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Supporting Someone Who Is Being Abused
Adapted from safeplace.org
If The Person Reaches Out
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Remember that it can very difficult for someone to leave an abusive relationship. Don't apply too much pressure or try to force someone to do something they are not ready to.
Supporting does not mean forcing. This is like crossing a high, fast flowing river. Pushing and pulling doesn't help. What helps is supporting as they move at their pace.
The ability to demonstrate unconditional acceptance is crucial. Try to suspend judgment when confronting behaviors and attitudes different from yours, be flexible and accepting without imposing your own values and ideals.
To avoid feeling judgmental, stay aware of your own feelings by silently asking yourself, "How am I feeling?" If you find that you answer "judgmental," remind yourself that feeling judgmental will not help the person you are trying to help. This may help you let go of the judgmental feelings just as you would quickly let go of a snake if you were told it was poisonous.
Remember that judging poisons relationships.
One reason not to give advice is because if your friend doesn't follow your advice you are likely to frustrated and rejected on some level. Your friend will sense this and it will hurt the quality of your supportive relationship.
In trying to be supportive, others can sometimes actually become overprotective to the point that they reinforce feelings of helplessness the abused person is trying to overcome. Doing too much for someone implies that they are incapable of acting on their own behalf. The more you believe your friend is helpless, the more the he or she stays in that role. The more helpless and dependent an abused person feels, the less able they will be to act on their own behalf.