Abused friend

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Last night I received a call just after lying down to bed from my best friend, only friend in this area I should add. She simply said, "Can you come pick me up?" to which I responded without missing a beat, "OF course I can - be there in a few minutes". Threw on some clothes, let H know I what I was doing and left. She came out with a bag and asked if she could stay in our spare room, of course she could. We drove around a while and she vented.

    It's too long a story to tell here, plus I shouldn't, but a brief synapsis would be that her H of over 25 years, with 5 children (four of whom are over 18 and only two live with them at this point) is in order. He badgers her, he follows her around and badgers her, digs way into the past (from before they were even an established couple) and calls her names such as wh0re, c**t, b***ch, you get the idea. Her money goes into his private savings account, constantly reminds her how bad she is with money and how he paid off all her credit card debt, declares that the house and everything in it is HIS only including her car, blah blah blah.

    He has cheated on her - multiple times, even when she was preggo - he's a card and golf player, always seems to have money for that. He tells the children bad things about her, but never acknowledges his bad behavior. They are well known in town as being a great family with smart and talented children. I believe this is the reason my friend doesn't leave him - she believes it would be a devastion to the children and their reputation, despite the fact that several years ago, the middle son called the police on his dad because he was raging. I believe that the man has BiPolar (BP), especially in light of the differences in the way he behaves when drinking and when not drinking, his compulsions (or bad habits with gambling) and the way he rages - my friend is a constant walking target for his rage. He constantly belittles and berates her and there are times when I know she believes it. Obviously, she has battered wife syndrome.

    Well, last night she called me and I got her. She's tired, she just couldn't listen to his constant badgering and abuse. The youngest son gave up his room two nights this week so his mom could sleep, but the H went all the way up to the room to wake her at 2AM just so he could rage at her. He's broken down doors and windows to get to her when she tries to give herself a time out. That's why she needed me to get her - so she could get one night of peace. Apparently, he's been raging like this for THREE MONTHS!!! OMG.

    He recently had a health scare - his DR immediately put him on blood pressure medications and cholesterol medications because he said he was in danger of having a heart attack RIGHT THEN. Also, their therapist (yes they are in therapy but neither of them have divulged this secret) suggested he was BiPolar (BP) and told him to get the name of a psychiatrist from his PCP. Well, his PCP instead gave him the depression questionaire and concluded he was depressed and started him on Lexapro (10mg) yesterday! Lexapro??? If he's BiPolar (BP), I warned my friend, he would really go off the deep end, I told her she could stay at my house if she needed to, but she's going home tonight.

    It is very difficult to feel strong when you've been emotionally, verbally, and physically abused for so long.

    Anyway, on top of the health scare, his oldest son came out of the closet this past Spring. His oldest daughter moved out of state. And, he admitted that he'd been texting and talking with an old girlfriend from before he and my friend were married, but that he had stopped because the woman's H found out and put a stop to it...ahem, not because it is wrong and he wanted to be a better H.

    I think part of his behavior is caused by the three stressors above, plus guilt, and mental disorders. My friend agrees but I know she feels trapped. I can't make her leave him, but I want to just be there for her. I'm so afraid of losing my friend. I mean, I am really in fear for her life at this point between the existing abuse and now with the addition of the antidepressant. My God.

    I started this post initially because I wanted to complain about a stupid law in CT - not sure if other states have the same law - wherein if a spouse calls the police on an abusive spouse, they are BOTH charged with disturbing the peace and domestic assault AND then it's published in the police logs in the local paper. Why? Why does it have to be published? I wonder how many abused wives don't call the police on their abusive partners simply because they don't want it broadcasted all over town??? Is this not one of the dumbest laws ever??
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Wow, I am so glad she has you for a friend. It's almost as hard watching them continue to stay and be abused as it is watching a grown difficult child making BAD choices. Maybe you need to talk to her about how remaining there, the kids are actually worse off than if they left him. As for the reputation, who gives a flying ****. If she moves out of that town, reputation won't matter.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you both. This is hard and I sympathize with you.
  3. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    You are such a wonderful friend H&R ... She is lucky to have you to confide in. As for her reputation around town, I agree 100% with TeDo ! Who gives a rat's a** !

    If she is hurt or worse by this man then what.

    She deserves so much more and so do the kids.

    Keep us posted
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    ((((((HUGS))))))) to both you and your friend. At least she knows she can count on you. And I understand the feeling of being trapped, but she should try to get some more concrete escape plans in place. Both short and long term. Coded messages to you is a good start because there isn't always the opportunity to make a call to you as she did last night.
    All I can say is O.....M.....G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, it certainly is one of the DUMBEST laws EVER. Not to mention dangerous and demeaning to the abuse victim (not always the woman - makes it even harder for men than it already is)
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ***HUGS** to both you and her.

