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What a week (and it's only Wednesday)!

Over the weekend, an old friend contacted me and asked if she could come and stay with us. She had a baby 7 weeks ago and eluded to having problems with her husband. We haven't seen each other in years. We had a falling out over the man she is now married to because I thought he was bad news. At the time, she was only twenty and didn't want to hear what I was telling her so she put an end to our friendship and didn't speak to me again until a few months ago.
When she asked to stay, I had a feeling it was down to abuse (due to cryptic text messages and the fact she couldn't actually speak to me over the phone). With that in mind, I asked her not to tell him where she would be staying until after we spoke, but it was too late. She was on her way and he was driving her.
When they arrived, I could feel the tension. He stayed briefly and when he left she crumbled and cried. I hugged her and told her we'd talk when my son was in bed, but what ever it was it would be OK.
Later that night, she confirmed my suspicions. She is in an abusive relationship and trying to get out. He is in the Army and has been to Afghanistan. She believes what ever he went through has made his temper worse and since the baby, things have escalated. We talked deep into the night (while I drank wine and chain smoked through our discussions). I have experience with this sort of thing and was forced to face demons I was in no way prepared to face.
She considered not going back, but admitted he has a fire arm in the house and with him knowing where she was thought it wouldn't be safe for any of us. I have to admit that my reaction to this information was a strong one. I yelled at her and said, 'How can you bring this into my house?? You are not the only one with a family here!' She crumbled and cried again. I hugged her and apologized and then I went into survival mode to come up with a plan.
My plan was instant. I told her to call him and tell him that she talked to me about their problems and she felt 100% better. She did. She told him I made her realize that it was hormones that made her over emotional and behave badly. She told him that I helped her see that all that's important is their love for each other and their new family. This completely defused the situation. He felt secure and happy (which was my plan all along) and let her stay a few extra days instead of making her go back the following day.
During the last few days we called hotlines for victims of domestic violence and got advice on how to get her out and what she could do to get assistance. The plan is that she keeps him happy while she's there and makes her plans to leave. She says all the right things (which I tried coaching her on) to never let things escalate into an argument. In the meantime, she will tell him that I've moved and a few weeks later tell him that her and I had a falling out so he never comes here looking for her when she does get out. We got her a phone he won't know about and arranged for her to get a separate bank account and a loan for a deposit and first month's rent on a new place. It will take a couple of months, but a plan has been made.
Today, he came a day early to pick her up and I had to let her go and just watch her and her precious baby leave. She's so young and I feel like I threw her to the wolves. I'm a wreck. Between what's happening with her and facing the demons from my past, I have gotten very little sleep, have been plagued with nightmares and have managed to eat very little in days. Until she's out and safe, I doubt very much I'll be able to relax or even breathe normally.


Missy said…
You have done the best you can with a very difficult situation. It says a lot about you that she knew she could come to you after so long. She is lucky to have you. Stay strong xo

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