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Hello Again and NWR advice

Sorry I have been MIA. Work and life in general has been super hectic for the last few weeks. I didn't get the job I interveiwed for (boo) and I've been back and forth with doctors and psychologists due to my increased number of panic/anxiety attacks in recent weeks, so I have been lurking but not posting here. Miss you ladies! I hope to get more regular again soon!

Anyway, I really need advice from you ladies! I have a friend, C. She is super great, but pretty flaky, I talked about her in the past (she and her bf broke up, she took it hard, I offered to be there for her, but she kept bailing on plans or ignoring me). ANYWAY after her ignoring me for such a long time (maybe 3-5 weeks) I noticed her posting pics of her and this random guy online. I didn't ask her about it, because, frankly, it's not my business. She can date who she wants to.

BUT then I found out she is back with her abusive ex husband- that is the guy she keeps posting pics of. When I say abusive, I mean he put her in the hospital at least twice and is awful to her kids. She legally divorced (he screwed her over royally) a few years ago. I am so upset that she is back with him; her and I bonded over getting out of abusive relationships.

I am really scared for her; I don't want her to get hurt. I feel like, since she has been blowing me off already, if I confront her, she will get offended and upset at me. But on the flip side, I feel like if I DON'T talk to her, if/when something happens, she will be able to 'blame' me in a way for not attempting to help her...

I am so torn... What would you do?

TL;DR: A friend of mine is back w/ an abusive ex. Should I say something or not?

Re: Hello Again and NWR advice

  • jenjen047jenjen047 Boston member
    1000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    i would air on the side of speaking up. i would rather have a friend mad at me than have something truly awful happen and feel like i maybe could have prevented it.
    maybe try writing her a letter or an email so you can take time to really think about what you want to say and she can really take time to process it before replying.
  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    That is such a hard spot to be in, especially since the two of you have drifted apart recently. There's nothing wrong with reaching back out to a friend but you have to be prepared for her to react negatively.

    But even if you don't talk to her - you are not to blame for anything that happens to her. You can't take that kind of guilt on. The only person blame belongs on is the man abusing her.

  • 500days500days MA member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    I would try reaching out to her again- but not just because of the abusive relationship. Personally, I would not mention it if she doesn't mention it to you. If you go to her with your concerns, she may get defensive and just push you away even further. I would reach out to her again and just ask how she is doing and that you've been thinking about her/miss her. 

    If you're able to get in touch with her, she may just bring it up herself- allowing you to bring up your concerns (but not over the top of course) and possibly ask her if she feels like things are different and why? I've had a friend in the past that went back in forth in a toxic relationship- my concerns (when I brought them up) only pushed her away from me. When she was willing to air her relationship drama out or vent, it was easier for me to share my concerns and have her be more responsive. 

    I'm really sorry though that your friend is going in the wrong direction (backwards...eck!) Just be there for her since you are a caring friend. I hope you hear from her soon!

  • Hi! I know you don't know me, but I'm chiming in because we've talked about similar situations in counseling classes and have discussed what might be the best course of action from that perspective- so I thought I might be able to help.

    First, remember that abusers work in cycles designed to trap their victim. There will often be a period of time where things are amazing, and the victim really believes their abuser has changed. It's hard to escape, and if she's in this stage, she probably will get very defensive if you bring it up as if you know he will do it again, and if you act like it's a bad decision to be with him. At the same time, you want to reach out and remind her that she has you as support in case she needs it.

    I would approach it from that mindset. You're happy as long as she's happy, but if anything ever happens again, she can reach out to you.

    I think the thing to avoid most is pushing her away, or putting her in a situation where she pushes you away. Either of these situations will make her hesitant to come to you for help if/when she needs you.
    "Love is hard and love is messy and it can hurt worse than fire, and sometimes it makes you wanna tear down a building with your bare hands, but it also happens to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm obviously not a big fan of hyperbole."

  • I am speaking from experience, very recent experience with my sister and her kids and I used to work at a shelter for battered women. Try to be her friend but non-judgemental. Do not say anything about the past abuse. Do not say anything negtive about who she is dating or what they are doing. Be ears, be a friend, hang out, talk about normal things and if she mentions any abuse, ask if she is OK and what she plans to do. Be very aware of marks, bruising, etc. especially on the children. If you see anything do not hesitate to call CPS, several times if you have too. You can do this without her knowing who made the call.

    If an abuser sees you as a threat or potential for seeing him for who he really is, he will ensure all communication between you and her are cut off, immediately! My sister's abuser would sit with the phone on speaker while I spoke to my nephew so he could hear everything, I did not know this until later, and he would coach him on what to say. I would ask several times, because I had a feeling something wasn't right, if he was abusing anyone. My nephew would repeat no, he likes the guy very much. You could just tell in his voice he was lying. The phone calls became fewer and fewer the more I asked. Since this, we have created phrases he can use in the future to tell us something is wrong without the abuser knowing. I am hoping we never have to go through this again though.

    She needs eyes right now. If she is controlled by this piece of shit, and she likely is, she isn't going to report abuse herself. She will hide it. Being in an abusive relationship IS hard to leave.

    I am so sorry for you and your friend. These situations are scary because the outcomes can be fatal but please trust me when I say that you can not force her to leave. Look out for her well being without judgement and if nothing else, look out for the children, may God help them too. I hope this makes sense. Good luck.

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  • Thanks all for your input. Like I said, I also came out of an abusive relationship, and I remember how he cut off all communication between my friends and I, and that's what I'm most worried about. Well, that, and him hurting her children. She has been posting all these "motivational posters" with phrases like "You can't change how someone treats you, but you can change the way you react to it." and "You might not know the reason someone acts a certain way, but if they truly love you, there is a good reason." The make my stomach turn! I feel like she is getting brainwashed.

    Anyway, I really appreciate all of your input, and I think I will write her a letter and tell her how I miss being closer to her. Maybe we can set up a dinner date and catch up. If she's happy, I'm happy, but I also want her to be safe.

  • Her posts sound like a cry for help or a passive message to him via Facebook. Either way, I hope she responds. You are a good friend for caring. :)
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