    I agree that the law is ridiculous. However - reputation isn't going to matter if he severely hurts her or worse.

    The kids clearly know what is up, or they wouldn't be giving up their rooms for her. I'm betting the kids that are out of the house know, too.

    If she contacts a DV shelter, they will help her and the kids still at home. If he's breaking things to get to her - that's scary business. And, too, the DV shelter will help her get around the cops, etc.

    I understand that CT is trying to be "fair", since women do their share of DV and false accusations, but the paper?! Ugh.

    More hugs... This is just frightening.
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE have this lady call your local domestic violence group! Even if she chooses not to go into a shelter, they provide wonderful counseling services and support and it sounds like she desperately needs both of those. There is no charge and it's completely confidential. If he's breaking down doors to get to her, she's in real physical danger. She really should have a safety plan in place and they can help her with that. And if she's in danger or decides that she needs to leave, they can help her with that too. They can help with her children too.

    Domestic violence follows a pattern and this is a classic case. They isolate you, threaten, humiliate and demean you till you feel worthless and alone. They will do whatever they have to to maintain the power and control in the relationship. And without a sincere desire to change and lots and lots of professional intervention, it will NOT get better, it will only escalate. I was once right where she is now and when you're going through it, you feel like you're completely alone and helpless. Counseling can really help you understand the dynamics of domestic violence. Once you understand what's going on, when you see that you're not alone and that you have a wonderful support system, things can start changing for the better.
  7. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Our local paper publishes police reports, but they don't include names. They say things like, "subject on Main Street reported physical assault."

    I remember how I felt when Youngest was being abused, and stayed with her abuser. It's terrifying, and you feel helpless. All I can say is, continue to be her friend, remind her that there are domestic violence hotlines available to her and encourage her to call one, or to contact your local police department just to talk to someone. Many have a DV liaison that will talk to victims about their rights. (I tried to get Youngest to talk to the DV deputy at our PD, but she refused.. still, he gave me a lot of information). Encourage her to talk to someone, vs. encouraging her to leave ... I think the thought of leaving/breaking up with an abuser is just too much for some women to handle right away, and I found that the more I suggested it, the further away Youngest was pushed from me (and into the abuser's arms). Keep telling her that you know she is strong enough to handle whatever changes may come her way, and that you'll be there for her.

    I know it's SO difficult to stand by and watch... hugs.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My heart goes out to her, the children and to you. I had a similar friend when I was around thirty who's husband had her locked into a mental health institution so he could have the children. My heart begins to race just thinking about the stress, so I know in part how you are feeling. The entire time I was leading her to legal help I was watching my rear view mirrors in stifled fear. On the up side...she ended up financially secure, with her kids and safe.

    Do you know if he behavior has consistently been irrational over the years or if it rather sudden onset? I was wondering about early stages of dementia. Is his anger just home based? If he has been BiPolar (BP) for a long time what triggers are present now that weren't before?

    I so hope that she will reach out to here therapist and finally tell the truth about the interactions and seek professional advice. Based on reading and films I would assume she will be resistent about going to a DV specialist...although clearly she needs to. Obviously I don't know her personality but if it were me I would fear that my children would either be harmed or do harm to protect me. Maybe the kids can be a motivator for her? by the way, is he remorseful following an outburst? That seems to be the MO
    of abusers and lack of remorse might indicate some other problem as well.

    I will include you all in my prayers and hope she is able to make wise choices. The State law was probably written up and passed by male legislators! Are Protective Orders also in the paper? Where we live, by the way, they listed minors in the paper including photo's when they were arrested for pot or whatever. A couple of years ago they stopped doing that but many lives, including easy child/difficult child's were impacted for life. So sad. DDD
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just reread your post and noted the cardiac issue. I am ignorant about medical issues but I do know that after my husband had cardiac procedures his personality changed. He is/was a nice disposition person who got depressed and irritable. Evidently this is not uncommon. Maybe another factor. DDD
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    He has consistently had these rages over the years I've known them. He comes from a long line of dysfunction apparently and had refused for years to get help - she has begged him, the kids have begged him. All the kids left asap. I am scared of what will happen when there are no kids left and she's alone in the house with him.

