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Hi Amy,

I have a woman friend who's husband is verbally abusive and has at one time shoved her violently. I believe he is mentally impaired to a degree. She needs to get out of this 'marriage' but is afraid he will become violent and hurt her. How can she deal with this? She works a tremendous amount of hours, while he's a bum that stays home and spends tremendous amounts of money with her credit cards. Is there some way of her getting help and moving him out without this fear she has?

I am a man, but live 3,000 miles away and she is afraid to have me help because she fears it will make him go even more nuts. BTW, he does own a handgun. She wants to leave him, but is afraid he'll hurt himself, (personally I wish he would take himself out), so she remains with him and lives a horrible existence. I know she'd like to leave him, but is afraid and is already very depressed, (she's been on anti-depressants for many years). She is going to retire from the Postal Service in just 4-1/2 years and the thought of living with him after that is just too much for her to bear.

Can you help? I swear I'm at my wits end with this. I care about her and don't want anything to happen to her. But, he has effectively cut me off from contacting her, phones, emails, etc. He knows I'm onto him, and this makes him even madder. I don't know what to do or who to turn to. Please help. I am frantic with worry!



From what you have said, you have reason to worry and you certainly have reason to fear for yourself. In a sense it's better that you are far away, because if you were closer you would be both a bigger threat to him and thus in greater danger of being a punching bag of sorts for his aggression.

What your friend should do is to contact a domestic violence organization closest to her. They run tons of support groups and these groups are designed to help people just like your friend who are gauging the seriousness of their situation. They have peer groups, so hearing other people's stories helps to explain your own and one-on-one counseling helps to explore what your options are.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse can put you in touch with the group closest to your friend -- 800-799-SAFE.. That is your/her best bet -- and they can also tell you things like alerting the police and how this gets complicating the first time you report something. Anyway, I hope that she pursues this even to just get an expert's opinion.

- Amy


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