TAG | depression
In September I had the opportunity to speak at Sojourner Center, Phoenix’s largest domestic violence shelter. (In fact it’s the largest shelter in the U.S.). After the presentation I was approached by several attendees who had questions to ask and stories to share. It’s always the most meaningful part of my work. Two of the women who introduced themselves to me were sisters; Lisa Pressman and Mindy Kavalerchik. Sixteen years earlier one of their sisters was murdered in an act of domestic violence. It was impossible to talk with these two and not feel their pain, as if it were yesterday. Lisa, a singer, musician and song writer, along with her husband, had written a song to express her feelings on the death of her sister. She shared it with me on a CD she brought with her. The song, TEACHER – MOTHER – SISTER – DAUGHTER is haunting yet beautiful.
I asked if each sister, including Debbie, who was not there that day, would be willing to write the story of her own experience with Ilene’s death. Each did. In the next months I will post these powerful, heart-wrenching stories, one at a time. I will also post Lisa’s song with a purchase link to iTunes. I know it will mean as much to you as it does to me.
Lisa’s story posted on March 8th. Now Mindy’s story:
Ilene’s Story by Mindy Kavalerchik, MSW ©2013
This past Thanksgiving night marked the 17th year anniversary that our beloved sister Ilene became a victim of intimate partner homicide. The question continues to haunt my thoughts: if we knew then what we know now, could we have saved her and kept our nephew from becoming orphaned that night and almost certainly deceased as well? My 13-month-old nephew was left in his crib: if not for my sister’s housekeeper entering her home the next morning, he surely would have died as well. I unfortunately know that the answer to my constant questioning is a resounding no. If a suicidal, estranged spouse wants to kill, he will always find a way. My sister and brother-in-law had signed a separation agreement three days prior to her murder. My estranged brother-in-law had wanted a statement included in the agreement that my sister would not date for some period of time; of course she refused to include the statement. I now know that this is the most dangerous time for an abused spouse due to the perpetrator losing his ability to exert power and control over his spouse; he will kill if necessary to attempt to maintain that power and control.
My brother-in-law began stalking behaviors such as constant calling, and threatening suicide immediately following the signing of the agreement. My sister had contacted the police; the response that she received was that nothing could be done until a crime was committed. My elder sister Debbie and I begged my sister to come to our homes for Thanksgiving, to change the locks on her doors, and I offered to come and stay with her. My sister, being the strong, independent, empowered woman that she now was, refused all assistance, feeling that she “ could handle it “.
My brother-in-law had been drinking Thanksgiving Day, found his twin brother’s gun and then drove to my sister’s home where he parked and hid his truck in the back of the house to lay in wait for my sister and their son to return home from Thanksgiving dinner with a friend. Only my sister and her abuser know the following events, and the horror of what she endured continue to torment me. The only solace that I can find is that my sister experienced the terror and her death once; those of us left behind experience the events over and over.
The following scenario is what we believe took place on that fateful Thanksgiving night, according to homicide detectives. My sister and nephew had gone to bed; my estranged brother-in-law awakened my sister and forced her downstairs. There was evidence of a struggle in the bedroom; pillows and sheets thrown from the bed and personal items lay all over the floor. My sister was shot three times – once in the right arm, twice in the chest and abdomen. There was very little blood where my sister had fallen; therefore we believe that she died very quickly. We will never know the suffering that she endured prior to her death, the argument and emotional torture that she suffered. Upon entering her home with the homicide detectives we found tremendous amounts of blood in the entry way, walls, sofa, living room rug; all from my estranged brother-in-law following his suicide by shooting himself in the head. I laid down where my sister had fallen, trying to find some comfort, be close to her in death. I stomped my feet in my brother-in-law’s blood as though that would punish him for murdering my beloved sister. I have since come to forgive him, and tell myself that my sister gave her life to save her child from an abusive man.
