Signs of emotional abuse

My problem is that someone very dear to me might be the victim of emotional abuse but they live very far away. If this were close contact the signs are easy to recognize. There is also a ridiculously long, complicated, sad, confusing, background story with this person. It's my sister. So I will list the signs. So far her husband has alienated her from her friends & family. They have no home phone. They share a cell phone because her's broke over a month ago & they haven't bothered to get her a new one(suspicious) So whenever she calls or txts anyone it goes through him. He hears the conversation, he reads the txt. Not such a frightening thought except for the fact that she almost never calls or txts. Anyone. Not her friends from back home, not anyone in our family. Even her emails are suspiciously watered down(she hardly ever emails) they are completely, unrealistically, suspiciously, happy. With no inquires about anyone. No questions about anyone's life just cheerful responses to questions only involving her or her husband. He reads her emails & logs on to her facebook (on which she almost never speaks to anyone) If I start to have a conversation with her, a real conversation, about life, about ideas, about people, she doesn't respond. It just ends. The last time we spoke on the phone was a month ago & I was cut off by her husband. It was on her birthday & the conversation lasted 10minutes. They were suppose to come and visit this month but "couldn't." For financial reasons. Something I can't completely believe. The sad thing is my sister is no longer close to me & hasn't been for a good 2 years now. She has hurt me & my family so many times I don't expect love or honestly from her. In order to keep her positive & somewhat of a relationship going I walk on egg shells. Metaphorically of course. I always stay supportive. I often(always) bite my tongue. She gets upset easily & her moods & decisions are impulsive & often very regrettable. However, this is just uncharacteristic.To give the cold shoulder to me or even the rest of my family doesn't surprise me. What does, is the alienation of her friends. That is what makes me really worry. I wish I could go on & explain but that's the just of it. If this is abuse, what can I do? She lives very far away & like I said all ways of contact go through him. So I'm asking should I be worried? If I have probable cause I will do all that I can to help her.
09:28 Wed 23rd Nov 2011
 
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Old_Geezer
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Unless you have a legitimate reason to meet up and find a moment to talk without being overheard, then I think your hands may be tied. Ultimately your sister is permitted to make her own decisions. I'm sure if you ended your e-malis to her with something non-threatening but with meaning, such as maybe, "we are always here for you", the message that she has...
09:52 Wed 23rd Nov 2011 Go To Best Answer

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why haven't you been to see her?
Two things leap out from your question. One is that you have been badly treated by this person in the past, repeatedly. The other is that you still care for her, and feel responsibilty towards her. It is great that you are a caring person and you should feel proud of that aspect of your character.
But...sister or not, this is now another adult who has made their decisions about how their life is. I can't see that you can do much about that - distance or none. I agree that it sounds as if she has landed herself a control frwak. But that's the essence of the case - she chooses to be with him. She isn't a minor, and even if easily swayed I assume she is not classifiable as emotionally / mentally vulnerable or at risk.
Granted this last might change - but it can for any one of us as we go through life.
I think that you are doing enough by being there for her, now or at a future point, and in the meantime focusing more on your own life and needs.
and is this the same sister whose vintage wedding plans you posted about?

responding to some of your questions might be helpful..
I was in a similar position with my ex..lived miles away in London..he actually tampered with the home phone so it would not ring..i later found out..he would not even let me go up for my bro's wedding and I had to create an illness as an excuse...to the outside he was mr charm and we had it all..big house..posh cars..etc etc etc but indoors he was a nightmare and very controlling..would even tell me what i could and could not wear...vetted my friends..decided who I could see or not...I was the same had to put on a face and say all was well all the time when inside I was slowly dying...so I think yes you have reason ...try and get to see her when she is alone...
Unless you have a legitimate reason to meet up and find a moment to talk without being overheard, then I think your hands may be tied. Ultimately your sister is permitted to make her own decisions. I'm sure if you ended your e-malis to her with something non-threatening but with meaning, such as maybe, "we are always here for you", the message that she has support if she needs it should get through. The rest is up to her.
buy her a new phone...you can get cheap ones for about £15.. then go down and see her...and tell her what you believe is happening... if you are right she make be relieved someone else knows and tell you everything

offer her a place to stay if she wants to leave him

if she is depressed she may feel trapped and scared and unable to make the break

however is there any reason why actually she just doesnt want to speak to you - has anything happened that would make her want to avoid you in particular?
Question Author
I really appreciate all of your answers. I was very impressed by the responses. Mosaic,murraymints, joko, old_g,you guys really got to me. My parents & I think one of her friends offered to buy her a phone and were rejected. Scornfully rejected.To sara, I plan on visiting her but she lives in Texas. Texas as in southern United States. So I will trust me I will go down there.

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