Sunday, February 25, 2007

DEAR DEBBY - 2/25/07

Dear Debby,
You really are a little full of yourself, aren’t you? I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I’d like to know what makes you qualified to do this?

Actually, I’m a lot full of myself. I would hope that every woman gets to that point in her life when she is confident in her strengths, understanding of her weaknesses, and generally comfortable with the person she has matured into. I’m there and that alone allows me to be as full of myself as I damn well please. Now, the better question is what makes me unqualified and why should I not do this? I have the right to share my opinions, my thoughts, and my stories, as I’m so inclined. You have the option to ignore me or not. This is like TV – good and bad. If the program offends or bores you, change the channel.

Dear Debby,
My best friend is in an abusive relationship. I have seen her boyfriend yell and scream at her and call her names many times. He’s extremely jealous and has to know where she is all the time. I have never seen him hit her but the way she acts around him I think it may have happened. What should I do?

Have an open and frank discussion with your friend about what you believe is happening. When she denies it, and more than likely she will deny it, just let her know that you will always be there for her no matter what. If she is a victim of domestic violence she needs to know the following: the abuse is not her fault; she doesn’t deserve to be abused; she can’t change someone who is abusive; staying in the relationship won’t stop the abuse; with time, the abuse will get worse; she needs a plan in case the abuse gets worse.

Should she ever need to get away, she should be prepared. She should document her abuse and keep evidence (pictures, police reports, etc.) in a safe place. She should know who she can turn to and where she can go if she needs to run. She should leave extra money, a spare set of car keys, important papers, and extra clothes with someone she trusts. Her emergency kit should also include a list of important numbers like insurance, driver’s license, medication, checkbook, credit cards, etc.

Then you be prepared should she turn her back on your friendship. If that happens remember it’s not about you but about her own fears. Many years ago I suspected a close friend was being abused by her husband. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw him hit her so hard that he sent her flying across the room. I picked up the telephone and called the police. He was arrested on the spot. I told her everything I knew I needed to say to her. An hour later she was trying to get him bailed out. They are still together. She and I will occasionally speak on holidays. I live with the knowledge that I did what I know I needed to do. I miss her dearly and as her friend, I am still here for her should she ever need me to be. I accept that there is little else that I can do.

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