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I can't be there for her any more......

(17 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Mon 16-Nov-15 19:46:26

My lovely friend finally took up the courage to leave her abusive relationship, after they got into a fight and it got physical. I was the first person she told. I held her hand. Told her to be strong. That she'd get through it. She said she'd seen through him, she knew he was a bad man and she was finally free.

So why has she gone back to him two days later? He's so nasty to her and he'll punish her for leaving him just like he did the last time.

Well, I can't be her shoulder to cry on any more. I just can't do it. I'm fully expecting to get flamed here, but I've had enough. I know I'm over involved, but I can't continue to watch her put herself through this car crash of a relationship and be there for her and listen about how horrible he's been when she could have been free of him but has chosen to go back.

Why should I try to help someone who cannot help themself?
Why should I care about someone who doesn't care about themself?

Is it wrong of me to be so disappointed not 'in' her but more 'for' her, and say, that's it I'm out until the day you finally leave him for good?

EliGold Mon 16-Nov-15 19:51:29

I have been in your shoes. The advice I was given was that the abusive partner will try and isolate your friend. If you walk away from her you are making it harder for her to escape him. It takes the average abused person 7 attempts to leave before they finally do. Try and support her. She needs you. She has probably had her confidence destroyed and at this time doesn't feel strong enough to leave.

CherryPicking Mon 16-Nov-15 19:57:58

I think you need to be honest with her about how you feel. Tell her you feel so close to walking away because you can't stand to see her getting hurt. And then let her know you'll be there for her as and when she decides to leave, but you're not going to stand around and support their relationship in the meantime.

Handywoman Mon 16-Nov-15 19:59:41

You are angry and that's understandable, the two of them are in a dangerous dance. It's about them not you.

Leaving is a process that takes years and years and numerous attempts. She isn't ready and that's that. There are many reasons why it's so hard: she has 'lost' herself and her confidence and her reality has gradually shifted over the course of the relationship.

Seek support for yourself, lean on other friends but keep the lines open with your friend.

Samaritan1 Mon 16-Nov-15 19:59:39

I do understand, but I was the woman in the relationship once. I stayed for 7 years, without my friends I never could have left.

I totally understand your need to walk away, watching someone you care about appear to put themselves through that over and over again must be frustrating and painful. Please try to understand that he has a psychological hold on her and she will need to find it within herself to break free - unfortunately no one else can make her leave him. Hopefully she will get there eventually.

maggiethemagpie Mon 16-Nov-15 20:06:21

I've spent so much time and emotional energy either trying to help her to leave, or holding her hand when she does. All for nothing. I guess I'm over involved, but I kind of can't NOT be. I can't just sit back and pretend nothing's happening. So, I either learn to not give a shit or I walk away from the friendship as I can't sit there and not care, I really can't.

I know he's abusive but she's a grown woman and makes her own choices, she's finally admitted that he's a bad man, she doesn't want to be in the relationship, I can't invest any more emotional energy in this any more, I'm done, I'm spent, she'd rather be suicidal than leave him.

Namechanger2015 Mon 16-Nov-15 20:46:30

Can you help her in other ways? Help her to access and attend the Freedom Programme?

P1nkP0ppy Mon 16-Nov-15 20:58:38

sad sad it's utterly draining and emotionally exhausting.
I'm in a similar position too maggie, df's walked out at least 12 times, stayed here for a few days then turned around and gone right back. I feel like shaking her.
I've actually told her I can't carry on with the picking her up in the middle of the night, sitting up for hours listening to it over and over again.
Sounds harsh but I'm spent, it's been 6 years now.
The reason she returns is that he has the ££.......
I don't think she's going to change from this pattern anyone soon.

queenofthepirates Mon 16-Nov-15 21:03:02

Can you look forward and see one day when she will leave him for good and how that will feel? You are obviously an amazing friend but she needs you more than ever to help her get out.

whattodoforthebest2 Mon 16-Nov-15 21:10:42

As PP have said above, it can many, many 'trial' runs before someone successfully leaves and stays away for good.

