19th April 2009, 9:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
My friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship
I've got a friend in an emotionally abusive relationship. She's in her mid-thirties, and her self-esteem is not what it should be - she's a terrific, smart, beautiful woman, but I'm afraid she just doesn't see it.
The guy she is with is manipulative and controlling. He's incredibly jealous of any other male in her life. He's not been physically abusive (yet), but he's got a lot of anger inside, and I do worry about her safety. I'm sure that this is undoubtedly because he is insecure and scared, and feels powerless, in some way so he acts in this way to gain some modicum of power in his life.
He will question her about almost every contact with any other male in her life. He has snooped through her email accounts. He has threatened suicide if she leaves, and he's never at fault at any time. He uses demeaning nicknames with her. And when he's not like this he's charming, and generous.
I've done a lot of reading and not only does their relationship have all the hallmarks of an emotionally abusive relationship, she seems very caught in the "cycle of abuse" - tension builds, he does something controlling or manipulative, he apologizes and promises to change and showers her with gifts, she forgives him and they go on to a "good" state...until it starts all over again.
I've had quite a few conversations with her, talking about the red-flags of controlling and manipulative men, the cycle of abuse, my concerns for her safety, her own issues in making any real choices of consequence in her life. And she acknowledges them all, but seems powerless to change.
First and foremost, I really just want her to get in to see a therapist, but she's resisting - I think she knows what's going on, but knows if she does this, she'll have to confront it all, and the idea scares her.
I want to help her if I can. But my logical, male approach to solving
the problem just doesn't seem to sink in for her. I don't think she's
beyond help, but she is caught in a spiral of low-self esteem.
So I'd love to know what everybody here thinkgs. What do you think is the best way to get through to her? What's the best way to support her, urge her to stop being a victim, and get her to open her eyes to how she's really hurting her life in the long run?
Is there anything I can do to get her to see a therapist?