One hears a lot of abusive relationships these days. In unfortunate cases, if our friend/family member happens to be in an abusive relationship, one must know the reasons of such abusive behaviour and how to help that person.
Abusive relationship is a violent pattern exerted by one partner to control the other partner. It may be physical, sexual, financial or vocal and is intended towards intimidating the partner psychologically and/or emotionally.
A stepwise approach will help your friend to come out of abusive relationship.
Step 1: Educate yourself
To help a friend in an abusive relationship, it is essential to educate yourself about dealing with such situations. Reading books, surfing the internet, visiting institutes, and meeting people who had earlier gone through such situations and are now out of it, would help you.
Step 2: Confrontation
Inform your friend that you are aware of their relationship and assure her that you came to know of it yourself and that your interest lies in seeing her safe and happy.
Step 3: Listening
She might feel ashamed of this abusive relationship and hence may take some time to open up. The best way to increase her confidence in you is by not offering any sympathies, suggestions or displaying any emotions while listening.
Step 4: Availability of resources
4.1 Generally, the victim stays with an abusive partner because of the belief that she has nowhere to go. Hence, it is very important to let her know that she has got many friends and relatives whom she can freely approach.
4.2 It is also important to let her know that she can come out of it (if she wishes to) only when she takes a step towards it. However, one must mention to her that it will be difficult to take this first step.
Step 5: Increase social network
Socialising is the best way to increase her confidence and self-esteem. One must understand that initially, it will be difficult for her to widen her social circle. If her condition is very bad, she should be advised to visit a counsellor and / or join support groups which will increase her confidence level.
Step 6: Points to remember
6.1 It is important to remember to not to confront her partner. Doing so may only increase the violence.
6.2 Do not blame her for being in this situation. It would further lower her self-esteem and confidence.
6.3 Never force her to leave the relationship till the time she decides to. She has intended to stay in the relationship out of emotional attachment and it may hurt her to take this drastic step.
Thus, to help a friend come out of an abusive relationship, it is important to speak with her and assure her, give her confidence, encourage her to build social network which will help her to come out, gain confidence and be self-motivated.
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