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Lionheart Offline
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Question How can I help? - May 24th 2016, 12:16 AM

I'm really worried about my girlfriend.

A few days ago she told me about her family. Her parents are divorced which I knew before. Also i knew she didn't get along with her mom and had moved to her dad when she was 14.
Apparently her mom has insulted and hit her and shouted at her ever since she was a kid and it only ended when she moved in with her dad. Her dad is ok. He never hurts her, doesn't care much for her either. One on of her past girlfriends hit her and he just laughed at it...
The worst though is, because of her dads heavy smoking she had to move back in with her mom (she's going to a school where she learns sewing and stuff and the fabrics stink to much of smoke which they don't allow). Her mom doesn't hit her anymore as my girlfriend is strong enough to fight back now, but she still insults her and shouts at her and twists her every word so she can scream at her... and the alcoholic boyfriend of her mom hit her just an hour ago...
The problem is, she can't go anywhere. I would offer her to move in with me, but I live to far away and she wouldn't be able to go to school anymore (and she's underage). She can't go to her grandma or brother because they are homophibic and especially her brother has a habbit of searching through her stuff (just like her mom).
She's self harming and recently she's constantly telling me that she want's to get out of there. She want's to leave and I'm just really really worried. I live to far away to activly intervene. I try to go there at least once a week to be there for her and at least give her one peacefull night (her mom is super nice when I'm there and her lover always keeps his distance), but if soemthing where to happen I'm to far away to do anything. Like today when she told me about being hit again. I can't do anything. Just listen to her and tell her how much of an asshole he is and how it is not her fault.

I want to help her somehow.... but I don't know what I can do. Actually if it was just me I would go to the police and tell them, because this can't go on, but I'm really worried she will feel betrayed if I do that... and she needs all the support she can get right now, hough maybe I should still go and tell them. Better she hates me than something happens to her or she decides she can't take it anymore...
I would be really thankfull for any advice on what I can do to help....

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Re: How can I help? - May 24th 2016, 04:21 AM

It's really nice of you to support your girlfriend. I know sometimes it's difficult when you feel like there isn't a lot you can do to help, but remember that every little thing you do counts. I am sure she appreciates your support and I know that even talking by itself can do a lot of good.

I think it would help if you pointed her to some different resources and talked about different ways to cope what she's going through until she's legally an adult and can escape her parents. It might be worth making a safety plan with her. You can do one for suicidal feelings, and one for being in danger from the people she lives with. You can include people she can call (besides you) hotlines, and steps for her to take before she harms herself or steps to take if she feels like she's in danger because of someone else.

Maybe you can talk to her about self-harm alternatives, too. You can even write a list of them for her. You can ask that she tries to talk to you or uses some alternatives before harming herself so she gets into the habit of trying to distract herself first.

You can suggest creating a safe place, which is a mental or physical place where someone is surrounded by positivity and things that make them feel safe.

Encourage her to plan what she wants to do in the future, or what she wants her life to look like when she is away from abusive people. This can help with urges to self-harm as well as suicidal feelings.

You can even consider referring her to TeenHelp if you're comfortable with it, or you can show her the site without giving up your anonymity.

I do think you should discuss going to the police with her before you go to them. Maybe you can let her know that you will go to them if she ever decides she wants to go to them, or if you feel that she is in life threatening danger. It is important for victims of abuse to seek help when they feel they are ready to, so I wouldn't go to the police right away but instead go if you feel like she's in life threatening danger.

Other than that, just try to support her and be there for her if she wants to talk. Keep in mind you don't always have to talk about what's upsetting her, but sometimes random conversation or your presence in itself can help.

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