When someone you love is in an abusive relationship, the impact of that relationship affects everyone in their circle, including you. You may not see the abuse or even realize that what you do see is abuse so much as you feel that something is “off.” It is particularly difficult to spot an abusive relationship when the abuse they are experiencing is emotional abuse, especially in its covert form. But with proper education and awareness, you can learn to recognize the signs of potential abuse and begin to empower those around you and yourself to address it in healthy ways. There are many signs that may alert you to the fact that your friend is in a harmful situation.
Today, we focus on four signs that someone you care about potentially is in an abusive relationship:
These are just a few signs that might alert you to the fact that your friend or family member is in an abusive relationship. Once you see the signs, what can you do?
Start by reaching out to them. Pick up the telephone and speak to them person to person and ask them if you can get together with them. Avoid using modes of communication their partner has access to, such as texting, social media messaging or email. Tell them you miss them and want to spend time with them if you can. Offer to meet them for their lunch break from work, or to join them on their walk or jog. All of these things can be done with social distancing in mind. Pick times where they will realize their partner might not know they are connecting with you – this will make it easier for them to say, “yes.”
When you do spend time with them ask them how they are doing; tell them you have noticed some changes and you are concerned about them. Then, just listen. Be a safe place for them to share. Do not judge them, or offer advice. Listen and let them know how much you care. By taking these very simple steps, you’ll begin to provide a safe place for your friend to open up. You may be the catalyst for much-needed change in their lives.
Before meeting with them, review The M3ND Project’s Healing Model of Compassion to help guide your response. To find this and other helpful support documents check out our resources section below. Take some time to also learn more about Covert Emotional Abuse and how it looks in a relationship. You might even download the terms and definitions which describe these behaviors in simple terms and provide them to your friend.
For those who are interested in learning more from The M3ND Project, join us on 1/28 for a free training. We also have a 4hr Intro training on 2/4 and ⅖ for Intro Training. Links are in the resources section below.