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Friend is Being Emotionally Abused

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One of my very close friends is being emotionally abused by his mom. She is constantly degrading him, putting him down in private and in front of me and our other friends. Any time he lets on that her comments hurt him she tells him he’s “too sensitive, why is he acting like a 13 year old girl, etc.” She’s also extremely controlling and manipulative. The only times I’ve seen her do good things for him, she did it to hold over his head later and guilt him into doing what she wanted him to do. Everything I’ve seen from her fits the outline of abuse. My question is, what do we do now? Every time we’ve tried to talk to our friends and other family they seem to think we’re being melodramatic and that he should suck it up and respect his mom by staying and doing what she asks of him, but that’s what he’s been doing and it’s just been getting worse lately… I don’t think she would physically hurt him, but her words and actions towards him have been increasingly more destructive. Should he try to have a plan in case it gets to the point where he needs to leave one night, or are the people who say he needs to suck it up right?

Friend is Being Emotionally Abused

Answered by on -


It sounds like you’re a very good friend. It’s important to know that you caring about him at this level is the best possible thing you could do.

I strongly encourage both of you to talk to the school guidance counselor. The counselors are trained in helping students with exactly this kind of problem. Is a very good thing that he’s talking with you and that you care so deeply, but it sounds like it’s time to get a professional involved.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Friend is Being Emotionally Abused

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Friend is Being Emotionally Abused. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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