The topic of abuse is a taboo subject in society. There has been an effort to promote open discussion about the issue and the possible consequences for a person’s lives. It can be so complicated that it is difficult to recognize at times. Each situation presents it differently. Because behaviors and actions vary from one relationship to another, comparisons can be difficult and too vague. Despite the differences in behavior, there are common traits that can help identify and understand possible abuse in relationships.

Let’s say that you, a friend or family member, notice these signs of abuse in the relationships your loved one is involved in. What should you do? You can take control of your own instincts and follow them. A victim won’t likely admit that they are a victim if confronted. They may not be aware of their existence. Encourage the victim by being respectful and encouraging. It is important that the victim feels supported and not blamed for their partner’s actions.

It is important that you are aware of the resources available in your locality. Many communities have many resources available for children, men and women who feel unsafe or need help leaving. There is usually at least one shelter that provides shelter for domestic violence victims. These shelters can be a great resource as they provide connections to legal advocates, support groups, and outreach programs. As we mentioned, victims may be familiar with the dangers and risks involved. It is easy to imagine a confrontation but it is much more difficult to have an open conversation with someone you care about.

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Make sure you back up your concerns by making observations, giving the person options, as well as reiterating your willingness to help them. If the threat of violence seems too severe or you feel someone is at risk, don’t hesitate to call emergency personnel. Use your resources to the fullest extent possible.

The most valuable resource, regardless of whether you’re looking in from the outside or experiencing abuse, is the one who listens. Abuse in relationships is a clear violation of trust. It can be very difficult to trust someone again. It is important to be open to listening and not to judge in order to help someone suffering abuse. The first step to enabling a victim to leave the abuser’s shadow is to build a relationship with them and open the door for assistance.