As I write the tears flow, the pain comes anew, but of course, it is always there. My sister was three years older than I, and she was my idol for as long as I can remember. I was blessed to look and sound like her; this was a tremendous source of pride and identity for me as I was growing up. Our mother died when I was three, my sister was six; my sister then became my surrogate mother, and I never dreamed that I would have to live without her love and her guidance.
Obesity is a growing epidemic—health care spending for obese adults is 40 percent higher than for normal weight adults and the economic cost of obesity in the United States is increasing by more than $13 billion per year; and
Six of the seven most common chronic diseases can be caused or worsened by obesity – and these six diseases cost employers $1.1 trillion annually in lost productivity.
In an interview I conducted several years ago Dr. Ellen Taliaferro stated, “Intimate partner violence and abuse usurps precious healthcare dollars. While it is true that women present to the healthcare system for treatment of their injuries, the vast majority of healthcare dollars are spent on medical visits for conditions such as pain, headaches, depression, post-traumatic stress, cardiac disease, gastrointestinal problems, etc. that result from past violence and abuse.
Unfortunately, the fact that these conditions may be caused by abuse goes unrecognized, and the patient returns time and time again for unresolved health problems. Identifying the abuse as a possible contributor can enhance successful treatment and stop the drain of healthcare dollars.”
In Stress management online Q&A for Mayo Clinic I located this information:
Edward T. Creagan, M.D. wrote: “When you’re under stress, you may find it harder to eat healthy. Also, during times of particularly high stress, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs — sometimes called stress eating or emotional eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie foods during times of stress, even when you’re not hungry.”
It’ s no secret or surprise that stress, depression and the effects on health that Dr. Taliaferro described are all potential factors in weight gain. Which is a national epidemic. All these issues are closely intertwined and all the more reason to accept that domestic violence does affect all of us. Whether you are personally involved in a domestically violent relationship or not.
We have got to have workplaces that accept and assume an active role in eradicating domestic violence in the lives of their employees.
Most companies wait to see “obvious” signs, or experience an event in the workplace.
If it’s gotten to that point it has already been simmering under the surface, and affecting your organization. No company is immune – early intervention and prevention are the answer.
The good news is more and more leaders in high stakes positions are realizing the value of this service, particularly in this stressful time. When you are proactive, you realize that you may not personally have seen, experienced or even heard of domestic abuse in the lives of your employees. You simply realize that no one and no organization is immune.
There is a specific, yet very simple process for creating workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-after that does not have to weigh you down. Just ask us – we’ll give you the skinny on it.
Dear readers – This blog ran previously and continues to bring positive impact to readers. That makes me glad.
This month of awareness has assisted in bringing together those who work to bring an end to Domestic Violence, as well as move forward legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. As we move forward to October and participate in activities that support in bringing awareness and memorial to this ever present issue, we aid those who are suffering everyday to bring them one step closer to safety, and a healthier life for themselves, and their family. What might be things you can do to stop domestic abuse?
In your place of worship
1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation’s programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.
2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.
3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.
In your workplace
4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.
5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.
6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.
In schools and daycare
7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.
8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with your classmates.
9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.
In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods
10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.
11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.
12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.
13. “Adopt” a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.
As a Citizen
14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.
15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.
16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.
18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.
19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fundraising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.
20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.
21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.
Source original for this article: http://www.thepaper247.com/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=22&ArticleID=17559&TM=9137.525
bottom line · Brown Bag lunch · business · Coaching · conflict · consulting · costs · crime victim’s rights · depression · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employer · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · management · offender · personal safety · relationships · risk · Speak out against domestic abuse · strategic leadership · stress in the workplace · training · victim · violence
Not long ago, I was speaking to a woman at a conference about the work that I do. It immediately prompted a strong, positive reaction from her. She was completely on board with my mission and my area of expertise. We had a lively conversation, and she shared many thoughts with me. I asked her if she would put those thoughts to paper and allow me to make a guest blog of her writing. Below is Paula’s inspiring message. S. Angelo
Guest Writer Paula Weigel
In the book Not to People Like Us* the author begins her first chapter with a story about white collar domestic abuse. The author apparently interviewed a woman who was married to a very well-known and influential Chicagoan. The woman tells a story of abuse by her husband: a highly respected business man and civic leader. It was the man’s birthday and she invited a group of their friends over for a birthday dinner and cake celebration. After dinner there was left over birthday cake which the man’s wife gave away to their friends. When the people left he, essentially, beat the crap out of her… for giving away the birthday cake. Nice. Now wouldn’t you want to know what corporation this man lead or what law firm he owned?
