Where do you draw the line ? Shouldn’t you always be available for a friend going through a crisis ? If you have struggled and dealt with emotional , physical or sexual abuse in your life, and you know how emotionally draining the experience can be, you want to be supportive…but how far do you go without doing harm to yourself ?
Well, there is a point where you must draw a line in the sand because many people who seek your support may not actually be ready to follow through or willing to really take steps to prepare to free themselves from from abuse. If that is the case, you may be opening up old wounds for yourself !
Lack of belief in oneself, obviously a self-esteem issue, may be a strong factor leading to the avoidance of change. If the friend seeking your help has allowed herself ( or himself ) to become dependent on the abuser, then step one must be to break that dependency in every way she can, emotionally, physically and financially.
That can be done in gradual steps by expanding their awareness of their own skills, the most positive characteristics of their personality and using those skills and characteristics to do something to expand on those virtues. So, if the person in question is very creative, get involved with a community group where that creativity can bloom. If that person needs to get into better physical condition, again , go where there are others who share those needs, like exercise classes and yoga at their community center. Meeting people of like mind while doing something to enhance natural talents or get in shape can prime a person’s self-esteem.
There are Support Groups out there for women dealing with abuse, so encourage her to attend.
As a friend, you can encourage and join into some of these activities, but also leave space for her to make new friends.
On the other side of the coin, if your friend makes no effort and just keeps making excuses or flip-flops saying that her relationship is not so bad, then you need to draw that line. You do not want to take on the responsibility of being someone’s cheerleader if she does not want to take part in the cheers and do the work it takes to learn and experience those cheers. Some dependent personality types will not change ..until they have no options.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus/Coach
Blogger at RuledByFear.com