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advice please on how to help my battered wife friend...

(11 Posts)
FriendOfBatteredWife Fri 11-Jul-08 16:01:30

I am a regular but I've namechanged for this. I don't think her husband cyber-stalks me, but just in case, I'm not going to put her at ANY risk whatsoever, so forgive the namechange. If you guess who I am, please don't actually put my name to this thread. Thank you.

Right... I have a friend whose husband is violent towards her. He hasn't (as far as I know) been violent in the very recent past, but there is a history of it.

There is a long list of things that she can and can't do, people she can and can't see, places she can and can't go. You know the sort of thing.

He has just resigned from his job so is now at home full-time. He takes the children to school. He picks them up afterwards. If she leaves the house at all, he is with her. She is not allowed to be on her own AT ALL.

I know that there is nothing that I can do until she asks for help, but in this situation, how CAN she ask for help? Is there anything that I actually can do to help her?

I have been through similar myself so I am more than aware of what is likely to be happening, and she possibly cannot see for herself quite how controlling he is, although she is desperately unhappy, I know that.

Any advice will be muchly appreciated.

If I don't come back to this thread under this name, don't think anything of it, I shall be lurking under my "real" posting name.


ChopsTheDuck Fri 11-Jul-08 16:03:04

the only thing I can say is jsut try to be there for her. If she can't leave the house she must be feeling very isolated. Call her, and visit her sot hat she doesn't end up alone.

sweetcat Fri 11-Jul-08 16:10:40

Agree with chops. It sounds like my situation with my ex-h except I didn't have any friends because he had chased them all away.

Be there for her as much as you can. You sound like a great friend, one I would have liked. I eventually came to my senses and found the courage to leave but we didn't have DC's so my decision was, no doubt, much easier to come to.

FriendOfBatteredWife Fri 11-Jul-08 16:15:56

He has chased all her friends away - there's just me really.

And that's only because I won't let him try to control me

I don't go round for coffee when he's there because I know he will take it out on her when I've gone. I know the way he works.

I've been wondering whether to concoct a crisis so I can ask her for her help with something, just to get her away from him for half an hour. What do you think?

And if I do this, what shall I tell her? Apart from that I will be there for her, even if she hasn't physically seen me for ages?

Iwasinhershoeslastyear Fri 11-Jul-08 16:19:01

I remember sensing that all my friends knew how utterly miserable I was, and how unreasonable and aggressive and belittling of me my x was. But I didn't confide in anybody because the second you confide in somebody they say LEAVE HIM LEAVE HIM LEAVE HIM. They don't say, here's a million pounds, here's a house, here's a car. She's probably mulling over all her options in her head quietly and privately. Probably feeling very trapped and trying to weigh it all up. Leaving, staying? I used to make lists of the pros and cons! Ridiculous. The man used to hit me when we argued.. and I was trying to cling to the positives of staying hmm

Until she's really ready to leave, then she can't confide in anybody because they will make her feel like a fool for staying. At least now, she has your respect, or thinks she has.

Have you got a single mum friend you could introduce her to? somebody who is HAPPY. That would be a good thing for her to see.

Chops the duck is right though. She must be feeling incredibly isolated, like a tightly coiled spring. And very sad and unhappy.

All you can do, and this may not sound much, is let it subtly be known that you would bend over backwards to help her (or any good friend) if she knocked on her door at 2 am in the rain with 3 children in tow).

She will read between the lines and know exactly what you mean but she will also be grateful that you are not putting her on the spot and trying to co-erce her into doing something about the situation, when she feels paralysed with fear.

Realistically, IS there anywhere she can go, long term? Could she move in with her parents for a while? Or a friend? It's a lot to ask of somebody and she knows that, and that will really be on her mind.. She probably thinks she has no choice but to stay.

Would you be in a position to put her up for a year til she got back on her feet?

Somebody did that for me.

I did leave my x when it all became too much to bear. I had kept up an exhausting charade for so long. Or I thought I had. Turns out everybody knew I was miserable.

PS, I've read threads where people say HE has to move out, get a barring order etc,,, My x would not have tolerated that. He would have gone insane with rage before he would have allowed me to take the decision to end the relationship and ban him from 'HIS' house. That's not an option when you are dealing with an UNreasonable man. Just wanted to point out that.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 11-Jul-08 16:19:18

All you can do for her in the meantime is to be her friend who she can rely on.

I hope your friend will eventually find the courage within herself to leave this abusive relationship as this is highly damaging to both her and the children.

You may want to read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft. I think there are excerpts on line. This publication is about controlling abusive behaviours.

Womens Aid is also worth looking at for your own self as there is advice on their pages for friends too.

Iwasinhershoeslastyear Fri 11-Jul-08 16:22:05

PS, IF she ever confides in you that she would LIKE to leave, you can help her out by taking from her house all the children's birth certs etc... that she will need.

Tell her to leave her best clothes and some jewellery and personal items at your house.

Everything else can be left I MEAN IT. A year on , I need nothing that was in my old house. I walked away with nothing except the children.

You can buy the children clothes in Primark and Tesco.


You are a good friend. YOU are her lifeline. Don't give up on her.

FriendOfBatteredWife Fri 11-Jul-08 16:36:04

don't worry about that, I have absolutely NO intention of giving up on her, no matter what happens.

I am aware that if he suspects that I am being a friend to her, he will be in her ear telling her all my faults (real and imaginary) and it is very possible that she will decide for herself that I am a twat or whatever. This will not change things for me. I know he will do this.

Realistically, I would not mind putting her up, dp would not mind putting her up. However, she lives right across the road from me. My living room overlooks her living room. If she didn't have net curtains, I could tell you what she was doing right now. So, realistically, I don't think she could stay here.

She has said that her family have fallen out with her because she "chose" him over them. Now I know that they would take her in like a shot (probably) but she feels that she has burnt her bridges where they are concerned. Likewise, friends that she used to have - she has told me that they have all moved on.

I know about getting her to store things with me, I will deffo bear that in mind.

Iwasinhershoeslastyear - you speak a lot of sense about not telling her that I know what goes on in her relationship... I would have been the same.

I have experience of being her but I don't know what to do in my situation, for her... does that make sense?

FriendOfBatteredWife Fri 11-Jul-08 19:48:14

just wondering if any of the evening crowd have anything to add...

finallydoneit Fri 11-Jul-08 19:59:09

i too was lucky to have the wonderful urbandryad who cane and rescued me when morning, however i had let it go on for a long long time before i did anything about it, being there for her is the best thing you can do for her until she can admit to herself what is happening before she confides in you. womens aid has been a lifeline for me too

SubRosa Fri 11-Jul-08 20:05:11

Could you save small amounts of money for her? If she has access to this 'just in case' money it could help a lot. I did this years ago, hiding money in CD cases, books etc.

I'd second Attila's advice about the Lundy Bancroft book, it's very good. Look after yourself as well. I know I'm stating the obvious, but if he suspects you're helping her, you could be at risk too.

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