There is a fallacy that domestic abuse only comes from the blue collar world. The reality is that domestic violence is alive and well in the white collar world as well which is why the previous mentioned book was written. The author interviewed a number of influential Chicago women who told the story of abuse in their own lives.
This book is riveting. In fact, in thinking about domestic violence there are two aims to consider: the perpetrators and the victims. The perpetrators could be those individuals who are running corporations or merely working in the blue collar professions. The victims can come from influential families or hiding in the shadows of a violent blue collar man.
Many people leading organizations don’t believe that “people bring their personal problems” to work or that they should bring them to work. This sounds terrific if human kind were not wired up with emotions. It takes years to build a stoic persona to deal with the problems of home and the problems of work. Those years can lead to decades, if it can even be done by the best of actors. Leaving problems “outside the office” naturally surface in to the office because ultimately what happens is that individuals either drink, use drugs, shop or act out in other ways to resolve the inner conflict. To make matters worse, individuals then become angry, hurtful, mean and unreasonable as they go about their days at work. Sometimes this acting out is intentional and other times people do it unconsciously.
When individuals come from good, strong, safe environments they learn over time how to stand their ground, resolve conflict, manage their egos, be their best without reproach, and to serve and be served in many healthy ways. They can be nice, amenable, open, tough, tenacious, willful, maintain boundaries, and still gain respect from those around them.
The process of growth and becoming a better person takes time. Each individual must go through whatever is necessary to pass through their own individual life tests. Sometimes the pain in their lives magnify in their 20′s, 30′s, 40′s or 50′s. Perhaps even later, but eventually their spirit or mind forces them to deal with whatever is happening within.
That pain, as mentioned earlier, shows up in a lot of different ways. At work, for example, it exudes in wanting to demoralize a staff member because a spouse demoralized them, or shaming another because of growing up in an environment of shame, showing excessive arrogance and elitism due to one’s social and economic status, or it can exude in a multitude of ways. The lucky ones get the mysterious awareness of just knowing something is off and that they must deal with x to improve their work life, their relationships, or their home life.
Life is not easy. We are not all given the right tools to deal with the stress of work, home, and life. Getting good help and often objective help is better than no help at all. One of the key parts of life is becoming good human beings. We spend a lot of time at work, we need people to model good business/people behavior and then allow the modeling to be taken back to homes and neighborhoods. Sometimes this happens in reverse. The people who come from healthy environments and know how to deal with conflict and other individuals must take these tactics to the business world to teach other leaders how to treat others.
*By Susan Weitzman, PhD
It Can Be Too Late
How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s never too late to get out of a domestic violence situation?” Or “It’s never too late to get help”?
I hate to say it but they’re wrong. It can be too late. If you’re in Arizona (and I imagine the news has traveled across the states) you’d have seen the news footage and read the articles about 5 deaths in Gilbert, Arizona on Wednesday, May 2nd. When J.T. Ready allegedly (love the legal term) shot his girlfriend, her adult daughter, the daughter’s daughter (only an infant!) and the daughter’s girlfriend. Then he shot himself. Five people dead.
According to what I’ve read and heard the girlfriend, Lisa Mederos, was a victim of domestic violence; and it had been going on for a long time.
According to the most recent fatality report on the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s web site, as of December 23, 2011 there have been 101 domestic violence related fatalities in Arizona.
I shudder to think what 2012 will show.
