I have a wonderful friend whom I a have shared a fifteen-year relationship with since we were kids in high school. She has been a God send in my life more than once and I have always been able to depend on her for support and a shoulder to cry on when needed.
My friend has a problem; she mentally and verbally abuses her children. There have been times when I will be talking to her on the phone and in the middle of our conversation she will stop to talk to one of her children and if they don’t agree or respond in a timely manner, she will simply say, “Hold on a sec, I need to deal with my child.” Then proceed to yell and scream profanities at her kids. I have heard her children cry and scream in the background, and of course, she will get back to me and apologize for making me wait.
There were even times when she would call me and let me know that I need to come and help her out with her kids. I would go over to her house so that she could take a time out and cool off. Her kids are not bad kids, they just do normal kid things like spill stuff or loose their lunch boxes at school. She just can’t control her temper and I don’t know what to do. I value her friendship and all that she has done for me and my family in the past, but I am fearful for her kids and wonder how to talk to her about her temper.
I want to help her in any way that I can, but I can’t seem to get the courage to say anything. This is a sensitive subject for me since I was a victim of verbal and emotional abuse myself. Growing up with my mother was not always easy; she would get angry very easily and quit often. The extent of her verbal abuse would go so far as her saying in other words, I was stupid and never used my head. This when I was only six or seven years old. Now that I am grown up, I have problems with my self-esteem and with decision making skills because I am always second guess my self. With the case of my friend, her children are already showing signs that the abuse is affecting them both emotionally and mentally. Her son is over weight and emotionally eats to comfort himself and her daughter is socially and cognitively delayed in her school environment and home life. Her daughter is so afraid of her, yet so desperately wants to communicate with her mom.
I want to protect her children and protect our friendship, how does a person tell a friend that they are going to far with their words and that they need to take a time out.