One of my DD's friend's mums a little while back asked if she could borrow a tenner off me and pay me back the next day. I don't know her that well but her DD and my DD often have play dates and she lives quite close by, so I lent her the money and, true to her word, she returned it the next day. I thought no more about it.
Yesterday she called me, sounding quite frantic, and asked if she could ask a really big favour and borrow £20, and pay me back on Friday when she got paid. I said she could and asked if she was okay. She said we'd have to catch up over a coffee and thanked me profusely for helping her out.
She called round to the house a bit later on, looking very nervous and embarrassed. I invited her in for a cuppa and, once we'd got over the small talk, I asked her what was wrong. Turns out her husband holds all the purse strings and she needed the money to put towards a parking ticket she'd received that she couldn't tell him about as he'd go mad. She works but her wages go into his bank account and, if she needs money, she has to ask him for it. He won't let her have a bank account of her own as he says she'll spend too much money or spend it on needless things. She also said when they moved to the area a few years ago, he bought the house solely in his name and he's made it clear that if she doesn't like his "rules", she should leave.
She drank her tea very quickly and put her shoes back on. I told her she didn't have to leave so soon, but she said she had to as she'd left work half an hour ago and he'd want to know why she wasn't home yet. I got the sense that there'd be trouble for her otherwise.
I told her we'd catch up another time - perhaps when the kids are on half-term (when her husband wouldn't be suspicious about her absence). I felt incredibly sorry for her as my mum was in a controlling relationship with my stepdad and what she'd told me sounded very similar to how my mum was treated.
I really want to help her but I don't know how. I can be a shoulder for her to cry on but what kind of constructive advice can I give her?
Hi OP, I didn't want your post to go unanswered. I have no experience other than what I've read on MN about women in your friebd's situation, so the only thing I can suggest is to advise your friend to contact Women's Aid. I can't link as I'm on my phone, but if you google their website comes up. They're website is quite good, I had a look at it when I made a donation once (I donated after reading a particular thread on MN). I hope your friend is able to escape. Perhaps you can offer to look after an emergency bag of things for her? Best wishes.
There's a woman at our school like this. It's just awful. At least your friend has a job. That's a big positive.
My friend has no money at all. She has a debit card so he can keep track of her and he takes the mileage number every night and she has to explain every mile so she can't even come to someone's house. I think it's hard to imagine what it must be like to be in a situation like this.
My friend came quite close to getting out once but I live in Australia where there is not much help.
I think what you can do is arm her with information. Find out what help she would get if she left and give it to her. Don't push her to leave though as she doesn't need to be bossed around from another source.