** This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as shared with me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
I watched silently from my open kitchen window as my friend loaded the trunk of her car to go on a trip for her family reunion. Her husband was standing beside the car, ranting, and raving at her about her family.
My friend was nonplussed as she debated how to respond. I’d watched many a fit like this from her husband. He had a serious control issue, and my friend and I had discussed it many a time. I knew I was her silent witness again.
She looked up at me in the window, and I smiled, reassuring her that I was watching. She told her husband she was going and taking the kids with her. She deserved to see her family, and her family deserved to see her and the kids.
As my friend went back into the house to collect her children, her husband jumped into the car and left. My friend came back outside and was confused. She grabbed her cell phone and made a few calls. About an hour later, a friend from her church brought her the car. The church woman’s husband had followed and took the lady from the church back to her own house, leaving my friend with her car. There were no signs of her husband.
My friend checked the trunk of her car and ensured that all the things she had packed were still in the car's trunk. They were. She knocked on my door and told me she’d be back in three days. She asked me to observe her house and let her know if her husband returned. I agreed and told her to have a wonderful time.
As soon as my friend left the house with her kids, her husband returned to the house. He paced around the parking area, kicking rocks for a while, and then he went inside. I didn’t see much of him for the three days while my friend was gone. I avoided any conversation with him.
When my friend arrived back home, she found a note on her pillow. Her husband was apologizing. This wasn’t the first time, and it wasn’t going to be the last, but at least she got an apology. She later showed me the note, and then we looked at her pictures from the family reunion. She’d had a great time and taken many great pictures of her family and her kids with various family members, some of whom would pass away later that year.
I lived next door to my friend for many years. Her husband didn’t pull this stunt about family reunions again; however, he did pull many other controlling stunts on her. After 12 years of putting up with such tantrums, my friend finally had had enough and divorced this controlling man. Personally, I wouldn’t have waited so long, but that’s just me.
It can become dangerous when someone isolates you from your family and is controlling. It’s time to leave or at least bet some form of intervention. My friend had a lot of intervention in the form of counselors and pastors who tried to help her through this difficult time. I admire her strength. What would you have done? Have you ever had to deal with someone trying to keep you from your family and control you?