Helping friends who abuse

It can be especially difficult to see someone you care about harm others. If you’re close to them, you may not want to admit the person’s behaviors are abusive.

Remember that silence and excuses only encourage harmful acts.

Someone who is abusive can only decide to change for themselves, but there are ways you can encourage them to engage in healthier behaviors. Don’t expect them to react well; in fact, they may become upset by your suggestion. They may also turn to you for help trying to justify the abuse. Do not support their abusive behavior in any way.

 

Examples of ways to support friends who are abusing their partners:

Learn & understand

the warning signs of abuse so you can help them identify their unhealthy or abusive actions.

Deny attempts to deflect responsibility

for abusive behavior by helping your friend focus on the survivor’s perspective and the serious harm caused. Help your friend to accept the weight of their actions (ex: If their partner broke up with them, help them accept the breakup without trying to get the victim back.)

Believe survivors

even—and especially when—it’s inconvenient. Your silence helps people deny that abusive behavior is wrong.

Connect with us

to identify professional help that may be available for your friend’s behavior (if you feel comfortable suggesting it).

Keep in touch with your friend

about the abuse and be there to support them over the long-term. Remind them that change will create better, healthier relationships for everyone involved.

Set an example

by building and maintaining healthy relationships in your own life.