A friend of mine recently commented that the key to domestic violence prevention is to not get involved with guys like this in the first place. She’s right. Because it’s a long, hard, dangerous battle if you believe someone with abusive tendencies is going to change for you. Yes, by all means, it can happen. Just don’t risk your personal safety and gamble your life on it. And if you see it happen to someone you know, and yes if you are exposed to domestic violence at work, there are resources. No one should ever feel there are no options to getting out.
Whether you’re heterosexual or LGBTQ here are a few red flags to look for:
- breaks things
- slaps, kicks or punches you
- shoves you
- bites you
- chokes you
- hurts your children
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
- calls you stupid, worthless or other insulting names
- becomes extremely jealous of family and friends
- has a temper that frightens you
- says, “I did it for you own good”
- accuses you of being unfaithful
- will only be pacified if you “give in”
- forces you to do things you don’t want to do sexually
- rapes/sexually assaults you
Abuse through Control
- controls the money
- tells you what to wear
- monitors your whereabouts at all times
- questions your parenting skills
- criticizes you in front of the children
- belittles your family and friends
If you feel:
- afraid to tell others what is happening at home
- like it is all your fault
- you were wrong and somehow provoked the abuser
- the abuser should be forgiven because of abuse of alcohol or drugs
- no one else would want you.
These are all signs of an abusive relationship. Services are available. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for more information.
Please contact me with your questions. We’ll develop strategies so this doesn’t happen to you, your company, friends and coworkers.
An unintended outcome of my work with executive leaders and their employees is that I hear no shortage of stories from people who have lived with abuse. Many are former victims, now survivors, or they were indirectly victimized because they lived with someone, like a parent, who was directly victimized. I’m glad this happens; these stories. It never ceases to amaze me; all the heinous ways in which one person can purposefully torture another.
There are lots of success stories from these courageous people who found a way to leave their abusers. The list below are 10 ways to leave an abusive situation. The order in which they appear is my own opinion. Yours may be very different. And besides that, rarely is only one of these tips going to lead to escape; it typically takes a combination. So don’t despair.
In my book Battered and Abused – Bringing the Darkness into the Light Dawn wrote the story of the atrocious abuse at the hands of her live-in boyfriend. She finally fled with the help of a friend.
“He had total control over me.
How could I let this happen? How could I let things get so out of control? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Why didn’t I leave again? It was because I was ashamed. I didn’t want my family and friends to know what was happening to me.
I knew it wasn’t my fault. I knew it was wrong. I knew all of these things in my rational mind, but every time I thought rationally, I would hear that scared irrational voice in my head. What if he was right? What if my family and friends thought I was the crazy one? What if they believed him and not me? What if they thought less of me? What if they were ashamed of me? What would everyone think when they found out all of the horrible things he had done to me?”
Dawn did everything on this list, expect #3 because she didn’t have children or a job at the time. She did them in her own order and at a pace that felt right and felt safe for her. But she survived.
10. Contact the National DV Hotline for someone to talk to
9. Contact a local shelter and/or an alternative safe place to go. Or call the National domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.
8. Collect things you’ll need in an overnight bag for you and your children) hide the bag someplace you can get to it.
7. Talk with your children about a plan
6. Set aside money and spare keys.
5. Make copies of important documents; i.e. Marriage license, insurance, driver’s license, Orders of Protection.
4. Be sure to clear the history, cookies, internet searches and private conversations from your computer. Use only computers not accessible to your abuser or the abuser’s friends who might help them find you.
3. Talk to your children’s school about your safety plan. Talk to your employer.
2. Keep notes of the abuse; what was said, who witnessed, dates times – the devil is in the details. Keep photos of injuries and keep medical records. Maybe it’s the Human Resources manager in me but the credo here is: document, document, document. Be crystal clear and very specific.
1. Contact the police to help you get your things out of the house. Never go along and resist the urge to bring your friends.
- Put Safety Plan Shoe cards in all of your shoes; hide them in books too. Available in English and Spanish at http://hressential.com/resources.html
- YOU must absolutely, completely and totally stop coming up with excuses to stay, denials that the abuse will happen again, and the belief the abuser will stop. Abuse is not love. Why would you deny yourself the opportunity to have a healthy relationship? Why would you continue to expose your children and risk lives? This is NOT re-victimizing you. Face it though – there comes a time where you – and only you can make the decision to go.
