Friends In Need: How To Intervene In An Abusive Marriage

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Friends In Need: How To Intervene In An Abusive Marriage [EXPERT]
What you can do to help when a friend is in a domestic violence or abuse situation.

Call the numbers, explain that you want to help a female friend and find out what information these organizations need to help your friend or family member. Make a list of the information and give it to her. The National Domestic Violence Hotline website has helpful information. But, don't just refer your friend to the website or phone numbers. Give her all the details. Remember, she is probably feeling hopeless and helpless and perhaps even worthless. She will need friends to guide her every step of the way.

2. A violent spouse has impaired impulse control and can go off violently at any time. It is vital that no one speak to the husband because if he's angered he may take it out on his family. Understand that if he's truly violent, it won't work to talk to him. His wife and children must be safe before anyone approaches him. Once the family is safe, you can offer him anger management classes or suggest therapy. Don't be surprised if he blames his wife for his anger. You must understand that if you get child protective services involved, and the wife won't stay away from her husband, the children may be taken into protective custody. Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome Anxiety

Also, if the wife goes into a women's shelter with her children she will lose her job, if she has one, and she cannot contact her relatives from the shelter. Shelters stress that women cannot go anywhere their husbands would look for them. They could lead a violent man to the shelter and endanger everyone else there.

3. Find a couple of friends or family members you can trust not to tell the husband what you know. Talk to them to find out what they know about the situation and if they would be willing to help. If you're unsure about the violence, they may be able to confirm your fears or set them at rest. If you find that your fears are confirmed, make it clear to everyone that your friend is in real danger. Make a plan for what each of you are willing to do to help.

Perhaps, a family member can take her and the children in and keep her surrounded and safe from her husband. You can get her connected to a women's shelter. You can also help her get an order of protection against her husband. Some of you may know enough facts to witness on her behalf. You may be able to help her see the websites on a computer her husband won't be able to access.

4. Tell her what you know. Once the first three steps are in place, you need to talk to the woman who's in danger. If you, a relative or one of the other friends can get her alone, do so. Don't leave telltale phone messages or e-mails because women in these situations are often closely monitored by their husbands. Find a way to meet with her alone. 7 Questions Every Couple Should Consider

This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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