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Friend in abusive relationship(9 Posts)
My friend is in an abusive (emotional and financial) marriage.
He is an absolute bullying shit to her. She swears blind he is not physically abusive to her, though he has attacked her 20 year old son (husband's step son) before.
I am not going to tell her story here. It is not my place. But apart from a counsellor she was seeing (she can no longer afford to see counsellor) no-one else knows what she is going through apart from me.
We have talked about it at length. We have progressed to the fact she will admit he is abusive. But she cannot see how she could cope without him. He has her absolutely conditioned. She has stuff going on in her past (abuse in her childhood) and a previous breakdown which makes her convinced she could not bear to be single. She is scared of being single more than being scared of him. She says she does not like him very much. But she still loves him, and he needs her. And she could not leave as her 3 teenage DCs from a previous relationship and the DS she has with him would be devastated if she left him.
I think they would all be better off without this dysfunctional fucked up relationship.
We haven't seen each other for a few months (she admitted she has been hiding from me, so to speak, as it has been too painful to talk about it) but we caught up at the weekend. She has been on my mind since then.
How do I help her?
I sympathise with you and know what you're going through as my sister is in an abusive relationship and Im struggling to accept it. There's another thread that you should read as there is a lot of good advice - don't know how to post the link on my phone but its called friend engaged to EA partner.
The general advice seems to be let her know that you'll be there when she needs you and in the meantime try to maintain contact with her so as not to isolate her.
I think you are helping her, just by being there for her. It's not easy to listen to a friend who is being poorly treated, and simply allow her to tell her story; and then watch her go back to her abuser for more of the same. It's stressful, to say the least.
She has at least recognised that all is not well, which is a good start.
You can try to build her self esteem a little, and gently discourage her from making excuses for her husband's behaviour - without attacking said husband (though the urge to do so might be overwhelming at times). She will come to a decision when she's ready. If she knows you're there to help, that's the best you can do.
Women's Aid do have some advice for friends and helpers:
Many people stay with abusive partners for many, many years, even decades before they finally pluck up the courage to leave. Some partners never leave because the fear of the unknown is far worse than the present situation that they are in.
You can advise of her where to go to ask for help, women's aid etc, other than that you need to just be a good friend. Let her know that you are there to lend a listening, caring ear and shoulder to cry on but perhaps equally as important is to talk to her of other things and try to have a bit of a laugh so she has some distraction from her pain.
Just wanted to say the other thread (sorry can't link on phone) is mine, so I really empathise. I echo what track has said, you already are helping her enormously. It's such a heartbreaking situation. If you have time please do have a read through the advice people posted, it's been really helpful and reassuring. I hope things get better
She's already hiding from you which means she isn't ready to do anything positive about her life. You have to drop the subject therefore or she'll stop trusting you. When someone is being bullied into staying in a relationship they don't need bullying into leaving.
Maybe tell her about the freedom program, it is very useful group that will be non judgementle about her situation. She can attend one if her local area has a group. Womens aid can help her with this.
Thank you everyone. And certainly bullying her into leaving is not on my agenda. Though I would kind of like to hug and love her into leaving iyswim. But a very, very valid point so I will have it with me when I next see her.
I am not sure if sharing women's aid/freedom programme at the moment is a bit too soon. It is maybe something I will keep in my back pocket for a few months time. She has emerged from hiding. I will let her set the pace. Even if it is slow. Even if I am just a listening ear.
She mentioned a mental deadline she had of spring next year (we had so much to catch on I didn't ask why then).
I shall have a look on the other thread too.
Thank you. It is kind of nice to have a bit of support for me too (selfish emoticon I know) but it is quite punch-in-the-face kind of stuff to hear your friend telling you this stuff. I know what I feel is not a patch on what she is going through, but it is kind of tough in it's own way. [flowers} Play
In case anyone want to read it too.
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