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Abusive Friend Manipulates With Guilt

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I'm a 22-year-old male in need of advice for a very close girl friend, "Jill" who is 21, and wants to end the relationship with an obsessive & possessive lesbian friend of hers, "Leslie". Jill grew up in a very strict home, and when she was 12, she and her sister had to be taken care of by their grandfather, then later by relatives who treated them cruelly. During that time, Leslie and Jill became friends.

Leslie would go berserk every time Jill went out with anyone of any sex. Leslie would always threaten to kill herself. That would scare Jill as she doesn't want to hurt her nor wanted the blame if Leslie attempted suicide, so she continued this relationship.

I met Jill about half a year ago, and we fell in love and shared so much in common, especially in our personal experiences. As children, we both were molested. As troubled teenagers, we also both experimented sexually, and thought ourselves bisexual. However, we both now feel we were victims growing up, and know we are heterosexual.

Jill really wants to end relations with Leslie. But, she's afraid and knows Leslie is capable of going berserk and committing suicide. In addition, Jill had asked for a breakup earlier, and Leslie hit & slapped her.

Jill is really desperate, is often sick and misses work, and in need of courage and advice.


Please Advise

Dear Please Advise,

Jill is a battered woman in an abusive relationship with Leslie, and must get out. Leslie is obsessed with Jill, and manipulates her to keep her. The abuse is not only physical, but also psychological. Leslie's threats of suicide if Jill leaves, trying to keep Jill isolated from friends, obsessive phone calling, and making Jill feel guilty are some examples of the emotional and verbal abuse.

Jill stays with Leslie because women who are abused are afraid, dependent, feel guilty, and don't know how to leave. Jill's poor health is most likely related to this abuse, not her job. Jill needs counseling to help heal her childhood wounds and learn to cope as an adult. But, right now, the immediate solution for Jill is to separate from Leslie and set up a safety plan.