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emotional abuse - just as bad as physical?

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I'm looking for the best way to help a friend of mine. It's somewhat of a sticky situation as she is also an ex but we're still very close and there are still strong feelings between both of us. I'm positive she needs help however I can't help but think part of me wants to help her for selfish reasons. Fortunately every one of her friends and family I've talked to also agree that she's in trouble.


This girl has some pretty deep psychological issues that play a roll here. Certain abusive events in her past I believe have created a pattern in which she expects men to abuse or take advantage of her. She thinks it's normal and doesn't know any other way.


On to the situation...


She's dating a hispanic boy so there's already a controling and dominating tendency there. He's learned of her weaknesses, mainly because she's confided much of her past in him. He's taking what he knows about her and using it to his advantage to play games with her head and ultimately keep her from leaving him. For example - she has a hard time being alone even for a single night. Knowing this, when he wants to "punish" her for disobeying him he will abandon her and make her stay home alone because he knows it's her biggest fear. When she tries to stand up for herself the simple threat of this will often maker her back down. He continually threatens to break up with her if she won't do exactly what he wants knowing all the while that she could never just let go like that and she'll take him back without so much as an apology. On top of the mind games he'll flat out call her names like "f-ing stupid" and when he makes her cry he'll tell her she's just being a baby.


The scariest part for me is that I know this individual and know he has a temper. I and most everyone else in her life have every reason to believe that it's only a matter of time before the emotional abuse turns physical.


In my mind the emotional kind of abuse has always been the worst kind. It's easy to see when someone is being physically abused and much easier to prove and step in to help stop it. The emotional side is so much harder to prove and often much harder for the abusee to see until it's much too late. It's easy for her to brush it off or convince herself and others that it's really not that bad. Well, it's not that good either!


I'm at a loss as to what I can do here. I should mention that I work with both of them. I work rather closely with her at times and technically he works for me. I've confronted him once after he did about the most dispicable thing I could immagine to her when she needed him the most...he somehow conned her in to taking him back by convincing her it was her fault, of course.


How do I along with her other friends open up her eyes and show her how bad this really is for her and how much worse it's likely going to get? It's impossible for me to sit by idly and watch my friend get hurt like this.

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She's dating a hispanic boy so there's already a controling and dominating tendency there.
Bulls*** :) I'd appreciate you refraining from stereotyping.


Just make sure you're trying to help her for the right reasons and remember you can't fix her, she has to fix herself and she will when she is ready.


Pick up or print out some articles/pamphlets on abuse from your local domestic violence center or web sites. Google "emotional abuse" and see what comes up. Look for the "cycle of violence" as well. Call your local domestic violence center and ask them for some ideas as well.


Good luck in your quest.


Yes emotional abuse can often be worse than physical abuse. Physical wounds are visible and heal but emotional wounds can't be seen and can take years or a lifetime to deal with.

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Seems to be my rotten luck to attract emotionally abusive women like a bug zapper attracts moths. It's all left me questioning if it was just the way I was accused and blamed for always being the one in the wrong, or is it really me? For that reason, I'm almost afraid to get involved in another relationship. Would it be fair to impose the sort of monster I'm alleged to have been on any lady? Counselling helps, but you always have the flashbacks when something almost the same happens in a new relationship.


Emotional abuse isn't a trait of any one culture, race or religion. His pattern of using vulnerability against your friend is common to all abusers. The longer your friend is subjected to the abuse, the harder it is to become "normal" again. For the record, my counsellor thought I was a "very sweet individual" Awww ... ain't that heart-warming? *chuckle*



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No offense meant by that comment. I simply live in an area with a high hispanic population and subsequently many of my friends have dated them. It's not to say that being hispanic makes them more or less likely to abuse, it's more that the part of the culture I've seen tends to keep women in a fairly submissive role where they are to do what they're told and never talk back to a man. It just makes it harder to distinguish what's part of the culture and what's outright emotional abuse. Of course this is true of many other cultures too...



But, back to the topic at hand. I've done a lot of reading on this lately and I'm working out a plan to try to keep helping her without destroying my own sanity in the process. Since we work together and also have a romantic history it makes it extra difficult to be involved without being "too involved".


I've devised a plan. Currnently she's assigned to another office for another couple of weeks. I'm maintaining NC during this period to help some of the tension die down between us. I few weeks ago I wad dead set on getting her back and her situation was just another reason I thought I would win. I'm hoping the time appart will let me find a way to forget the feelings that may remain between us and help as a friend only.


All of the reading I've done tells me this girl is in some serious trouble. I took this test from what she's told me http://www.thingsarelookinup.com/Abuse/test.shtml and of the 80 or so questions, at least half could be answered with "somtimes" or "often" and I'm sure there's more she hasn't told me. That's more than enough for me to believe he's in serious trouble.


I'm hoping that betwen me, her friends and family that we can find a way to convince her that she's is indeed in trouble. I get the feeling that the more we talk bad about him and what he does the more it makes her push to make it work out. I think she's convinced that she can change him. I firmly believe that a person will never change unless they want to and I highly doubt he wants to. He does change temporarily, long enough to make her feel good and stick around though...hence the cycle of abuse mentioned above.


I'm also hoping I can talk her back in to going to her therapist. She was seeing one for quite a while and she was helping big time but with the recent change in work she hasn't been able to go for a few weeks. The boyfriend also discourages and often demands she doesn't go. Hopefully once she returns to her old work routine she will start going back.


I believe she knows there's a problem and she's in danger and I believe she wants to change the way she acts and the decisions that she sometimes make but I don't think she was the self esteem or strength to do so when it matters the most.

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