Have you ever wanted to talk with a friend about their relationship but felt it wasn’t your place?
Tried to convince he or she that their partner is unhealthy for them?
Attempted to force a friend to leave the relationship?
Leaving an abusive relationship is extremely difficult. There are many factors involved: family, friendships, financial, low self-esteem, fear.
There have been a few times, over the years, that I have witnessed friends be in abusive relationships. Their partner:
- Pushed or shoved them
- Verbally slandered them – calling them names and making them feel inadequate
- Controlling finances – making them feel dependent on the abuser
- Threatened to harm them if he or she ever left
It was painful to witness. And as a friend, I didn’t know what to do.
- Grow angry and upset
- Try to convince my friend to leave the relationship
- Talk to other friends about it
- Turn my back on them from time to time because I was mad that they were choosing to stay in it.
None of my tactics were constructive at all. I wasn’t educated about what to do.
How to help a friend in an unhealthy relationship
Here are some tips to help a friend who is in an unhealthy relationship:
- Be approachable and non-judgmental
- Let your friend know that you are there for them and that you will support them no matter what, but they deserve to be treated well and deserve to feel happy in their relationship
- Be mindful about your conversations – make sure he or she feels safe
- Encourage honesty and to share with you how their partner makes them feel
- Don’t verbally attack or be confrontational – that is what the abuser does and he or she will immediately be shot down
- Don’t get angry at your friend
- Don’t place the blame on your friend
- Offer solutions
- Offer resources
- Be gentle, kind and patient
- Process your own anger away from your friend
Getting angry with your friend won’t solve the problem.
It’s important to remember that he or she will leave a relationship when they are ready.
Ultimately, it is their life and their decision to make for themselves.