Dear Katie & Kelly,
I have a friend whose husband is verbally abusive to her. She’s shown me texts that he writes her and he alternates from being sweet and loving, to disparaging her, telling her she’s ugly, useless, and lots of other derogatory terms I don’t like to use. I’ve told her that this is unacceptable behavior and that she deserves better, but she refuses to leave him, even when he calls her these names in front of their daughter. What should I do?
Sleeping with the Enemy in the Everglades
Dear Sleeping with the Enemy,
Changing the status quo of your life is terrifying whether you’re staying in a loveless marriage or staying in an abusive relationship. It isn’t necessarily about not knowing you deserve better — many of us do but still take no action —it’s about fear of the unknowns if you take action: What if I never find someone, what if it makes things worse, what if I’m lonely, what if I can’t support myself on my own, what if people hate me for leaving him, what if, what if, what if. Since you’ve already told your friend it’s unacceptable behavior and she still refuses to leave him, try focusing on being a friend and buttressing the rest of her life so that the idea of wanting something different doesn’t seem so scary to her. Over coffee or a glass of wine, write down your 6-month life goals and 12-month goals and be each other’s cheerleaders. It’s a very Classic approach but regardless of either of your personality types, you’ll find that writing dreams down and revisiting them has a power beyond thought.
Thinking of you guys,
Katie & Kelly