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How to help a friend

(6 Posts)
PukousMucous Sat 11-May-13 21:22:28

I saw a close friend for the first time in a while last week and she talked a lot about her relationship with her partner. It was very clear to me that he is really abusive towards her emotionally. Gas-lighting, emotional blackmail, bullying, demeaning and the rest. She is unhappy but is still trying very hard to 'make it work.' It was incredibly distressing to hear how she was treated so I can only imagine how she feels.

They have a young child who I think is the reason she stays although she is also terrified he will hurt himself if she leaves.

I live quite far from her and as far as I know I am the only person she has told. She keeps it from her family and local friends.

I was wondering if anyone could offer advice on how best to support her. I just want her to know that if or when she decides to leave she won't be alone but don't want to push her into anything she's not ready for. Or should I be marching in with a loud and clear LTB? Anyone with any experience from either side, I would be grateful of some suggestions.

LeaveTheBastid Sat 11-May-13 21:34:31

I think just making sure that she knows there are alternatives to staying, there is help, it won't be as bad as it seems and that you'll be there to help her is all you can do right now. It's a heartbreaking thing to watch happen to a friend, but they have to be ready to make the break or they will just end up back within a week.

Make sure she knows about WomansAid too, amazing how many women know nothin about them.

PukousMucous Sat 11-May-13 22:21:19

Thanks. She is aware of WA, in fact professionally she works closely with them. Ironically.

But at the moment I don't think she really thinks his behaviour is abuse. She minimised everything he did and was at great pains to tell me he was a good dad/ when he wasn't dressed he's lovely etc etc

PukousMucous Sat 11-May-13 22:21:55

Doh! Stressed not dressed!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 12-May-13 07:44:04

I think your friend has actually made a start on seeing the behaviour as abuse purely by telling you. Yes, she was minimising the severity to you & I'm sure she isn't thinking about ending the relationship, but keeping quiet is more worrying - I think - than someone who can at least talk about what's going on. The fact that you live far away makes you 'safe'... rather like people who tell all here in an anonymous forum.

My suggestion is to reflect back what you're being told with questions? Rather than saying 'he's abusive', it can change someone's thinking if you simply ask 'do you think that's normal/loving/respectful behaviour?'... 'how did that make you feel?'... 'if it's only when he's stressed that he's a bully, has he sought help?' etc.

Good luck

PukousMucous Sun 12-May-13 12:06:03

Thanks cognito, I'll try that.

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