Emotionally Abusive Relationship

alguma pessoaalguma pessoa Posts: 619Registered Users
My family believes that another family member is in an emotionally abusive/controlling relationship. She is a newlywed and just had a baby. We are assuming she is looking the other way because her husband is helping to take care of the baby (as he should since he is the father and because he only works part-time).

Whenever someone talks to her, she gets defensive/very emotional and tells us that everything is fine. The guy is a jerk and is slowly trying to keep the family member in question away from her own family and friends (all who have commented on his controlling nature and lack of respect for his wife). Now his family and friends are supposed to be more important (in their eyes he can do no wrong).

The older men in our family advise that we leave their relationship alone and let her figure it out on her own. But, the women and the younger men are quite concerned.

What is the best way to approach this situation?

All advice is appreciated
We're all born mad. Some remain so.

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  • three rivers curlythree rivers curly Posts: 994Registered Users
    It has been my experience, when I have been in these situations...The more someone else pushed me the more I resisted.

    A relationship is between the people in it. Even though you love and care for this person and don't want to see them get hurt, it doesn't usually help to pressure someone. It helped me to know that someone who loved me would be supportive and allow me to make my own mistakes. If you step in or say to much, you (in general) tend to look like the bad guy, and cause more harm than good. Although you may love and care about this person, it is none of your business. Any intervening on your part my alienate the person - or at least cause them hurt and embarassment. It is their life and their decision to make. Be there for them, when they are ready for your help they will come to you - they won't if they think there will be an I told you so.

    I know it is hard. Having been in a few bad relationships, I know how much the person is hurting. You love them and all you want to do is help. Be there for them when they need you, when they ask for your help. JMO
    Better everyone think your a fool, than to open your mouth and prove them right.

    Perception is not reality.

  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    I guess it depends on your definition of intervention. You can't force the relationship to end-as TRC said, the harder you push the harder she'll move away. You can, however, make sure you're there for her whenever she needs anyone, and let her know you always will be. Even if it's specifically telling her that you know she doesn't have all the time to spend around you, but no matter what you'll always be there for her if she ever needs you. You're not then saying "let me know when you want to leave the guy" but you're making sure she doesn't think there's bitterness there, and when she starts to realize she needs away from him, that you'll be there for her, instead of thinking she's just alone.

    ETA: I'm sorry you're going through this. It's REALLY hard to see someone you care about in a bad situation, and it makes you feel a riot of emotions, too. I hope she realizes she needs to do something for herself sometime, and that you're able to continue to be there for her in some really rough times.
    The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.

    But at least the pews never attend yoga!
  • Swirlycurly ChemistSwirlycurly Chemist Posts: 335Registered Users
    My mother is in a relationship like this and I have found that all I can do is be supportive and occasionally point out his controlling behavior in a gentle manner. She is an adult and will make her own decisions. All you can really do is be there to pick up the pieces if it's ever needed.

    Edit: Oh, and most importantly, I pray for her and for him. With God, the impossible is possible.
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  • LorenzoStompLorenzoStomp Posts: 21Registered Users
    Well, it sounds like some of your family has already told her their feelings about her husband. Since they have and she hasn't responded well, the next step is to let her do her thing. If he is trying to keep her away from your family, the most important thing your family can do is make sure that they continue to try to include her in things (and him too, even though you don't like him), even if she says no a lot to please him. You'll have to wait until she starts to complain about his behavior on her own before you can start sympathizing with her and reinforcing the fact that his behavior is inappropriate. If you ever find that he has become physically violent (which, considering abusive relationships tend to increase in abusiveness over time, is somewhat likely) then it might be time to talk about it directly with her, but for right now it seems like she needs to get sick of him on her own.
  • alguma pessoaalguma pessoa Posts: 619Registered Users
    Thanks everyone. You guys said the same thing as the older men in the family. I have not said anything to her personally except to tell me if things get out of hand. My mother ("Brasilian" temper) is the only one who starts fights with her husband (I think that just exacerbates the problem and prevents my mother from seeing the baby as much as she would like :( ). The others just hint around that if she needs help that we are here for her.

    Because of my mother's urging for me to intervene, I was not sure if I should actually talk about the relationship so now I know that I should continue to do what I have been doing—staying out of it.

    You curlies give the best advice :grouphug:grouphug.gif .
    We're all born mad. Some remain so.

  • Oregano  (formerly babywavy)Oregano (formerly babywavy) Posts: 5,297Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'm not one to keep quiet, so I would definately be one to say something. I would have to bring up that this person in her life should not make her feel bad, and that what they're doing is wrong. However, it is most important to listen and be understanding and be there for the person. It's also hard b/c if you're not really close to them, then it probably really isn't your business to say anything.

    The most important words I've ever heard came from my mother, and it covers so many different things, and works for so many situations, but it is so, so true.

    "you'll know when you've had enough"
    ~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

    Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
  • shorty448shorty448 Posts: 52Registered Users
    Having been in a controlling relationship myself, I know that whenever anyone tried to point out how unhealthy the relationship was, I got really defensive. My mom, my sister, and my best friend all pointed out his moodiness, his manipulativeness, and his tendency to keep me from being with my friends or enjoying the things I normally enjoy, but even though what they said was all very true, I was completely blind to it (oh, and I'm stubborn too, which did not help matters much). I was pretty young when we started dating (17), and did not really realize that his behavior had gone from being sweet and controlling until I was almost 20. Even after that, it took quite some time for me to decide to break it off (especially since when I had finally mentioned doing so to him, he cried and said he couldn't live without me.)

    Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is pretty much the same as the point everyone else has made--I had to recognize his behavior and decide what I wanted to do about it for myself. It will probably be pretty tough for your family member, especially since they had a baby. Eventually though, I hope she figures out how to get out of that situation because it's not a fun one to live with.
    With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
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