How to help a friend in an emotional abusive relationship

dragonz2000April 24, 2010

hi there

I like to get advise with how to help someone who is married to an emotional abusive wife for 20 years. In this situation it's the man who is being abused.

This is the situation.

He is 70 years old, the wife I think it's either in her late 40s or close to 50 years old. So far from what I had gathered, his current wife is running a business overseas and left him to do this business about 3 years. He is feeling lonely and he does go overseas to see her for a few months but he said he can only be near her for a short period only. The wife does visit him during summer for a short period and again he said he can only be near her for a short period only. He said that when his wife was back briefly to have a break from the business and over a health crisis (which turned up to be nothing). She was back initially for 10 days then it got extended to 7 weeks. During that period, he said he could only be with her briefly in the house, as she would go into rages and anger when she cannot get her way or something would set her off. He said she gets moody before her menstruation cycle and as for sex he gets it when she wants it. He said that when she wants it, he better give it to her or he is unsure when he is going to get it. He has said that she likes to lay on top of him when sleeping and the way she laid on him made it physically uncomfortable to him and if he tries to move her, she would slap or jab him.

He told me that his wife is nice to him for a period of time which I think it's 'the honeymoon phase' of cycle of abuse, then something or an event would triggered her off to be mean towards him. He said that the wife spend their money on many projects and from his perspective wasting money. Her behaviour from what I gathered is she would start a project, Example #1 she went into painting plants and she spend lots of money on it and did that for a while before giving it up. Example #2 she went into learning to play the piano and learned for a while and then stopped. Example #3 She earned good income with her job in Australia, then quit her job to start the business overseas. Example #4 She went and spend a few thousand dollars over a seminar to learn to make money in shares. He said that she kept telling him she knows how to do this and he does not, therefore to do it her way. He told me that it was a waste of money to do the seminar when it was unnecessary with what the seminar taught, as his wife did not understand what was taught in the seminar.

Currently the business overseas is costing a lot of money and not making money all the time, again he feels he's losing more money. He said he did advise the wife that the business will be difficult and would lose money, but the wife won't listen and went ahead with it.

He said that he has been waiting for many years to travel around our country with the wife which required taking 2-3 months time off work, but the wife never got around to do it apart from the short 30 days holiday trip to north of our country a few years ago. He said his wife behaves nicely when they go on holidays.

Before his wife went overseas to start this business, she was working and earning good income, since he is retired he is not earning money and he get his money via his dividends with his shares, therefore whatever the wife wants to buy and how she spends her money, he let her be. He said when she was working, he only had to put up with her rages and anger for short periods since she spend most of the day at work.

He said that she goes into rages and gets frustrated easily. If she does not get her way, she would rage and they would have a fight. From what I gathered he does not want to have a fight, so he do as he is told.

He told me he studied psychology many years ago and so he has some sort of a psychology background. I observed that he is isolated from his grown up children, his 1st wife (ex wife) and his siblings and I suggested that he write letters to his kids to reconnect with them and to tell his siblings of his situation. He said he has attempted to reconnect with his kids and he felt that they do not respond to him. He said he did spend last Xmas with them due to the current wife was still overseas. He said that the current wife in the past would not goto the Xmas party of his kids, siblings and his side of his family, therefore he won't go as he did not want the current wife to spend Xmas on her own. I do know that he goes visit his wife's parents and family when he went with his wife to visit her parents and family overseas.

He said the current wife said that it will be an instant divorce, over something to do with his children visiting him. His first born child had mental illness and past away last year or the year before, and he had to not disclose where his current wife and him lived to his kids and siblings when they shifted to their new house due to his late first born child's threats to murder his current wife and him many years ago. I had printed a heap of handouts about his situation and observed he prefers to read everything on hardcopy.