- Don’t get involved with an abuser in the first place. Know the warning signs and red flags early on. Refuse to accept excuses and justifications for abuse!
What constitutes abuse? The National Domestic Violence Hotline asks the following questions.
“Does your partner:
• Embarrass you with put-downs?
• Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
• Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
• Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
• Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
• Make all of the decisions?
• Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
• Prevent you from working or attending school?
• Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
• Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
• Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
• Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
• Force you to try and drop charges?
• Threaten to commit suicide?
• Threaten to kill you?”
Last weekend I was joyfully out taking photos with my Nikon and attached 70-300 “long” lens. If you’re familiar with this camera and lens combination, you’ll know that the total weight is almost 1 ½ pounds. About to drive to a new photo op, I got into my driver’s seat, and lifted the camera off from around my neck by the strap. But it didn’t go. That lug of a contraption swung back toward my chest and as I lifted the strap I chunked myself right under the chin. It snapped my jaw shut and sent my upper teeth right through my bottom lip. Aye yi yi! That hurt!
“Crud!” O.K., that’s not really what I said, but you get the gist. I had no time to waste so I sucked it up (blood included) and continued on my journey. Fortunately, I was headed to an ice rink. Great! I could get ice on my lip. No, not from planting myself face down on the skate surface! I went to concessions and asked for ice in a napkin. Clearly the vendor had seen his share of rink accidents; he pulled out a baggy instead and filled it up. Ahh, relief. I was mortified though. My lip was swelling and I resembled a cowboy with a mouthful of chewing tobacco. To my utter horror, the area below my lip was taking on a deep purple hue. And I had tickets that night to the theater with a four star dinner beforehand.
I readied myself with one liners for each time I had to explain to someone what happened to my lip. I just knew people would goggle and stare. “What happened to YOU?” they’d say. I’d hear it over and over again.
But I didn’t. In the week’s time that it took for the swelling to subside and the bruise to fade, not one person asked how I’d been hurt. No one asked if I was O.K. No one said a thing. Certainly it can’t be because they were worried about embarrassing me more regarding my lack of grace and coordination.
Ah, the irony.
In training, I dialogue with managers and employers about the importance of asking if someone is O.K. The managers and I spend a significant about of time on skill practices and the pros and cons of various dialogues and questions to ask employees. Like does the person need assistance finding resources, would they like help getting out? People who are victims of abuse need to know someone cares and they are achingly waiting for someone to reach out and offer an ear of concerned listening.
I’m really lucky; it was my own klutziness that decorated my face with a fat lip. But what if that wasn’t the case? Go back to my most previous blog Six Steps to Safe Environments to Ask For Help and read up on talking to someone who is a victim of abuse. It can make a word of difference to someone.
As for me, my lip is healed, but my pride still hurts. Maybe I should go back to my little pocket camera.
camera · Coaching · collaboration · consulting · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence in the workplace · employees · Nikon · personal safety · team work · training · violence
When the Human Resources manager called to describe the female employee’s resistance to discussing the abusive husband who kept showing up at the workplace; making his presence in her life achingly obvious with emails, phone calls and stake-outs in the parking lot.
“She won’t talk with me.” said the manager. “She clams up.” They asked me to meet with the woman on their behalf, thinking that a neutral outsider could encourage her to help.
So we sat down, the Human Resource manager, the employee and me. And that’s where I got my big surprise. The manager barked an order at the woman that she “has to” meet with me. The tone of her voice was angry, and insistent as she gave her a directive, “You will talk with Ms. Angelo until she says you can go!” Ouch. Quite frankly that answered a lot of my questions as to why this woman was so reluctant to talk.
When you are a domestic violence victim, discussing the dynamics of your relationship is very, very complex. We have written about that in other blogs. Let’s focus now on how to create safe environments to ask for help for victims of domestic violence.
