7 Ways to Support a Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Myth:   Victims of domestic violence always eagerly accept help from friends and advocates.  Closer to the truth :  Not always. Victims are...

Victims of domestic violence always eagerly accept help from friends and advocates. 

Closer to the truth:  Not always.

Victims are human. Sometimes victims of domestic violence can be irritable, angry, and short-tempered.

Victims of domestic violence are often in extremely difficult positions.  They are attempting to generate peace and/or the appearance of peace in their volatile relationship. Simultaneously, they may be trying to keep peace between their partner, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and friends. 

 It is physically and mentally exhausting to be in a relationship that operates like conflict on the battlefield. 

And then there's you....

It can be incredibly challenging and distressing for you as a friend to witness someone you care about trapped in an abusive relationship, especially when they defend their abuser and resist seeking help. 

It's important for you to approach the situation with empathy, compassion, and understanding. Here are a few suggestions on how you can handle this difficult situation:

1. Educate yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about domestic violence, its dynamics, and the reasons why victims often defend their abusers. This will help you gain a better understanding of what your friend might be experiencing and why they may be hesitant to seek help.

2. Maintain an open dialogue: Create a safe space for your friend to talk about their feelings and experiences. Make it clear that you are there to listen without judgment, offering them emotional support without imposing your opinions or pressuring them to leave the abusive relationship.

3. Be non-confrontational: Avoid becoming confrontational or aggressive towards your friend's abuser. Instead, focus on supporting your friend and helping them build their self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. Encourage them to recognize their own value and explore their feelings in a safe environment.

4. Offer resources: Provide your friend with information about local domestic violence hotline numbers, shelters, support groups, and resources available to survivors. Let them know that these resources are there to promote safety and well-being, but avoid pushing them to use these services if they're not ready.

5. Respect their choices: While it may be difficult, it's important to respect your friend's autonomy and their decisions. Understand that leaving an abusive situation can be an extremely complex and dangerous process, and it's ultimately their decision to make. 

Be patient and continue offering support without enabling the abuser's behavior. It can take a long time to leave an abusive partner. 

6. Encourage self-care: Help your friend focus on their own well-being by suggesting self-care activities, such as exercise, therapy, journaling, or engaging in activities they enjoy. 

Encouraging them to prioritize their physical and mental health can help them develop the strength needed to eventually break free from the abusive relationship.

7. Maintain your boundaries: Remember that while you are there to support your friend, it's crucial to set and maintain your own boundaries. 

Ensure you are protecting your own emotional well-being and seeking support from others who can help you navigate this difficult situation.

Ultimately, supporting a friend in an abusive relationship can be immensely challenging, and there might not be an immediate solution. 

However, your compassion, understanding, and continued presence can make a significant difference in their journey towards healing and breaking free from abuse. 

SurvivorAffirmations is a project started by the creators of WESurviveAbuse.com. These positive affirmations of for Survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, incest, rape, FGM, and related trauma.


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Survivor Affirmations : 7 Ways to Support a Friend in an Abusive Relationship
7 Ways to Support a Friend in an Abusive Relationship
Survivor Affirmations
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