Monday, September 21, 2009

Help is needed

I'm writing this for advise from anyone who has been there done that worn the tee shirt. I have a friend who is near and dear to my heart. I will call her Kim. Kim is a beautiful woman who takes your breath away by sight. She is the sweetest person you could ever meet. She would take the shirt literally off her back if you needed it. She is loving, intelligent and honestly the best friend anyone could ever want or need. She has all the attributes of the perfect friend, there's only one problem. She has no belief in herself, she has no idea how wonderful she is, she has no faith that anyone could ever need her, want her. She has no clue what wonderful gifts she has to offer. Why you ask? She isn't allowed. Huh?

She has no self esteem, self pride, and she will NOT rock the boat, EVER! Her husband is very controlling. He tells her where she can go, what she can do, where she can work, where she will get her mail, where she can take her child, he controls every aspect of her life and identity. It started with small things and has begun to grow into things she knows are wrong but can't find the strength to fight. If she goes against anything he says, he repays her by doing things that hurt her and then tells her it's her fault. He wouldn't have done it, if she wouldn't have disobeyed.

Now to you and I we may disagree on stuff with our spouse, but most often it's about it's small things that all couples endure, but for her there is no normal, everything is a battle, and his retaliation against her for fighting even the simplest of battles is a deal breaker for the rest of us. For her it's something she caused him to do.
She owns her home,(something she had prior to their marriage) she does work ( of course her job was approved by him), but although she has survived many years without a husband, he has convinced her that without him she will crumble and lose it all. I of course give her much advise, I tell her she has to train herself to think differently. To think for herself and her child. Her husband will not like that one bit. Now I don't think he would hurt her, but regardless she is scared. She has allowed him to break her down to where she believes she is nothing, she has no inner strength, she doesn't know how to do something without his permission (which is rarely given).

When I talk to her I feel like I am forceful and like she resents me for my constant advise. My advice seems unwelcome and although I know she knows I love her I wonder if I say the right thing, or the wrong thing. I wonder how to help her, how do I help her? Am I making it worse for her? She understands what I am saying and agrees with me but putting it into action is the hard part. She has no friends, she isn't allowed, she can't even wave to neighbors in passing that is forbidden.
Is there a book, is there something positive I can do or say that will help her gain strength to fight this horrible man? The worst part is I know him and he is a decent guy to the outside world. He would do anything for anyone ELSE, just not her. He loves her child and every once in awhile he is actually nice to her. However she is kept clear that she has a place and that place is behind him, not just to cook dinner but to bring it to him, not just to keep the house clean, but to pick up after him, he doesn't have to do anything at all in the home, that is a woman's job. Yes believe it or not there is still at least one man on the planet earth that believes that and she found him. That includes the outside, she is to mow the lawn, she is to fix the drain outside if it is clogged even if that means digging five feet down with a shovel. His vehicle is never even a year old, hers starts if it's a good day and if not, well sorry. She can't have a computer, she can't be online, and to ensure that he password protects them.

Please help me, leave a comment, tell me what worked for you or someone you know. Tell me something so I don't feel so helpless. I am her only friend and I am only allowed because there is great distance between us. If he knew I was trying to help her gain her strength I would be forbidden too.


Jaimey said...

ugh and double ugh! I have limited experience with this, via 'you know who'. I say try to be supportive in as non pushy way you can. Its a hard line, you want to be her friend to be the shoulder she needs but if you push to far she will run from you too. If you are in her life and she so chooses to leave or stand up to him she will need a friend. Be the little voice, she already has a big one telling her everything else. Good luck. Its so hard to watch people go through that knowing you can really do nothing but watch.

Sue said...


There are support groups and help lines which she might be able to call. However, she must find the strength to call and that is the hardest part. She has to do it, as she must finally find the courage and strength to recognize the situation for what it is. It would be good to provide her with some numbers to call, send her some information via another friend who might drop it directly to her and then it is really up to her. You love her and that is so important for her to know. She needs to know that she has someone who cares and will always care. That is your job and you are doing that well, I know because I know you. Just keep supporting her and help her with what you can, then pray for her that she finds the strength to help herself.

Janna said...

I was in a similar controlling & verbal abuse situation with the added bonus of physical abuse. Abuse is abuse no matter what form it takes. I put up with it for the same reasons so I know first hand that all you can do is be her friend and tell her that her situation is not "normal" and only she can change it. I sought help for other reasons so eventually I was able to realize that nothing I ever did would be enough or correct and it was time to leave. My children were that push point and if not for them, I may not have made that decision. Has she ever been asked if she would want her child to live under the same conditions? Would she want that child feeling like she does? If not, then its time she figured out why she thinks its ok for her and not her child. At some point, he will start abusing her child too.