1. Start with your room environment. Invite the employee to talk with you in a place that’s quiet and not where everyone can see you talking. Have water and tissue boxes available on the table. (Some say you should not hand a tissue to someone crying as it sends a subliminal message that they should stop. Instead ensure they can easily reach tissues on their own).
2. Be an “active listener.” This sends the message that you are genuinely interested and respect what they have to say. Give your full attention and comment on what you think you heard. If you did not understand what was said, ask for clarification. Ask open ended questions that do not convey judgment. For example you can ask, “Could you tell me more about that?”, “What do you mean he has a temper just like his father?” “What happened next?” “Would you like help getting out?” “May I give you a list of resources and phone numbers?”
3. Be positive and have an upbeat tone of voice. No one likes to listen, or open up, to someone who is grumpy; smile. Show enthusiasm and be positive when having conversations with victims or suspected victims. I am not saying that you should make light of their trauma. Just don’t wallow in it either. Empathy not sympathy. Maintain eye contact without staring. Nod occasionally and lean forward slightly.
4. Offer guidance that addresses the person’s problem, behavior, or concern. Do not criticize for wrong or bad behavior; instead develop an action plan to help the victim (or offender) change the situation that’s unsafe and/or affecting their work. Talk about strategies they can use in difficult situations. Discuss hypothetical scenarios such as what he/she can do if they are in an unsafe situation and hopefully avoid getting into dangerous situations. Remember though, this is based on offering resources, like shelter information, hot-line phone numbers and your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP). It is not to suggest you act as their therapist.
5. Maintain and enhance self-esteem and self-respect. People with positive self-esteem are more likely to reach out for help and accept the help that is offered. Where victims are concerned try to remember that the batterer, or offender’s, greatest ally is to minimize and strip their victim of self-worth. Most victims have been told so often that they are unworthy that they’ve come to believe it. You can help replace lost self-esteem.
6. Know your limitations. The reason clients seek me out for domestic violence training, is that it raises Domestic Violence Intelligence. Know that there are times that a subject matter expert can ensure you address the situation correctly and help safeguard your from making a mistake that could violate compliance or land you in hot water. If you are attempting to get your employee to seek help from experts, be the first to set an example and seek help yourself.
active listener · Coaching · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence in the workplace · Domestic Violence Intelligence · domestic violence prevention · Employee Assistance Provider · employees · employer · human resources director · management training · personal safety · Safe · self-esteem · Sought-after · stress in the workplace · Supportive · Therapist · training · violence
It can be agonizing to watch anyone stuck in the demeaning rut of domestic violence or abuse. Not a day goes by that I don’t encounter someone with a story to tell, a training has never ended without several people coming up to me to tell me their story, and not a webinar concludes without online or telephone contact with an attendee.
And sometimes the person I’m talking to is a friend. That was the case recently with a friend I’ve known since we were kids. She’s got her back against the wall. The freeloader she’s married to criticizes her, insults her, manipulates her, ridicules her, and cheats on her. He’s conned the kids and in-laws into believing she’s selfish and uncommitted to the relationship because she wants out.
“What’s his motive?” You ask. The guy’s sick. Cancer in every conceivable part of his body. But not so bad that ongoing rounds of chemotherapy and radiation aren’t doing an effective job of keeping the disease in check and the jerk alive. And she’s the one with the insurance policy. See the dilemma?
It’s not at all uncommon for there to be one, or many, obstacles to leaving, and this one is her’s. She feels guilty. She probably feels like she’s supposed to stick to her vows. Yet he’s masterfully reneged on all of his. She also knows quite well, that if the situation was reversed he would never stay with her to keep him on his insurance, if he had it, and see her through such a destructive illness.
I hope, for my friend, that one day she’ll be ready to see the financial and emotional abuse for what it is and get past the guilt. That medical problems aside, there is no marriage. In the best of health there was no marriage, and the hope that things will change is misguided and fruitless.
In the meantime, I’m on the outside looking in. All I can do is listen and love and support my friend. Would you be able to do the same for yours?