Changing for Good
“I thought if they wanted my help they would ask for it… all along I had a gut feeling something was wrong but he was always so nice to us. How could he be such a great mate and do something like that?”
You might think it’s best not to say anything because you might say the wrong thing. But saying the wrong thing isn’t the worst thing. The worst thing is staying silent. By saying nothing, you’re part of the problem.
Does he seem to:
- Expect his partner to spend all of her time with him or to “check in” with and let him know where she is?
- Act extremely jealous and/or possessive of her?
- Isolate her by controlling where she goes, who she sees and talks to, what she wears?
- Treat her with disrespect and put her down?
- Put down her friends and family, her dreams, ideas and/or goals?
- Lose his temper frequently over little things?
- Make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells to keep the peace?
- Make threats to hurt her, leave her, hurt the pets, destroy property and/or threaten to commit suicide if she doesn’t do what he wants?
- Play mind games or make her feel guilty?
- Refuse to take responsibility for his actions? Blame his partner, his kids, drugs or alcohol, his boss, parents, etc. for his behaviour?
You may have seen none of these things. But if you have a gut feeling or you’ve seen something you don’t like, find a quiet moment to check in with him.
These are what’s known as “red flags” for domestic abuse – they are the signs that there may be violence or abuse in a relationship.
You can help
Choose the right time and place to talk. Approach him when he is calm and offer help.
Be direct and clear about what you have seen and what worries you.
Remind him you care about him.
Don’t fight with him or try to force him to do anything, or to see things your way. This can make things more dangerous for her. Keep the lines of communication open so you can be an influence on his thinking
Tell him his behaviour is his responsibility, especially if he continually tries to blame her.
Remind him that there is hope and he can change, that there is help available.
Avoid making judgemental comments about him as a person.
Tell him the violence needs to stop.
Remind him that violence and control does not make his family safe.
Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 to get more advice on how to talk to your friend or how to help his partner get the support she needs. We can also help if you want ideas or information about programs that can help your friend stop using violence.