I truly feel like there are certain things that “saved” me during the time that I was in my abusive relationship. Ultimately, the only thing that ended up finally saving me was myself.
Although your friend has to make the decision to leave all on her own, here are a few things you can do to help her:
Be a friend.
One thing no one can say is that I have crappy friends. I am truly blessed beyond measure in the friend department. My friends never let up and they never stopped sticking up for me. One night in particular was one of the ugliest fights between he and I. It was the absolute worst. One thing you should know about abusers is that they are big on putting up a front. Many times they wear multiple masks. One mask is the big tough angry guy that he wears around his victims, and the other mask is the charismatic, friendly person that he wears in front of other people. This is why many don’t believe the victim when she seeks help, because the abuser is typically someone that everyone always gets along with. Well this night was the wrong night to try and put on his 2nd mask. After seeing me cry my eyes out, my friend had had enough. In the most valiant way she shouted to him everything that I have always wanted to shout. To see the cowardly look on his face was priceless. Never had I seen this overly-confident, aggressive man look so threatened. It was as if both of his masks were removed that night. In that moment I knew he was nothing more than a weak, pathetic person who preys on people who he perceives as submissive. In that moment he was the one who was being submissive. She was my hero. If I haven’t thanked her enough before, I publicly want to tell her how much that night meant to me. How much all of the nights meant to me that she watched me cry because of him. Despite the frustrations, she was always there, being my friend. Because of your dedication as a friend, I am where I need to be. I am free.
Don’t ever give up.
Tons of research on domestic violence shows that the more victims are isolated, the more difficult it is for her to break free. A support system is so important to a victim of domestic violence. There probably is no way to measure how much having a support system in my corner has played in me being able to break away from that relationship. Just as mentioned above, friends are so important. He could never really get me all to himself like he wanted because he knew that I came with an army of people that cared about me. That makes it difficult for them to infuse the victim with their lies. Its all about power and control. Whoever has the most control wins. That is why they want no one else to be apart of their victim’s life, because of how much that friend or family member will tell her that she needs to get out. So, no matter what, no matter how difficult it gets, DO NOT give up on her! It is so pivotal to her safety that she has people in her corner. Her abuser needs to know that she has a group of people who refuse to give up. I know it may be frustrating to see her continuously go back to the very pain she says she is tired of, but one day she will get it. And when that day comes, you will be there for her. That day WILL come!
Your biggest role in this ordeal is to be a prayer warrior for her! Until she decides to leave, pray with all your might. I have no doubt in my mind that my friends, and my family especially were constantly praying for me. I was constantly praying for myself. I often think about how other women are not as fortunate as me to have been able to leave the abuse. For others, the abuse ends tragically. I thank God every day for saving me. He answers prayers. Matthew 21:22 says that, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”.
Lastly, I want to remind you that she has to be ready to leave. She has to not only be sick and tired, but she has to be sick and tired of being sick and tired! That’s when true, lasting change happens. Think of it like a drug addict or alcoholic. You hear of many situations where they continue to go back to rehab multiple and multiple times. They repeatedly return because they weren’t ever truly ready to begin with. Often times it is even a family member who makes the decision for them to go. They have to be ready all on their own. Until then, everything you say goes in one ear and out the other. Remember, all of your spoken words are not taken for granted, however. When they come to that decision, everything you’ve said will now have a purpose.
I hope and pray for your friend who is in this terrible situation. My heart goes out to them. I also pray for you. I pray that the Lord uses you to guide her out of her situation. I pray that God gives you patience, love and understanding.
I think we can all make improvements to be the friend our friends need us to be. Whether it be domestic violence, or another situation that a friend may be going through, we can all strive to support one another in our times of need. You never know if you could be saving a life.
Keep fighting #ForeverFighters!