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My friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship

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Old 19th April 2009, 9:54 PM   #1
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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?
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Old 20th April 2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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I'm sorry for your friend she's in a very bad situation and it's so great of you to be supportive of her. I lived with emotional abuse for 15 years.. it's not easy. It will take one's self esteem and squash it right to the ground. It's important for your friend to know that his behavior is in NO way her fault. IMO, she should get out of the R. No one deserves to be treated that way and it's against the law in most states. She can file for an order of protection if need be. There is plenty of legal help out there as well as Domestic Violence hotlines. Just continue to be an ear for her she will need that and I'm sure she will appreciate it greatly.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]"Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart" "When you're going through Hell.. keep going"
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Old 20th April 2009, 1:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by taknightta View Post
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?
Before you know all these details about the relationship, she's obviously talking about it a lot, and realises there's a problem. Yet she persists in seeing him. It's drastic...but maybe a tough love approach that involves you telling her something like this:

"I don't want to hear any more about this guy. I've made it abundantly clear what I think, but you're evidently filtering out all the warning signs about him. I'm finding myself spending way too much time worrying about this whole situation and what you've got yourself into. You're a great friend and a wonderful person, but I'm starting to question your judgement. I can't tell you to stop seeing him, but I'm going to ask you to respect my wish not to hear any more about this. It just upsets me too much to hear someone I care about wasting herself on a total loser like this guy."

Maybe then she'll have to turn to a counsellor. And perhaps you'll also instil a sense of fear that people she cherishes will walk away rather than see her persist in a relationship with an abusive individual. Which is reality. Women closely embroiled with abusers do start losing their support network. Other people don't want to associate themselves with the abusive they gradually start lessening their contact with his partner, which is partly how people in bad relationships can become isolated.

Perhaps she needs to hear that, and to get some flavour of what that would feel like, before it starts happening for real.
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Old 20th April 2009, 5:14 PM   #4
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Apparently it takes 35+ incidencies before a woman will ask for help. Support her wherever you can but dont condone her decision to stay. Help her with the practical angle of planning how to get help.

Please do not endanger yourself.

Take care,
Eve xx
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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Well if you can just remain a friend to her then great... just don't get emotionally involved as you will have your heart broken. Her husband is all about control. If you can find out what kind of childhood did her husband have? She will not do anything unless she really wants to get out. I've read so many books on abuse it makes me ill. Give her the book from Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" That will be a eye opener for her....and if he's really that bad....she won't be able to read it in front of him. She'll have to read it at work or somewhere to hide it.

Bottomline is when she's tired of being in it she'll get out...
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