- Sign: Often people in unhealthy relationships begin to isolate themselves from friends and family. They may behave in ways that seem uncharacteristic. You may notice them being very concerned about checking in with their partner, letting them know their whereabouts and not making them angry. If they are in a physically abusive relationship, you may notice unexplained injuries, bruises in various stages of healing and wearing clothing not appropriate for the temperature in an effort to hide injuries.
- What To Do or Say: It is important to remain in contact with your loved one, as they need you now, more than ever, even if they are not able to express this. It is not uncommon for them to protect their partner or take blame for the situation, and they may become very defensive. Attacking their partner, calling them names and demanding your loved one leave the relationship is not effective and will often only alienate them. Be kind. Make sure they know you love them and are there for them if they ever need you, without judgement. Consider saying things like:
- I’m afraid for your safety.
- This is not your fault.
- I believe you.
- You deserve to be safe and happy.
- You do not deserve to be treated this way.
- You have options, and I am here to help.
- How can I help you?
- What do you need?
- Situations like this escalate and people in your situation have been killed.
- I am afraid for your children.
Seeing a loved one go through this is very stressful, and it is important for you to seek out someone to talk to and make sure you are supported as well. Talk to someone you trust, or even a counselor, and make sure you are taking care of yourself. DO NOT ever confront the abuser yourself – be mindful of your own safety. Leaving a domestic violence relationship is a process, not an event. It is common for someone to return to his or her abuser many times before leaving for good. Accept that this could happen, and that it often takes many times trying to leave before they are able to actually leave. Do not become angry with your loved one. Support them. Make sure they know you are always there, and take good care of yourself..
(Suggestions from https://rockfordfamilypeacecenter.org)