What's the protocol for dealing with people in messed up relationships? (1 Viewer)

flashback

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I've learned that two people close to me are in damaging relationships in the space of a couple of weeks.

I talked to both of them about it... one conversation went very very badly, and one merely went quite badly.

Is there a protocol for dealing with this sort of thing?

I guess in the two cases above; one was physically and emotionally abusive, and one was extreme gaslighting/manipulative.

It's a very uncomfortable topic for me to talk about, because of my past. But I'm thinking that it must be extremely common to have friends and family in these kinds of relationships, no?
 

seanc

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Are these two different bad relationships, or both people in one bad relationship?

Assuming the former, I would say, just be a friend. You wouldn't be friends with total idiots, so trust them to figure out what they need to do eventually.

Meanwhile, offer to let them sleep on your couch for a couple of days if things get heavy. Or something like that. And listen enough. You decide when to call "bullshit, I don't want to hear that, that's wrong, sort yourself out". Because that's your decision to call bullshit first of all, but also if you like them you will trust that they will work out what they need to do for themselves.

Be careful how much you're "supporting" them, is what I'm trying to say. Hope that makes sense.

Most of all, I would say don't let their problems become your problems. You need to make sure you and yours are looking after your own shit. Otherwise you're no help to anyone.

Hope that helps, bleh.
 

flashback

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Are these two different bad relationships, or both people in one bad relationship?
two different relationships.

Assuming the former, I would say, just be a friend. You wouldn't be friends with total idiots, so trust them to figure out what they need to do eventually.

Meanwhile, offer to let them sleep on your couch for a couple of days if things get heavy. Or something like that. And listen enough. You decide when to call "bullshit, I don't want to hear that, that's wrong, sort yourself out". Because that's your decision to call bullshit first of all, but also if you like them you will trust that they will work out what they need to do for themselves.

Offering the person who's getting physically abused a place to stay is something I've thought about. Maybe I'll try that. They own their own place, they allow their partner to live there and put up with the violence. I was pushing on the kick them out line. Maybe my place is an easier option.

The other person, who's being gaslit, I told them what I felt, and I'd imagine that's the end of our friendship. It was catastrophic, presumably because they went to the gaslighting partner to get feedback on what I'd said. I told them I was available as a friend indefinitely, but I doubt I'll ever hear from them again.

Be careful how much you're "supporting" them, is what I'm trying to say. Hope that makes sense.

Most of all, I would say don't let their problems become your problems. You need to make sure you and yours are looking after your own shit. Otherwise you're no help to anyone.

Hope that helps, bleh.
OK.
I'm a little bit stressed about it, but not going nuts. More just disappointed, or upset.


Isn't dealing with third parties in abusive relationships a fairly common occurrence? I don't even know that many people in this country, and I'm on two over the last month.

Hm.
 

seanc

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Maybe they've been waiting to tell someone who's a bit impartial or detached.

We have in the past ordered friends to stay on our couch in these situations. And I must say it was not completely altruistic. I felt good to finally have the capacity to help a mate in that way. Every situation is different though.
 

flashback

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Maybe they've been waiting to tell someone who's a bit impartial or detached.

We have in the past ordered friends to stay on our couch in these situations. And I must say it was not completely altruistic. I felt good to finally have the capacity to help a mate in that way. Every situation is different though.

So, you just said: don't be a prick, stay with us for a couple of days, no fucking about. Couch, now. ?

OK. I was more gently gently with the physical abuse one. OK...



My general form was:

Tell them I felt the relationship is damaging them.
Try to get them to accept the seriousness of the situation.
Telling them they had worth.
Talking about their future being changeable, based on decisions that are made now.

I've only talked about this with my current partner, who was in a physically abusive relationship. She's the one that gave me the you have worth bit, which I realized was an important one and something I'd forgotten.
 

seanc

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What have I gotten myself into. I've had a hard day and a few beers. And even then I'm no expert....

Em, yeah. Sometimes you do have to say firmly "come stay at my gaff for the night". And work it out in the morning when everyone's taken a breath. But as I said, the situation is different for everyone.

I think your "general form" list is fairly solid fwiw.
 

flashback

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I'd say this could be it. Your approach seems fairly sound @flashback

I'll be honest... I'd rather not have to deal with other people's shit at all.

