My friend's sociopathic husband is SPYING on her with cameras

DEAR JANE: My friend’s sociopathic husband SPIES on her with location trackers and cameras – she’s basically a prisoner in her own home

  • In her latest agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green helps out a woman who is terrified about the behavior of her friend’s controlling husband 
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Dear Jane,

One of my closest friends has been married for about 18 months now – and during that time, her husband has become increasingly possessive over her – to the point where he now insists she carries around an Apple AirTag wherever she goes so he can see her location, and has set up security cameras in every corner of the house so he can watch her on his phone while he’s at work.

If she leaves the house during the day without telling him – even to go to the grocery store or get gas – he immediately phones her and grills her about what she’s doing. If she spends ‘too long’ at dinner with me or any of our other friends, he’s texting and calling every five minutes to ask when she’s coming home.

He’s accused her of cheating on him multiple times and has demanded that she limit any social activities that don’t involve him to just once a week, which seems insane to me.

Dear Jane, my close friend’s husband has become increasingly controlling over her – even monitoring her every move with trackers and cameras, and I’m terrified for her

His control over her is starting to feel sociopathic. She’s like a prisoner in her own home – but when I ask her about it, she laughs it off and just says that he’s protective.

I’m starting to get really concerned for her and feel like this could just be the start of a very slippery slope that she’s going to start tumbling down with no way of escaping.

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

How can I make her see that this isn’t a big joke, but a terrifying start to her married life?


Friendly Fear

Dear Friendly Fear,

You are absolutely right to be worried – this is controlling behavior in the extreme, what is today called coercive control: a pattern of behaviors that create an unequal power dynamic in a relationship which subsequently give the perpetrator power over their partner, and make it very difficult for them to leave.

Research into coercive control suggests that this type of abuse often predicts future physical abuse, so every instinct of yours is spot on.

The problem is, your friend is a newlywed, and is perhaps still wearing rose-colored glasses. 

For all we know, this kind of relationship may be familiar to her, and control may feel like an expression of love to her. 

Whatever the case, she doesn’t seem to be aware of the toll it will take. Yet. 

Which means that no matter how right you are, or how valid your concerns, she is not in a place where she is currently able to hear. I know how frustrating this is, but there is no way for you to make her see the potential dangers until she is ready to see. 

In fact, the more you bring it up, the more likely she may be to lose you as a friend. 

She will reach a point where she will realize, and she will need you, so I would urge you to do everything you can to stay in her life. This is particularly important given how perpetrators of coercive control will try to isolate their partners from everyone – friends and family – important to them.

For now, your role as a friend is to be her loving witness, and safe confidante. 

Arm yourself with the information you (and she) need, including creating a safety plan. Organizations like the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health, the Battered Women’s Justice Project will help advise on creating a safety plan, and supporting your friend.

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