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Women's Aid advice on what not to say to a woman in an abusive relationship

(22 Posts)
CharmQuark Fri 06-Jun-14 12:52:07

I see many threads where women in abusive relationships receive invaluable and fantastic support from MN-ers who give up hours of time and share their own experiences in escaping an abusiive situation.

But sometimes I am uncomfortable with the level of impatient posts vulnerable women receive, some in the form of 'tough love', and some becoming exasperated.

Women's Aid have a helpful section on how , in theier experience, women in fear and feeling disempowered can best be supported.

The link is here

and how not to talk to abused women, here

All credit to Women's Aid - shameful that in this day and age they are still so badly needed and so badly resourced and struggling to meet demand for their help.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 06-Jun-14 12:57:15

Looks like very good advice. Worth being a sticky, actually

quackducky Fri 06-Jun-14 20:05:07

Yes this should be a sticky.

TheSilveryPussycat Fri 06-Jun-14 20:30:32

There was a long-running support for Emotional (and other) abuse on Relationships till recently, but it seems to have gone quiet. Women at all stages of the path to freedom supported each other without pressurising. (This still happens of course, but it is now across threads in the usual way)

Madrigals Fri 06-Jun-14 20:36:43

Yes - very helpful post. Some posters get irritated when the op doesn't immediately up and leave.

MrsDiesel Fri 06-Jun-14 20:46:58

What a brilliant post.

I was in an abusive relationship and love mu best friend for supporting me through even though I must have frustrated the life out of her!

CharlotteCollins Fri 06-Jun-14 21:16:50

Their page about why women stay would also be good reading for some people on here.

heyday Fri 06-Jun-14 23:05:16

Excellent advice provided by Women's Aid and absolutely wonderful that it has small button on document that translates it into numerous languages so it accessible to so many more women. Thanks for sharing this.

Coughle Fri 06-Jun-14 23:09:56

This is really helpful. I have a friend in an abusive relationship and I have done several of the things on the list, unfortunately! It's very frustrating. I'll try to keep these points in mind and be more supportive. I know she will get there eventually.

CharmQuark Sun 08-Jun-14 11:05:59

MNHQ can't sticky threads from non-HQ sources - fair enough.... but I think it would be good if as many MN-ers as possible have access to these pages and are aware of the advice.

CharmQuark Mon 09-Jun-14 13:52:14

The Mumsnet JustGiving Page for Women's Aid could do with a bit of a boost, too - though lovely to see so many MN-ers supporting them.

QuarterCracked Mon 09-Jun-14 13:56:16

Good list.

I found people's default - I don't wanna get involved - haste to believe that it was alllll sixawunanhalfadozenoftheother very hard to deal with at the time. That made me feel more worthless. Also, until you've realised that you stayed because you had such a low self-esteem at the time, people askign why you put up with it jsut makes you feel stupid.

QuarterCracked Mon 09-Jun-14 13:56:47

ps, wrt the last point on the list. I never usually see that mentioned on these lists but it's a good one.

CharmQuark Mon 09-Jun-14 14:11:04

Interesting feedback, QuarterCracked.

"until you've realised that you stayed because you had such a low self-esteem at the time, people askign why you put up with it jsut makes you feel stupid" expresses it very well.

What helped you the most?

QuarterCracked Mon 09-Jun-14 15:43:31

Charmquark.... being trapped abroad due to chicken pox. First dc1 then dc2. I couldnt fly back to uk. I was with my parents who wanted me to leave him. I felt i owed it to him to stay for some reason. To restore his faith in women? (As if anyone could have done that or wasted their time trying). So while the children had chicken pox i just had a little bit more space n distance from him than id had in years and i began to finally see/believe that life could carry on for us if we left him. Was gradual tho. I still flew back to uk but from then on i started posting precious things home. Altho he caught me! That was a nightmare.

So.... in answer to yiur question i think it was space. Juuuuust enough space for his claws in my psyche to loosen a little.

A holiday wouldnt have been the same. I needed to see that there was another normal suburban life i ciuld just step right in to.

I also needed to know that APPEARING to be happy was ultimately worthless if i was actually umhappy. I think i finally believed that when i knew i couldnt fly back and i was so relieved.

MorrisZapp Mon 09-Jun-14 15:51:51

Good advice but I can't see how it would work in reality. If a friend of mine told me her partner had treated her appallingly, what am I meant to do? Nod, and say 'how did that make you feel' etc like an automaton?

I could not remain silent or uncritical. I just couldnt, it goes against every cell of my being.

QuarterCracked Mon 09-Jun-14 16:16:55

I would say "you deserve better." Or that sounds so hard. You must be exhausted coping it. It must use up so much energy just staying sane and covering up etc..... id point out that the energy used to tiptoe riund somebody else's mood, the effort required to push back down your feelings and cope, that takes such strength, and strength and energy should be invested into yourself and new life not maintaining a facade or trying to block out endless criticism.
And id say IF you want to leave ill help u as much as i can with tje practical stuff.
If id a friend in those shoes that's what id do, let her know that i wanted to help her if and when she chose to accept the help. Otherwise it feels like just another more confident person telling u what to do.

lulu1971 Mon 09-Jun-14 21:23:30

Well I did it. I left that pathetic waste of skin. Was the hardest thing I've ever had to do and I am really struggling but I cannot and will not go back there. I told the children yesterday and it literally broke my heart. When I left he was at the house. He showed no emotion whatsoever and I don't actually think he gives a shit that I've gone. It's life as normal for him where as I am distraught. I flit between moments of hope and hours of grief and fear. I sent the children to school today and managed to drag myself to work followed by a little shopping spree afterwards. Treats for us all. I just wish this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach would go as it's just awful. Thank you all for your messages, they really are helping as I don't want keep on at my mum about it and make her worry more than she already is. X

lulu1971 Mon 09-Jun-14 21:25:00

Oh no I've posted on the wrong thread!! I'll go and find it

MorrisZapp Mon 09-Jun-14 21:33:37

That is wonderful Lulu, you have done an incredibly brave thing x

CharlotteCollins Tue 10-Jun-14 08:10:55

Very interesting, Quarter. I too think that it was the space in our relationship (he travelled for work a lot) that enabled me to build up the strength and self-esteem to leave.

CharmQuark Tue 10-Jun-14 08:44:39

MorrisZapp, I think it is ok to give a perspective that the behaviour described is not acceptable, is shocking, etc, but to stop short of telling the victim what to do, how to feel or pressurize and guilt trip her with 'shoulds ' and 'oughts'.

But I agree, in RL, and on MN it is hard. But this is advice from the experts, and if we find it hard to button our lips, and take the advice, then that is an object lesson in how hard it is for women living in fear and with all their decision making powers undermined by lack of self esteem to 'just take the advice and ltb'.

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