Q | How do I tell my family and friends that I think I’m being abused?
A | You tell whoever makes the most sense to you, whenever and however it makes sense to you.
Want to single out a close, long-time friend first? Meet her for breakfast and talk about it over pancakes? Or call her up on the phone and spit it out in one breath?
Does it make more sense to call a family meeting? Send a group email so you can really be sure of your words? Tell only your grandpa over coffee or a beer?
We each have a different way of communicating effectively. You pick the method you need for yourself.
Plan it. Or just jump off the cliff with no warning.
Don’t think about it from their perspective. This isn’t about pleasing other people right now, or walking on eggshells and sugarcoating your reality, or preparing for an “I told you so” from the sibling who never liked your partner.
It doesn’t matter how you think they’ll react, or how they do react. What matters is that you’re telling someone, that you’re not carrying it alone anymore. This is the first step to realizing your truth. Once you know it, awareness and education follow. Putting yourself first follows. Figuring out how to leave your abuser follows. That’s what matters.
I invite you to practice on me. Send me a PM.
[Disclaimer: My answers for this feature are based on a mixture of personal experience, training with a women’s DV shelter, state certification in the subjects of domestic and sexual violence, and substantial studies of the personality disorders that lead to abusive behavior. My efforts are powered by a passion for advocacy. Featured guidance may not be exactly right for everyone, but I do hope it’s helpful for most. | Janna]
Submit your questions about abuse by PM — nothing is off limits — to jannawrites at gmail or through Facebook/Breaking the Silence for Women, and stay tuned for the Friday Feature: Your Abuse Questions Answered.
| All identities will remain confidential. |
[A note about the pattern of female pronouns: All of this applies to any gender, and any relationship dynamic, but since this page is devoted to women, all content keeps that in mind.]