Many people struggle with how to help a friend or other loved one who is in an unsafe, abusive relationship. Talking to a friend who you are worried about can be daunting. The fear of interfering, being wrong, or possibly driving them away can keep many people from reaching out. If you are concerned for someone’s safety in a relationship, you can turn to many available resources that may help you start the conversation. According to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (2014), some important things to consider when talking to a friend include the following:
- Pick a time that won’t cause you two to be rushed.
- Find a safe location where you can talk and not be disturbed or overheard by others.
- Offer your support, including suggestions for resources and practical support, such as calling a local domestic violence hotline together. It can be scary to make the first step in leaving or to even acknowledge there is a problem, so make sure your friend knows you are there to support them through the process.
There are some important things to try to avoid when helping a friend. These include the following:
- Avoid accusing, judging, or diagnosing your friend or their abuser. You don’t want to raise walls between you and your friend by getting their defenses up. Rather, you want to open lines of communication and offer them your support. Most likely, there are several reasons your friend is staying with this person. Striking an accusatory tone is going to get them on the defense when you are trying to have an open conversation.
- Don’t pressure your friend into leaving the relationship. There are so many reasons a victim might stay with an abuser. You likely don’t know many of the ins and outs of the person’s relationship. Be open to hearing some good things about your friend’s partner. Validate where they are coming from.
FACT: You don’t have to be an expert to help someone who is in an abusive relationship. What’s important is to show them that you’re concerned and deeply care about the happiness and safety of your friend. That is important enough. Be there when they need support, and help them reach out to support systems and resources as they are ready. If they’re not ready to hear you or are not ready to leave, make yourself available to be there when they become ready.
Remember to be patient.
Fact Source: See The Triumph
To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.