How to get through to someone who keeps going back to an abusive relationship

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I have a friend who stays with a severely abusive boyfriend.  I try to tell her that it isn’t a normal relationship and give her support.  Sometimes she leaves, but she always goes back.  I’m not sure how to help her either.  I’ve given her all the information she needs, but I can’t make her use it. 🙁 

Post # 4
2408 posts
Buzzing bee

unfortunately i do, and even with constant positive reinforcements and discussions, that person kept going back. it wasn’t until things clicked in her head and she decided this was not the life she wanted or the way she wanted to be treated that she finally got the courage and will to leave the relationship.

we said all we could say and still she found some reason to stay or go back. but what we kept reinterating, and stay true to once she did finally pull herself away, was that no matter what happened, we would be there for her. and we were.

this is a really tough situation and i’m so sorry you have to go through it but just keep reminding her that you are there to support her and will be there if and when she decides to leave him for good. and make good on that promise. perhaps you can find some resources for her to use, women’s shelters, pamphelts, whatever to pass on.

Post # 6
1664 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

For someone in an abusive relationship, the “tough love” approach is the worst thing you can do.  I really can’t stress this enough.  This will drive her further away and she will be even more isolated.  The best thing you can do is to support her, check in with her frequently, and let her know that you love her and are there for her.  I’d encourage her family to do the same.


Post # 7
1313 posts
Bumble bee

I have so been there. No one, nothing could get me out of it. I just had to realize it on my own. It was honestly like one day I woke up and knew in my heart it was over and I was done. I had not been happy for a long time, it was just getting up the acutal courage to leave. That was the hardest part for me… so maybe encouraging her to think about her life outside of HIM and being without him would help.

I was deeply in love with him and we had a very emotional connection that I will probably never have again with anyone (this is for the best). It was hard to let go of the intensity and drama of that relationship, but thankfully something in me finally just snapped.

I have self-esteem issues and that was a big reason I kept hanging on.

Lucky for me, I met my current SO not too long after the split and he’s been amazing. I finally know what it’s like to be respected, loved, and treated right. I didn’t know how bad it really was until I was in a healthy, loving relationship.

I hate to say this, but from my experience she has to learn on her own. I know that is probably not what you want to hear and hard to accept, but when her heart is so deeply involved with this man no one can say much to make her let go. It’s truly awful and a really tough situation. I wish you the best of luck and I hope and pray she gets out of that relationship safe and happy.

Post # 8
1313 posts
Bumble bee

Tea also makes a really good point! I had NO clue where I would go. I had no one to live with, no family that lived close by. I think if I’d had the money or resources to leave, I probably would have left sooner.

I had to ask my grandparents for money for a rental deposit, but they gladly paid since I was leaving him.

Post # 9
3522 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

As someone who was in the situation you described once, I’m going to tell you that no amount of coaxing or intervention is going to work (short of sending the guy to prison, and even that’s no guarantee). She has to come to a resolution with HERSELF first and realize that it’s bad, that it’s not going to improve, and that she deserves better. Sadly, you cannot rush that process.

What you can do is let her know that you’re there for her no matter what and that she can always come to you.

Post # 10
1480 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@EleanorRigby: This is 100% the best advice.

kirabee, I also recommend calling a domestic violence/abuse hotline for any advice that may be specific to your cousin’s circumstances. These hotlines aren’t just to support abused women, they’re also there to support those who are trying to help.

Post # 13
1313 posts
Bumble bee


If it’s not easy, it’s not right. Yes, yes yes. This is so true. I think your letter is really heartfelt and does not attack or belittle her in any way. It’s great. You are a great person for caring so much and writing this letter to her. I know if I’d gotten a thought out letter like this it would have really made me think. Good luck with everything, I wish you (and her) the best!!

Post # 15
130 posts
Blushing bee

I hope you reaching out to her works, my mother was in an abusive relationship (both emotionally and extremely physical) from the time I was 15 until I was 18, even after they broke up and we moved away she still saw him and would travel to meet up with him etc it has only been the in past six months (almost four years since we moved) that she has finally ended all contact.

It didn’t matter what I,or anyone else including law enforcement would say back then, he just had some sort of pull the sucked her in. I hope you talking to her about it (whether in person or through email) works but if she is reluctent or refuses to see it your way then all you can do is be there for her to pick up the pieces when it’s needed. She might not appreciate now but when she does break free of it one day (whether that’s tomorrow, next month, next year etc) she will know you were there for her even when she didn’t want you to be and that will mean alot to her.

Post # 16
165 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

@kirabee: Wow, what a situation. About your letter…

I really don’t have any doubts that you love him. But a person who can hurt their partner emotionally, mentally, and physically does not love you. A person that takes you away from your family and friends does not love you. A person that forces you to leave your son does not love you.

Don’t know if you’ve already sent her this letter or have talked to her. I’ve been in a relationship in my past that taught me a few things and I was the one that had to realize to end it once and for all.  If I may offer a suggestion – it’s not that he doesn’t love her, I’m sure he does. He has abusive tendecies and that’s sad and not safe for her or her son to be around. Maybe rephrasing to say instead of that “…does not love you” with “does not deserve your love.”

There comes a point where you realize the negative is out-weighing the bad and you have to get out before the building collapses. As much as tough love or lectures may seem appropriate, kind words and encouragement to leave the abuser is all you can really do. Offer for her to stay with you for a little while, or find a place for her to get away. Starting a new life is for the best.

In my situation, I ended up disconnecting my house phone, got a new cell phone and pretty much ignored my ex. I ended up meeting a fabulous man that is now my husband. My hubby isn’t perfect but he is pretty much the complete opposite of my ex who verbally and emotionally abused me for over a year. My finances were ruined helping my ex, but over the last three years I am coming out of the debt and my hubby is supportive of everything I do.

I wish her all the best. She’s lucky to have family like you that cares about her and loves her.

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