Help! My friend is in a toxic relationship
Hi Achokis, I have a friend who I think is in a terrible relationship. The other day she came with a swollen eye and the story she gave us didn’t quite click.
Of late we don’t get to see her often and she seems not to be the same self-confident bubbly girl that we knew before she met this guy.
As her friends, we are concerned. We have tried to show her this, but she justifies the guy’s actions. I don’t understand how someone can be in such a relationship and not want to leave. How can we help her?
Thanks for your concern. A friend in need is a friend indeed and that’s what you are trying to be. We commend you for this. People who are in toxic relationships normally don’t realise until it is too late, unfortunately.
These relationships can be tricky because on one hand, the person they are in a relationship with, can be very manipulative and controlling and on the other hand, the person themselves may have some unconscious need that makes them stay.
Your friend’s boyfriend could just be the kind of person who will mistreat her, then later treat her so nicely and even buy her gifts, then promises never to mistreat her again.
This becomes a vicious cycle of heaven than hell and leaves your friend confused. The guy may also threaten her or cause fear in her life thus controlling her.
Such people will even try to isolate one from her friends and family so that she doesn’t have a chance to see things differently.
Your friend, on the other hand, could be hoping that things will change and thus the reason she’s still in that relationship. She may also be fearing not being in a relationship or starting all over again.
Many women feel that way. There’s also the possibility her self-esteem has been damaged either from her pastor in her current relationship to the extent she blames herself or thinks she’s worth being treated that way.
It will be very difficult to get her out of this, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t try. We have shared this so that you can empathise with her more and know how complicated this is.
Find out how things are and use examples of stories you have heard to try and help her see things from an outsiders’ perspective. You could even suggest to her to see a psychologist.
Now don’t do this from the standpoint of concluding that she’s in a wrong relationship, but rather from a place of curiosity. Make her see the positives of doing such a thing.
Whatever you do, make her see that it is out of the genuine concern and love for her. If she doesn’t seem to heed to the advice, be direct with her and let her know that you will not bring this matter up again with her.
But you will be there for her in case she needs you. Leave the door open even as you let her come to the realisation herself. The writers are marriage and relationship [email protected]