I want to help a friend in need.
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22-07-2014, 10:43 AM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
(22-07-2014 08:41 AM)etbonney Wrote:  
(22-07-2014 06:26 AM)Thinkerbelle Wrote:  Send her a bus ticket, offer her a place to stay, and get her the hell out of the situation. Or, send flowers to her funeral later.

Seriously, she's not in a good place and needs to Get. Out. Now. That's the best thing you can do for her.

I had that conversation with her last night. She isn't interested in leaving. Her explanation is that she does not want to upset the environment her kids have gotten used too (they moved to northeast when they were very young) and she fears that she will somehow damage her children by removing them from their close friends and the activities they enjoy.

She only asks me for money, which I cannot provide. She is behind on bills, house payments, her car needs repairs... the list goes on and on. I told her I cannot give anything myself (I am struggling with overcoming expensive car and home repairs). She tells me she is fine and has picked up a second job, but just yesterday her first paycheck ($300 in cash) from that job got taken from her purse. I agree with you, I think she needs to pack up and leave but she seems unwilling to listen to that argument. She is looking for charity.

Anyway, I appreciate the responses. It appears as long as she wants to remain in her situation there is little I can do for her.

Ron

How well do you know this woman? To me, the whole cash-gone-missing and send-cash-only reeks of a scam. I apologize if you know better, but those are red flags to me.

Charity? The government has many charitable programs. If she needs food, help paying for utilities, health care, etc., she can apply at several different agencies. Abusive hubby should be entitled to unemployment or welfare.

This sounds like she's not willing to help herself. If she's willing to leave her kids in an abusive household instead of helping them make friends elsewhere, I question her motives.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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22-07-2014, 11:05 AM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I am a little reminded of my sister who I have a hard time trusting anymore. She always has a fantastic story about people doing great wrongs to her and how terrible life is (all the while how great god is...her facebook is a mix of "my life sucks" and "god is great" posts). But the thing is, I know the people she says have screwed her (such as my mom, siblings), and I just find the things she describes as hard to believe. Her story changes from time to time as well. She said she left her ex because he cheated on her, then months later it was because he was alcoholic. Sure it could have been both. But the point is, she keeps effing up her life with her own choices, and it's exhausting trying to discern the truth from the fantasy. I don't know if your friend is being a little fantastic to manipulate others or not, and I do hope the best for her. But really she needs to at least step in the right direction for herself and her kids. And that direction is away from abuse and unhappiness.

I grew up in an abusive household, and it SCARS SOME PEOPLE FOR LIFE. Getting out is much more important than keeping your kids "comfortable".

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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22-07-2014, 08:55 PM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I agree this woman could be pulling a scam.

However, if she is truly in an abusive marriage, that is where the help needs to start. Those on the outside looking in, often judge you by saying, you must not mind, since your still there. It is rarely that simple!!

Abuse can be very complex and slowly brainwashes you over time. Your terrified to stay and terrified to leave. Saying she can't afford it, could mean he's threatened her or the kids, if she leaves. Abuse fucking paralyzes you in every way.

When I escaped my ex, my brains felt like scrambled eggs. Was diagnosed later with PTSD. Something I still deal with to this day.

Sadly, you can never make them leave. It has to be their choice. Being there, if not physically, then emotionally will make a difference.

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. ~Mark Twain
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23-07-2014, 07:44 AM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I appreciate all of your views... It makes me feel a little less insane.

I recently bought a four bedroom house a year ago. I live by myself and currently live in just one room (the master bedroom) because I am retired military and spent the most my time in studio apartments. I did this for a couple of reasons, the first was because rent in FL has skyrockted and because I wanted to offer her a place she could relocate too so she could get out of her bad situation.

