Find an attorney and take steps to get away from abusive wife
Q: I'm in a terrible marriage, and I don't know how to get out of it. I have two small children, which greatly complicates things. My wife has become extremely abusive, both physically and verbally. She has thrown plates and glasses at me, hitting me in the face once, which required a trip to the ER for stitches. Every day I get home, she berates me for any number of things (not making enough money is a favorite).
I desperately want out of this marriage, but she told me that if I try to divorce her, she'll take every penny I have, and, worse, she'll tell the police that I'm abusing the children. Her parents back her up 100 percent and they said they're willing to lie on her behalf to make sure I never see the kids again if I leave her. What do I do?
A: Find a very good attorney, right away, and quietly get detailed instructions on how to protect yourself from (and credibly document) what your wife is threatening, and to protect your kids from this damaging home. You can also call toll-free 1-800-799-7233 to get similar instructions and referrals to local counseling and legal resources. Nurture those kids, and — again — take very careful and considered steps toward extracting yourself and your children.
Fear of the future can't outweigh violence of your present life
Q: Thirty years ago, as a young woman, I worked on behalf of battered women. Your advice to all, female and male, who raise these questions is right on target. I cannot say enough that whatever they fear about the future, it will be so much better (and, one hopes, safer) than the present. If the victim can't do it for him/herself, do it for the children — one way or another, the violence always seeps toward them. And by the way, many high-end law firms have partners that will take this kind of work on pro bono — it's worth contacting your local bar association.
A: Great suggestion, thank you. It's also worth noting that the risk of violence increases when a victim is actively trying to get away. So, getting to safety is necessary, but in itself can be dangerous.
Go ahead, argue on Facebook if you want to seem childish
Q: Is it wrong to argue with people on Facebook? When people in my family (who are also my Facebook friends) make me angry, I post on their page telling them so. People tell me I shouldn't do that, but I'm an adult. I can do what I want. I am just sticking up for myself when I do it.
I'll post status updates, and people post comments that are sometimes just rude. People tell me I shouldn't post personal things about my relationship and are always on my case for posting things to my boyfriend in my status updates. Is it so wrong that I want to prove to the world that I love him? Why should I have to stop posting certain things just because other people don't like them?
A: You're entitled to be as childish and self-indulgent on your posts as you'd like to be, if that's what you mean. Your friends and family are also entitled to un-friend you. I'm surprised they haven't.