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Helping friends

I’m concerned my friend is experiencing emotional abuse at home. She frequently messages me in a panic about her parents screaming and putting her down over the most unreasonable things.

 

It makes her really unhappy all the time, and I have trouble helping her to feel better. It has been going on for a very long time and despite my best efforts she’s still reluctant to tell an adult who can give her the help I can’t.

 

Since I’m the only one she’s willing to talk to, I feel a lot of pressure to help despite already trying to deal with my own anxieties and recent issues. Can someone please give me some advice? 

Re: Helping friends

Hi @Starlight03, thank you for posting about your friend and seeking out support for her - I'm so sorry to hear this is happening for her, but also so glad that she has a friend like you to support her. 
You've absolutely done the right thing in asking her to speak to an adult, but it's tricky when she doesn't want to do that. 

Being the only person she's willing to talk can be a huge burden for you to carry - especially, as you mention, when you have your own mental health and well being to prioritise. 

 

Is there anyone that you are able to talk to about this? While it may feel like you're breaching your friends trust by telling someone else, it's really important that you're not carrying all of this by yourself. Perhaps you could talk to your mum or dad, or another adult family member that you trust? 

To respect your friend, you could tell her before hand that you are going to speak to someone else because of how concerned you are. This might actually prompt her to talk to someone herself. If you have a school counsellor, perhaps you go speak to them together? 

 

You can always call the Kids Helpline on -  1800 55 1800, for more guidance and advice on your specific situation. 

 

It's super important that you get support, so definitely have a think who in your support network can help you to make an informed decision about what to do, and be a listening ear for you as well. 

Please let me know what you think about these options, and what you decide to do. 

We're here to listen and support you through the next steps Heart

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Re: Helping friends

You could also suggest your friend check out some of our articles that might be helpful:

This one on conflict in families 

and this one on emotional abuse 

Heart

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Re: Helping friends

@gina-RO, I have recently convinced her to see the school councillor. The problem is she isn’t comfortable enough to go without me, and I’ve noticed she leaves out a lot of details and downplays things a lot more when talking to the councillor than if she was talking to me. She basically just plays it off as if she and her parents occasionally have disagreements, but won’t say anything about the screaming or name calling. On top of that, if I mention telling anyone she freaks out and cries and gets angry with me and says she won’t trust me anymore. She doesn’t seem to understand how bad her situation is, she’s always confused by my reactions and thinks that how her parents treat her is normal. 

Re: Helping friends

@Starlight03 That's great that she's agreed to go to the school counselor, but it must be hard for you to hear her downplaying what's going on when she talks to them. 

 

I think it could be a good idea for you to see the counselor on your own. You are understandably concerned and affected by this situation, and it might help to get all the details and information off your chest, and hear from someone else ideas on how to best look after yourself, while also supporting your friend. 

 

What do you think? 

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Re: Helping friends

@gina-RO, I have been seeing a psychologist outside of school for a while, but she recently left for maternity leave so I haven’t had anyone to talk to. So I agree it’s probably not a bad idea to talk to the school councillor. I think I will have a chat with her when school holidays end.

 

Re: Helping friends

@Starlight03 Great Smiley Happy 

 

I hope it goes well -  let us know! 

 

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Re: Helping friends

Hi @Starlight03

 

You're a very kind person for helping out your friend when they needed it, especially when you're going through different patches as well. Like you said, all you can do is try your best and if that isn't enough or they are demanding more...then it's unfair on you. Friends shouldn't be a burden. Yes friends should get out each other in times of need but if helping your friend keep a float means you are drowning then it's not good. 

 

You've already done so much by going with them to the school counsellor. My view is a bit selfish for it's yourself over others. I just don't see how I can help someone if it's causing me pain. Maybe you are just that selfless and you put yourself last always, but there's no shame in saying 'sorry, I can't help you today'. There are professionals that can help your friend and if they don't want to open up to them then there's nothing much you can do.