I do not believe she is running a scam. When she was younger, her parents failed to care for her and her siblings and she was sitting in courtroom one day (I think she was 8) and she was listening to a large group of her family members argue with a judge on who would care for her. This really messed her up. She has had two broken marriages (with children from each one) and she feels that providing stability for her kids is much more important then providing for her happiness. She was relocated a lot as she bounced from one house to another in her youth and she is way overcompensating making sure her kids don't feel the same trauma she did having to start a new school and find new friends all the time. As for her reasons for not leaving the position she is now, she says she doesn't trust anyone enough (including me) to take that leap, plus her kids are involved in many community events that she feels is important. Both of her children have asked her not to tear them away from their comfort zone, so that is why she stays.

Just the other night, she told me she was scared of her husband. She has asked him to leave, even kicked him out once and he somehow manages to threaten her enough to get her to let him back in. I'm not sure he's done anything to get arrested but now she feels that he will physically hurt her if she doesn't fall in line and do what he says. I have told her on several occasions this is classic spousal abuse syndrome but she often retorts that "it is what is is" and just tries to carry on the best she can.

I have been beating my head against the wall for years now, mimicking the same concerns and arguments most of you presented here and I have no luck getting through. She knows she has to leave, she realizes it isn't working but stays anyway. To quote one of the other commentators, I have often said that she is taking no steps to help herself. I wish money could fix her situation, but I firmly believe it's bigger then that. I often worry that I'll discover she is dead some day.

I don't have any money to give anyway. I am trying to build up my savings after paying for some house and car repairs and I am partially disabled with a bad back. She has never asked for money until recently, and that was only because she said someone (she believes her step son, he has two kids of his own) stolen it from her but was ok when I said I couldn't provide any. I realize unless I find her a job down in Florida that helps pays her bills, or find a way to support her finishing her masters degree (she has a BA in Speech Pathology, but cannot get through Grad school with no support and only making 20 grand a year) she will stay in Ohio working for a nursing home making meds. I probably should be sharing this story here, but besides telling her about the government charities (some of which I think she uses, she mentioned them before) I can't seem to convince her to leave her toxic situation and find a more stable and loving one that could truly help her heal.

I appreciate all the comments, I was beginning to think I was being stupid with my arguments but can see that most of you would see this the same way I do. I will try to continue talking with her, hopefully I can get her to come around.

Thanks,

Ron
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23-07-2014, 09:00 AM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I'll accept your analysis that she is not running a scam.

You might - should the occasion arise again - emphasize the point that just being involved in community events will be trumped by living in an abusive home. Her children are vulnerable, and any happiness they get outside of the home will be negated by tensions inside the home. She is not doing them any favors by staying.

Should you ever be in a position to help her financially, I suggest that you directly pay the electric bill (or other bill) to prevent any sticky hands from reaching her cash.

Stories like this make me so sad.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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23-07-2014, 10:26 AM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
(23-07-2014 09:00 AM)Thinkerbelle Wrote:  I'll accept your analysis that she is not running a scam.

You might - should the occasion arise again - emphasize the point that just being involved in community events will be trumped by living in an abusive home. Her children are vulnerable, and any happiness they get outside of the home will be negated by tensions inside the home. She is not doing them any favors by staying.

Should you ever be in a position to help her financially, I suggest that you directly pay the electric bill (or other bill) to prevent any sticky hands from reaching her cash.

Stories like this make me so sad.

I have on many occasions pointed out that her kids are affected by their home lives. She visited a couple of years ago when my father died to help me through the pain of losing him. Her son was sitting in the living room playing video games when she got a phone call that made the color in her face glow bright red. She quickly exited the house so the kids (nor anyone in the room) would overhear what the call was about and her son quipped without looking up from the television that "daddy did something stupid again." Later on, she confided with me that the local police department found evidence of him committing crimes that led to him being dishonorably discharged from the national guard and that he is being court martial and will soon be without a job. I told her that her son already knows the perfect family she tries to portray is already exposed. That was two years ago, and she still lives with him. It makes me want to pull my hair out. (Which I have done, because I'm bald now... lol)

I'm not sure how to get through to her. She went to college for four years, ran up thousands in debt on a degree she can't use, is working two jobs just to not make ends meet and cries constantly that her husband is abusive, unfaithful and barely provides any money (and no help) and she has to maintain a house of three kids on her own. The poor girl cannot even get her husband to help teach HIS son how to mow the lawn! I have heard this story over and over again and I want to just quit my job and move to Ohio. It wouldn't do any good, but I tell her all the time if I was in her shoes I would have left years ago. She tells me that I don't understand because I don't have kids, so I would probably stay just like she does.

