Con­trolled friend is cause for worry

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

I am con­cerned about one of my friends, “Amanda.” She and I are both mid­dle-aged house­wives with only part-time jobs. Amanda comes from a much more re­pressed back­ground than I do. She was raised to be­lieve that wives should be sub­mis­sive. Amanda has com­plained about her con­trol­ling hus­band. She told me he checks her phone and email all the time. How­ever, she has such an up­beat, happy dis­po­si­tion, I thought she was ex­ag­ger­at­ing. About a month ago, she told me that since she’s got­ten to know me, she’s had the courage to speak up to her hus­band about some things for the very first time, and it has led to some pos­i­tive changes in their mar­riage.

The next week, Amanda’s hus­band just showed up with her at our lunch. I wel­comed meet­ing him be­cause I knew he could see that I’m a straight woman who poses no threat.

Since then, how­ever, he has come with her ev­ery week. He owns his own busi­ness, so he must have re­ar­ranged his whole sched­ule! He sits with us but doesn’t say much. Of course, my con­ver­sa­tion with Amanda is quite dif­fer­ent with him there. This whole thing seems weird. Do you have any sug­ges­tions?

Though you might be limited in what you can say to Amanda, your mere pres­ence speaks vol­umes. It tells her she’s not alone — that some­one cares. To some­one in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship, that’s an in­valu­able mes­sage. And that’s why the best thing you can do for Amanda right now is to con­tinue at­tend­ing th­ese lunches and pre­tend­ing her hus­band’s pres­ence is wel­come. Any per­ceived re­jec­tion of him would be used to sep­a­rate you from her. Call The Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line (800-799-7233) for more guid­ance.

I cer­tainly sym­pa­thize with “Con­cerned Le­gion­naire’s Wife.” Many years ago, I at­tempted to sign up for an Amer­i­can Le­gion post but was told by a mis­in­formed in­di­vid­ual that women could not join the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Rather than judge the en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion by the er­ro­neous view of one in­di­vid­ual, I found an­other Amer­i­can Le­gion post. To­day I am the na­tional com­man­der of The Amer­i­can Le­gion, and that orig­i­nal post dis­plays my of­fi­cial pho­to­graph with the words, “She could have be­longed to this post. Re­mem­ber, women are vet­er­ans too!”

Though I can­not speak about the spe­cific al­le­ga­tions that “Con­cerned Le­gion­naire’s Wife” men­tioned, I would like to en­cour­age her to re­port any malfea­sance to her state’s Amer­i­can Le­gion head­quar­ters. Cre­ated in 1919 by a group of World War I vet­er­ans, The Amer­i­can Le­gion was founded on the pil­lars of vet­er­ans care, a strong na­tional de­fense, Amer­i­can­ism and pa­tri­otic youth pro­grams. It is an or­ga­ni­za­tion that Amer­ica can be most proud of. For God and Coun­try...

The be­hav­ior “Con­cerned Le­gion­naire’s Wife” de­scribed might have taken place at an Amer­i­can Le­gion post, but it had noth­ing to do with The Amer­i­can Le­gion — a point your thought­ful let­ter ham­mers home. Thank you for all that you and the or­ga­ni­za­tion have done.

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