Working for Free is Abuse

Domestic violence is behavior used to gain, or maintain, power and control over a spouse, children, or parents. That is the definition of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The reality is fuzzier and gobbledy gookier.

Intimidation and Tracking are Abuse

A European executive married a US citizen and, while waiting to obtain a green card (residency) through that marriage, she worked for the American’s company. For free. Into the long hours of the night. Starting before dawn. For free. When she expressed her exhaustion, her husband screamed, threw furniture, and insulted her laziness. When I confirmed that the Violence Against Women Act does not require physical violence and that her husband’s cruelty was sufficient for her to get a green card, she burst out crying. She had not cried since the funeral of her son’s father several years back.

We had to be careful, too. Her US citizen husband tracked her car with GPS. He monitored her phone communications. He checked her laptop history. Stalking is a precursor to physical violence. We gave her a tablet, which she kept at a friend’s house. She or her friend sent us password-protected messages through our Client Portal.

Love and a Green Card is Not Enough

She went along with her husband’s plan because it seemed like hers. Her loneliness demanded companionship; her lack of a steady job demanded work to fill the purposeless hours. I understand going along with another. After my divorce, I traveled extensively for about a decade. I visited all 50 states in the U.S. and over 30 foreign countries, mostly with a retired man whose life goal is to travel and be happy. Preferably with a drink in hand.

Companionship, humor, passion, freedom, and acceptance. No surprise that I clung to him like sauced spaghetti on a white wall. These qualities, one by one, soured over the decade. We did not meld our families. Though we called it love, we were doomed from the beginning because I failed to plan. At the end of my blog entries, I like to insert a conclusion wrapped with a bow. Not here. I think of my former companion in the past tense. The man I used to love. The man who used to love me.

Disclaimer – These entries are based on real life events. Family member names, when used, are real. Client names are changed for privacy.

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