Readers are cautioned that this particular story line contains adult themes and is intended for mature audiences.
Deirdre arrives at the deli to meet Robyn for lunch. She doesn’t know that Robyn’s growing concern has prompted her to invite Lena to join them. Lena is a trained interventionist, and a domestic violence counselor.
Hey, girl. (Robyn)
Hey. (Deirdre, looking perplexed)
Dee, this is Lena. Lena, I’d like you to meet my friend, Deirdre. (Robyn)
It’s nice to meet you, Deirdre. (Lena)
Hi, Lena. (Deirdre)
I asked Lena to join us for lunch so you two could meet. (Robyn)
Cool. Lena, are you a business friend of Robyn’s? (Deirdre, taking her seat)
No, I don’t know Robyn from the club. We have a mutual friend who put us in touch because of the kind of work I do. (Lena)
Oh, what kind of work is that? (Deirdre)
Well, in this case it was my work as a domestic violence counselor that interested Robyn. (Lena)
Really, why? (Deirdre)
I’m also a trained interventionist, which brings me to why we're all here. (Lena)
Dee, you know I’ve been concerned for a while about how Walter treats you. This relationship you have with him is toxic, and it’s time to face it. Girl, I’m worried about your safety. (Robyn)
Worried about my safety? You act like he beats me or something. He’s never laid a hand on me. (Deirdre, indignantly)
Deirdre, physical abuse isn’t the only kind. There’s also emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Any pattern of behavior intended to maintain power and control over a partner is abuse. And if one type of abuse is present, then it’s only a matter of time before things escalate to include others. (Lena)
So, both of you think my relationship with Walter is going to become abusive? (Deirdre, crossly)
Relationships don’t become abusive. They start out that way. In the early stages, it can be difficult to recognize the aggressor’s actions for what they really are. Abusive partners don’t often give the impression of being possessive and controlling right away; instead the behaviors emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. All too often, the signs don’t become really clear until the relationship is pretty serious. (Lena)
May I ask you a few questions about the man you’re seeing? You don’t need to answer them out loud, but if you find yourself thinking “yes” in response to any of my questions, then it could mean trouble. Has he isolated you from friends and family? Does he make you feel guilty about not spending large amounts of time with him? (Lena)
Yes and yes. (Robyn, interjecting irritably)
Robyn, we know you’re convinced there’s a problem. But we need Deirdre to decide for herself if there’s a problem. It’s the only way she’ll be able to get help. (Lena)
Deirdre shifts uncomfortably in her chair.
Does he frequently show up unannounced or call excessively? Does he insist on knowing every detail about your whereabouts and who you’re with? These behaviors are signs of insecurity and attachment issues. (Lena)
Okay, I’ll admit he does some of those things. Are you suggesting I walk away from the man I love just because he has security issues? (Deirdre)
Not exactly. Those kinds of issues can sometimes be sorted out with intensive counseling. Do you think he would agree to see a therapist? (Lena)
Deirdre shakes her head, “No.”
I just don’t see how those things alone make him a bad person. (Deirdre)
I’m not saying that he’s a bad person. I tend to think of it as an emotional illness. Sick people aren’t bad; they’re just sick and they need help. Speaking of emotions, I have another question for you. Does he ever make you think of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…does he oscillate from charming and affectionate to cold and domineering? Case in point, how does he react when he sees you speaking to other men? (Lena)
Deirdre flashes back to the party at Robyn’s club but doesn’t say anything.
Ummm, I’m not sure how he would feel about that. (Deirdre)
Lena suspects Deirdre isn’t ready to admit everything, so she offers some tips on what to do if a mood change turns violent. Then she shifts her attention to getting Deirdre to agree on a plan of action for getting help.
I’m going to suggest a couple of actions. First, I want you to call and visit your family and friends, especially Robyn, more regularly. Isolation is a dangerous tool in the hands of an abuser. We have to take that tool away. Secondly, I’m going to ask you to keep an eye out for the warning signs we discussed. If you see red flags and you don’t think you can convince your partner to get treatment, then you have to walk away. I want you to put my number in your phone. Call me if you need help figuring out how to exit the relationship safely or if you ever just want to talk. (Lena)
Okay, I’ll do that. (Deirdre)
Now, can we please order some food? I’m starving. (Deirdre)
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LATER at Deirdre's place:
Just as she’s about to call Walter, she hears a knock at the door.
Is that so? (Walter, entering)
Uh-huh. I called twice and got your voice mail. Where were you today? (Walter)
I had lunch with Robyn. (Deirdre)
Walter is clearly bothered by this.
Deirdre hesitates, not wanting to tell Walter about the intervention.
Well…she was laying some pretty heavy stuff on me…stuff that seemed to require my undivided attention. (Deirdre)
Walter sits down on the chaise and tries to unbutton Deirdre’s jeans.
Checking your panties. (Walter)
For what? (Deirdre)
You know what. (Walter)
No, stop! (Deirdre)
This isn’t right. This is crazy. (Deirdre)
No, what’s not right is that I haven’t been able to reach you all morning and afternoon! I don’t know where you’ve been or who you’ve been with! Now take off your clothes. (Walter)
Deirdre sits down and puts her head in her hands.
Fine. I’ll take them off for you. (Walter)
No, I can’t do this anymore. I love you so much. I really do, but it’s exhausting trying to convince you of my fidelity and you’ve changed. You’ve changed SO much, and it worries me. I think we need to take a break. (Deirdre)
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You want to take what we have and throw it away…throw me away? There's someone else then?
Or maybe you think someone better is going to come along? No one else is going to love you like I do. I’ve given you everything…everything you could ever want. You ungrateful b!tch. (Walter)
You can have all that stuff back. (Deirdre, shocked)
No, keep it…all of it, because if you think I’m going to let you walk away from the promises you made to me, then you’re wrong…dead wrong. (Walter)
Deirdre is relieved when Walter takes an important call on his phone and has to leave suddenly for the office. She picks up her own phone and considers calling Robyn, but decides to call Lena instead.
Thanks for reading!