I follow the social media of a friend in an abusive relationship, because it’s one of the only links I have left to him. It’s hard when he hasn’t posted for a few weeks, or is really excited about something. I want to connect, I want to reply, I want to check he’s ok. But I know it would only cause trouble, both for him and for me. Even posting this has the potential to get me in trouble; it’s a fine line to walk, but it’s a situation that bugs me and this blog is for my personal thoughts – so hey, what the hell. This is what I think.
Being in an abusive relationship sucks, and watching from the sidelines also sucks.
We can’t reach out. He thinks the world hates him, and he believes that no one wants to be friends with him. Despite words, emails, gestures…there is only so much you can do against someone who really doesn’t want to believe, and has been systematically cut off from anyone who could show him a different view.
But the relationship isn’t everything. We want him to do better in his love life, yes, but it doesn’t meant that’s the be-all and end-all. We revel in his every moment of happiness and small victory. We root for him when he struggles. We enjoy the moments of life that he shares with the world. He’s building a life for himself and building himself up, which is brilliant; I wish we could share in that, but it’s fantastic to see it happening even at a distance.
I wish I could do more. I wish he’d believe that people like him, share his interests, want to know him. But…
Well. What happened, happened, and it’s as much his choice to be where he is as it is ours to remove ourselves from a situation that was made harder by our presence. He’s not in any serious danger; it’s mild emotional abuse from someone who genuinely intends no harm, but doesn’t see how often they cause it. It sucks for us to not be able to contact someone, even as an acquaintance or just to check on them, without it opening a can of worms. But that’s the path he’s treading, and it’s better that we’re not causing problems for him by trying to stay in contact. All we can do is be ready to offer support as and when it’s right to do so again.
We’re still here. We haven’t forgotten you. We don’t hate you. If you choose another path, we’ll offer whatever support we can to make you realise that you are worth so much more than you think you are.
We’re here, whenever you want to reach out. We’ll answer.