How to best support sister? Anyone experience something similar?

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
Member
895 posts
Busy bee

You have done all you can. All you can do at this point is ask her leading questions. When she tells you these things, ask her.

1. How does that make you feel when he does or his friends do xxxxxxx?

2. What do you think you should do?

3. Do they pose a danger to your child?

4. How are you protecting your child from the chaos?

As an abuse survivor and working with abuse survivors, you cant force her to change anything, she has to realize that she needs to change it. She probably needs therapy, but she wont get it until she is good and ready.

However, if you pose the questions in way that might help her see that she needs to protect her child even if she doesnt protect herself, she might think more about her situation.

Asking questions like,

What kind of healthy life would you like to see your child in?

Can that healthy life be accomplished in your current situation.

Unfortunately this is the cycle of abuse. You are not qualified to fix it and until she is ready all you can do is gently try to lead her to a greater understanding. 

I hope that helps. 

Post # 4
Member
895 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
fancyllama :  Indeed it does, however the cycle she is going through has become so ingrained she may not know how to leave it. You are doing everything right, keeping the lines of communication opem, offering support, being there without judgement. 

Maybe if she begins to think in terms of her child she might be able to break free. Her spouse and she herself are modeling behavior that will become a pattern to her child. If she has a daughter, by staying she is saying to her daughter that this behavior is acceptable from a man. If she has a son, he will learn the behavior from the father and will perhaps grow up to disrespect women and even her. 

Perhaps you could gently point out, that her child will begin modeling this behavior and come to think its normal. Ask her what she would do if her daughter/son was struggling with this same situation? What would she tell them? If her son/daughter began acting out like his father? What would she do?

Sometimes people have their blinders on, maybe through her childs eyes she can remove the blinders.

Post # 5
Member
2539 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I am sure my situation is not identical to your sister, but I went through something similar with my now-ex husband.

Until the end, I would never admit that anything was wrong and I kept the way he treated me a secret from EVERYONE. I was afraid to talk about it to anyone because if he found out he would get so angry.

Nobody could tell me anything. I wouldn’t have listened. My mom could tell something was wrong with me, though. She always asked me if I was ok. It annoyed me. But she kept asking. One day when I was visiting my parents without my husband, she asked again. I burst into tears and told her everything. That was the day I started planning my exit. Hearing myself describe his behavior out loud to someone else made it sound so much worse than when I rationalized it to myself in my head. It was eight years into the relationship. 

I can only imagine the internal struggle your sister is dealing with; what I went through was difficult enough, and my ex and I never had any children. 

Long story short, the best thing you can do is continue being available and continue to be an ‘out’ for your sister. If she is like me, nothing you say will convince her to leave before she’s good and ready. But if/when she does make that decision, it helps to know you have somewhere to go and someone to count on.

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