(Long) I don't know how to help my DV-survivor friend…

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
1116 posts
Bumble bee

Have you tried contacting a women’s shelter or domestic violence charity/support group to see of they have advice/support for people in your  situation who are trying to support victims? 

Post # 3
49 posts

talia.teresa:  First I just want to say you are a wonderful friend. Thank you for being there to support your friend through this incredibly difficult series of relationships and trauma. You are already doing so much by continuing to be a support for her – many of the people who ultimately lose their lives to domestic violence are folks who had no support, had never been able to reach out to anyone, had never told anyone about the abuse, etc.

As someone who works as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, I can tell you that everything you have described here is completely normal for someone who has been through what your friend has been through. Feelings of worthlessness and isolation are often drilled into their heads and it makes it very difficult to feel that you deserve anything better in life (especially when there are multiple abusers – this all compounds on itself and can make the victim feel like everything that she has been told about herself is true because multiple people are saying and doing the same things to her). 

My best advice for you is to help connect your friend with a domestic violence agency that provides supportive counseling around issues of abuse/power and control/violence, etc. This is not the same as generalized therapy, which can be focused on the individual/medication instead of the abusive environment/external factors. Your friend may really benefit from speaking to people who are trained in and work with other women like her every single day. It could be helpful for you to find this resource for her and offer to go with her to meet with someone so that she can be connected with someone who knows how to talk about these issues AND in doing so relieve some of the pressure on you as a friend so that you can continue to be a support for her and not burn out with anxiety and worry over what is right and wrong to say and do. This can be incredibly taxing as a friend and it’s not healthy for you to be her only resource/support. 

If you’d like to send me a PM and let me know a general location for you and your friend, I’d be happy to connect you with services in your area. I would also be happy to talk with you more about strategies for engaging with your friend, and would even be willing to talk with your friend anonymously via email if she is not ready to seek support at a DV agency. 

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