Helpful Tips On How to Help a Loved One Who Is in an Abusive Relationship

Helpful Tips On How to Help a Loved One Who Is in an Abusive Relationship


Oct 15, 2015

In the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds.

Worldwide, 1/4 of women will experience domestic or dating violence in their life. Women also make up 85 percent of domestic violence victims and those between the ages of 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims.

Also, not all abusive relationships are restricted to violence.

Emotional, sexual, and financial abuse are also considered as an abusive relationship. Often times most people who are in these types of relationships aren't fully aware of the severity of their situation. If you suspect that someone you know, or even yourself, might be in some form of an abusive relationship, it's more than possible to get help. 

In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we're offering a few helpful ideas on how to help someone who is facing this tough situation. 

Learn how to spot the characteristics of an abuser:

1. Emotionally intense and co-dependent

2. Could be charming 

3. Fluctuates between emotional extremes

4. Might be a former victim of abuse themselves

5. Witnessed history of abuse and violence as a child

6. Controlling behavior

7. Inflexible and judgmental

8. May abuse alcohol or drugs

Here are a few ways that you can help a loved one who is a victim of an abusive relationship: 

• Be 100% supportive
Your loved one will need a lot of support throughout this process. Emotional support and sensitivity across all aspects mean so much towards helping them. 

• Don’t place shame or guilt on victim
At this point, the victim may be blaming themselves for what they're going through or even think they deserve abusive behavior. 

• Offer specific help and resources 
Remind the victim that they can reach out to professionals who can take action or help alleviate the situation. Such as law enforcement, therapy, or a local domestic violence agency. If young children or pets are involved, suggest a safe place for them to stay as well. 

• Help strategize a safety plan
Another way to show support is by constructing a well thought-out safety plan. This includes trusted contact numbers, picking a place to stay where the abuser can’t find them, and packing important items. 

• Encourage them to try new activities
A victim of abuse should never be isolated from others. When a victim is disconnected from others, this gives their abuser more power and control. It’s important for them to remain busy outside of the relationship and see other loved ones. 

• Don’t be judgmental
Sometimes, it will take the victim some time to be able to leave their abusive relationship. While it may be frustrating, a victim might return to their abusive relationship. Allow them to make decisions when they feel comfortable. As long as you continue to show your support, they will do what’s right for them. 

No matter what, if you or your loved one feels like they are in immediate danger, don't hesitate to call 911. Or, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 / 1-800-787-3224

For even more information, explore these other sources here.

NEXT: Watch the White House's PSA On How We Can Help End Sexual Assault »

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Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd via Getty Images

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