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The How-To Lounge: Deciphering an Abusive Relationship

Throughout October, I will be bringing you very important information about domestic violence and how you can protect yourself and the people around you. As we all know, abuse does not belong in any relationship so if your friend or someone you know is in an unhealthy situation, or if you're noticing a change in a friend's behavior — she's feeling ashamed, hopeless, or frightened — be sure to check out my tips on how to help.

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  • If you think, but aren't sure that your friend is in an abusive relationship, start off by asking her these tough questions: Are you ever afraid of your partner? Has he ever threatened to harm you? Has he ever hit you? Forced you to have sex with him? Does he control you or purposely put you down? If she answers yes to any of these, her well-bring could be in danger.
  • If you are worried about her safety, do not hesitate to call the police.
  • To avoid a dangerous situation, advise your friend to seek a trusted confidant or spiritual advisor for advice. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also a great recourse for general information and guidance, and they can help find a shelter in her area if she needs a safe place to stay. They are available to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • If your friend has to flee from an abusive relationship, make sure she has an emergency plan — a place to go, an escape route, and someone she can call.
  • She should also keep an emergency kit packed and easily accessible with the necessities: an ID, money, social security card, passport, an extra set of keys and any prescription medication.
  • If your friend's abuser does not live with her, she should immediately change her locks, install a security system and obtain a restraining order. If she has children, she needs to alert her kids' school and their friends' parents so they can be protected and kept out of harm's way.

Domestic abuse happens in every culture, affects every race and every religion, and it may be happening to someone you love as we speak. Be sure to educate yourself so you can not only be there for a friend in need, but know what to look for in your own relationships.


Bubbles12 Bubbles12 8 years
"Friends just be aware that when you to could be injured or become a target." Very true. And if she's hasn't 'hit bottom' and isn't ready to leave there is nothing you can do to convince her to take care of herself. Just last summer a friend and her boyfriend visited us. On their drive to our place they got in argument and he pushed her from a moving car, stopped the car and then tried to choke her saying he wanted to kill her! She didn't tell me about it for a few days, and when she did and saw my shocked reaction and I said "He might actually kill you if there is another blow out, how do we make you safe?" she completely tried to backtrack and said I was overreacting. Wow. I've known her since college, I didn't know she could be like that. Later they both tried to pick fights with me, it's like they needed a distraction or make someone else the bad guy. No way was I going down that road and just tried to stay cool til they were gone. She was too scared to be alone with him, but she wouldn't admit she needed to leave him. I read all the brochures and tried to talk with her, but she just wished no one knew her secret. It made me wonder what else she is hiding. She's a VP on Wall Street and is not financially dependent on anyone else. It could happen to anyone.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 9 years
i agree, great post
Mesayme Mesayme 9 years
Thank you Sugarbritches...(he's a professional, white-collar 'good man' know what I mean. They actually said 'why would you leave all that money?' :IRK: Friends just be aware that when you to could be injured or become a target. Better to have some authorities on your side. Abused women are usually mentally broken down and can't make judgments for there benefit. They see things differently, you the friend, sees the big picture and are rational. She, on the other hand is terrified and paralyzed with fear. She'll be fearless at times and childlike at others...she's trying to gather the strength to make a move. He may have caught wind of it and beat down on her either mentally or verbally. Look for this other than bruises...they know where to hit. And if you are being abused and he's threatened you. Prepare now, wait for it (there will be a window) and run like hell. If he's going to kill you sweetie...make him do it in the spotlight and not under the cover of the darkness of the roof of your own home. Believe it or not movies are helpful... Enough, Sleeping With the Enemy, Not Without My Daughter...learn and build courage...he'll just think you're watching movies. ;) Leave and go straight to the police station...they will tell you where to go as most help centers aren't listed so that it stays well hidden. DO NOT! go to a relative or anyone he knows. Not at first. Okay!! Be safe.
sugarbritches sugarbritches 9 years
Mesayme I'm really sorry to hear that you had to go through that. Good for you for being strong though. It will get better with time / distance. Sounds like a total cliche and maybe hollow, but it's true.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
This is a good post, Dear. And in the case of a friend you're worried about, it's better to protect her and have her mad at you (abused women often insist that they're fine, they don't want help) than for her to get hurt, or worse.
Mesayme Mesayme 9 years
I just left an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage...and I can tell you from experience, other women's advice and judgments where my greatest obstacles. They were waiting for bruises and I wasn't sticking around for it. Go to professionals and government agencies and not 'shadetree' psychologists practicing without intelligence.
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