Q:

I think it's just a matter of time

Hi Jude, I have a friend whose father is really messing with her and her mother, he hasn't physically hurt them but he's constantly yelling, blaming them for things that never actually happened and he's lying to and about them. Today he told my friend to go kill herself because she stood up for herself. I have known the family my whole life and have always found this man to be rather intimidating. Although he hasn't hurt them physically yet I can't help but to think it's just a matter of time. I don't know what to do about this except to offer them a bed if they decide to finally leave. I'm really scared for them.


A:

Thank you so much for writing in and for caring. Well done!

What is happening to your friend and her mother is not ok and is abuse and living in this environment will be having an effect on them (and often not in a good way). We can never force anyone to do anything they don't want to and I'm not sure if your friend's mother wants to change things or out of fear can't or doesn't know what her options are, so maybe you could gather some brochures on family violence and the different services available to them and give them to your friend who could then show them to her Mum.

Just having this knowledge can empower a person and give them that little bit of extra courage to consider making some changes. Often when we are in these sorts of relationships and over a period of time we get our strength sucked out of us, leaving us in a place where we feel there is no way out so we submit to living this way.

The wonderful thing is that there are many services and supports and people out there who can help with whatever the situation may be and they do it in a kind and caring way. 
May I suggest that you go to your local community centre, women's refuge, any social service agency in your area and ask for any brochures on family violence and the effects of family violence and give them to your friend who hopefully will give them to her Mum. You can also order brochures from this website.

I would also like to say that I really like what you said at the end of your letter when you talked of offering them a bed if they decide to leave. That is exactly the right thing to do. Let them know that if ever or whenever they may need a place to go to, no matter what the time, day or night, they can come to you and you will be there for them.

May I ask if there would be anyone who would be able to talk to this man, someone who he respects and trusts, like a family member or close friend that may have seen this behaviour he is using and could discuss it with him and let him know that it is not ok and he needs to address it and get some help. Maybe if he saw the brochures himself this could help him see that he has a problem. As I don't know a lot about him, I don't know if this would be a safe option. Sometimes it can makes things worse, so talk to your friend about these possibilities and see if they may be worth a try. If there is any doubt please tell your friend not to do anything that could put her in more danger by upsetting her father and making him angry.

If you would like to look on our "are you ok"? website there is a lot of information there as well that you could pass on but I think the most important is letting them know you are there.

You are a good friend!

Please write back in to us if there is anything else we can help you with.

Jude

 

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