Posts Tagged ‘friend’

How to Help A Mom Friend In An Abusive Relationship 

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.46.33 PMIt is a helpless feeling knowing that your friend is being mistreated in a relationship.  What makes it even more difficult is knowing that children are being exposed to the abuse.
Taking on trying to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship can be overwhelming, so here are some suggestions that could support you:
Listen and be supportive.  It can be scary for someone to open up and talk about the fact that they are in an unhealthy relationship.  If they share details with you, listen without judgment or advice. When you start judging, most likely your friend will shut down and won’t talk to you about the topic in the future.  Reminding your friend that they are not alone and that you will be there for them when they need someone to talk to is important.
Be patient.  It can be frustrating to witness the cycle of abuse in an unhealthy relationship. Typically, there is a blow up that can be followed by apologies, gifts, and promises from the abuser that it will never happen again.  During the time surrounding the blow up, the person who gets hurt may realize that they are in a bad relationship and may be upset, angry, and possibly ready to end the relationship. This may be the time that they will turn to a friend for support.  However, shortly after this phase, it is common for the abuser to be very sorry, extremely loving, and apologetic.  They may even give gifts or make a temporary change in their life that seems promising for a brighter future for the relationship.  As a friend, this can be frustrating to watch, especially when it happens over and over again.  But, remember that no matter what you say or do, your friend will not leave or end the relationship until they are ready.
Provide resources.  There is only so much you can do as a friend.  Refer your friend to professionals who can assist her.  You can give her the phone number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is a 24/7 hotline where trained advocates are available to speak to and offer local resources.  Offer to let your friend to use your phone to make the call.
Suggest making a safety plan.  Get your friend thinking about how they will keep themselves and their children safe if an incident with their partner escalates and gets out of control.  Where will they go if they have to leave in a hurry?  What items would they need to have ready to grab quickly if they need to leave fast?  How will they get themselves and their children out safely?
Offer to help with the children.  If you can include the kids in on some of your family fun whether it is a day at the zoo or a play date at your home, that could give your friend some time to take care of herself and allow the child to have a good time.
Sarah Cole is a former domestic violence educator and crisis counselor who is currently a stay-at-home mom with her two busy toddlers.