Supporting Friends and Family Who May Be in a Domestic Abuse Situation
When our loved ones are struggling and in pain, it can be very difficult to know what to do to help them. Seeing friends and family in an abusive relationship can be particularly challenging. We just “want to shake them” and have them see what we see and follow our advice. But coming on too strong with our opinions and advice can backfire on us, causing our loved ones to stop confiding in us. With all they are struggling with, it is a great goal to be a safe person.
Here are some ways you can support your loved one who may be in a abusive situation:
Listen Without Judgement
Victims of abusive relationships have to navigate a lot of feelings and confusion. Many still feel love for their abuser, and that can be hard for us to understand. It is important to remember it is typically an intimate relationship where that person is not “all bad.” Oftentimes, even though they know they must end things, they can still feel sad and lonely, and again, we may simply not understand. Just listen without judgment.
Your loved one needs to be reassured that the abuse was not their fault. They also need to know that they are not alone, that they have a support network of people who love and care about them very much. Victims of abuse do not always realize they have resources so giving them confidence to know you are available can be a significant life line.
Encourage Professional Guidance
Your loved one will greatly benefit from talking to someone who can guide them through their complex emotions. Look for a local domestic violence agency that offers counseling and support groups. Offer to go with them if it will help them take that first step.
We have several therapists who specialize in helping domestic abuse survivors navigate their trauma and find themselves again. If you’d like to call our office, we would be more than happy to discuss how we can help.
And if you or someone you love is in immediate jeopardy, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)799-7233. If you are wondering about a local resource for Douglas County, the Crisis Center’s information can be found at www.thecrisiscenter.org.