Dear Josh: Rose Colored Flags

by / 0 Comments / 103 View / October 15, 2015

My friend is in an abusive marriage and won’t listen or leave. She married him after four months because he told her he would break up with her otherwise. He’s shown to be emotionally abusive and one night he destroyed their staircase out of anger. She’s almost left him twice but he keeps manipulating her into staying. She looks at him with rose colored glasses so his red flags just look like flags.

Uh, well, wow. After fielding questions about Final Fantasy and naval aircraft carriers, I figured I’d have to return to this territory sooner than later. Obviously her husband is best seen through the rear view mirror of her car going a hundred miles an hour toward anywhere else in the world, but abusive relationships are tricky. Like the hypothetical toad in boiling water, an abusive relationship grows insidiously. It’s like your partner has charming quirks that set them off, and that’s okay because everyone has a weird hang-up or two. Then they snap at you with fury reflecting out of their eyes before apologizing profusely the first time. That behavior shifts from an exception to an expectation.

Rose colored glasses is an appropriate way to put it. To reconcile her pleasant memories of the relationship’s beginning to the harsh reality of what it has become, she blames herself and finds deficiency where there is none. Self loathing ravages her being, and her partner’s continued abuse only serves to justify every hateful thing she’s become used to telling herself. If she’s already enduring a mental illness, she will be taken to the edge. This is why pulling a friend out of an abusive relationship is so perilous; you have to help them fight the demons within and without.

It goes without saying that you have to treat her very delicately. Assure her there’s nothing wrong with her and that people who love her don’t act like that, because you’re very worried for her. Don’t blame her for anything because you want to be the safe place that she needs right now. This also means having to watch in agony as she returns, time and time again, for different reasons, to her abusive husband. You have to keep that frustration under wraps; you’ll only reinforce her negative thoughts if you’re anything less than supportive of her. Instead, you can offer to be helpful in very specific ways that aren’t going to set her off, like offer her transportation, childcare if she has children to take care of, or just allowing her to vent.

You can’t save her though. No one can ever do that for her. Only she can do that. However, it is extraordinarily easier to save yourself if you have a support system that will empower you. Best of luck.

So a guy and girl are out on a date. They’re both playing a competitive video game. Should the guy let her win?
-Vincent, Killeen

Absolutely not. Victory and playing your best are all that matters. Do you think she’s going to appreciate you for feigning weakness? No. She will not. Don’t be satisfied with just playing your best; brag adopt a swagger-like stance, and become as flashy as possible. Your posture, your hand movements, even your BREATHING must exude style. That is because you are powerful. You are the final boss, and she should know it. If this means adopting tactics which are unorthodox or outside of the rule set imposed by the game, so be it. You are a force of creative nature and you will NOT LET HER WIN. If you lose, it’s okay to complain about it because you’re just “calling Johns” and an unusual circumstance led to your defeat.

Seriously, being competitive is way more fun, and it’s going to draw it out your date also. It’s way more engaging than just playing Nice Guy. She won’t really hold it against you! But if she does you’ll never live it down for the rest of your life.

Any questions you want to see me take on? Write a kind email to please!