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Steps to Take if Abuse is Suspected in a Relationship

Updated on May 21, 2015

How to help someone in an abusive relationship

I would like to first of all say I am not a professional therapist, but simply a person who has experienced this in the family. I researched material to find answers to try to understand things I had questions about. I was surprise to find most information about abuse was right on target from what I was experiencing.

Start helping by recognizing the signs

  1. 1. The victim often makes excuses for the abuser

This was frustrating for me because I did not understand the mindset of the victim protecting someone who continued to hurt them physically and emotionally. Many times the abused individual has no control over the abuse because it can be like an addiction because of a continued cycle. Manipulation and mind games take control especially if the victim and abuser have time invested into the relationship. For example a male abusing a female will often become believable by offering flowers and saying I’m sorry it won’t happen again. Because love is so strong, emotionally the woman may often forgive the abuser telling her self it will be better. Of course this does not describe every case because some people are also manipulated through

  • Fear of the abuse increasing if help is sought
  • Fear of losing financial support and provision
  • Fear of being alone and no one else wanting them
  • They may not have family support because often the abuser isolates the victim from family and friends
  • Children may be threatened stopping the victim from taking any action
  • Low self-esteem

Three types of abuse are –

Physical –

Playing physically with the intention to hurt

Hitting

Slapping

punching

kicking

pinching

choking

Pushing

Grabbing

Holding

Scratching

Biting

Emotional –

Manipulation

Lies

Fear

Threats

Slander

Stalking

Controlling

Invading personal space

Checking email and Text messages

Having Affairs

Verbal –

Yelling

Screaming

Cursing

Name calling

Silence

Accusations

Sarcasm

Threats


Help by convincing the victim the importance of seeking help

The Police are available for emergency help such as if the abused victim is in immediate danger. Call 911 for the victim and the children if any are involved if victim refuses to do so. Family and/or friends should remain close by if at all possible to be that pillar to lean on.

There are helplines for support and advice - In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (at the time of this writing)

In the US State by State are protective shelters for Domestic Violence - In the US: visit Womenslaw.org for a state-by-state directory of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. (At the time of this writing)

Help by confronting the issue of suspected abuse in a caring way

Victims may feel alone and often times ashamed that they are involved in such a relationship. Communicating in a caring way will go a long way in showing the victim that they are loved.

Help by listening

Many times the issue can be forced by a loving family because all they want is justice at the moment. This can be a mistake without taking time to listen to the victim and how they feel. Many times they may seem to take the abusers side and become angry with those who truly care if the action of listening is not taken seriously.

Help by assuring the victim they are not the reason for the abuse

Many times the victim has been emotionally verbally and even physically torn down to the point they have no self-esteem left. They may feel guilty that they are the reason for the abuse and if they would just do certain things right everything would be ok. Assure the victim they are not the reason for the abuse by reminding them of the things they have accomplished. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative can boost self-esteem.

Do not pressure the victim to leave

This statement may sound like an oxymoron but there are many reasons for this.

  • Victim may have been threatened if they leave
  • Victim may have been told their children would be threatened if they leave
  • Victim may still love him/her
  • Abuser may control the financial aspects of the relationship
  • Victim may become offended and withdraw
  • Victim may be ignorant of the resources available for help
  • Victim may want to do things their way

The Bible and Abuse

Scripture has quite a bit to say about abuse.

Psalm 11:5

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Ephesians 4:29-32

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Psalm 10:17-18

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.


Proverbs 26:21-28

As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart. Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; ...

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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