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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Builds Verbal Walls Between Wife and Her Friends

DEAR ABBY: I have a good friend whose husband is isolating her from family and friends. He's a counselor, and he uses his training as a psychologist to convince her that none of her friends are to be trusted. He twists anything we do or say to keep her at a distance from us.

He tells her she's a horrible mother and a terrible person in general, and she believes him. I think she has been brainwashed.

He also hits on other women regularly, myself included. When I tried to tell my friend what he did, she refused to believe me because he already told her his version of the story and made it look like it was my fault.

Is there any way to help a woman who is being held mentally captive by her husband? -- DISTRAUGHT FRIEND

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: One way to begin would be to approach her as a group and tell her you are all concerned and that you care about her. Tell her often that you are there for her and always will be, and that you know she's a terrific person and a wonderful, caring parent. Point out that only two people in the world think otherwise, and that's her husband and her. And repeat that you're afraid she's being verbally and emotionally abused until she finally hears you.