I have a friend from childhood. We come from an Indian background. Her parents have always been intrusive and extremely competitive with my parents, who are pushovers.
So we always held each other at arm’s length. Then we both got into serious relationships. After awhile I began to notice her boyfriend was abusing her. I played dumb in the beginning to get her to open up, and she told me stories that made me cringe.
We even spoke about her leaving him. Then suddenly she was planning a wedding and was married!
I also got married. She told me her husband thought ill of me for being in one relationship and then moving to another one and getting married! My previous relationship was abusive, and they both knew that. In order for me to not look bad to him, she lied and told him I was in an arranged marriage.
I was furious but she thought this lie would make me look good. She said she lied to him to continue our friendship.
We met up once to hang out and she asked me to help her out financially, which I did. Two weeks ago, she wanted to meet but canceled our plans three times saying she was sick. The third time was because of fractured ribs from falling down the stairs. This scared me. I asked if there was something she wanted to talk about. She asked what I meant by that.
When I told her she can tell me anything, she said everything is fine. Yesterday, another friend had a disturbing conversation with our friend about things her husband did to her.
This other friend and I want to do an intervention. It’s going to be hard to get her to meet us, but we want to try. Should we?
Aarna, her abusive husband doesn’t want his wife to have a friend who left an abusive boyfriend. His problem with you is the same problem he would have if his wife left him. How dare she think she has the right to say no to a man.
He doesn’t want his wife around a woman with wherewithal. So like a little mouse, your friend squeaked to her husband that you are locked in an arranged married, therefore it’s okay for her to be friends with you.
You hate to do this to people, but when you realized you didn’t have a genuine friendship with this woman, because of her parents’ manipulative nature, you should have ended it. It’s no surprise she ended up in an abusive relationship. It is what she was familiar with.
We would like for people to say, this is my life, I get to be free. We don’t want people to sacrifice their life or have their life taken from them. We want to belong to a modern world where humans are valued equally, but we need to be aware that people fall on a scale that measures a range of conduct.
Against some of them we have to find defense mechanisms. We are only as free as the society where we find ourselves.
Some people can handle snakes and not get bitten. Most of us can’t. Your friend is surrounded by toxic people. With toxic people you can’t let your guard down.
She is reaching out, but only to ask for money. Not help. Until she wants help there is little point in offering it. It will just make her defensive. It is not as if she asked for a place to go, and you offered to let her stay with you.
You think staging an intervention will be like playing a pungi, the flute snake charmers use. Play the pungi and the cobra will go back in the basket. Then you can put a lid on it.
That is wishful thinking. You made the offer. Now it is her move.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of November 10, 2014
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