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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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I have a friend in an emotionally abusive marriage. Because

Resolved Question:

I have a friend in an emotionally abusive marriage. Because his wife does not allow him to have a cell phone and she monitors all the calls he makes and receives, I decided to give him a pre-paid cell phone for the safety of him and his children. Well, she just found the phone and she has sent me a message on Facebook basically insinuating that the existence of the phone proves that I am having an affair with her husband and telling me to stay away from her husband. My impulse is to answer her message in as neutral tones as possible, but the reason I gave my friend the phone is because of her abuse. Is it dangerous to tell her that I am aware of her abuse? I want to tell her that no, I am not having an affair with her husband. I want to say whatever I can that will keep her from torturing him for the next week, though I know that her thoughts are irrational and that her control over him stems from deep insecurities. What should I say and how should I say it? Thank you!
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 10 months ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this serious and concerning situation

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Once she has already found out and confronted you addressing you as his lover, you would need to clarify the situation, making it clear what happened, why you chose to do what you did, confronting her abusive ways, and making it clear that no form of abuse is acceptable, that it is domestic violence and that she needs to stop.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said it is about emotional abuse but never physical abuse episodes, right? Then why you feel afraid it would be dangerous to confront this person?

Customer:

I am afraid for him - in her abusive episodes she destroys his possessions. I'm concerned that this could escalate to physical violence. But the core reason is that I am a survivor of physical and emotional abuse that I received as a child (from age 1 - 13), so knowing that she may be smashing his computer, tearing up his books, and throwing things around the house triggers my PTSD.

Customer:

Plus, I've read that confronting an abuser might make them abuse their victim further.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Abuse happens and is perpetuated because the adult victim allows or enables it. I see! then she is also physically violent , then your concerns are reasonable, she could just do that or get physical harming him even more

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, if the abuser is this violent and dysfunctional, the abuse would escalate unless the victim chooses to approach it in assertive ways with necessary support, otherwise he would just expose himself even more and enable further abuse and violence

Customer:

So should I still confront her at this moment? I do not know what my friend does to enable the violence, but I'd like to be able to point things out to him so he can try to change these situations.

Customer:

Part of my friend's issue is that he is not American citizen and he does not have his own income, and he wants to be sure to have custody of the kids when they divorce. That is why he has not yet left the situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

MY suggestion is for you to first dialogue with your friend about his situation, for you to suggest him to look for professional and necessary support in order to end the abuse ASAP. Then based on what he tells you about her, you would decide if it is better for you to get involved and confront her or not

Customer:

So do not answer her message until I am able to talk to my friend? I will not be able to speak to him until Thursday at the earliest - IF she lets him go to work. I know I can't control her actions, yet I worry that not answering her quickly will worsen the abuse that is going on in their house right now.

Customer:

He would tell me to not get involved, I think, yet she is demanding to know what is going on between me and her husband.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

For him to stop the abuse he does not have to leave, if he is able to take real responsibility for his own feelings, choices and actions and knows how to confront her abuse, set boundaries and cope with challenges until he gets things ready to leave. He needs to get professional psychological support, and contact a center for domestic vuilence, where they would guide and support him on how to better cope with this overwhelming reality

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I would suggest you to briefly reply making it clear you are exclusively friends and nothing more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then after you meet him and talk about it, you would decide what further steps you want to take.

Customer:

Alright. That sounds like a reasonable response. I guess I'll say about the phone that my husband and I simply wanted him to have a phone for emergency situations.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

He needs individual and group psychotherapy, then yo join a support group for victims of domestic violence and for codependency.

That sound very assertive, just do not engage into any manipulation she could try to fuel

Customer:

Yes, I can state my truth without engaging her manipulative accusations.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Once she is this dysfunctional, it would be necessary and wise to get reports about the abuse since that would help him get custody of his children. But he needs to be cautious not to worsen his situation, that´s why it is better to get counseling support ASAP and help from a domestic violence center to know how to address this serious situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sounds good then

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I support you. Please feel free to contact me to follow up, since I am willing to support you as possible.

Customer:

I agree. This is a challenging friendship and situation for me because I am a survivor of abuse and I carry the baggage of abuse, including the impulse to solve a situation that is beyond my control (well, this is leftover from my alcoholic father). You've helped me see the lines between what I can and can't control.

Customer:

Thank you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You´re very welcome, Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care

Customer:

You too.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks. Bye

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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