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Helping a someone that is struggling can be difficult at times. Other times it can be extremely rewarding. I believe there are two types of people who struggles; the ones that want help and the ones that only want to be validated.
Have you ever come across a person struggling so much that it doesn’t matter what you say to them-That they will reject your suggestions in order to make the right changes?
You can only do so much when that happens.
However, if you sense that someone really wants to change and are feeling that they find a difficult time coping, listen to them attentively. The following cues help reveal what they are trying to say to you:
- If they describe the abuse experiences and instances with the abuser then they want to feel validated.
- If they say they can’t do anything then they are actually saying this: I have been brainwashed by the abuser’s thoughts.
- If they blame those who weren’t there to save them then they’ve had thoughts of revenge and probably don’t trust anyone.
- If they talk excessively of how things were when he or she met the abuser and the nice things they have done to them then they are in denial that the abuser is never going to change unless they want to.
“Are you stupid, why won’t you break up?” “If I were you, I would’ve packed the first time he hit me.” “ Go cheat on him or her.”
One of the things that I’ve had the displeasure to encounter is the untactful manner that others have portrayed. Chances are this person is already sinking in condemnation and shame. They don’t need any more of it. Phrases stated in the quote above are not things that have been said to me, but I have heard people say this to victims.
This is destructive and unacceptable. I am not suggesting extending pity because pity is a prison. Pity actually disarms the person by declaring that they are so incompetent in doing anything for themselves that the only thing you can do is feel sorry for them. Whew! That was a long sentence. You may not exactly understand the situation because you are not in it, so don’t say “I understand” if you really don’t feel it. Sometimes the best way you can do is stay still and stay silent and ask:
how can I help you?
This is the part where things can get challenging. Not everyone that expresses their pain and bitterness wants to change. Be wise, before helping someone. You might put someone in further danger by trying to help them.
I remember years ago trying to help my friend. Let’s call her Zara, to protect her identity. Zara had a bad experience with my former classmate. She then started dating this person’s cousin. She had expressed to me how this new person in her life would get angry at times to the point where it made her feel fearful. She explained how this person pushed her once. However, she diminished his actions.
I became so afraid for my friend’s safety, that I explained to her that she should definitely break up with him. However, her enamourment with this person was so great that she proceeded to explain how they’ve been through so much together and how this person was with her during the funeral of her family member. After much warnings and conversations, she decided to delete all social media. Till this day I haven’t spoken to her.
You can only help people so much. Unfortunately, it’ll take for some to understand when enough is enough. You can’t make this decision for others. Nevertheless, if there is someone asking for help, get informed on how to protect your friend and to always support his or her decision on leaving the perpetrator. Do not see this person as a burden. Be patient and understanding. If the person goes back to the abuse, the only thing you can do is to stay with open arms waiting for that person to come back. That way they’ll know you truly care and offer to wish help and not criticism. I would suggest for you to watch this video:
And remember you…you are beautiful!
PLQ Survivor and Ambassador