Do's and Don'ts of helping a friend in an abusive relationship

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How to be a good friend is key when helping someone leave an abusive relationship...

Upset woman
You may have a friend that's currently in an abusive relationship, where she is being controlled and her self-esteem is at an all-time low. But what can you do to help her out of the situation?

Abuse recovery expert Dr Lisa Turner reveals it is important to tread carefully and there is a right and wrong way to go about helping someone.

The do's and don't of helping a friend who is being abused

DO let her know you'll always be there for her. This is the single most important thing you can do to help.

DON'T let him stop you seeing your friend. He may try to make you feel uncomfortable, or even intimidate you too. He's doing this to isolate her so don't let him.

DO gently let her know that the way he treats her is NOT normal. Say something like "I notice he doesn't treat you all that well".

DON'T criticise her boyfriend. She will just defend him. Remember no matter how badly he treats her she probably still loves him.

DO ask her "How can I help?" These are the perfect words and the most supportive thing you could ever do for your friend to let her know you're there for her.

DON'T tell her she's being brainwashed or manipulated. She'll deny it and it can damage your relationship with her.

Don't judge or say anything to make her feel ashamed, guilty or small in any way for not having the perfect relationship.

DO encourage her to do things that will improve her self-esteem. Abusive relationships wreak havoc on a woman's confidence so anything that boosts it is great.

Suggest she meets more people, takes up a hobby, considers a part time job, and looks after her physical health and fitness as well as her appearance. The better she feels about herself the less likely she'll put up with being treated badly.

DO whatever it takes to help her escape once she's ready. The moment she makes the decision she'll need all the help she can get.

DON'T confront him. If he's violent he might direct it at you or make things worse for her when they're alone.

DO let her know about support that's out there for her.

Dr. Lisa Turner specialises in helping women recover and escape from abusive relationships. For free instant access to her "recover from abuse" e-course go to




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