Friday, May 22, 2009

My Friend Is Being Abused By Her Husband

I am back, I guess. Maybe for a little bit. Maybe I can get some things off my chest here in an anonymous way. I don't know what to do. I have a friend who is in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. They have two kids, and I now fully understand why her oldest, a son, has been growing up with what seems like rage in his system. You can see it. You can see him, a 4 year old, with anger, with physical-ness that scares me for his future. I've always known there is something "off" about him; maybe there really is. But there is so much more.

My friend told me that her husband attacks her, grabs her neck. He did this in front of their son the other day. He said to their son, "your mom is a fucking bitch". She told me that she has tried calling 911, on more than one occasion. Each time he got the phone away from her. He has cornered her in a closet. He has punched numerous holes in the walls, thrown dozens of wine glasses across the room. He has no appreciation for his wife, a stay-at-home mom I have always admired. She does everything you'd picture a good mom doing, and she does it all well. But she is hiding a secret, and she is deeply pained.

My friend is a good, Southern gal. She grew up in a good family, has very good manners, went to good schools, earned top grades, has a dizzying number of people she calls Friends, is an incredible cook, organizes her life and home better than Martha Stewart, and is fiercely loyal and incredibly warm and inviting. This is what her husband fell in love with. Today, these are the things he most criticizes her for. By telling her she is a failure. By constantly telling her she is worth nothing. This astounds me. To anyone who knows her well, he is one of the luckiest men around.

Nothing really bad has ever happened to my friend. She has always been a good girl. She has never tried drugs or cigarettes. No excessive parties. No arrests. No abortions. No scandals. Nothing. Her father passed away in a plane crash when she was in college. This was devastating to her, of course. But she has learned how to live with this and frequently talks to her dad today, when she is alone. I wonder if she talks to him about what her husband has done to her. I don't think so. She knows her dad would be honest with her. She knows he wouldn't stand for this. I'm sure she wishes he were here to help her figure this out.

Her sister lives just down the street, and her mom lives closeby too. They know nothing about this. I suspect they are aware that something is not right. But they don't know how horrible life is in the household where their beloved sister and daughter live.

My friend has no known marks or bruises, at least not that I've seen. But what she has described to me is beyond acceptable, of course. I know that. She knows that. But she doesn't know how to get out of this.

She is scared beyond belief. Scared to set him off. Scared to be at home after he has had too many glasses of wine. Scared to upset him by taking her restless children to the beach or pool. Seems like something a mom should be able to do, right? This leaves the house open so he can work. So he can have quiet time away from the kids. Well, no. He often accuses her of taking advantage of him. He tells her that she doesn't think of his feelings. That he should be the first person she is taking care of. Not the kids. And she especially should not be putting herself first.

He often leaves the house when he's not working. He goes to breakfast. He goes on overnight trips to see a client 3 hours away just so he can have a good night's sleep. He goes for pedicures and massages. He goes to their social club up the street to sit by the pool. By himself.

The rare opportunity she has to breathe and think alone, away from kids and life, he is phoning and texting her to get home. He tells her that she is selfish to be out of the house and that she should be at home, with him.

I know all this sounds fucked up. And unreasonable. And crazy. That she should leave. For her sake. For her kids. I know. I know. She knows.

She has only told me and another friend. Together, the three of us have spent countless hours crying, commiserating, supporting, and pleading with her to get out of there. To let us help. To stop the charade of pretending.

She has only told us because once you tell someone about something like this, you can't go back. She hasn't told numerous other friends because she wants to be able to keep up her social life. If she tells everyone that her husband beats her, will they still invite her to their parties?

I don't know what to do. These are her decisions. It's her life. But I am so hurt for her. And so scared for her safety. And I am horribly concerned for her two children.

I don't know if there's anything I can do.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I think you are doing all that you can do by listening, offering support and being a kind, honest friend. She will have to take the action neccesary to change her life. It sounds as though she's taken a very important first step by sharing this information - now she's accountable (a bit more) to her friends to remember your talks and this will give her the strength to take action to leave this fuck.