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Friend in EA relationship has asked for my help, unsure what to do.(3 Posts)
My friend is in a very emotionally abusive, controlling relationship. She's been with the guy about a year, no kids, doesn't live with him but spends most of the time at his house.
She has to do all the housework in his house - cook, clean tidy etc.
If she doesn't do it exactly right he will have a go at her.
He puts her down at every opportunity tells her she's crazy/messed up/stupid etc
If he loses his temper at her it's always her fault
She thinks that if only she does exactly as she's told and 'keeps him happy' then he will be nice to her and everything will be ok. Occasionally he is nice to her so she lives for those moments.
Basically he has brainwashed her!
I went to visit her last weekend ( I dont live in the same city so see her every few months). He and I don't get on as I tried to persuade her to leave him on a previous visit, she did but then took him back the next day. Apparantly he is still punishing her for that now and it was six months ago. So we met at a mutual friends house.
She seemed sad and depressed. We had a good chat about it. She knows the relationship is messed up but doesn't feel she can leave. She has tried to leave several times but then they have a row and she backs down. She says she loves him in a twisted way. She thinks she is the bad person and kept going on about how she had been horrible to him and his feelings, as he's brainwashed her into thinking that he's always right and her feelings count for nothing.
She then said 'maybe I should just go and throw myself off a cliff then, sometimes I think about doing that' although I dont think she's actively suicidal. She did tell me she'd tried to kill herself a few years ago when she was in a bad place (prior to this relationship) so it's a possibility if things get any worse.
She's not in a great financial position at the moment as she's lost her job recently and can't pay the rent on her room and is worried that if she loses that, she'll have nowhere to live if she dumps him. I think that may be an excuse though, as the psychological hold he has on her is very strong. She is terrified of being alone. She won't tell her parents/family what is going on, I think she's too ashamed. Her local friends are all fed up with the situation and backing off. I'm her only real friend who really knows what is going on.
After finally admitting the relationship was screwed up she has asked for my help. I have suggested professional help ie therapy as I think she needs to work out why she'd choose to stay with someone who treats her this way. She will need to get a job sorted before she can pay for this but was open to the idea
I told her she was in an emotionally abusive relationship, she was in denial at first but then acknowledged it.
She doesn't feel she can leave him at the moment but I asked her to do one thing, to read a book on EA relationships which I have promised to send her. Can anyone recommend one that is fairly simple and explains the basics? I'm hoping that this will open her eyes to whats going on.
I don't know what else to suggest, does anyone have any advise. It's hard to hear her tell me of all the abusive things he is doing and I feel like screaming 'run for the hills' but she's clearly in some sort of psychological trap as she says she wants to but can't.
Any book by Lundy Bancroft is gold.
This is the main Women's Aid site for the UK. Local Women's Aid services usually have their own sites too, google them.
At the end of the day you can't reach in and pull her out of the relationship, but you can help her to increase her confidence and to see the danger signs (he seems to be waving red flags all over the place) in order for her to decide to dump him now before he fucks her about any more.
Thanks for that. Can I ask anyone who has been in this kind of relationship what things a friend could have done to help, and what definitely wouldn't have helped?
Also, I am getting married next year and don't want him to come to my wedding. I told my friend he is uninvited. Mainly because if I see his stupid ugly face at my wedding it will upset me and spoil my day. Also, he takes drugs, and I told him I didn't want any drugs at my wedding . His reply was 'I'll do whatever I like'. So she can come on her own or not at all. Is that fair?
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