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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1674
Experience:  PHD LPC
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I have a very good friend (male) that is in a textbook abusive

Customer Question

I have a very good friend (male) that is in a 'textbook' abusive relationship. It has not gotten physical, but the the psychological abuse is unbelievable. The fear in his face is evident, as is his weight gain and chain smoking. She even quit her job to "be with him" 24/7 in order to better control him. Also making it harder for him to leave, as one of his 'excuses' is that she would not be able to take care of herself. The majority of his friends have for the most part turned their back on him due to lack of respect for not leaving her. Some of the words he uses is "trapped and desperate" and "please pray for me". We have discussed his situation, and he understands he is in an abusive relationship, and says he wants to at the very least call a hotline for help, but, she goes through his internet history as well as checks his online phone bill to see who he is talking too, and what he is doing.

I am at a loss. What can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Keane :

Hi I can help you today

Customer:

Please... I am at a loss.

Dr. Keane :

Your friend's situation is dire, however, if you want to help him you need to have him agree to make a plan and then execute it. By that I mean, let him use your phone to call a hotline, find a safe place for him to go and if necessary file a restraining order against her. There is always a way out, no it's not always easy to accomplish but with a plan he can do it. You are a good friend to stick by him.

Customer:

Not sure how to support him, and he doesn't know what to do, or how to do it. He told her he was leaving in August, which caused her to do all the classic promising and 'changing' putting them into the honeymoon stage but also trheatening to kill herself if he leaves.

Customer:

We have talked about all that, but he is too afraid, and we can never have any alone time. Like I said, she quit her job to be with him 24/7. He is a musician, so even when he is working, she is there with him.

Dr. Keane :

Many abusive partners use the suicide threat, he has to be totally committed to leaving and it will take a lot of strength not to cave and go back. If he could be educated about the cycle of abuse he may gather the strength and conviction to actually leave. It will be very stressful and scary but if he doesn't the cycle will continue

Customer:

Also, she won't 'allow' him to associate with any of us that are supporting him leaving her. He has a secret email address that he uses to communicate with when he can and then it is only short messages.

Customer:

We all know this.... I have done alot of research and talked to alot of people that have been in similar situations. I was hoping for any new information.

Dr. Keane :

Well, this is when he needs to "man up" and walk ....what else is there? How old is he?

Customer:

He is 43, and yes, that is what needs to happen. It is easy for us to say. For him it is a life and death situation.... he is not mentally capable of "man-ing up" right now. That is the problem.

Customer:

He truly believes that if he leaves, she will die. And abusive or not, he loves her on some level.

Dr. Keane :

There isn't much new information since this is historically an old problem, the difference is that there are shelters for women victims but males don't get the attention due to the fact that they rarely talk about it, and it's bigger in the male population than one would guess. Have you tried talking to the police, asking them for help? They may not be able to do anything except escort him from the home.

Customer:

Problem is, it is only emotional and psychological abuse, not physical. Police are are unnecessary.

Dr. Keane :

He needs help in understanding that he is not responsible for her consequent behavior and that the reality of her threats is that they are just that, used to control.

Customer:

Honestly, I do not feel as if I am getting any more from this conversation than I have gotten from my research. I appreciate your time, but do not feel as if I need to continue. thank you.

Dr. Keane :

Police are versed in emotional abuse, if you went in and explained the situation to them they may accomodate you by escorting him from the premises and take him to get a restraining order.

Dr. Keane :

I wish there were a more concrete solution and I was better able to assist you today. You have to be frustrated over this, it's a real catch 22 and will be until he realizes he isn't responsible for her actions when he leaves. Good luck

Customer:

thanks! It is frustrating.

Dr. Keane :

I wish there were a more concrete solution and I was better able to assist you today. You have to be frustrated over this, it's a real catch 22 and will be until he realizes he isn't responsible for her actions when he leaves. Good luck

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