Trying To Rescue a Friend
Dear Margo: A good friend began dating a man whom I will call Albert. Recently, she admitted he hits her and constantly checks up on her. Last month, some other concerned friends and I held an intervention and learned the true extent of his actions. He is verbally abusive, restricts her choices and movements, tracks her phone and car, calls constantly, and has hit her twice in the face while arguing. She is afraid to be herself and enjoy her own interests for fear of getting yelled at. At other times, Albert (who’s a med student!) is completely charming. I believe he could clinically be defined as a psychopath. If you were to meet him casually, you would not suspect a thing.
It took six hours to convince her that the relationship is unhealthy. At this point, because we told her we would pursue legal action if he continues, she has not told us anything else because she fears she would ruin his reputation. I heard from one of her other friends that he still hits her, and I want to let him know that, unlike my friend, I have no qualms about ruining his reputation. Thoughts? — Protective of My Friend
Dear Pro: Your friend in the abusive relationship sounds like she’s at the Stockholm syndrome stage. She’s afraid she’d ruin his reputation? I think it deserves to be ruined. I do not know the procedure, which I suspect has jurisdictional differences, for reporting an abuser if you are not the victim. Do inquire, though, at your local police department.
And regarding his being a medical student: As the wife of a physician with ties to a medical school, I can tell you the dean of students would be grateful for this information. I hope you don’t wait for your friend to decide she’s had it with him, because that likely won’t happen. She’s already been sucked into this sick cycle, and I hope you and her other pals succeed in getting her out in one piece. — Margo, persistently
When Not Everyone Behaves the Same
Dear Margo: I have been sending my nieces and nephews birthday gifts for the past 20 years. They are now in their 20s and early 30s. I sent the gifts until they graduated college, and now I just send a card. The problem is that my children are young teens, and this practice is not reciprocated by one s-i-l. Money is not an issue for her. My children say, “Auntie forgot my birthday again,” and I tell them they should not expect people to send gifts, but it is nice when they do.
I am ticked and feel slighted for my children. I have sent the offending aunt’s kids presents for birthdays, high school and college graduations, showers, weddings, and new babies. I feel she is rude and thoughtless. Am I wrong to feel this way? I find myself upset and obsessing about this. Should she be confronted in some way? — Feeling Slighted
Dear Feel: I agree that Auntie is thoughtless, and she’s certainly making no friends in the family. You cannot, however, make anyone send cards or gifts, nor can you enforce thoughtfulness. I am sorry your kids feel slighted. You might make this situation a teachable moment, as it were. One lesson is that you don’t give gifts to get them. Another is that not everyone behaves as you do, but being thoughtful is a lovely trait to have.
You’re not wrong to feel as you do, but by being upset and obsessing about someone else’s actions, you are the one who suffers. Auntie has no idea you are ticked. If it would make you feel better, you could mention that your kids would really appreciate a card on their birthdays — but be prepared for a defensive frost. — Margo, positively
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
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