DEAR ABBY: Regarding "Baffled in Iowa" (Nov. 4), it appears the letter writer's friend may be in danger. As you stated, the man her friend became involved with is "more than a little controlling." At the least, this woman, once located by social services or police, needs a welfare check -- i.e., a serious look at her situation by a well-versed professional familiar with these kinds of situations.
This is just the type of thing that could result in "Baffled's" friend losing her identity and losing all finances to what appears to be a well-heeled con man. One could also envision her being murdered for insurance money. Yes, she is an adult who "has the right to make her own decisions." But, from what we know of this woman, she may not be able to make any of her own decisions and be totally under the control of someone she has known for only a short period.
This woman's situation is more than a little concerning. As a residency-trained, board-certified emergency physician, I've seen similar situations that resulted in identity theft, loss of all assets and even murder. My wife holds a Master of Social Work and has dealt with similar scenarios with clients that resulted in terrible outcomes. We have serious concerns about her friend's physical and emotional safety as well as her financial well-being. -- EXPERIENCED IN COLORADO
DEAR EXPERIENCED: Other readers wrote to express the same concerns. They suggested the friend's new "boyfriend" may be a narcissist, sociopath or domestic abuser. They recommended that "Baffled" contact her local Department of Family and Children's Services to report potential elder abuse. Adult Protective Services may also be able to help. And guidance from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org; 800-799-7233) should be sought, because the woman's abrupt major changes -- selling her house, moving in with the man, taking out a life insurance policy and ceasing contact with friends -- are multiple red flags.