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Want to help a friend that is going through it big time

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    So this right here is a tough situation. My friend is stuck in between a rock and a hard place and i thought maybe some of you could help me to say the right things to her to help her. So this is the story. She was with this guy for 7 years, in a physically and verbally abusive relationship. During this time myself or any of her other friends were permitted to see her. On top of the abuse he cheated on her and would regularly try to sleep with any friends she might bring over which didn't happen much because she was embarrassed. Well about 6 months ago it all came to a halt and he took off on her and their 4 year old daughter. Left her with no money, a car that he didn't pay the car payment on so it was soon to be repoed and a house that unknown to her he hadn't paid the rent on in 6 months which left her evicted and on the streets with the baby. She lived in a hotel for a month and then found a friend which happened to be a guy that was looking for a roomate. Within the matter of a month or so you could see the change. She was smiling, more confident and all that good stuff and being her friend it was awessome to see. So i asked her and she admitted that her and the guy she moved in with had started talking and she was being treated like a woman is to be treated. Well, it goes without saying that her baby's father didn't stop his abuse and would regularly call to tell her she was trash or what have you. Then one day it stopped and he becamse surprisingly nice. What had happened we found out was that he heard about the new bf she had and got jealous. He started telling her he's sorry, and was going to change, and all these nice things and she started believing him. But it wasn't edxactly believing because SHE KNEW herself that he would never change. But she has a dream about a family, and a big thing for her is having her daughter and her and the dad living together as afamily. Well what i had never heard of was battered womens syndrome, which i think she sufferes from. Well she ended up moving back with him. And after she left she realized how much she cared for our other friend. And now she's hurting and confused and doesn't know which direction to go in. She said she knows that she should be with our friend and that she knows her baby dad won't change but for some reason she can't pull herself to leave and i was thinking if maybe an outside influence would shed some light it may help. Thanks in advance.
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    Hey and welcome to community. Firstly you're being a great friend as unfortunately people in these situations often lose so many people from around them. A few things jump out for me: firstly, it sounds like she needs encouragement to get away. If this doesn't come from you, does she have family that might be able to step in with more influence? Also, as much as I am sure it was really lovely and a huge relief for her to move in with a guy that treated her nicely, what is often needed is for people in these situation to have some time, single to process and move forward. Support/therapy/counselling are vital at these times for someone completely removed from the situation to help provide perspective and to work on solution in moving forward, stronger and more confident. This then leaves friends being able to be just that - supportive friends.

    What can often happen if people move straight on to new relationships, is they and others can end up getting hurt as none of the trauma has been unpacked and worked through. I would actively encourage her to move out to a safe place (this can often be in a domestic abuse refuge which has the added benefit of offering the specific support and advice that she may need, as I'm sure you know, abusive relationships cause complex trauma) with her child. Once she had had all the professional support and support from great friends like you, there is a much higher chance of her successfully separating from the abusive parter.

    Remind her of her value, of her worth and that she deserves a partner (or to be single if she prefers of course) that is loving and respectful to her and her child. If the abuse is ongoing, actively encourage her to report to the authorities as her and her child's safety absolutely needs to be a priority.

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