Lizbeth has had extensive experience with this subject, being an abuse victim herself, and then working with the abused and their families. The following paragraphs are an excerpt from her video course, How to Help When Your Friend is Being Abused. I've reviewed this course and know it's applicable to helping a loved one or family member who is a victim of domestic abuse. Here's Lizbeth's advice:
One of the most challenging roles is supporting a loved one who is being abused in an intimate relationship. Because too often, after your loved one discloses awful truths to you in confidence and commits to leaving the abuser, the tide changes. The abusive partner demonstrates remorse. Apologies are made. Flowers are sent. Behaviors temporarily improve. And just like that, your friend softens her story, maybe recants it, or breaks contact with you altogether. Until the next act of emotional, physical, or sexual violence occurs.
Your phone rings ... again.
I remember being that person, reaching out to a selective friend or two to unveil the horrors that had become my life. And then shrinking away when I decided to forgive and forget, and to maintain my marital vows. Two years after leaving my violent marriage, I became a domestic violence (DV) advocate, and witnessed first hand how stressful it was to friends and family to watch, powerless, as the person they cared about suffered.
While each abusive relationship is unique, it is typical for the process of leaving to take several attempts. “Leaving abuse isn’t a one-time event,” I used to say as a DV advocate. “It’s a process.” That process can take years to resolve.
It’s for this reason that I created a Udemy course:
How to Help When Your Friend is Being Abused
(Udemy has the world’s largest selection of video courses taught by experts in their fields.)
Designed for the empathetic friend, sister, or even supervisor of an abuse victim, the course is intended to be a tool to help stay safe and sane while making a positive difference in the life of the abused friend or relative. It’s okay to be unsure of how to support your loved one. It’s okay to get tired of hearing the same story, over and over. And it’s more than okay to learn to recognize the signs of when you need to set limits and perhaps even distance yourself from the situation.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you may find yourself saying some things that aren’t okay. Like “I’m so sick of hearing this same story, over and over. Decide already!” or “What you need to do is ___” or, “I can’t believe you’d put it with that. I would never let someone treat me like that!”
Abuse in an intimate relationship flourishes when the victim remains isolated. Knowing what to say and where to refer can make a powerful difference in interrupting the cycle of violence.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed or helped by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
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