Are you worried about someone you care about?
Do you think she or he might be in an abusive relationship?
Does their partner require constant check-ins if they are apart? Has your friend or loved one stopped doing things they used to enjoy, because their partner doesn’t enjoy those things? Do they no longer see other family members or friends because their partner doesn’t get along with them or wants all of their time and attention for themselves? All of these scenarios are concerning and could be signs of an abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse involves a complex dynamic of intimidation, fear, and a pattern of control within intimate relationships. It can be a difficult and frustrating place to be if you care about someone and are concerned they are being abused, but you are unsure how to help them.
The most important thing to remember is that they need your support. So just listen, express your concern for them, but resist going into problem-solving mode immediately.
Here are a few things to help someone in an abusive relationship:
- Listen, believe, and validate them. Let him/her know that you care and you want them to be safe.
- Do not ask questions that imply blame. Someone who is being abused is not responsible for their partner’s choices or violence, and does not deserve shame, guilt or blame.
- Don’t pressure them to make quick decisions. Do not assume that they are ready to leave the relationship or that you know what is best for her/him.
- Do not advise them to leave or judge them for staying. People are the best experts in their own lives and ultimately know what is best for themselves at any particular time.
- Provide information and resources. Do so in a non-judgmental and gentle manner so that they are able to make educated and informed decisions about their future.
For more information visit http://www.wcaboise.org/get-help/warning-signs/
The Compassion Project: Let us be the ones who transform our world by allowing compassion to lead our action. Throughout the year, this column will feature the various ways to have compassion for others, for our specific organization, and for yourself.
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