It is a sad story. I just wish I could find a happy turn around.

Ron
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23-07-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
Sorry to hear all that Ron,

Unfortunately, she is likely perpetuating the cycle without realizing it. All the while that she forces her kids to live in such an environment, she is likely doing irreparable damage to them and their interpersonal development.

As I mentioned, I grew up in an abusive household (although on the tail-end of the abuse, my parents got divorced after 36+ years of unhappy marriage when I was 19). All of my siblings were affected by what we went through. 3 of my sisters were pregnant before 18, 1 sister ran away for a couple of years and possibly became a stripper (I was too young to get the full story, and I don't ask), my brother has anger/control issues and has several restraining orders against him, one sister (with no kids) is a recluse and won't talk to anybody in the family (and I've never seen her have friends either). I myself grew up not knowing how to express affection (emotional or physical). By the time I was 20 I had probably been hugged less than 50 times in my life. I can count the times a family member has told me they loved me.

My point is, and this message is more for her than for you, that keeping kids in broken households has real impact, and can really screw up their futures. Maybe if you can provide her with statistics or anecdotes or studies of the affects of growing up in abusive households on children it might shake her into taking some action. Ask her does she want her son to hit his future girlfriend some day or threaten her?

I don't know, it's a complex situation. Like you, I wish there was a magic solution. Best wishes for her.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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23-07-2014, 12:05 PM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
As a side note, the catalyst that got my mom to leave my dad was an in-depth letter that my oldest sister wrote to my mother's extended family describing the hidden parts of our family, the abuse, and stories of things that had happened to each of us siblings.

My mom is so much happier now than she has ever been. So much so that it is almost weird seeing it.

I am definitely not suggesting you meddle to that degree, but once the public fa├žade is shattered and the truth is out in the open, it is much harder to justify living like that...at least I think so.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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23-07-2014, 12:48 PM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I have a friend who is in the process of committing this error. He's a jackass to everyone, has managed to cut her off from her friends and family, pressing her to get married, he "can't work," and has a special needs child he dumps on her, etc. She can't see it.

Don't you just want to reach out and slap some sense into them?

I can only hope both these ladies wake up before it's too late.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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23-07-2014, 01:06 PM
RE: I want to help a friend in need.
I suppose it probably is too late.

I just received a text from her telling me that her phone is being shut off indefinitely. I replied that I would at least keep in touch via letter and email and she told me not to bother. She has to turn off internet too and figures she'll lose the house soon enough. I can't imagine what she told her husband or how he replied, but I just tried calling her and the phone number is disconnected.

I'd hope to hear from here again, she is my best friend but she's been falling deeper and deeper into depression for the better part of a year now. She never sought help because she couldn't afford it and it sounds like she is just giving up. I should fly up to see her, I might be able to get the funds together to make a trip. It just kills me that somehow she has to endure this alone. I feel so helpless.

@Thinkerbelle: You are so correct... I would have so loved to pummel him into oblivion and pull her ass out of the fire, but somehow she always managed to quell my anger by telling me it will be ok. She always presented herself a fighter and I guess at this point, all the fight has been kicked out of her.

@Adrianime: Her family already knows the extent of the abuse she endures, her sister lives in the same town as me and that is the only family she has. She is in no better position to help than I am. She lives with a man she hates (but had a child with) so they each have messed up relationship values that stem from a broken home growing up. I read your words and they really saddened me because I can see that is how she is becoming. She used to speak with a happy voice and laugh, we used to have energetic conversations but the past few months she has lost the ability to feel or care. I'm not even sure who she is anymore emotionally. I will try to at least visit her, but I imagine I won't find the friend I remember and love so dearly.

Thank you all for all the kind words and support.
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