    My H has done work for him as a subcontractor several times and I finally made H promise me he would no longer work with this guy - he rages at his laborers. One time, he and H had a disagreement on the phone about a job they were working on. Within MINUTES this guy was stomping up our backyard looking like a locomotive with steam coming out his ears, like a cartoon. H went out to speak with him - didn't want him in the house with me and the girls. They argued, H remained firm, and finally he seemed to calm down and left. If one small thing pisses him off, he grabs hold of that anger, nurses it all day and rages at his family for DAYS. And he says embarrassing things in front of company, like picking on my friend about her weight or spending habits or parenting skills. When one of the kids ever did anything wrong, it was her fault. And actually, her kids, compared to many kids, were angels growing up - always in advanced honors classes, always involved in extra curricular things like drama and community service, etc. I've met my friend for coffee and he will sometimes call her screaming because he can't find something in his office. A couple of months ago, we met for coffee and went into the Kohls nearby first. Within minutes her cell rang - it was him asking where she was. I heard her tell him where she was and using me as an excuse for being in there. I asked her why and she said, "Because I know he's sitting outside and he wanted to see if I would lie to him". Scared the bejeezuz out of me. Sure enough, when we left the store (after she put back the item she was going to buy but didn't dare) there he was walking (stalking) towards us. I ignored him, had my friend get in my car and said, "Ciao!" and pulled away. We sat for coffee and I glanced out the window and there he was pulling away. I mean, wth?

    His behavior is not new, but from what I knew in the past, it seems to have severely escalated. I don't know if it's related to the coronary issue, as his big health scare was high blood pressure and cholesterol. I know a lot of people with his levels and they aren't nuts. I suffer from chronic pain and be a real meanie at times, but please, not that bad. I have heard that many people with untreated BiPolar (BP) become worse in middle age but I don't know if that's true or not. He stopped drinking and started dieting and exercising about 2 months ago.

    CV - here they publish names, ages and streets as well as what the charge was. It's nuts to me. Talk about suppressing the victim's rights.

    I have spoken with her about speaking with her therapist, but I will encourage her to speak with a DV specialist or perhaps a new therapist - I don't think this one is very effective, I've met her and we ended up going with someone else. Thank you for all the great encouragement and advice. I have to tread carefully.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I was hoping that it was a new behavioral pattern but if it has gone on for that many years and with other people it sounds engrained and very, very dangerous. Truly I will include you all in my prayers.

    Ya know...it just occurred to me that there are similarities between her behaviors and those of the alcohol or drug addicts that many of us love. Sadly, she is the one who has to seek a major life change.
    Until she is ready to do it...I guess there's little hope for improvement. Sigh! daughter
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My opinion?

    The man is an abusive bully. Does he have a disorder? Eh, who knows, maybe or maybe not. But disorder or no disorder, he's a bully. A classic abuser who controls their victim with verbal abuse, keeping funds to themselves, and probably physical abuse thrown in when she doesn't cower properly from the verbal abuse. It's typical for an abuser to paint a public picture of the perfect couple/family. It's so the victims won't be believed when and if they find the courage to speak up.

    Odds are your friend will pay for her night of respite.

    I'd encourage her to talk with the staff of a nearby DV shelter. She doesn't have to go their to stay to use their services and to get help for herself. They'll never tell anyone she was there or that she called.

    I rather not like to judge someone I've never met, but my best guess is he's about as depressed or bipolar as my left foot. He behaves the way he does because he can, because it works for him. She allows him to berate her and bully her and take her money and heaven knows what else while he's sleeping around and blowing money..........oh yeah, no change is gonna happen there. As far as reputation, who the hades gives a darn if you're that miserable day in and day out? This is not the 1940's. She doesn't have to put up with such treatment, nor should she. Her relationship with this "man" is no one's business except hers.

    I'd go and collect pamphlets from the DV shelter if she's too scared to go and give them to her to read.......maybe when you take her to coffee or something. Probably wouldn't be too safe for her to have them in the house.

    You're a great friend. Unfortunately though, she has to want to change her situation before it will change.

  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, H&R, what a good friend you are. And what an awkward situation, not to be able to do anything. Those poor kids, too.
    I just don't understand putting up with-that kind of abuse. Sigh.
    And I really don't understand the CT law.
    Many hugs. I am sending peace to you, to cope with-your friend and strength, so she had your strong shoulder to lean on.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, apparently he wrote her a lovely email and they talked about forgiveness and moving on and blah blah blah.

    I have been praying for her to gain strength - no so much for him to change, because I don't think he will/can. I know she has the strength to take better care for herself - but it is frustrating to stand by and see her close her eyes - AGAIN.

