What do I Know? I’m just a Clown : July / August 2019
“Ask the Clown” : an advice column by The Clown
I am trying to convince my aunt that she is living in a toxic situation. When she attends any family gathering, her fiancée always becomes the loudest and keeps her subdued form any conversations. They also leave when he says it is time and they seldom say good-bye to everyone. She is currently financially trapped by this man, as well. We have not seen him be physically abusive, but we have noticed a change in her behavior. How can we help get her out of this?
Dear Concerned Niece,
From what you have written, I can gather that you are close with your aunt. Recruit one other person that she trusts and have a gut-level conversation with her. Tell her what you see, listen, and then determine actions to move forward. She may be in a sort of rut that is allowing her to accept this behavior now, or she may feel stuck and abandoned. This conversation will clarify that. I am hoping that your family will support her through any needed changes.
Abuse is never needed,
I was out last night and noticed an acquaintance was at the same restaurant. I went over to say hello and saw that he had a woman with him at dinner. I introduced myself to her and joined my group again. The trouble with this is that it looked like a romantic dinner and this man is currently living with, and involved with, one of my dear friends who would have been working night shifts at the hospital. I have yet to talk to either of them about this and I wonder if I should.
This is troublesome. On one hand, you could ask the guy about it and gauge his reaction to see if it was something that could be considered cheating. This would eliminate the possibility of a family member in town, a business dinner, etc. I am guessing that you noticed a reaction from him when you went to greet them. If there was any sort of shock or awkwardness involved, it may be suspicious. On the other hand, you could go directly to your friend and let her know what you observed. She may or may not know, but your friendship would be better served by letting her know. I think I would choose the latter.
Loyalty is priceless,
The family that lives across the street from me includes two children that are often playing in the front yard. Recently, I have noticed some bruising on their arms and legs. Thinking that they may have just been bruised from playing, I kept an eye out and I make a point to talk to the kids when they are outside. As some bruises faded, others would appear. The latest was a bandaged injury on the younger one’s forehead. When I asked what happened, the child shied away and stopped talking. Am I seeing abuse?
The story you are telling has the earmarks of abuse. An anonymous report to child services would be helpful. Even if you are wrong, it is the right thing to do. Call.
At all costs,
Things I should not have to tell you:
People are going to hurt your feelings. Be prepared for it and brush it off.
Your opinion matters when people ask for it, otherwise, keep it inside.
Shatter negative presumptions as often as possible.
Everything is not a crisis.
Do you have a question for The Clown? Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org