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Is my dearest friend loving under coercive control?

(64 Posts)
Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 16:07:34

Hello everyone .
I wonder if anyone could help .
I have serious concerns a friend of mine is in a coercive relationship.
There are many signs present , things that have been said and possible harm that’s come of coercive control .
She is trapped , and scared it is also to scared to do anything ...
Two children are involved in their relationship.
He has something on her phone that notifies him of messages , calls and emails she receives .
He disciplines her and threatens her often with ‘ punishment ‘.
On several concerning occasions she has been admitted to hospital for several injuries , broken wrist, ankle, ribs .he has also been present at every single doctors / hospital appointment .
He controls her every move , times how long it takes her to go to the shops and back, knows exactly where she is , rings and messages several times to check her whereabouts and skype videos calls to make sure no one else is around her.
He limits her access to friends.
He exercises control over money, running the household under his ideologies.
He is supremely rude to her at times.
He views controls her social media,

I’m am truly scared for her.
However if I was to call the police I know that she would not admit to any abuse because he has threatened her with never seeing the two children again.
He has said to her several times that of ever she wanted to leave he would make sure if it was the last thing on earth that she would never ever see or find the children again.
This I know is emotional blackmail, however her children mean more to her than getting out of this situation .
From asking a few select people I know , the guy has previous form for abusing and controlling previous partners. Those previous partners left quite soon , however she has been with him now for about 8/9 years, the children are a little younger than 7 years old each.

On one occasion she had asked me “is this all there is to my life now?”
I asked what she meant , but she replied with a sense of only providing a purpose to him , she felt she was losing out on life because of the restraints he enforces on her.
She feels she has to abide by his terms or lose everything and that no one would believe any different.
Can anyone help please ?
She is someone I know very well .
How can I deal with this knowledge?
She is constantly looking over her shoulder, like she’s nervous he’ll walk around the corner and either catch her having a quick cigarette or that she shouldn’t be out the house.

She once said that if she was to leave she’d be out on the streets without her kids and be the worst person in everyone else’s eyes.
She is too scared to leave although she won’t admit it.
She quoted him as being exceptionally childlike when he looses his temper, I’ve heard him argue with her and he acts like a spoilt brat and throws his fists around in anger.
She is to me someone exceptionally special, and someone I care more about than she believes because he has messed with her head never to trust anyone but him.
I’m lost :-(
How can I help my dear friend without upsetting her

Windyatthebeach Tue 17-Mar-20 16:12:41

Do you visit? Could you provide her with a nanny cam? His stalking is illegal among all the other truly hideously wrong behaviour..
Ss may be able to help.
I rang school once and reported home abuse..
I am sure more helpful people will be along soon.
Feel quite sick for your friend op.
I left an abusive man but nowhere near as bad as you describe...
Don't let him keep you away though. She needs you so much.

ExServiceWoman Tue 17-Mar-20 16:13:08

Oh OP that sounds horrendous. I have no advice to give but hope some wise MNetters will be here soon to advise.

Those poor poor children.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 16:19:53

She has distanced herself from me but not of her doing. It breaks my heart to see someone as wonderful as her become dragged down to an empty soulless person because that’s how he wants her.. submissive at every whim and it’s wrong.
So many people have asked her why she is with him, her reply is because he is the father to the children, and then distracts the conversation.
I don’t want to wait for the ‘ to little too late ‘ point.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 16:29:36

The children know no different, he has always been like this, so they in effect have already been moulded into what ever values he has instilled.
But my friend has to know there’s more to this world.
On a few occasions now she has disclosed that he has hit her but she can’t leave , this has been when she’s drunk and was allowed out.
But she’s scared anyone would raise the subject again and plays it down.
He was caught out almost suggestion something inappropriate so someone else but when he was co fro red by my friend he blatantly denied it and said he’d never looked at another girl in the whole 8 or so years they’d been together, defending his actions which I believe he did, I know the other girl and she was shocked he did what he did but that friend was then blocked via social media and not allowed to be my dear friends mate again, someone who knew something wasn’t right but she became a threat to him because she knew something wasn’t right about my dear friends relationship.
Anyone who comes close is then distanced by his pushy way of telling my dear friend not to trust other people.
He is poisoning her mind so that she doesn’t believe anyone else except him :-(

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 16:37:24

OP there are a couple of things you can do. Can you contact the police and social services? Her children are really suffering living under such abuse and you need to get social services involved. Secondly, she is being beaten to a pulp from the sounds of it and he's going to kill her.
It's a bit late for hand holds as he sounds extremely dangerous and he has form. There seems to be evidence such as hospital records to back this up and perhaps an application under Claire's Law would dig out further evidence.

Dial 101 and speak to the police and then get onto social services and speak to them.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 16:43:15

It scares me because I don’t see the light in her eyes as much as before.
She was threatened with “ punishment “ after new year when messages were found on her phone from someone who cares and respects her a damn site more than he ever does.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 16:46:37

On one occasion she had broken her ankle, apparently falling down the stairs ....
Then when an argument ensued a few days later he stood on her foot to bring her ‘in line’ as it were.
He’s a nasty sod and I wish with every fibre of my body I could get her out to a better free life. A life worth living for.

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 16:49:15

OP you need to contact the police and social services.

squeaver Tue 17-Mar-20 16:54:00

I'm no expert, but there are many more on here who are and I hope they come along to help. You've had some good advice so far. I think you should phone the police and I think you should phone social services.

Does she have somewhere she can go? Family? Could she stay with you? It's incredibly difficult for her to make this decision but she could leave. There must be medical records but, even if there's not, no one is going to take her children from her.

