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Friend disclosed to her abusive relationship to me and I'm in complete shock and unsure how to proceed

(6 Posts)
Worryworker Tue 03-May-16 19:48:25

Me and dh have friends whom live very near us and whom we met when we moved into our house 10 years ago. They are older than us, no children. We regularly borrow stuff off each other, go round for chats, they'll occasionally mind our dc's. Following them having a recent family bereavement I invited friend round for cup of tea and chat as she was struggling with the loss. I was expecting to offer tea, sympathy and warm words about her loss but instead she started telling me about her dh and how basically he was psychologically, emotionally and financially abusing her and had done so for many years. She also disclosed he'd hit her on a few occasions when he was 'angry' with her. She showed me recent texts from him, calling her a bitch, selfish control freak etc. She spoke of how he'll just go out for hours on end, frequently socialising with newly acquired younger (male and female) friends, telling her she has no friends and no one like her. He's spent all her money buying gadgets etc but gets annoyed if she buys herself something. He somehow persuaded her to sign her savings account over to her and basically has spent all of her money. He's now insisting she cash in a pension she has as they 'need the money'.

The house they live in is mortgaged in her name only but she says she knows he'll never leave and he has nowhere to go- not that she's asked him to leave. She spoke of feeling scared of him and of confronting him so feels she just has to carry on as she is.

I just cannot believe it. I told my dh who was also completely shocked too. Over past 10 years they've seemed such a lovely, happy, devoted couple. He's always been lovely to us (as he is to everyone except his wife it seems). I know I only have her side of the story but I have no reason to disbelieve her. I feel ill have to 'carry on like normal' as don't want to put her at risk by letting him know I know but acting 'normally' is going to be so bloody difficult. She doesn't want to seek professional help nor police involvement but seemed genuinely scared for her safety as his behaviour seems to be escalating. All I've said to her is we're here for her day or night. There's nothing else I can do is there?

redexpat Tue 03-May-16 20:18:39

You can keep things safe for her. Passport, tax forms, birth certificate.
You can keep a bag of things she may need if she needs to escape.
You can allow her to access women's aid from your internet and phone line.
You can go with her to the bank to set up a new account without paper statements. When the time comes she can get her money paid into that too.
You can start researching SHLs in your area. (Shit hot lawyer)
You can call women's aid for advice.
You can act as sweet as pie to his face so he doesn't try to isolate her from you.

arthriticfingers Tue 03-May-16 20:55:40

redexpat has covered everything, I think.
Yes to all of it!
Can I just add: listen and believe. As well as all the above, not instead.
There should be more neighbours like you.

PPie10 Tue 03-May-16 21:01:30

Good advice from red. Your poor friend sadjust goes to show you never know what happens behind closed doors. If she isn't going to leave him then all you can do is offer unconditional support. Poor thing must be feeling so down about the bereavement and just let it all out.

Worryworker Tue 03-May-16 21:38:31

Thank you. redexpat that's great advice thanks. Have suggested her coming round later in week or going out for lunch so will ask her/offer her to leave anything at mine. Will also let her know of local DV support charity even if it's just to get advice re:her house if ever she does decide to leave.

I know PPie10 I just couldn't believe it. Yes think bereavement was a catalyst to her disclosing. I worry about her and will do what I can to support her. I completely believe her arthriticfingers and was glad she felt she could confide in me. She was apologising for telling me, knowing he was my friend too (not anymore - although ill be nice as pie to his face!).

longdays Tue 03-May-16 22:03:44

She's taken a huge step in telling you that she is being abused. The most helpful thing you can do is continue to listen and believe her.

This m.youtube.com/watch?v=Er7ronrhCKA&feature=youtu.b

was on the Women's Aid Facebook site today. I think it's pretty accurate.

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