Not Sure if I’m Venting or Seeking Advice.

This isn't locked down to any particular group of people – there are only three people on my friends list, in fact, who have been restricted from reading it. I want to make one thing clear, though. Even though this starts with “I have a friend who…” I really am NOT talking about ME. It is a friend. One who posts to LJ, in fact.

I have a friend who hasn't worked since she married her now-husband five years ago. She seemed so happy when they married. Six months later, when she wanted to reaffirm their committment at a con for a fandom we were both sort of interested in, she asked me to help her write the ceremony…and I did.

She found online diaries long before I did. In fact, since she had copious amounts of time in which to play on the net, she would often IM me with funky/funny/cool/inspiring websites. So she started writing at OD, and got me hooked.

Her first OD was pretty fluffy, really, but then she started remembering things from her childhood, and started going deeper. And then she became afraid of what she was remembering, and stopped posting.

When she started posting again, it was darker. This was a woman who was obviously depressed. She admitted to having been molested by a teacher as a child, and said her parents had never believed her, and still don't.

Another lapse in posting, and then she came back, and said she was writing about stuff she didn't want her husband to know.

In the last few months, in her latest incarnation, she's written that her supposedly happy marriage was her calculated design to leave home, and that she never wanted to be any more than a friend to this man. And, more recently, she's written that he's abusing her, that her parents have seen her with bruises at family events, and that they've said, “You're better off with him then alone.”

I know…it sounds like a really bad novel.

And here is why I'm posting.
First, there's a part of me that really wants to help her, but when it's pointed out that she's home all day alone, with no one to stop her from calling the authorities, or calling for help, she makes excuses.

Second, because she has a history of hiding the truth, exaggerating things, etc, there's a part of me that can't help but wonder if she's making it all up.

A mutual friend of ours has been a good sounding board, and we go back and forth. Sure, it'd be easy to loan, or give, her the money to get out, but what if she's lying, or what if she isn't, but turns it over to him. I've spent enough time volunteering for crises centers that I know that even the most educated empowered abuse victims have trouble leaving their abusers.

And then, we've considered confronting the husband, but, we have no guarantee that he'd tell the truth. And, if SHE is, we could be doing more harm than good.

And then, there's a part of me that is angry with her, not for being a victim, but for being so picky about how she gets out. “Oh, I won't take help unless my family offers.” “Oh, I won't take money unless you give me enough to live on my own, because I don't want you to see me not make it.”

So, I'm alternately puzzled, confused, and angry, and feeling like a horrible friend for not doing something.

This was all very circular.
Sorry about that.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Not Sure if I’m Venting or Seeking Advice. by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.