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On the Lines- The Hotline, September 2010

“I can’t even stop by to see my parents without his permission,” my caller told me.

My caller described her relationship with her husband as something that started out very loving and comforting, but soon deteriorated into something that she described as “monstrous” and “unbearable.” About two years into my caller’s marriage, her husband started getting paranoid that she was going to leave him. He would check in on her constantly, often asking detailed, minute-by-minute accounts of her day. Sometimes, he would check her routes on Google maps and make sure that the mileage on her car matched her story.

One day, she had taken one hour to do the grocery shopping. When she got home from that shopping trip, her husband was furious. He insisted that she should only need 30 minutes to do the shopping. When my caller told him that she sometimes needed more than that, he slammed her head against the piano bench and told her never to talk back to him again. It was the first time he physically hurt her, but it would not be the last. She lived in constant fear.

On the day she called The Hotline, she had gone to see her parents. They noticed a new bruise on her upper arm, one in the shape of her husband’s hand. She told them that she couldn’t stay to discuss it with them; she had to get home before her husband got suspicious. She said that the looks on her parents’ faces broke her heart. In that moment, she knew that she needed help. I let my caller know that I was glad she called. She did not deserve to be treated the way she had been treated, and she was not alone. We explored the ways that she could keep herself physically and emotionally safe, and we discussed her options and resources in going forward.

She ended the call with a sigh of relief. “Thank you,” she said. “Without you, he literally might have killed me or driven me crazy. You have saved my life!”