It can be hard to see a friend experience an abusive relationship. Today our guest blogger, Julia Dieperink from American University, shares her thoughts towards a friend going through a bad relationship.
My mother always told me that your real friends are the ones that tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it, even if you got mad at them.
It was something that stuck with me.
So why haven’t I told you that I never like it when he calls you? Sometimes everything is fine and the two of you just talked and that is that. But most of the time you end up crying, because he yells at you. He yells at you about things that you did, things that you didn’t do and things that happened while you were on the other side of the country. He says he is just venting and that he’s not yelling at you, he’s just yelling about things.
“No of course I’m not upset,” you mutter to him when he finally pauses long enough to let you get a word in edgewise and he hears your tone.
“OK,” he says and then he continues to ‘rant’ about the injustices of the world and “Are you still even listening? You haven’t said anything in ages.”
“Well, I think that maybe you should have…”
“You weren’t there, this isn’t my fault.”
And the yelling starts up again. You become quiet again.
Yes, I know that the two of you haven’t actually dated in years. So it can’t really be dating abuse if you aren’t dating. But it is an abusive relationship, dating or not.
I can’t sit around anymore and watch him ruin your day over and over again. I’ll let you know that I will listen and I won’t judge or blame you for anything. I’ll help you when you need it and try to leave you alone when it is something that you have to do for yourself.
I know you want to help him, but you aren’t a therapist or any sort of trained professional so there is only so much you can do and I think you have done it all already. Sometimes you have to help yourself.
Removing yourself from an unhealthy situation might be the only thing that makes sure that you are ok. Talk to me. Please, stop repeating the same angry conversation over and over again. You know this isn’t right. You know you aren’t doing yourself any good, but you aren’t helping him at all either.
You don’t have to be technically dating someone for them to be abusive. And you don’t need to be directly involved to gently point a friend towards resources that could help them and their abuser.
Getting involved in something that we consider to be ‘not my business’ is hard. It will be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. But it makes it that much more important because if we don’t say something to protect our friends, who will?