My Devina

My Devina

Watching a Friend Stick With An Abusive Relationship

Watching a Friend Stick With An Abusive Relationship

I was sitting at my dining room table, with the TV on, addressing all my holiday cards, which are so late they are now Happy New Year’s cards.  And to keep myself occupied while hand writing a couple hundred of addresses, I decided to catch up on some of my Guilty Pleasure TV, so I had on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Watching Taylor go at Camille was heartbreaking. I felt for both Camille and Taylor.  Because I’ve been in both of their shoes.

I’ve been the one in a relationship afraid for my life. And I’ve been the friend, trying to support my girlfriend when in an abusive relationship, baffled that even after admitting it is abusive, she stays.  Both sides are heartbreaking.  Although I think in some ways, the one that breaks the heart more is the friend, at the sidelines, being ignored, or worse slandered for holding that mirror up.  Even if the one in the abusive relationship, asked for the mirror to come out. And so while I feel for Taylor, I feel more for Camille, who simply said the truth and was blamed for it, in the worst way.  It was almost as if since Taylor couldn’t be mad at her husband, or herself, she took it all out on Camille instead. (All Taylor kept saying was she betrayed me – but how is confronting a friend who you are afraid for betrayal???)

I’ve been the one who wondered if I would wake up alive the next morning. I’ve been the one who called the cops more than once, knowing my ex had broken into my house once again. I’ve been the one who changed the locks, only to have them picked by my ex, and me too afraid to call the cops.  And so I stayed with him a bit longer. So trust me I’m not judging anyone here.

I wish on some levels I had had a friend who had held a mirror to me. And who I could have called to help me escape the first or second abusive relationship. But at the same time, I wonder if maybe in some ways that was a god sent, in that I then did not bite off the hand reaching out to help, as I most likely would have done until I was ready to move on into the light.

I say this because I have also been the friend at the other end of the telephone line begging my girlfriend to let us (myself and two men) come over and get her after she barricaded herself in her room with a dresser against the door so her drunk husband wouldn’t come in and beat her…. As far as I know she never left him, but she did stop being friends with me.

I say this because I have been the one to be shunned and slandered by a dear friend and her new guy – because he could see I saw right through him and knew him to be the abusive, manipulative man that he is. This time at least, she finally saw through him as well, and I was there again for her as her friend.  But it took time for our friendship to heal.

Those wounds – those hurt deeper and feel fresher than the ones left by my abusive boyfriends.  So watching Bravo’s show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I am just sad for both of them – Camille and Taylor.  And sad for all the women, and men in abusive relationships.  And sad too for their friends who love them and are trying to help, but can’t.  Because their friends just are not ready to leave.

And to both of you I say this – which I think I can say, having been on both sides of this sad equation. Be gentle with yourself and your friends.  And to the friends I will add – stick with it.  Don’t push.  That doesn’t tend to work.  But let them know that you are there for them, now and later.  And that you love them.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it has made a difference.  But just be the best friend you can be.

And to those still in the darkness.  Be gentle with yourself, but at the same time know you are really in control.  Leave. There is no other way.  He (or she) won’t change especially with you still in the picture.  They might get nice and loving for a while, but they wont’ change.  And staying with them only  increases the likelihood that things will get worse, that you will get weaker, and fade more and more into the darkness. So for you sake, for your children’s sake, for your yet to be lived life- leave.  And when you do, hug your friends for being there, just like you will in turn be there for them in some other way.  Because that’s what love is.

If you are afraid to leave, because he will show up at your friends and do them harm, spend a few nights at a safe hotel.  With your cell phone’s GPS turned off, and pay with cash if you need to. Or go to a shelter, designed for just this type of situation.  If you aren’t sure what to do, call a hotline where trained professionals can give you their best advise and resources. But, before trying that, you might be surprised at how many people would be willing to let their lives get a little messy to help you. So don’t underestimate your friends.  They really do love you and they really do care. And they aren’t nearly as afraid of your ex as you are.  Even if he is a freaky, crazy dude.

What do you think? Has their been a time a friend has turned on you when you have tried to help.  Or have you felt so alone, you were afraid to ask for help?  What did you do.  And what would you do if you had to do it over again?

If this blog resonated with you, you might find Rape Prevention: It’s Not A Warm & Fuzzy Cause


My Devina

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