all over again. She has to cut her losses and start over or she will continue to spiral downward until there’s nothing left of her. Often these guys can become physical abusers too. Then it gets really scary.

    You just need to be a friend to her. You can’t fix her, but she can lean on you. Leaving him will be very difficult for her. Very difficult.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

  3. What I was trying to say is he’s the one with issues, not her. He doesn’t feel worthy as a person. He’s the one that hates himself and then turns that on others. She’s the victim and he doesn’t think much of himself. 😦

  4. Sandee has a lifetime of experience in dealing with this from a professional standpoint and She is spot on. Just be a good shoulder. Hugs. I know you feel pulled in many different directions. Been there.

  5. I have not gone through anything like this but I am going to be praying for you and for your friend. I will pray for God to give you exactly what you need to help her and for her to be given the wisdom that is needed to move forward, along with prayers for God to keep her safe.

  6. I know I’m biased, but I’d recommend she see a therapist. She needs someone outside the situation to help her learn appropriate assertiveness, develop some coping skills, steer her toward resources and identify warning signs in advance next time.

  7. I have been through something like this with a friend and it is not easy for your friend or for you. She needs an ear which is what you are giving her but she for sure needs counseling as soon as possible. The mind games really do awful things to people and it is so important for her to learn how to take care of herself and move on away from him…..best of luck and I am sending you and her prayers…Nicole

  8. I have not been through anything like that, nor do I know anybody who has. However, having a friend who will listen is very important I think. That’s all the advice I can think of. Listen, don’t judge, lend a helping hand when needed and listen.

  9. Gah this is a really tough thing to deal with and I can’t imagine the hopelessness that you both must feel. You are doing all that you can to help her out and being there for her to talk to and bounce advice off of is one of the best things you can do as a friend. Please holler if you need anything from us and you have my email so don’t hesitate to send me a message if you want to chat!

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