One of my greatest concern for him is whether his 2nd wife would take care of him when he reaches the age where he needs someone to take care of him. Do any of you think an abusive person like his wife (may be suffering from a personality disorder) would be capable to look after him without getting frustrated, angry and rageful and take it out on him, if she is unable to cope with caring for an aged person and perhaps dump him at an aged care facility? Have any of you heard any stories of the younger wife that is emotionally abusive caring for an aged hubby and what the outcome was? I had brought this issue up to him and he said he had thought about it lately. He said to me that since he has treated his wife well and looked after her well for so long, he said he expects her to look after him. Currently, his short term memory is not the best and he is in the process of getting a pair of hearing aids.

I have no confirmation if his wife suffers from personality disorder, so I am assuming she either is suffering from a disorder of some sort or some other causes. He thinks his wife could be bi-polar, after he saw something on TV recently about a man that suffers from bi-polar and one of his symptoms is hoarding. He said his wife hoards many shoes and dresses and has filled the cupboards in their house in Australia full of her shoes and dresses. The garage is the same where it's full of stuff that belongs to her and he said that he cannot find a spot to put his stuff in the garage and to work in the garage. As far as I know, the wife is renting an apartment overseas, which he has said something about needing to raise money for business rent and probably the aparment rent as well, while he lives in our country for months by himself.

He said he is not going to leave his marriage with his wife as he does not treat marriage as something you give up easily and he has personal reasons that he will not. But on the other hand, he has said that he would divorce her, if he does not get his money back from the business she went ahead to do overseas. I have no idea why he goes from a thought like that to the other thought. He said he will put up with her rages, anger and placate the wife if he has to, therefore the business do not lose money.

He had said things like

(1) if he does not go overseas to help his wife, she would blame him.

(2) he said going to overseas, he does not really want to be there and he puts it down as that country and business gives him anxiety.

(3) the wife will find a way to control him.

(4) he does not want to go overseas. The way he said it, it's like he has no choice but to go.

(5) the wife told him to get her a juicer when he visits her next month, and he said that has not rang her for 3 days and might end up fighting over discussing the juicer.

(6) while overseas he has seen her going into a rage over the running of the business.

He has been telling me many things, about his life and experiences, his interests etc etc. I said to him, have you ever spoken to his wife about what you have been telling me. He said (or reckon) that he did, but it's been a very long time ago though he said he does not remember if he did, since he has done that with his wife ie talking to the wife in person like the way he opened up with me. He said that his wife and him talked fine on the phone which I did remember hearing their conversation. It was mainly talking about what he did and what she did. I remembered the way he said that he has to go ring his wife overseas, it was like a chore.

Currently, he suffers from food allergies, had bowel cancer removed from his bowels 4 years ago and has diarrohea if he ate something he cannot tolerate. He went to get an Allergy test and found that he had a list of food and perservaties he cannot eat. I have no idea if his food allergies issue is brought on by the stress and the emotional abuse he has endured for so many years.

I am unsure what the problem is with his wife. To me she is emotionally abusive. I feel he is broken and he suffers from depression when he talks about his issues. I had seen an email the wife wrote to him starting with 'Dear Darling' seeming very charming to me.

I had advised him to seek counselling.

1) Should I informed his children and sibling about his emotional abusive situation? I got his kid's and one of his sibling's email address when he forwarded some emails to me.

2) Should I informed all his friends that he knows and I know about his situation and asked these friends to be supportive and do not disclose to him that they know his real situation? He has chatted to these friends about mainly how he is feeling like his health problems, his discomfort while overseas over the environment, when his wife is flying overseas (one of these friends commented that you are going to be a bachelor again), when he is flying overseas, and his wife would not take a longer break to travel around our country (one of these friends told me about this), but never telling them the truth how he has been treated by his wife.

I had written as much I had gathered and observed as I like to get some ideas what is really going on here.

Any advise will be helpful. Thanks.

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He is 70, she is in her 40s? Huh???

I am in my 40s, my dad is 72. Why would someone with such age difference be married to each other?

They don't even live together, why are they married? See each other few times a year?

