Lady, you, the one out there in Readerland, your friend asked me to write this open letter to you because you are in a troubled relationship.

Your friend says: "It is not your fault, you did not fail."

You gave yourself in good faith to be loyal, faithful, giving and respectful in a life-long commitment. Now, your significant other does not give back to this family relationship anymore.

Lady, you have growing children in need of change for their better future. You are the one who cares to provide and nourish your children. You are not the failure; you are the optimist that hopes things will get better.

For this story, we will call him Bull.

He maintains family control, makes promises and smiles sweetly to manipulate by his rules. You stay in love with your illusion of a good-looking, strong, protective, safe and smiling Bull. Your friend wants you to stop being an "enabler." Your friend knows you can only change yourself: you cannot change him.

You learned sweet talk was not necessary to maintain family control. Bull is demanding and expects a cooperating spouse, which took time.

Your friend said you "believed that Bull would provide a better life." Bull did all the right things in order to win favor and control your strong trusting heart. He was kind, smart, sweet and caring.

On a whim, the family may be first, because Bull always gives a hint of something pleasantly stimulating or excites pleasurably. Bull uses hope for his future promises that may not be kept.

Once in control, the kind familial Bull focused on his personal needs. Regrettably, Lady, the majority of the persons under this type of influence are women. Bull becomes openly selfish and is no longer the family oriented gentleman.

Incredibly, it does not matter if you were a homebody or outgoing, hard working, income-producing, nurturing, well-educated or ignorant, rich or poor. You could have been from anywhere on the social ladder. Lady, you gave up control willingly, trusting and in good faith. What do you get in return?

Remember, he used to be "Lovable Beau" or "Adorable Bull," but never Bully. Not at the start. Lady, you are not alone! Others are suffering like you: there is hope. Set money aside for the emergency day if you are strong enough to leave the relationship.

But you need to take action and make a telephone call to the Women's Shelter at 881-8888 to get help, legal advice, and protective or restraining order information.

Confidential help is provided one-on-one or in groups. Domestic violence is emotional, verbal and mental abuse. Neglect in providing your family the quality of life with food and shelter is also domestic violence.

Lady, your friend has confidence that you are still "a strong woman capable of making things change for your children." Friends say if you are too ashamed to ask your immediate family for help, please make the call to the Women's Shelter.

They help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Their services are free and confidential.

Joe-Santos Medina is a resident of Robstown. Readers may contact him via email at joesantosm@hotmail.com.