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2 Bumps

How would you handle a "friend" with a controlling husband?

This "friend" lives in the neighborhood, which makes the situation more delicate. Awhile back I thought we could be better friends, then I realized how she lets her husband control her life. She doesn't want to admit the truth of her situation to anyone(and maybe even herself), so she plays "cat and mouse" head games with people. It's hard to make plans with her, but when he goes out she expects her "friends" to be free and run over. Different times I made plans with her, and he kept calling or followed us, or she cancels at the last minute. Generally, she wants everyone to come to her house, and sit in her kitchen. Her home is beautiful and immaculate, but it feels like a prison. I feel suffocated when I think about going over there. Once another friend was visiting, and the husband came home early. So, she hid this woman in the basement, and snuck her out, when the husband went into the bathroom. This "friend" won't answer her calls and wants nothing to do with her.

My strategy in handling her has been to be busy and keep my distance. She is very needy and a Drama Queen! It's ALL about her! Friendship is a two way street. I don't like the way she treats people, and I've lost respect for her. Her other "friends" are fed up, and blowing her off. So she keeps asking me, "What's wrong with so-so? I can't get in touch with them?" I say,"They're really busy. I don't want to talk about so and so." She asks me if I've seen/talked with them and what's wrong. I say, "Yes and we don't discuss you." But I'm getting sick of this! I can't go out to get my mail without getting ambushed! She's getting desperate, because it seems everyone is avoiding her at this point.

I'm thinking about telling her the truth, but I don't want to speak for other people. Also, if I tell her her "friends" don't run their lives around her husbands schedule, she'll probably minimize his controlling behavior like she has in the past.(Once he took the battery out of the car, so she couldn't go anywhere) I'm also concerned she'll tell her husband what I said, and create drama for our families and in the neighborhood. She really needs counseling, marriage counseling, and/or a good divorce lawyer. They are financially very comfortable, and she would be set for life if she divorced him. I also feel badly, because she's had a lot of health problems. As a Christian, I want to be kind to people, but I also need to be kind to myself.

Thanks in advance for your advice! I need to see this from a fresh perspective.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:04 AM on Apr. 3, 2013 in Relationships

Answers (14)
  • Google Haven for Broken Wings. Read a little and this may give you some idea of what she is feeling and going through. I was in a similar marriage for years. I didn't go to the extent your friend did though - I just didn't have people to my house at all. Please be there for her, don't discount the fact that she doesn't know how controlling her husband is, she just may think/hope that others don't see it because she's too ashamed.

    Answer by missanc at 10:10 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • There are ways to deal with this diplomatically. Next time she calls for you to come over and you have time, do it. Go and sit down with her and tell her that you have been holding back. That the other friends have said things and that you are all in agreement that her husband's behavior is abusive and isolating. I would tell her that while she may not be ready to make a decision to leave now (or maybe ever) that you cannot in good conscious enable the situation by slinking around behind her husband's back. That isn't how normal healthy adults behave and you simply won't do it anymore. Tell her that if she ever decides to make a decision to make a break or to leave her husband you will be there to support her, but for your own emotional health you need to not be involved with the situation as it makes you *insert feelings about it here*.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:13 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • While you aren't speaking for the other friends on how they feel about it, you can say that you have all seen this abusive behavior and that you all would like to see her in a healthier state of mind.

    You say you don't like the way she treats people and that you have lost respect for her.  What is that all about?  How does she treat people?


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:16 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • Well an example of not liking how she treats people is hiding our friend in the basement.

    Also, all the head games. Implying there's a "problem" with all her "friends", because people are avoiding her. The problem is in her house, and we're not FREE professional counselors on call. I feel badly saying this, but visiting her has become a depressing chore, and I don't like being grilled about my other friends. She doesn't want to admit there's a problem or change anything. She'll complain once in awhile, but then she immediately minimizes it. Once I said,"I won't put up w that." (Taking the battery out of the car) She immediately started making excuses for him. It's very frustrating.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:31 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • Her hiding the friend in the basement is a symptom of the isolation abuse her husband inflicts on her. It's not against the friend, it is her wanting to avoid negative fallout from having a friend over. This obviously isn't normal, but if they have been married for a long time then this is HER normal. Maybe telling her that it was inconsiderate to hide the friend in the basement and then asking what would happen if she had not done that and her DH had known she had a friend over might be the right way to go. Then you can point at the behavior and call it out as abusive.

    I know what you mean about her house feeling like a prison.  I have a friend that was going through a divorse and she refused to put her house on the market.  It was a beautiful house, but it had bad feelings in it.  I always felt anxious there.  


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:37 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • You can tell her that you don't like the way her house feels because of the situation with her husband and that you aren't comfortable there. I would tell her that if she wants to talk that she can come to your house.

    As for you not being free professional counselors, she probably just wants you to be a friend.  Friends talk about their problems, nobody needs a degree or license to practice friendship.  

    Honestly, it sounds like you just don't really like her all that much.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:41 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • I feel sorry for her, but the mind games drive me crazy.

    I helped another friend get out of an abusive marriage. I just don't understand staying in this situation, and projecting her issues onto everyone else.

    It seems everyone got fed up and abandoned her at the same time. I don't want to hurt her, but I feel drained and aggravated when I spend time with her.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:52 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • I guess the only thing to do is avoid her.

    Answer by louise2 at 10:57 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • It seems everyone got fed up and abandoned her at the same time.

    Perhaps they weren't looking at it as abandoning her, but rather refusing to enable her behaviors.  No friend wants to be shoved into the basement until they can be slinked out of the house when the husband uses the restroom.  It makes the friendship feel wrong.  Normal people don't sneak around because they don't feel they have anything to hide.  


    Answer by QuinnMae at 11:14 AM on Apr. 3, 2013

  • Look at this from another perspective. Maybe I am wrong but perhaps she is the CRAZY one! Maybe her DH took the battery out of her car so she can't drive because she is nuts & is trying to keep her safe. Maybe she is delusional. You don't know what is actually going on behind closed doors so maybe he is not the problem. Just give her some papers on a safe haven for her to go if she is actually in danger then call this friendship quits. If she asks then tell her you find it hard to be friends with someone who will nit help themselves. Then avoid her. I have a feeling SHE is her own worst enemy. She may actually need psychiatric care.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 12:21 PM on Apr. 3, 2013

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