My friend is very attractive, also very insecure. Both facts helped her land the lifestyle she dreamed of when growing up with immigrant parents who worked hard in low-paying jobs. But the insecurity has her accepting verbal abuse and threats from her wealthy, control-freak boyfriend.
I’ve heard him yelling in the background when she’s answered my phone call and she hangs up in a hurry. I’ve seen her when she texted me that she’s alone and when I got there, she’s crying her heart out and afraid.
I haven’t seen bruises but I know he threatens her with physical abuse. He accuses her of being with other men, and calls her repeatedly when she’s out even if she’s just gone an hour to buy groceries. She has to report her every move.
When things get very strained, he “makes up” with gifts of jewellery. She always caves and has told me how “lucky” she is.
How do I help my friend?
Worried about Abuse
Though your friend is not in any way deserving or at fault regarding this man’s controls and abuse, she needs to recognize the trap she’s in by staying with him. It’ll only get worse, because controllers thrive on the fear they create. That’s their sense of power and importance.
But once he gets to the next step - and he will physically hurt her eventually - the reality will devastate her and terrify her beyond finding strength to leave.
Talk to your friend about having a plan for her own safety. Assure her that you and she can work out the steps she’d take when necessary - where she’d go for safety - e.g., the closest police station, or a women’s shelter, and the minimum necessities she’d take with her e.g., health card, driver’s license, passport.
If he’s already taken away these items, it’s a serious alarm.
Meantime encourage your friend the best you can but NEVER mention the plan with her unless you’re alone together.
On a recent Sunday we had a family get-together. Our son and daughter-in-law, who have a very young baby, did not attend because our brother-in-law and his fiancé have not been vaccinated. Nor do they intend to be vaccinated.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.
My husband and I feel caught in the middle. All the rest of the family are vaccinated.
How should we approach the upcoming holidays?
COVID-19 and its variants such as Delta, is not a drama. These are viruses that can kill old and young people alike.
So far, approved vaccines have proven protective in far more cases than those where some side effects took effect. Since I’m responding here to a family relationship issue, and not the science of vaccination, I’ll focus on your family divide.
It’s not up to you to resolve. You can celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, too, if nothing changes in your relatives’ attitudes, by only inviting those with whom you feel there’s greater safety.
Any relatives who disagree, are not your problem. They’re willing to take chances, you’re not.
If everyone remains focused on the relationship, you can celebrate and wish each other well on ZOOM, FaceTime or any other method of virtual gathering. You can send gifts by mail or delivery.
You can acknowledge your connection without accepting a situation that’ll make you and others nervous about risking anyone’s health or engaging in a debate that only adds anger to the situation.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the “Friend” of his past girlfriend’s sons who’s not their father, (Sept. 9):
“The kids were in his life for six years. Therefore, it’s possible that legally, he is the father. He sounds like a stand-up guy, but he should also know his legal obligations.
“After six years together, the couple were common-law married. So, there may be more formal/legal ties between the two.
“Stay involved with the boys.
“How many couples would love to be in a relationship as "very good, compatible partners.” I’d not be surprised that they soon discover that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. What they have is actually a good foundation.
“The boys are now 12 and 13, starting their teen years. Their mother may soon be leaning on him more than she expects.
“Unfortunately, many "smart kids" lose their way while trying to "discover themselves" when full parental guidance and involvement aren’t present.”
Tip of the day:
When there’s partner-abuse, tell the harmed person it’s never deserved, and will get worse. Help plan a safe exit.