If you have a friend in an abusive relationship , you might feel scared, hopeless, and most of all, helpless. Whether the intimate partner violence in question is physical, emotional, economic, or falls into multiple categories, you may be at a complete loss as to what you can do. The best ways to show up for your friend will depend on your relationship, the nature of the abuse, and what stage your friend is on in their journey. It really is about showing, not just telling. People in abusive relationships often have a hard time trusting their inner voice.
What You Should Know About Dating An Abuse Survivor
Safe Horizon | Supporting Someone in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship: Do’s and Don’ts
Emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person. What's more, mental or emotional abuse, while most common in dating and married relationships, can occur in any relationship including among friends, family members, and co-workers. Emotional abuse is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize. It can be subtle and insidious or overt and manipulative. Either way, it chips away at the victim's self-esteem and they begin to doubt their perceptions and reality. The underlying goal of emotional abuse is to control the victim by discrediting, isolating, and silencing. In the end, the victim feels trapped.
7 Helpful Things to Say to Someone in an Abusive Relationship—and 3 to Avoid
When you know your friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship , it can be pretty tough to figure out what you should do. Obviously you want to help, but you never know if what you're saying is the right thing or if it's somehow making things worse. For instance, sometimes people just like to vent with zero intention of actually leaving or confronting their partner. Saying something negative like, "Leave them. They suck, " can actually backfire on you and put your friend on the defense.
Abusive relationships in any form, be it physical, emotional , financial, sexual, coercive , or psychological, can leave long-term scars. And, it's no surprise that these scars can flare up again when beginning a new relationship. No matter how different this new relationship might be, it's totally normal to be wary, and you could find it difficult to place trust in a new partner.