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How to support a friend in an unhealthy relationship

Katya Shaposhnikova

Toxic relationships can lead to serious issues with psychological and physical health. Often the victim of a toxic partner does not see this and is unable to break out of the vicious circle. Pure advises what to do to help a loved one in an unhealthy union.

Give them time

Usually, everything is obvious from the outside: the partner controls, prohibits, and humiliates their significant other. But, alas, being in a toxic relationship, we tend to justify this behavior, often because we are blinded by a hypnotic feeling that our partner has on us. Why is this happening? Well, often this is the only way a victim believes they can receive love. Sometimes this stems from childhood, patterns of sacrificial behavior can be embedded into one's mind. This cannot be fixed instantly. Therefore, you will not be able to convince your friend that it is necessary to break from this vicious cycle and leave. The individual must come to this themselves. If you remain insistent, there’s a chance it will lead to a quarrel, so give your friend time to sort things out gradually, alone. Focus on the next point.

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Support them

The victim typically does not receive respect and love from their loved one — and as you imagine, it is very painful. Try to support your friend so at least they can get it from you. Don't openly criticize their partner, as it often has a contradictory effect and does not provide the support your friend needs. Give your friend warmth and acceptance. Listen to them whenever they need to speak out, and make it clear that your friend can rely on you. The more often the victim of abuse has the opportunity to openly talk about problems in the relationship, the faster the idea of their futility will come. In toxic relationships, the idea of intimacy is deformed, so your unconditional acceptance and absence of negativity are very important.

Wondering how to recognize a toxic relationship? Here’s what to look out for — read here!

Initiate their self-care

The victim of an unhealthy relationship does not think about themselves, but about making it good for their other half. Try to change this together. Remember the hobbies that you have in common, try to find an activity with something that they’re interested in, and go do it together. Give a gift card to the salon, go to the pool, or encourage them to take programming courses. If you know what kind of dream they had before all these events, try to make it happen together. The more your loved one takes care of their body and soul, the faster healthy tendencies will begin to displace painful and traumatic ones.

Curiosities on the topic

  • Marriage, according to German scientists, alters a person's personality. We become less willing to try new things.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (a group of antidepressants) can be used to treat love addiction.
  • Relationship codependency is not a mental illness. It is correctable with the assistance of a psychologist.
  • Worldwide, one couple gets divorced every 13 minutes.

Make lists together

If a friend frequently has the need to talk about their problems, suggest making a list: ex, the pros and cons of this relationship, what you like and dislike about your partner, and what is that you like and dislike about yourself. And then discuss the results together. That is a kind of psychological game, but it also can help to dot all the I's. Talk about their thoughts on the future and offer to make a plan. In the process of drafting, you can discuss the role of their toxic partner, wishes and feelings, how this plan is feasible, and in what time frame. Exercises like that can push a person to realize in which direction to move and what needs to be changed in their life.

Suggest a joint trip

It's a pretty clever move! In order to get out of a toxic relationship, you need to distance yourself. A few days are often enough — and the victim is already freed from the aggressor's hypnosis and can look at things clearly. Typically, abusive people do not like to lose control and let their partner go somewhere alone or with friends. If you manage to isolate your friend from the toxic influence for at least a short time, there is already a chance of recovery. Offer a secluded place without communication, where you will not be bothered by controlling calls and you will be able to relax and gain strength. With beautiful natural surroundings, fun activities, and an understanding friend, there is every chance of success.

You can also share our "10 things that destroy relationships" piece with your friend!

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