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Your friend is being abused.

November 28th, 2017

CN: Emotional, Physcial, Sexual Abuse

I was asked how to get a friend out of abuse. Having been emotionally and sexually abused from 2004-2007 I had some idea. I got away, I fought my fight. But I know what helped me escape.

The individual clasped onto me when I first sought treatment for bipolar, and took advantage of my weakened state to sink his claws into me. Then he did what all abusers do. He groomed me.

Welcome to a sick world. If you want to help, you need to know what you are up against. But I do have answers for you. Be Patient.

[Edit: Now normally I write they for all gender nuetral possiblities. But that made things unclear. In places where confusion would occur, the abuser will be he, but any gender is capable]

A victim is never at their strongest when they are ensnared. Their self-esteem was already shaken and this abuser seemed like a white knight to save them. The initial phase (Unless violence skips it) is to them like an incredible dance of passion they have never experienced, all the while the last shreds of their self-esteem are slowly being eroded away.

Abusers train their victims to believe they are the only ones who will ever love them. They make their victims feel like they need the abuser. He slowly chips away at their self-esteem and their very identity until all they can see is themselves in relation to the abuser. They don’t know who they would be outside of the relationship.

Many abusers also feel guilt, and make up for it by doing extreme acts of love and devotion that confuse and conflict the mind of the victim. Making everything seem cloudy. They are confused by the sweetness that feels more intense than any other love. The pain the abuser inflicts becomes part of a cycle. Because the victim is so showered with signs of eternal love afterwards, it seems impossible the abusers dark side is who that person Really is. It can be addictive and this is usually when obsession forms. No love has ever been so grand.

If violence is involved the abuser will be following at least one of the same tracks as well. But it will be a harder battle for you to fight.

For women, they know the statistics and feel choked by them. The victim might believe you; they might follow all advice, they know. But restraining orders are just pieces of paper, and they know that. So they are asking: Is it worth living being free but terrified of ever getting caught? Or perhaps slowly tortured until I might one day be so beaten I will die? Or is it better to just die?

For men, it is the knowledge that they can never defend themselves, never fight back. If they know how, they might block – or learn. Men do not hit women. And I don’t disagree. But women don’t hit men either.

They want to escape, but how do they explain? It will look like he left her, and she can make up any excuse she likes. Weave a set of lies like a spiral from her tongue entangling anyone who might listen. The victims know they will never be believed. And if they are? They are suddenly women in society’s eyes. Because in this country, that means to be weak.

For Transgendered, it also could be life or death. Perhaps they are not out of the closet and it could litterally cost them. Perhaps they could be beaten to death. And while this does include non-binary. There is also a danger to those who found their true gender.

Someone is a women they are a woman, but not to everyone. If it was a secret past and that becomes exposed? It could be worse than losing everything. (Yep) They could suffer violance at the hands of others, possibly to a final end.

And when it's something like men on men or women on women or any other mix? I don't know what else to say. Don't hit people unless they are Nazis!

Fear of a bloody death, or fear of the ruining of an entire sense of self can keep a person in chains.

In all these the abuser gaslights the victim into believing it is their fault. This is “the deep wound” and you are probably attempted to start there. Don’t. If you can get them therapy, leave that to them. Do. Not. Go. After. Their. Deepest. Wound. It must come out like skin shedding a splinter.

Believe me, they want out. They may deny it, but they know. They just don’t feel the door is there, and usually there’s very little you can do to just convince them, not logically. But you do have power.

It’s going to take patience.

For those victims still caught by the good times. First, without judgment, without comment, encourage (don’t force) the victim to watch a movie about obsession with you. Not abuse. They will recognize themselves in that movie. They may want to talk; they may not. But they will see it. Do not ever ask them to watch a film about abuse and hope they recognize themselves. They know.

I recommend Asylum. It is not about abuse. It is a movie about obsession to a morbid end. Don't try to get them to admit the same it true for them. Let them sit on that thought. We are talking about fighing brainwashing. You cannot be too harsh.

The seed to break obsession helps, but you must follow the same path as the rest.

In all cases, if you truly want to help? Build their self-esteem. Spend time with them. Be gentle with them. Try to be the one they seek out to talk to. You may be the only one they can talk to. Make them start to feel there is life outside their abuser. A life worth fighting for.

Be sneaky. Abusers will force the victim to cut off ties to you, if the abuser feels you are a threat to the relationship. But if you bite your tongue and be polite to them, the asshole will not suspect your long-term plan.

Never criticize the abuser to the victim. It can drive them closer together. Remember the victim sees life through the lens that they are with the abuser. They will start to defend their antagonist. You don’t want to fight your friend. You’re building good times remember?

This is going somewhere I promise you.

If the victim comes to you wounded say to them, “What did __ do this time?” But do not use it as a way to launch into a lecture. You want them to seek you out for comfort, for distraction, for a life outside the abuse. Provide them with that life. Not more misery.

Any lecture will make them feel guilty. Just. Don’t. Do. It. You want the opposite. You want them to start viewing themselves as the oppressed. But you have to be patient. Some abusers have their victims so ensnared the victims truly believe it’s their fault.

You are planting seeds here. Nudge the victim slowly with ideas, but do not challenge them on their own. They know. They see the comparison.

When they come to you and tell you they should leave their abuser, agree. “Yes. You should. Do you want to right now? I’ll help you.”

They will equivocate and turn you down. They will list a positive quality. Don’t respond. They will blame themselves. Gently tell them, “You know that’s not true”. Make sure you use the "you" pronoun. It's a psychological seed.

They may protest. Don’t reply just show your concern. Don’t argue. Don’t get mad. Don’t fear. This was a huge break through. You wanted them to seek you out and they did.

Share with them a post like this, something on the web they can look at about someone going through something like this. Share this post if you like. But don’t flood. Just nudge.

When they come to you again and tell you they should leave their abuser, agree. “Yes. You should. Are you ready now?”

They will equivocate and turn you down.

This will repeat. Never appear a threat to the abuser. Never lecture; never criticize the abuser to the victim. And never make them feel guilty for staying. Just keep building memories that don’t involve the abuser. Good memories that crowd out what the asshole has to offer. Build your friend up

And you will hear that "yes" when they are ready.

I’m sorry, it moves no faster than this. But for some this is weeks, some months, some years. But victims do escape. Just please take heed of this one very important warning.

Once groomed a victim is vulnerable to fall into the exact same type of relationship. The new one will hook into the system the previous abuser built. People who have been in an abusive relationship should take time away from relationships, get therapy, and need support.

Because once the escape has been made, it’s not over for the victim, and may never be.

Last updated February 5th, 2018

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