Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

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Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by PlasticFruit on Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:44 am

I have been trying to find a guide online to talk to a guy in an abusive relationship and it seems like most of the things I can find online are geared towards women in abusive relationships.

I live with this couple, cis-gender heterosexual. Their relationship is mostly emotionally abusive. She does smack and punch him in the arm when she disagrees or doesn't like something he says. That happens fairly often. I'd say I see it every few days. There is a lot of co-dependency dynamics going on there as well. He is the sole breadwinner and she suffers from health problems and depression. Because she does not work, his social network has shrunk so that he only goes out occasionally and when he does so it is almost always with her so I am pretty sure that most of his friends are not aware of how abusive the relationship has become. He also feels responsible for her well-being.

I want to speak to him about it, let him know that he deserves to be free from physical attacks and treated well emotionally, but there are two things at play. One, I live with both of them. If he talks to her about it, my living situation could become uncomfortable to scary. If that happened, I could get them to move out within a month and still be fine. Two, gender dynamics. I was talking to my boyfriend about it last night. We both consider ourselves feminists, but we found ourselves a bit stuck about how to talk to him about it. In some ways, I feel like this would be easier if he was a complete stranger or someone I was super close to, but since he is sort of a friend there is an emotional connection but we have never really talked about anything on a deep level.

Anyways, I am looking for some advice on how to proceed. Would especially like to hear from someone who has been in an abusive relationship and received support, what were the things said that really helped and resonated, if you responded negatively to the people supporting you (being in denial, telling them they are wrong and are assholes, etc), and in case of guys, what would be different or the same as speaking to a woman in an abusive relationship. I'd also like to hear from anyone who has had these conversations with friends and what worked well and what didn't.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by reboot on Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:01 am

Are you close enough to say that what you hear makes you uncomfortable and you were wondering what was up?
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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by PlasticFruit on Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:15 am

So, what I'm thinking at this point is that the next time we are both leaving at the same time for work is just saying, "Hey, I'm a bit worried about you. It seems like girlfriend is hitting you a lot and behaving in a way that makes me concerned." and going from there.

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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:03 am

>could get them to move out

Is it your place? Because that changes the dynamics a lot. You live there too, you could frame it in a way that that sort of fighting makes YOU uncomfortable. With this level of co-dependency escaping an abusive relationship is gonna be a long and hard process, as is making the gal take relationship counselling on top of therapy (is she in therapy?).

No smacking/punching people for slights could become a house rule, treating it as unisex, or else it's time for them to go. I don't know how enforceable this is or if I'm seeing this from an excessively dudeish point of putting your foot down, but it's a simple behaviour change that could curb the worst of the abuse.

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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by Enail on Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:48 pm

PlasticFruit, that sounds like a good way to open the subject. But I wonder if it mightn't be better to bring it up at a time when you'd both be free to talk for a little while; he might not want to, or not until he's had time to let it sink in more at least, but it seems like it'd be good to leave the option there in case he does.
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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by PlasticFruit on Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:04 pm

BasedBuzzed: Yes, they are renting their room only so I have the ultimate say in who lives here. She has been in therapy in the past but is not in it at the moment. I like the idea of making a no hitting rule. That would also be a good way to flag for him that being hit by your partner is not normal.

Enail: There is literally no time that we have except that occasional walk to work where she would not be there. My boyfriend once suggested a guys night out with him and she vetoed it. The co-dependency is strong with this one. But I think I could say, if you want to talk about it let me know and we can make some time.

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Re: Talking to Male Friend in an Abusive Relationship

Post by Enail on Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:13 pm

That sounds like a good plan, then.
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