Now he is concerned she won't be taking care of him? Is that why he married such young woman???? And she married him for money? What is this "marriage" about?

I don't see anything in this marriage that is worth saving.

How do you know this person? Are you related?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 11:18AM
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Jeeze, I thought MY marriage was weird!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:12AM
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Thanks Finedreams and Scarlett2001 for commenting.

They did live together until nearly 3 years ago when the wife decided to head overseas to setup a business, and he advise the wife it will be difficult to make money. He said the wife quit her high paying job without giving any reason and decided to go overseas to setup this business. What I gathered is he said they fight a lot. The wife sounds to me very controlling.

He said the wife always want to have her way and if she does not get her way, she would argue with him until she is right and get her way.

According to him he did not have a lot of money when he got divorced, so I do not think she married him for money. He said that she was a student studying in our country when he met her. He mentioned to me that when his wife was waiting for approval to live in our country, that she was unable to work. I am uncertain if after she got married she was applying to live in our country.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:07AM
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Unless you're prepared to allege incompetence and advise his family members of your opinion that he needs a conservator or guardian (good luck with that, when the wife opposes) you have zero power in this deal. If you think action on his behalf is needed, by all means inform his children and sibling (NOT his other friends) of your opinion. However, be prepared to lose him as a friend. He'll very likely tell you this was none of your business and will likely resent your intrusion among his own family -- and he'll be correct.

Friends listen, support, advise. They don't meddle..... except in cases of emergency and/or incompetence. You haven't described either of those circumstances. It appears to me you're considering meddling.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:39AM
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agree with asolo, not your business. that's why i ask are you at least related? she clearly married him in order to legally stay in the country, he wanted a young wife, so they both got what they wanted. what is your part in it? Do you want him to divorce and marry you instead? ;)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 6:35PM
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You lost me at....

"He said she gets moody before her menstruation cycle...."

Or rather, I just stopped reading because I started cracking up...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:26AM
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Thanks for the suggestions and appreciated the input.

Agreed that one should inform his family if it's emergency. Possibility he might be suffering from early stages of dementia and I have no idea if he is seeking medical profession for that. Why, he's got symptoms like short term memory loss (cannot remember recent events), anxiety, depression, changes in his behaviour and personality. He said he has been having a gradual short term memory loss over a number of years. I know of another elderly friend and this friend too is suffering from gradual short term memory loss and the effect is gradually debilitating.

It's difficult to suggest to him to go check his short term memory loss out with a doctor, as he is not one that would take advise well. So all I can do is give him a phone number of helplines here and let him sort it out himself. I will add that he is finding it hard like confused and lost with even managing his own life. He also suffers from bowel issues and must go to the toilet straight away. It's not funny because wait till you and I reached an elderly age we too would suffer from incontinence and bowel problems, therefore have some compassion and empathy.

Many years ago I know of a friend's Mum she suffered from dementia for many years and no one knew about it, not even my friend and my friend's Mum's relatives. It was only a year before she passed away something was done about it. My friend after living in another country for a decade, had to make decision to come back after making the decision to live in another country for good, then returned to sort the situation out.

I can inform you that my friend's Mum's condition by the time it was sorted out it was very sad, because my friend's Mum did not seek medical profession to get assistance and help years before, therefore no one knew my friend's Mum was suffering from dementia to intervene earlier.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 4:44AM
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how do you know the guy? how could you possibly know if he has bowel issues and how often he goes to the bathroom? are you related, live together, he shares all this with you? I just don't get it who is this HE. It is very sad with dementia and other health issues, but what are you asking here? WHAT KIND OF HELP ARE YOU ASKING? help in what? he could marry or divorce freely.

and you ignored my previous question, do you have romantic interest in a guy and want to be with him?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 6:20AM
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"I am in my 40s, my dad is 72. Why would someone with such age difference be married to each other? "

I know several people who have such an age difference. I agree, I wouldn't do it, but it does happen.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:01PM
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