Q:

She has locked us out of her life

Hi Jude, just wondering what I can do to help my 21 year old sister who has been and still is in an abusive relationship. We have seen what he used to do to walls and doors, now it's progressed to her being hit. She has admitted to her boss that he was abusive but she doesn't want our help and has now locked us out of her life. She also has a one year old son to the man. They've been together five years. I just want to help her, please what can I do?


A:

Thank you for your question, how wonderful your sister has you, good on you for writing in and thank you for caring.

There are some things you can do but the most important is that you don't judge her, don't get angry at her, don't tell her what to do. These are all things that will keep her shut down from you and keep her "locked out of your life".

From firsthand experience, I believe what she needs is to have people around her who will continue to love her, support her and be there for her. As for her going to her boss, sometimes it's easier to tell someone who isn't as close to you as family. Often there can be a lot of embarrassment, shame, guilt, fear, that can stop a person reaching out as well. Sometimes we still love this person who is abusing us and we know that many people don't understand that, sometimes we are just not ready to give up on this relationship and we are still clinging onto the hope that he might change and that we will become the happy family we have dreamed of.

Sometimes when there is a child/ren involved we want to keep the family together so that they have a mum and a dad. There are many possibilities why your sister is choosing to stay and that is her choice.

May I suggest that you try and make contact with her, let her know you just want to come and have a visit with her and baby, take some lunch or morning tea and just be with her and say nothing about the abuse. Let her know how much you love her and care about her and that if ever she needs you, you are there for her no matter what.

Text or ring her every few days just to say "Hi how are you", invite her over to your place for lunch or dinner, try and do things with her. At first she may be resistant but if you persist and do so in a loving kind way she will eventually see that you are just wanting to be there for her, that you're not going to give her a hard time.

Once you have established this new relationship you may then be in a better place to help her if she needs it. She will then feel that she can come to you because of how you have been with her. Please know that I am very aware that this whole situation is not easy, it's so hard for us to see one of our loved ones in an environment where they may be being hurt, that is why it is so important that you try and get as close to her as possible so she knows she is not alone.

I wish you all the very best.

Jude

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