Telling Family and Friends About Your Abuse

By Toby D. Goldsmith, M.D., and Maria Vera, Ph.D.
22 Nov 2000

If you are like most people in abusive relationships, you have kept your abuse hidden from your close relatives and friends. When you do tell them, they may react in several different ways.

First, your family and friends may have already suspected it. If this is the case, you may be relieved to talk to them about your situation.

Second, it's possible that those close to you will find it hard to believe because they have only seen the kind and considerate side of your partner. However, once you've told them, they will probably be very supportive. They may also strongly encourage you to leave the relationship immediately. This may be hard for you; just because you've told them about the abuse does not necessarily mean that you are ready to leave your relationship.

Your friends and family will have a difficult time understanding and accepting the fact that you want to stay. You may find yourself fighting with them to "save" your relationship, and decide that it was a mistake to tell them. It was not a mistake, but to avoid this sort of argument, tell them you need their support and focus the discussion on what it is that they can do to help you.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Mar 2015
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