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NPR: how do you help someone..... [long]

....when they don't seem to want to help themself?

I unexpectedly ran into a friend today. Said friend has moved out of state and pretty much dropped off the face of the the Earth. We kinda caught up at our public location. She isn't one to exaggerate - in fact, she downplays most things. I've known her for over ten years and she's a pretty private person - even when living with her, I didn't know some of past boyfriend situations until she opened up years later.

She mentioned that her marriage was on the brink of divorce. She has a 2yo daughter. She mentioned that it was physical and emotional. She was so nonchalant about the topic - she even said, "what can you do?" I'm so upset over this. I know it's not my place, but if she is being physically hurt, I want to yank her out of that situation!

She had been spending time in my home state back at her parents and she said that they said she to get a divorce or they don't want to hear about what is going on. I worry that since she doesn't have many real friends down there (she has mommy/kid playdates, but no close friends) and her family is out of the area, that things could be worse than what she says.

It seems that she's sticking it out because she has her daughter and only received an "MRS" degree while we were at school and doesn't have much work experience. My sister (single mom) was there too and the friend pointed out how much she admires my sister for being a single mom and making it work.

I'm sorry for the ramble, but I'm absolutely heartbroken that my friend is going through this. I want to help her and get her out of the situation, but right now it doesn't seem like she wants to leave - I think she is afraid of the unknown and being on her own.

I don't know how to help her. I know I will listen to her and try to offer advice based on what her opinion seems to be, but what else can I do without pushing her too far and losing her again?

Move along, nothing to see here.....

Re: NPR: how do you help someone..... [long]

  • i think you can and should try talking to her, be there for her. press if you have to. but ultimately, you can't make someone do something that they don't want to do.

     

    can you spin the situation around so you aren't talking about her, but talking about her daughter? some ppl won't do anything if it's just them being abused, but will take steps to get their children out of harms way.

    image"I've always followed my father's advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble." -John Wayne
  • She said as soon as he does something to her while she's holding her daughter, she's leaving. My thought is what if she continues to go through this for years and her daughter is older and while it might not occur in front of the daughter, the daughter become aware of what is going on behind closed doors. It's still going to have an impact on the daughter, even if she doesn't actually see it, or is harmed.

    And what's to say that it will just be isolated to the wife and not move on to the daughter? :(

    Move along, nothing to see here.....
  • I'm with PV.   I've been in situations before (not the same topic, but friends who needed help but had no interest in it), and all you can do is be there for support and offer your advice and opinions.   Getting out of this relationship scares the sh*t out of her, and she's probably just struggling with doing what's best for her and her daughter because she's probably got the "it's not really that bad.  I can deal with this" attitude.

    If she dropped off the face of the earth and doesn't have a ton of friends, just really put yourself out there for her.  Let her know you're there for her and that you care, and want her (and her kid) to be happy, healthy, and safe.

    ((hugs))  Thanks for being an awesome friend.

    image
    Love.
  • I would provide her with resources of local agencies that can provide support.  Last summer I worked for a domestic violence agency as a legal advocate.  Depending on her income, they can help with the divorce (they referred people to legal aid for free legal services and also had attorneys in the area who would provide services at a reduced rate). 

    These agencies can often provide assistance in finding a job, as well as help people apply for education scholarships/grants.

    One big part of it is drafting an "escape plan."  I can send you the document we gave people if you're interested.  It includes photocopying all important documents/IDs, etc...keeping them in a safe place (at work, a friend's house, etc.), keeping a record of all events (also in a safe place), making a second set of keys, packing a bag w/ some of your stuff/kid's stuff, and also informing the child's daycare.

    She should also consider filing for a protective order. 

    It seems like she has a good support system in place and she's already thinking about divorcing him, which is a great thing.  Really all you can do is be there for her, and try to express that while she is in a bad situation, it isn't her fault and she shouldn't feel guilty (a lot of people worry that they'll be judged for remaining in the relationship as long as they have, for being with that person in the first place, etc.)

  • her daughter is still a victim of the abuse, even if not directly. focus on how is affects her daughter, what kind of message it sends, the whole mental aspect. her child is probably still living in fear even if a finger has never been laid on her and that's not okay.
    image"I've always followed my father's advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble." -John Wayne
  • Speaking from direct personal experience...her daughter is experiencing one of the worst forms of abuse even if she's not physically being abused herself.  Watching your mother go through it, knowing there's absolutely nothing you can do, and witnessing the pain she's feeling is the most horrifying experience other than watching a loved one die.  It sounds so horrid and frightening, but it's the truth.

    So to sum it up...I'm with PV on this.  You have to express to her how it's affecting her daughter b/c I feel that this would make her act more quickly instead of dragging her feet.

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