Get help for an Abuser

An individual may have many fine qualities, be successful in the community, and apparently pious – and still be someone who abuses those he or she should be loving and caring for. Abusive behavior is often very deeply rooted in the abuser’s psychology. You can help an abuser, but you need to be very careful not to increase the danger to the victim.

Do not encourage abuse.
Laughing at degrading jokes or put-downs signals acceptance of the behavior. Do not laugh at demeaning jokes about other people's family members, even if it is your friend who is joking, because it reinforces the abuser's behavior. Not going along with the joke sends a signal that putting down a family member is not okay.

Do not put up with abusive behavior or harassment
If nothing else, you can send a message by walking away. In this issue, there is no innocent bystander. Best of all, speak up and tell your friend to stop it.

Do talk to the abuser if you feel safe in doing so, but only if you are confident it will not put the victim at further risk.
If you know the abuser well, you may be able to talk about your concerns . You can always refuse to accept excuses. Be clear that you are still a friend, but you disapprove of the behavior. But be very aware that if you confront the abuser, he may blame the victim and take his anger out on them.

Be there, stay there, and listen.
If an abuser is willing to talk about his behavior to you, listen to him. You may feel like a broken record in refusing to accept excuses or condone his behavior, but you'll be surprised at how much of what you are saying is getting through.

Recognize and praise their good behavior.

Encourage them to be honest and take responsibility for their behavior.
Show your support when they do so.

Help them clarify their feelings.
Explain that possessiveness and jealousy are not love.

Understand that abuse is a choice.
Help your friend understand this. Abuse is a learned behavior.

Encourage them to seek professional help.
Go with them if that's what it will take. Check out resources.

Do not condone the abuse.
Abuse is never okay. Not because of a bad day, not because someone was drunk, and not because someone was really angry.

Do not get stuck in the middle.
Do not be a mediator or offer to be a "go between" for the couple, unless you are trained for it. You are there to help him/her bring about change in an abusive behavior.

Do not cut off your friend.
Reject the behavior, not the person. Be very clear about this. Explain that their abusive actions are bad, not that they are a bad person. Choose your words carefully.

Know your risks.
Check out the list of risks we have compiled for you.



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Dar al Islam
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