Mrs. Linklater was hoping some battered woman would step up to the plate and consult with an advice giver this week. Well, at least someone's sisters did. Read the heartwarming tale of the abused woman followed by Prudence's by the book reply. Naturally, Mrs. L butts in to save the day. She's like that, you know.
Sleeping With the Devil
Handling a loved one's decision to stay with an abusive mate.
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005, at 4:48 AM PT
I have two sisters, and we're all in our early 30s. One sister went through a divorce a couple of years ago, and she's dated a few men since. She met someone last year and told us she was in love with him. We all met him, and he seemed very nice; they had a lot in common. She moved in with him a few months later. Not too long after moving in together, they had a huge fight, and he beat her up. I took her to the hospital, and I helped her file a police report. She was resistant, but my sister, mother, and I convinced her to get rid of him for good. We since discovered he'd been violent toward her in other situations. She recently decided that she wanted him back and said it didn't matter what we thought; all that mattered was her happiness. We feel we should not have to forgive him for what he did. She feels we should stand by her and her choice of mate. My sister and I never want to see him or be around him. Should we stand by our sister, no matter what her decision? Or should we stand our ground, even if it means losing our relationship with her?
It is always a good idea to keep the lines of communication open—in this case, so that you can be available to help your sister when/if she comes to her senses, hopefully before he hurts her again. Prudie's suggestion is to strongly convey your point of view, and give her some information about battered women and the prognoses of these damaging relationships. By all means, begin a paper trail of his transgressions, and call in the police when necessary. Tolerate the guy in a superficial sense, so that you're not cut off from your sister, and she'll come to you for help.
Mrs. Linklater sticks her butt in like a dumptruck getting ready to unload. Enough of this namby pamby keep the lines of communication open CRAP!!! Big Sis is on the recklessroad to OJ Simpson land. And there's no return with that ticket. The time for your empathetic support is OVER!! Here's what Mrs. Linklater would do if this were her sister:
She would purchase a headstone. Yes, she would spend the money and buy a grave marker. You read that right. Then she would put her sister's name on it. Maybe with "Our Beloved Sister" above it and a couple of angels with harps. Underneath her sister's name, she'd add "BORN" and the date of her sister's birth. When all the lettering was finished, she would drag the marker to her sister's house, put it in the ground, surround it with lots of fake flowers, including one of those huge floral sprays with RIP on it, ring the doorbell, get her sister to come out and say to her, "Hi, Sis. I hear you're back with What's His Name. So I took the liberty of getting your gravestone in advance. You can see I've had your name and the date of your birth put on it. I just need to know when you think he's going to kill you so I can add the date of your death."
And then leave. Boy, will she be pissed. But trust me, she will finally get the message. Then call her every day, for as long s it takes, to ask her if she knows the date of her death yet. Always use the word, "Death." You might want to ask her what music to play at her funeral. "Do you want the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the service, or should we save them for the burial site?" She probably won't talk to you after awhile, but still leave the message. Until she gets out, gets help, and gets on with her life without HIM.
For those on a budget, Mrs. Linklater recommends a trip to the Hallmark store and the purchase of several tasteful Sympathy Cards. Then, over lunch with your sister you could bring them out and ask her which ones she likes best. And when she inquires whom they are for you just say, "Oh, I'm going to give them to Mom and Dad after HE kills you. Nice, don't you think?"
Mrs. Linklater is not kidding. If there's one thing she's learned working with battered women, it's that the longer a woman stays in an abusive relationship the more she becomes deaf to the concerns of her friends. Until he beats her up so bad she almost dies. Or, in fact, she wakes up one day and she's already dead. So you have to do something that makes the point LOUD AND CLEAR.
Mrs. Linklater is nothing if not helpful.