    I met with my friend this morning for coffee and I also wanted to see that she was okay. She seemed physically okay, so that was a relief. However, she told me all about their talk and the email he sent and that he admitted that there is something wrong - now he's blaming his behavior on the statin medications and his son coming out of the closet, everything else but himself. And although he told her last night he 'forgives' her for her small transgression back over 29 years ago, this morning he asked her if she would take a lie detector test. So, obviously, everything he said last night was BS. I told her that he is still manipulating her and making her believe that she's at fault here for HIS behavior. I asked her what she said about the lie detector test and she said that she told him "if it will make you feel better, yes I will take the test" - UUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHH. I get so freakin angry (at her for acquiescing & him for manipulating her into believing she's guilty of anything). I asked her if she told him he should take one for her as well...I mean, how many times has he cheated on her over the course of their marriage - he most recent emotional affair with his HS sweetheart not even a year ago! My God.

    I had to bite my tongue at some point. I told I'm there for her, I told her that I believe he will not change, that he will continue to manipulate her so he can excuse his poor bullying (yes Lisa!) behavior and that I am worried for her. But then I had to stop talking and literally bite my tongue because I didn't want to come on too strong and risk pushing her away - she will pull away from me now for a couple of weeks because in a moment of weakness she told me everything and now she's angry with herself for spilling and also, for all I know, he probably told her she should not be hanging out their dirty laundry for all to see - that is the kind of thing he would do: make her feel guilty when he's the guilty party.

    Anyway, thanks for all the support - I feel defeated.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you are right that she will back off for awhle. What a tragic situation. There are so many reasons to expect an escalation. I fear for her and I also fear that one of her children may take action to end the abuse. on the other hand, she did call you once which leads me to believe that she may call you again if she feels overwhelmed. Fingers crossed and prayers said. DDD
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Sweetheart - I've been thinking about her... I have a friend in a similar situation... What he is doing to her I believe is called "gaslighting" and if he's just going to blame EVERYTHING else... Sigh. I'm glad she knows she has you... But it's so hard to help someone who has been in this mess so long they no longer believe that they truly deserve better.

  17. keista

    keista New Member

    I know the feeling of feeling 'defeated' in this situation. And I know you have a lot on your plate, but can you document this for your friend? (You kinda already have by posting to us - keep a journal) Can you go talk to the DV shelter and see if there is more you can do? Would you documenting things be helpful in the long run?

    I just keep thinking like DDD and am worried about escalation or one of the kids taking matters into their own hands, or even her doing so. Documentation can go a long way in defense.

    You are both in my thoughts and prayers.
  18. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Yes, that follows the pattern exactly! The outrageous behavior followed by half-hearted apologies, followed by more outrageous behavior and more luke warm apologies ...

    When you're seeing these behaviors as an outsider it makes no sense to you that anyone could live this way. But the thing of it is, when you're in a long-term abusive relationship like this, when you've heard these things over and over again for so many years, you really do believe that it is all YOUR fault! You think that you're not good enough, you think that if you could just live up to all his expectations and demands, then everything would be OK again. Hard to understand if you've never been through it yourself. You don't even necessarily want to end the relationship, you just want everything to be OK again, and it's not gonna happen! She may realize this in her own good time and she may not, but it is very hard for friends and family to watch. She did confide in you which is very good. Women in these kinds of relationships usually go to great lengths to keep it a deep dark secret because they feel so much shame and humiliation and they think it is all their fault. If you have the chance and you think she might be receptive, I hope you continue to encourage her to contact a domestic violence group.
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks Keista, I am going to call them today and find out about that. What a great idea. I can just punch info into my phone calendar whenever she tells me something to keep track or keep a log in my NOTES on my ipad. Something.

    Also, I forgot to add this little nugget: THEY HAVE SEX EVERY DAY. That's right, every day, even last night. You'd think she'd say no when he's behaving like this, but she doesn't. She said it's in part to simply keep the peace and it's a way for him to be comforted. I almost vomited my coffee and bagel, I swear. If H EVER bahaved like this I would not even entertain the idea of having sex with him for a VERY LONG TIME. "Really??? Every single day?" I asked. She nodded yes. That between May and today, it's been every single day except two times. OMG. For that alone, she's the strongest woman I know. Ew. on the other hand, I am sure he's threatening that he will go outside the marriage if she doesn't comply...more abusive tactics. I'm sick over this. I will call the DV folks today. Thanks again ladies.
  20. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Maybe it would be better for her if he DID go outside - she might get a respite! JEEZ.

    You are a really, really great friend.