Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Employee Doing Extra Tasks Without Being Paid

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a 38-year-old woman, and I think one of my friends may be in an abusive marriage. I noticed these patterns in the last couple of months when I would sometimes see bruises on her after they had big conflicts. He has always been controlling of what she does and where she goes, but it has started to get even worse. She always seemed to put up with his controlling behavior, though I occasionally pointed out that it was a bit much. I am particularly worried now that they are in quarantine together and I am not able to see her as often. I try to call her, but it’s hard to communicate with her while he’s in the house. How can I help my friend? -- Friend in Need

DEAR FRIEND IN NEED: Next time you talk to your friend, suggest that if she is ever in need of rescue, she can use a keyword that sounds natural as an indicator to you that she is asking for help. She can call you, text you or otherwise reach out to you and say that word -- like “pineapple” or “dance class,” anything that would not be a natural trigger for her husband but that would indicate to you that you should come pick her up or call the police to rescue her.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Abuse