Someone in my family is in a really abusive relationship. How can I help

Someone in my family is in a really abusive relationship. I’ve tried talking to her but she just says that she loves him & don’t want to leave. It got to the point where she would lie so he won’t get into trouble for beating her. Is there any way I can help?

You’re right for looking into how you can help.

People who are being abused often have a hard time getting help for themselves. It’s a very confusing thing to have someone you love and respect, not do that for themselves. From an outside perspective, it’s easy to simplify the matter by saying ‘just leave!’. However, leaving can be a very dangerous time for a victim.

Abuse is about power and control, so one of the most important ways you can help a person in an abusive relationship is to consider how you might empower them to make their own decisions.

If we want to tackle this, here’s some things that will help:

  • Timing – convincing your family member to get help when she is not ready will be less likely help long term. She is the one who has to make the decision about what to do. It’s important for you to support her no matter what she decides, and help her find a way to safety and peace.
  • Share things you witness that are not healthy
  • Remain Non-Judgmental, especially since being criticized may be something she gets a lot from her partner. Let her know that the abuse is not her fault.
  • Let Her Know She Is Not Alone. You are there to talk and have got her back. What she may need most is someone who will believe and listen to her. This may turn into her first step of leaving.
  • Be There For The Long Haul – Even though the relationship was abusive, your family member may still feel sad and lonely if it ends. She will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.
  • Help Develop A Safety Plan – Check out creating a safety plan on The National Domestic Violence’s website for wherever she is in her relationship — whether she chooses to stay, prepares to leave, or has already left.
  • Tell Her There Is Help Available:
    • If you need immediate assistance call 911!
    • Check with your tribal clinic
    • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 24/7 @ 1-800-799-7233
    • Find a DV agency or support group – Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Offer to go with her.
    • Text loveis to 22522
    • Chat live at

I thank you for reaching out and looking after your family. She is lucky to have someone who cares so much about her. I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers.

Take care,
Aunty Manda

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