In my experience, it is also a way of trying out how you'll manage on your own. Each trial run will produce new challenges to be overcome and hopefully, one day, the victim will have answers to those challenges which will mean she knows how to cope the next time.

What she needs, without any question at all, is a solid friend who will stand by her and be there, even if, time after time, it appears she's ignoring their advice.

Please try and be that friend, without anyone she won't have a hope of succeeding.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 16-Nov-15 21:20:29

You sound conflicted. I have been where you are.

You do not have to be her friend if the friendship drains you. No matter what her problems are. No matter how tragic it is. No matter how much she needs a friend. If you want to walk away, go ahead, walk away. It doesn't make you a bad person. It perhaps makes you a person with healthy boundaries.

However, if you want to continue the friendship, you have to genuinely believe deep in your heart that she's a grown woman who makes her own choices and act accordingly.

You should not be expending time and emotional energy either trying to help her to leave, or holding her hand when she does That's you reinforcing her infantilisation. She is a grown woman. If she wants to see the truth and deal with it, she will, if she doesn't, she won't. If she wants to leave, she will, she doesn't need you, there are plenty of other options.
to be her emotional crutch.

All you can do is give her your opinion, if asked. Do not offer solutions. Do not persuade. Leave her to make her own choices as an adult. She has to go through the process of leaving herself, if indeed she ever does leave. Her life. Her choice.

lorelei9 Mon 16-Nov-15 21:28:34

It takes 7 attempts? I might need to be more patient in future .... Hopefully I'll not come across it again though.

Brocklady Mon 16-Nov-15 21:30:14

It's very difficult, particularly when you can see children suffering flowers

WorzelsCornyBrows Mon 16-Nov-15 21:39:02

I think for any of us who have been in your situation, it's impossible not to identify with your feelings. For me it was my sister.

It's hard to continue to be supportive, but try to remember that this abusive arse has done such a number on your friend that it will be virtually impossible for her to just walk away and stay away, however logical that choice may appear to be.

It's hard going and I think you ultimately need to look after yourself and protect yourself. Let your Friend know you will be there for her whenever she's ready, recommend the Freedom Program, then take steps to detach emotionally. These bastards rely on isolating their victims from their support network, so completely walking away would absolutely be playing into his hands, you need to be able to find a way to show her you support her, without you ending up an anxious wreck every time you are the shoulder to cry on. It's a difficult place to be flowers

maggiethemagpie Mon 16-Nov-15 21:49:04

Thank you all. I have decided to close, but not bolt, the door on the friendship for now. I was supposed to be seeing my friend on thursday to drink prosecco to toast her 'escape', I have just messaged her to say maybe we shouldn't meet up as I can't handle it any more.

I just feel like I got the old (insert friend's name) back for two days, and remembered why we were friends in the first place - she's been so down since she met him and not herself - anyway I was seeing her return to her old self, she was in pain at the break up but said she knew it was for the best. She didn't seem tempted to go back, I really thought she meant it this time.

Then she takes him back at the first hurdle. Our other friend is equally disappointed and feels the same as me, soon she will have NO friends left, and you know what, that's not his fault, I don't even blame him much any more as it's not him she needs saving from, it's herself.

Every time I meet friend it's all about him and how horrible he is in one breath and making excuses for him the next. It does feel very one sided. I've tried everything, I've sent her books on abusive relationships, I've suggested she get therapy. Just to add, she ASKED me for help before I made these suggestions I didn't make them unsolicited. Now it feels like she's thrown that help back in my face.

So maybe it is healthy boundaries rather than selfishness, but I need time out from the friendship, I'm sure it won't be forever but I can't be the one to pick up the pieces any more. This is a consequence of the decision she is making, one day I hope she will see that and make a better decision.

elasticbands Mon 16-Nov-15 22:14:52

Is there a reason she stays/goes back? It it money, a child or nowhere else to go? Have you asked her?

AnyFucker Mon 16-Nov-15 22:19:11

maggie, you gotta do what you gotta do for your own mental health

she is an adult

you have done enough

like you said, keep the door open if things change in the future but she doesn't sound in any position to leave him yet and you cannot influence that

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