Knowing how to help your friend get out of a bad relationship can be really tricky. When you're dealing with something with as many emotions involved as this, it's important to proceed with a light but firm touch. She's invested a lot in this relationship, so much that it might be all she knows. If you know someone in this situation, here are some tips about how to help your friend get out of a bad relationship. It may be difficult, but she'll thank you for it later.
1. Make Your Willingness to Help Known
One of the first things to do to help your friend get out of a bad relationship is to make your availability to help known. Say your piece and let her come to you. In situations like this, she needs to feel like she is in control. If she *does* come to you -
2. Help Her to See It for What It is
Get her to talk about it. Don't talk him down so much as use "I statements" and leading questions to draw her out. Statements like, “I couldn't help but notice that you seemed anxious earlier. Is there anything I can do?” are better than “Can't you see that he's hurting you?” because it's much easier for her to take “you” statements as criticism, whether you mean it that way or not.
3. Get Other People Involved
Not only can a group of friends/family hold her to it and meet her needs, the fact that so many people care enough to help her will help her self-esteem. Speaking of self-esteem -
4. Build Her Confidence in Any Way You Can
Low self-esteem is one of the primary reasons people stay in bad relationships. We think we can't do any better, that we deserve what we're getting because we're not worth being treated well. Reassure her that this is not true. She has friends who love her and family who cares - which on its own tells her she's good. Let her know she's worth it, whether she thinks so or not.
5. Remove Any Barriers to Leaving
If it's money, help her find the things she needs. If she's concerned about the kids, arrange for their care. If it's confidence, that's where the above point comes in. Whatever she needs, provide it. That way she'll have no excuse because, believe me, he'll lord it over her. This doesn't only apply to abusive relationships; that's how they start. Nip it in the bud now.
6. Encourage Counseling
She may balk at this, but it is essential that someone who has been trapped in a bad or abusive relationship for a long period of time gets some sort of professional help. I say this because, however good of a friend you are, there are going to be some needs you can't meet. An objective 3rd party can only help.
7. Don't Give up on Her
One of the things I regret the most is going back to my ex; allowing him to continue to manipulate me without me knowing it. Helping her make a clean break and doing what you can to “enforce” it can be very helpful. While it's true you can't force her to listen to you, you can keep her busy and help her stay away from places he might try to get her alone. If you have to, have someone with her 24/7 or even call the police, do it. She may- no, she probably will - get mad at you, but it's needed.
If you know someone in a bad relationship, it's important to let her know she has a way out. He might be the “devil she knows”, but the devil you know is still a devil. You can't force her to do anything, but you can make her feel better about herself so that she'll be more able to leave the louse for good. What about you? Have you ever been in a bad relationship? Has a friend? If so, do you have any advice? Let's talk.