Why Doesn’t My Friend Leave Their Abusive Partner – and How Can I Help?

woman hugging comforting her crying friend

You may see your friend crying, hear your friend’s partner make demeaning comments towards them, or notice they seem anxious around or afraid of their partner. Or your friend may open up to you on their own.

Knowing or suspecting that someone you care about is in an abusive relationship can be a deeply conflicting experience. You know it’s taking a toll on their mental and possibly physical health — and you want to help — but you may not feel equipped. You want to swoop in and “rescue” your friend, and yet you know you have to respect their right to make their own choices.

Despite these difficulties, it is possible to support a friend who is in an abusive situation — and often, a good friend’s support makes all the difference. Offering real support means putting our friend’s needs before our own desire to play the hero. It also means learning about the complex psychological effects of abuse.

We can understand the complexities of abuse by answering one common question: If this relationship is hurting my friend so much, why don’t they just leave? Continue reading Why Doesn’t My Friend Leave Their Abusive Partner – and How Can I Help?

How Can Single Moms Heal After Domestic Violence?

mother with son drawing

Getting out of an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult obstacles single moms can face. Summoning the courage and tenacity to walk away when they have no clue what the future will hold takes gall and serious faith.

Fortunately, there is hope on the other side. Leaving an abusive relationship is only the beginning. Here are five ways to begin the journey of healing to help you not only survive, but thrive.

1.Talk to Someone

Get professional help. Sharing your story is one of the most crucial ways to heal productively after surviving relationship violence. Although the hurt and shame of it may continue to feel like a dark cloud over your head, one way to lessen the pain is to regain control and own your own story.

Sharing with close friends and family members is a start, but going to a licensed professional is much better. A psychotherapist trained in relationship trauma is prepared to offer a safe space as well as an objective disposition. His or her job is to guide people through pain while they are on the road to becoming their whole, healed selves. It is powerful to work with someone whose primary duty is to listen and help dissect the truth. Communicating with a person capable of supporting you in the journey of healing while sharing tools of empowerment can make a world of difference. Continue reading How Can Single Moms Heal After Domestic Violence?

We Need to Talk About Intimate Partner Violence in LGBT Relationships

lesbian couple park bench

Most often when people discuss the impact and dynamics in domestic violence [DV] relationships, they assume the victim is a woman and the perpetrator a male. This discounts the experience of many people across the country and world who identify as LGBT or are male victims of intimate partner violence [IPV]. Intimate partner violence can occur in the context of any relationship pairing, although the media would lead you to believe only straight women can be victims. Continue reading We Need to Talk About Intimate Partner Violence in LGBT Relationships

How to Recognize Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships

How to Recognize Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships

One of my clinical specialties is relationships (and abuse within them). So naturally, many of my clients come to me because they are struggling in their marriage or partnership.

Of all the reasons for a relationship to be in trouble, one that consistently leaves people the most confused and causes the most damage is an invisible form of domestic violence called emotional abuse. Continue reading How to Recognize Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships