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Helpful advice for friend in abusive relationship

(21 Posts)
Moxiechick Tue 10-Jan-17 12:02:45

I'm posting on here to see if I can get any advice to help my friend.
She's been with her partner for 3 years and has two dc with him and another from a previous relationship.
He has always been emotionally abusive to her. Silent treatment/ disgusting name calling/ withholding money etc. In the last few months she's found out about more cheating and it's turned in to physical abuse. Two occasions of physical violence towards her that I know of. The older child (5) has witnessed some of this.
Through the years she's left him a number of times and openly admitted at the time it was just to make him ask her back and change. She'd stay with me a few days then go back even though he hadn't made contact for a lot of those breaks.
I've tried my best to be there for her as a listening ear/ shoulder to cry on/ place to stay but I sometimes feel myself getting frustrated with her. I know it's not her fault and that she's a victim of abuse but I feel a responsibility towards her and hate seeing her go through this.
We've both been through abusive relationships before and helped each other through it.
She and her do are like members of my family and I love them dearly and just want the best for them but I just don't know what to do to help.
She has seeked advice once and was told that this agency could find housing for her but when I asked if she looked further in to it she hadn't.
If it was just her I feel it would be different, I could just be there for her until she was ready, but as children are involved I feel I need to do more.
I'm worried the older child could mention something in school and that social services may get involved.
I've considered telling her parents what's going on as they are just aware of his laziness and not helping out etc. If I do this I don't know that she'd still trust me.

Please help me know what to do for the best.

Tenshidarkangel Tue 10-Jan-17 12:49:23

While I don't doubt you, with a lot of victims of DV it's hard to get them past the damage the partner has done. They have literally been brainwashed. She could say she's going to leave but then he will come along tell her it was a mistake and she'll go running back.
Until she find the strength and clarity to walk away entirely she will never get away.
I totally understand your frustration, it's so bloody hard watching it from the distance but that's where you need to be. If you say too much against him she may become defensive and he will likely encourage her to ignore you as he'll see you as a threat.
It's a waiting game and the only way to intervene at this point would be through SS which she would likely never forgive you for (not sure what they'll do unless he's hit the children). She'll deny it all to them and the police too.
Sorry OP. Been there and it sucks.

MorrisZapp Tue 10-Jan-17 12:54:34

So these ad campaigns saying 'don't turn a blind eye to domestic violence', what else are we supposed to do? Listen and nod seems a bit shit where children are being abused.

springydaffs Tue 10-Jan-17 13:07:19

Social services getting involved is PRECISELY what needs to happen. You are in way over your head, enabling her, therefore keeping this hideously damaging situation going for the kids.

I do seriously hope the kids say something in school.

She may be up to her neck in domestic abuse but those kids need protecting. If that means they are taken from her (bcs she won't give up her abuser) then hooray for that.

I'm not pointing fingers here, I was a victim of domestic abuse myself. I know the score, how it goes. Those kids are innocent and need protection. The very best thing you can do for that family is inform social services.

Tenshidarkangel Tue 10-Jan-17 13:07:23

Think the only thing that could kick it into gear is if the children do say something to their school. Problem is they may see it as normal due to their age so it may not be brought up. It's a tough one. sad
You can sit their till your blue in the face telling them to leave but the abusers just sweet talk and put the negative spin on you as the friend.
"Why would your friend say that, that's cruel. Shes just interfering in our lives, why are you even friends with her, she wants me for herself, you need to stop seeing her"
Abusers are fantastic at getting people isolated.

Moxiechick Tue 10-Jan-17 13:28:50

Thank you for your replies.
darkangel brainwashed is definitely that right word. Now and again she comes out with things like, he said he'll finally start saving for a deposit for a house. And I will say something along the lines of 'why would you tie yourself financially to him? Last week he called you a stupid cunt/thick fuck/retard in front of his family and your kids'
To which she will say oh yeah you're right.
It's hard because he makes her forget by acting nice for a day but I don't want her to forget.

I don't think she would tell him things I've said. She's always been desperate for me to like him as I haven't from the start. The occasions we've spent together I've told her that I liked him as a separate person (it was a fun day out) but I don't like him because he treats you like shit so clearly doesn't love you. I deleted him off Facebook as I didn't want to see him on there and got a phone call begging me to accept another friend request as he'd been asking questions and I had to pretend I thought he deleted me.

springydaffs You are right. I went away over Christmas and New Year hoping that by time I got back she may have had a burst of strength and done something.
I know that's not the case though because the whole time she hasn't mentioned him, which means she's living in her bubble pretending everything is fine. I get it, I've used that strategy before.

She lives with him and her mil who after the first beating said she would kick him out. Then they had a 'chat' and nothing happened.