Like, my default reaction is to do and say nothing, maybe agonize about it, and hope the situation goes away and you'll still be friends.

I was trying to rationalize that approach, but I realised it doesn't work because people in these kinds of relationships are grim to be around.

Like, I'm going to assume that any friendship is ruined regardless, so might as well deal with it? Plus I wish someone had said it to me.

I'd fucking much rather say and do nothing however, deal with the problem the Irish way.
 

flashback

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I dunno if "ruined" is the right word, but it's not a real friendship if one person is clearly in trouble and the other does/says nothing about it

Fair enough.

If someone has convinced their partner they have literal magic powers, or is physically beating them up to the extent that they can't go outside, pretending everything is grand and ignoring everything is never OK.

I'm sort of second guessing myself because of how extremely badly things seem to have gone.
 

ann post

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I've never been adjacent enough to be in any of these positions but I'm just wondering would there be a value in calling some of the domestic violence services and talking out the position with someone? I'd imagine its strange enough already and that might seem like an escalation but eh the thumped bike shed does have potential blind spots.
 

flashback

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I've never been adjacent enough to be in any of these positions but I'm just wondering would there be a value in calling some of the domestic violence services and talking out the position with someone? I'd imagine its strange enough already and that might seem like an escalation but eh the thumped bike shed does have potential blind spots.
Urgh.

Yeah, involving third parties did cross my mind, for both cases. I've googled names, but that's as far as I've got.

The issue is: they vociferously claim to be madly in love with their abuser, and absolutely refuse to address anything, even when there's police and the courts involved. So you end up fighting against both parties, the abuser indirectly and the abused.

If anything I'm wondering did I unit them further. I'm sure I did actually.
 

ann post

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Urgh.

Yeah, involving third parties did cross my mind, for both cases. I've googled names, but that's as far as I've got.

The issue is: they vociferously claim to be madly in love with their abuser, and absolutely refuse to address anything, even when there's police and the courts involved. So you end up fighting against both parties, the abuser indirectly and the abused.

If anything I'm wondering did I unit them further. I'm sure I did actually.

I'm glad we are not third parties any more here at thumped.

I think you could speak with some services without them actually getting involved, just maybe for the best path you could take
 

rettucs

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I think @seanc has given some excellent advice. My experience with this is that its better to 'help' people arrive at best decision themselves. Sometimes telling someone what, to you, is blatantly obvious, can be difficult for them to take. I haven't been in that situation but am very close to someone who as. They are confused as hell and the thing they need most, at least initially, is space, time, and help to disentangled the mess of thoughts thats going on in their mind.

Being a mate, being available, and letting it be known that you are available, is the most important thing of all. Let them talk and talk, as they'll start to think more clearly as they're doing so. You don't have to have answers. You can feel useless if you're not able to 'fix' things quickly, but you're far from useless if you're being their sounding board/shoulder to cry on.

Its a shitty one, but this is so common, unfortunately. I almost feel those of us not in that position have an obligation to be there for those who are.
 

seanc

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What rettucs said.

I pretty much stand by what I said last night, though it could have been written better. Best of luck with it though. I will reiterate that you should be as helpful and understanding as you can be, but shouldn't wreck your own head with it all. That's not selfish.
 

Burgerbarbaby

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Providing a space for both people to explore what their situation is and how they're feeling about it might be useful rather than attempting to resolve it in the short term for them. Obviously the acute damage has to stop - fair dues for the offer of the bed for the person. And you've had to broach the subject, which is obviously fair enough too. So there's a bit of that stuff to repair.
But in general if you provide a little forum for each of your friends to speak - absolutely without judgment from you - you'll be on the inside, with them, rather than just being a reflector of heavy societal opinions that both people probably already know. They can slowly figure out the solution for themselves and you don't have to pretend to have all the answers. If you're going to try to maintain the friendship this might be a way back. It's likely that nobody else in their lives is providing this kind of empathy.
 

ann post

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It's a bit TLDR but a large portion of the venn diagram (almost circle) of ann posts exes are social workers and psychotherapists, while drips of information did occasionally fall on me and occasionally i'll use if it I think it is useful - I largely learned that I'm not a professional, I don't do this five times a week and I don't know what i'm looking at, which is probably the point I'd make after reiterating the above a few times first, but it's more efficient this way.
 

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