Could you write her a letter, spelling it out to her? Then advising her to destroy it after reading it.

This is a horrible situation and you're being a good friend but some practical steps need to be taken or, I agree with PP, he is going to kill her and very possibly the children too.

pigdogridesagain Tue 17-Mar-20 16:54:41

Contact a domestic violence charity such as women's aid and ask for advice. They will know exactly what can and should be done. Your friend needs to realise the damage this is doing to her children and this may give her the strength she needs to leave.

squeaver Tue 17-Mar-20 16:55:23

She's not just living under coercive control, she is in a violent, abusive relationship with an evil bastard.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 17:07:04

I wish I could leave her a letter, but it’s difficult to know when he’s home or not as he walks to and from work and starts at so many different times because of his job.
I also know that if he thinks he’s going to be home early he’ll either get her to come with the kids to pick him up ( so he knows where she is), or just turn up randomly trying to catch her out doing whatever doesn’t suit him, like talking to her friends etc.
She is always on high alert, especially as the kids are being used to confirm what she does until he gets home.
I am someone who cares for her but at the same time have an inner fight between what’s wrong and what’s right to do.
She has to get away, I’m concerned because I think she may have tried to take her own life and he ‘saved’ her apparently, only probably because he didn’t want to get caught being found out he abuses her I suppose or that she couldn’t see a way out
She worries me because of what he could drive her to do.

squeaver Tue 17-Mar-20 17:09:32

Women's Aid is a good call. You need to seek professional advice about how best to help her.

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 17:12:51

OP there is nothing you can do apart from notifying the correct authorities. This is a safeguarding issue due to her children living under the same roof as a violent abuser. He may also be hitting them as well.

He may very well end up killing her and the children.

You therefore inform the correct people who can investigate what's going on and will hopefully make sure that her children are safe. They will remove her children if she doesn't take steps to get out of the relationship.

She probably needs to get to a refuge but you're saying that she won't reach out for help. The only other thing you can do is tell the police and social services. What you can't do is stand by and watch her get pummelled and for her children to witness that.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 17:18:25

I know, he is a real nasty sod.
Quite a lot of people share the same opinion about him even since school.
This is supposed to be a man in his late 40’s and he acts like a right little shit when he doesn’t get his way.
She is in effect already in a lockdown household.
She can’t go out when she pleases, she can’t just pop out for a walk , she doesn’t have freedom of movement ...
It’s enraging how he treats her, yet she just wants an easy life , at what cost to her own :-(

RandomMess Tue 17-Mar-20 17:18:53

Speak to WA yourself. I wonder if you can also speak to the police and safeguarding at school.

TBH I think it would be a case of her turning up at school taking the DC and going into hiding until she gets into a refuge.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 17:25:35

If the police or ss become involved , do they approach her first somehow to confirm anything?
I’m scared that she’ll lie to protect him as the father to their children.
She said a long time ago she could leave her children which extended to her not being able to leave him because he uses them as leverage.
He’s not a well liked person, he never has been.
She might not be the perfect person herself I mean we all have our flaws one way or another but we all also have the right to live how we wish that makes us happy don’t we?

squeaver Tue 17-Mar-20 17:30:09

Honestly, these are the questions that Women's Aid can answer.You absolutely must speak to them. It could be that she just has to leave with just the kids and the clothes they're wearing.

As RandomMess says, maybe just going into school and staying there.
There are people who can help. Arm yourself with as much advice as you can get, then find a way to let her know.

Oldbutstillgotit Tue 17-Mar-20 17:34:33

Please speak to the police and put in a Claire’s Law request . If he has a police record , the police will disclose information to your friend .

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 17:36:55

Explain to the police (dial 101) everything you have said here. She is living with a violent abuser and has had several broken bones and other injuries for which she's visited A&E. Tell them that he controls every aspect of her life and you are concerned as you believe she tried to take her own life.

Tell the same to social services but this time it's a child safeguarding report. Tell them about the abuse and violence and how old the children are. They will decide how to proceed.

I'm really surprised that her frequent trips haven't already triggered Domestic Abuse protocols.

I would also make a request under Claire's Law and see if there is evidence of previous abuse. You can also speak to the police about how to go about doing that as it varies.

Have the National Domestic Abuse Helpline number to hand. It's a 24 hour number: 0808 2000 247

Tell SS that you want to make an anonymous report.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 17:45:11

I’ve held onto this feeling for such a long time, all the little signs, but didn’t know where to look to find something that would encompass all off the little signs that I didn’t think were right.
Coercive control came up in my news feed one day recently which made everything go together as one big picture.
I am scared of what may be, he even came around and confronted me and sternly told me to never ever message her again, he said it with clenched fists and then went back to her, my fear is those clenched fists weren’t for me ...:-(

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 17:52:23

You can't speak to him about this or let your friend know you are doing anything OP as she'll probably cut you off.

If he threatens you then contact the police as the reports help to build evidence against him. You really need to look after yourself here as he sounds very dangerous.

Coercive control is just one aspect of abuse. Others include sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse and physical abuse. It's impossible to have physical abuse without emotional/psychological abuse.

Lifeonhold2020 Tue 17-Mar-20 17:58:13

Her trips to the hospital / doctors etc have always been with him there.
Apparently his way of “ looking after her”!
She has told me she’s fallen etc, yet she works in an industrial environment where she’s in her feet all day loading warehouses etc, yet she falls when at home..:-(
I miss my friend greatly 😥

12345kbm Tue 17-Mar-20 18:03:48

There's more information here on how to support someone OP.

You really need to try and get her to contact either the National Domestic Abuse Helpline or someone like her GP.

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