Moxiechick Tue 10-Jan-17 13:33:32

One of her dc is best friends with my dd and I've avoided sleepovers since things took a turn for the worse. I expect we'll be asked soon and I'm going to have to say that she isn't allowed over there without me as its not a safe place for a child while he's there. I'm hoping that might make her think. I don't know

HyacinthsBucket Tue 10-Jan-17 13:39:15

The cold hard reality is that she is there by choice. It may not be the right one, especially for her kids but it is her choice and hers alone. Your choice is whether to stand by and watch knowing you can't help her; or you walk away so you don't see it happening. I don't mean to sound cold, it's a horrid situation but having gone through a similar experience with a friend, you can't make them see sense and just end up absorbing their stress and misery. But if you know that her children are in genuine danger, then you need to report it to SS.

springydaffs Tue 10-Jan-17 13:44:07

You can't walk away. Not before informing social services.

CatyB Tue 10-Jan-17 13:44:09

Sometimes the only way for such an issue to resolve is through social services. I don't know her and I feel for her, but I just see this as soemthing she cannot cope with. It is a potential issue for her children and for this reason should be addressed.

springydaffs Tue 10-Jan-17 13:46:04

She chooses not to cope with is closer to the truth.

Moxiechick Tue 10-Jan-17 13:51:54

The thing about social services though, would they actually do anything? Where we live resources are stretched very thinly.
Through work I have had some dealings with them and also training days and was led to believe that they only intervened when children were in immediate danger (eg sexual abuse/physical abuse) and that there was some hierarchy of neglect.
Obviously I could be wrong and have misunderstood.
'All' that has happened to this child is that she has witnessed her mum be thrown on the floor and be sworn at. Obviously there's a reason all is in inverted commas as personally I find that horrific imo and I'm not minimising it at all.

Moxiechick Tue 10-Jan-17 13:54:51

springydaffs she does chose not to deal with it I agree but I feel so harsh saying that.

The truth is I don't understand her as a mother. When my dds dad would verbally abuse me my daughter was tiny so knew none of that. I always said I wouldn't allow that to be her basis of what a relationship is like. I can't understand why she doesn't think the same.
Then I feel guilty and remind myself she's a victim of abuse.

springydaffs Tue 10-Jan-17 19:42:41

No no no. She CAN do something about it - but she doesn't want to. You're making everything cushy for her (sorry) and she doesn't get to feel the harshness of what she's dealing with here. You are literally enabling her.

Her responsibility to her kids is coming second. Being a victim of domestic abuse isn't an excuse - which is why SS get any kids out of the orbit of domestic abuse.

As I said, I have been a victim of domestic abuse. So I do know what I'm saying here.

springydaffs Tue 10-Jan-17 22:10:34

Tell her about the Freedom Programme .

You may have to step right up and say it is not acceptable for her kids to be subjected to this. If she wants to be subjected to this then fine, her choice. But not her kids' choice. Her kids need protecting - because she is NOT protecting them.

You may have to accept she will not go to the Freedom Programme. You may have to accept she puts her man first before her children. You may have to screw up your courage and get this documented with SS. You really have no choice here - and you are in a position of power.

That said, you may have to tread carefully bcs she could cut you off - which is bad for THE KIDS. No-one watching out for them. You have to inform SS, regardless what she does. It is likely she'll be weak where he's concerned and could well let him back in. Those kids can NOT be subjected to this.

Reports to SS are anonymous. It's enough that it's on record - though hopefully they'll take action. Keep telling them you are concerned.

Please stop seeing her as a victim. Her kids are the real victims here.

Moxiechick Wed 11-Jan-17 09:59:48

I have spoken to her today and she says she has called one of the agency's and is waiting to hear back.
However it does concern me that she said he's not a beater even though he's beat her up because he's not as bad as her last ex sad

springydaffs Wed 11-Jan-17 10:34:05

Yes, that's depressing..

Did you mention the Freedom Programme? Do have a look to see your local group/s. Imo everyone especially women could do with this course so you might go too? Imo you need support too as you are so closely involved with her and it's a complex issue.

Moxiechick Wed 11-Jan-17 10:44:09

I haven't mentioned it to her yet as when I text about the situation she text another friend saying moxie is already having a go about dp. Other friend has similar but less harsh views. She's a very sympathetic and caring person which probably makes me look like more like an evil witch.
I had a look at the website and am going to pay to do the online course, it looks amazing from the sample btw. Thank you for that

MrsBertBibby Wed 11-Jan-17 10:51:53

Please call social services and report the situation.

If you wouldn't send your own kids there, why would you just let hers rot?

springydaffs Wed 11-Jan-17 11:10:24

Great re FP! Well done. It'll get your head straight about it.

It would be (much) better for her to attend the course over reading it. Denial is a huge component for victims of DA/V. Also, sadly, addiction. You could equate it with any addiction and wouldnt be far wrong..

Hence she won't take kindly to criticism of her drug of choice. I'm not saying everyone who is a victim of DA/V is like this but it seems she is: he comes first, before anything or anyone else. Which includes her kids sad

springydaffs Wed 11-Jan-17 11:12:07

Bert makes a very good point ^^

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