Helping Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships ~ Are You Their Angel or Devil?
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Some people will tell you that it is almost as hard to live in the outer orbit of an abusive relationship than it is to be smack in the center of one. You can see the isolation in play, feel the manipulations along the way and witness the pain ridden moments of emotional extortion and abuse toward your loved one.
On some level, you know that helping the abused can only be good for her/him even when you love both parties in the abusive relationship. Then, there is a part of you that fears your “interference” may backfire resulting in your losing contact with both of them.
Here are some points to be mindful of when considering if you want to help shine the light on an abusive relationship before it spirals out of control.
The Abused Person Is Fully Responsible for the Choices She/He Makes
The biggest concern many people have in participating in an intervention is that they don’t want to carry the burden of being responsible for the break-up of a couple in an abusive relationship. However, the ultimate course of the couple’s relationship is their choosing — of which they are fully accountable.
In providing domestic abuse interventions over the last decade, I’m keenly aware that no one can know which direction two people in an abusive relationship will go. They may chose to work therapeutically to break the cycle of abuse and salvage their relationship. Or, alternatively, they may seek to sever ties completely.
The friend or family member participating in the intervention is only interfering with the abuse dynamic, not the couple’s relationship choices. Seek to support — rather than dictate — the direction of the abused.
The Life of an Abusive Relationship
Abusive relationships typically progress in one direction: they become more and more abusive over time without proper intervention. When an assault occurs without consequences, it sends a acceptance message (even though pain-ridden) to both parties, reinforcing it.
No One Enjoys Being Abused
The myth that the abused must like the treatment they receive, otherwise they’d leave the abusive relationship is absurd. People don’t enjoy being mistreated; rather they abhor it from the core of their being. Their reasons for staying have more to do with psychosocial issues that influence perceived options and ultimate choices.
You as a Lifeboat for Her/Him and Their Children
The only choice you have in the matter is whether or not you wish to partake in interrupting a dysfunctional relationship dynamic. If you have a friend or a loved one that is entangled in the power and control dynamics of abusive relationships, seek to explore how you can shine the light.
It will amaze you to discover how you can serve as the angel for both parties irrespective of the choices they each make thereafter. For information on helping loved ones in abusive relationships, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/helping_stop_abuse.php and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and couples worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention