What you can do
Timing is important. Bring up the subject as soon as possible, but at a time and place when it is safe to do so and they are calm and can talk privately. If you can’t talk straight away, ask if you can catch up later just the two of you. When someone is in an abusive relationship there may be feelings of shame, confusion and denial so they may get defensive, angry, go silent or change the topic and tell you that you’re wrong and everything is OK. They may make up excuses for their partner’s behaviour, minimise the abuse or take responsibility for the abuse. Don’t be discouraged – if your gut’s telling you something’s not right you may need to just keep the conversation going until the truth starts to come out, but don’t pressure them too much or interrogate them, they may take some time and come back to you at another date to talk about it.
How to take care of yourself
You’ll be of better assistance when you are feeling good. Although it may be important to step in, make sure that you take care of your own health, safety and emotional well-being.
Remember that you can’t force someone to change, you can only do your part. It may take days, weeks, months or years for an abusive relationship to end, if it ends at all. Try to be patient and understanding and don’t take on the responsibility for the outcome.
Remember that it is not your fault if the abuse continues. People choose to be abusive, the abuser has chosen their actions and it is not your fault.
Speak to a professional. Try calling any of the services listed on this website. Alternatively, any professional counsellor can help.
Stay healthy and regularly do things that you enjoy – both are proven stress relievers!
And of course stay safe! You do not want to fall victim to the abuser as well.