Just because school has ended, that doesn’t necessarily mean an abusive relationship has. At school, it can be helpful (and smart) to talk about what’s going on in an unhealthy relationship with a mentor like a teacher or counselor who can help. With school out for the summer, some of you may be losing that older friend, who isn’t your parent, as a source of support. Lacking that crucial support system can make this summer really rough on you, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of going it alone this summer, try reaching out to other people in your life:
- Your coach or band director Spending the summer honing your tennis prowess or marching band skills? Try talking to your one of those teachers for support. If you aren’t close with this person already, it may be a bit awkward for you. Try to start the relationship by focusing on the sport or other activity and let them know that you are really passionate and would like to spend more time chatting. Show up early for practice. After you warm-up and know you can talk to this person, open up to them and let them know that you need someone to talk to.
- An older sibling or relative Yes, big brothers and sisters can be a pain, but they can be a potential support for you. If you think your sibling, cousin, aunt, etc. might be able to do this (you should know them pretty well), then talk to them about what’s going on in your relationship. Always start this conversation by letting them know that you trust them and value their opinion, but just need a good listener. Also, be sure to mention if it’s ok to repeat what you talk about or clarify what should not be shared with your parents or under what circumstances sharing could be OK (serious danger, etc.).
- A faith leader or mentor Someone in your faith community could be a good choice because they share some of your values and most observe a form of confidentiality. Your Bible study leader or rabbi will probably be more than willing to talk with you about your situation. Try them out first, though: open up to them about something little in your life and see how they react. Judgmental? Not a good choice. Empathetic and understanding? Excellent choice.
- A summer camp counselor If you’re going to a camp, try to find a good listener among your counselors. If you find someone you might like, try staying after or going early to camp and striking up a conversation. Keep it light at first, but then open up about what’s going on. You might want to let them know that you need their support this summer, so they know you want the relationship to continue after the camp ends.
- The crew here at loveisrespect Yes that’s right. You can call us anytime at 1-866-331-9474 or chat with us if you need support. We have many callers who call pretty frequently and we always encourage callers and chatters to call/chat again if they need to talk more.
Look for these qualities when you are searching for your summer support: someone who can actively listen without judging, has your best interest at heart and models healthy relationship behavior in their own life. And remember, the trained advocates here at loveisrespect fit all three of those criteria, so you can call us anytime.