My Best Friend Is Being Emotionally Abused By Her Boyfriend
Published: February 15, 2009
my best friend is dateing someone behinde her mothers back. she is late to class and doesnt do well in school. she calls him instead of doing her homework. this guy is emotionaly abusive. he calls her a whore and a bitch and stupid. she doesnt stick up for herself. people yell at me and tell me not to get involved, but she's my best friend!!! what do i do?
Signed: My Best Friend Is Being Emotionally Abused By Her Boyfriend
Dear My Best Friend Is Being Emotionally Abused By Her Boyfriend,
TeenHealthFX is sorry to hear that your friend is currently in such an abusive relationship. When her boyfriend uses such terms as “whore,” “bitch,” and “stupid” to describe her – he is being verbally abusive and emotionally cruel. FX is also sorry that you have to see someone you care about so much being hurt and making a choice to be with someone who is so hostile in how he treats her.
FX sees things differently from the people who “yell” at you not to get involved. We think that part of the problem with dating violence is that too many people are willing to simply look the other way and pretend nothing is going on. But this is your best friend and someone you obviously care about – so the caring thing here is for you to get involved and make this your business. And here is how you can do that:
- Start by talking to your friend. Let her know you want to talk about something serious with her and set up a time where the two of you can talk alone and uninterrupted. Share your feelings and concerns with how her boyfriend is treating her. Empathize that there are obviously things she likes in him to be with him, but stress that you are very concerned with the emotional abuse that is going on. Encourage your friend to seek out help with this – whether she talks to her parents, a school counselor, or reaches out to a center or hotline available for those dealing with domestic violence and dating violence. Before talking to your friend you might consider contacting one of these hotlines yourself to get some tips on how to talk to her about this.
- If your friend refuses to see this as a problem or seek out help, let her know that you see this as a problem and will talk to someone who can intervene on her behalf. Your friend may well be furious with you – but better for her to be mad at you then to continue in a relationship where she is subject to such abuse. Think about a trustworthy adult who you feel would know how to intervene in a helpful and responsible way. You might talk to her parents, your parents, a school counselor, or a teacher. Whomever you feel you can count on to help you with this.
- Do not try and deal with her boyfriend about this on your own. You do not want to put yourself in harms way or inflame the situation in way where your friend’s well-being may be in jeopardy. There are professionals who are specially trained to help people learn how to safely end abusive relationships – so leave that up to them.
If your friend is mad at you, or others become mad at you for getting so involved, remind them that caring about someone means helping them when they are being hurt – not by looking aside and pretending it isn’t a problem. By getting involved, you are actually showing a great deal of love and courage.
If you live in New Jersey you or your friend can contact JBWS (Jersey Battered Women’s Services) at 973-267-4763. This phone number is a 24 hour confidential helpline. For more information, including links to other helpful websites, visit: www.jbws.org.
You or your friend can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY line for deaf callers), 24 hours, 7days a week.