8 Things Every Abused Woman Wishes Her Friends Knew

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects 12 million people in the United States each year. This includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by a current or past partner. It can be limited to one episode or it can be ongoing for years. One in three women have been victims of IPV, resulting in long and short-term physical and psychological trauma for many. With numbers like these, each one of us probably knows at least one person affected by domestic violence. It may even be you.Woman Covering Her Face In Fear Of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Abuse….No one deserves to be mistreated! Every woman affected by violence needs a friend. Be the friend that you would want if the roles were reversed.Woman Being Kidnapped And Abused

8 Things Every Abused Woman Needs Her Friends to Know:

1. Just LISTEN to me please!

2. Reassure me. Tell me things like, “You don’t deserve this;” “This is not your fault;” and “I believe you.”

3. Tell me that you think I might be in DANGER (I need to hear this from someone else).

4. Please make sure that I have the domestic violence hotline number MEMORIZED. It may not be safe for me to have this number written down or in my phone. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) is the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

5. Call me OFTEN and ASK how you can help me. Please check with me before you send an email asking about my situation. My emails may be censored by my partner. If you call me please ask if it is an okay time to talk. My partner may be listening in on the conversation.

6. Please don’t tell me what to do. I don’t need someone else controlling all of my decisions. I already have that at home from my abuser. I need to be the one who decides when it is best to leave.

7. Help me come up with a get away plan. Help me think through where I would go and what I would need.

8. Please keep helping me even if I try to leave on countless occasions and then end up changing my mind. Leaving isn’t easy. Leaving often isn’t safe. Leaving scares me.healthcare and social problem concept - womans hands holding pur

Victims of Domestic Violence need your love and support. Learn more about how you can help and what resources are available by clicking on the hyperlinks throughout this article. Raise your voice to raise awareness! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month after all.




For similar articles and more information on women and children’s health, check out our home page and give The Mom in Me, MD a like on Facebook! Another article just published this week on Domestic Violence that you may want to check out and share is linked right here! “A Time When it’s Okay to Raise Your Voice…Domestic Violence Awareness”



58 thoughts on “8 Things Every Abused Woman Wishes Her Friends Knew

  1. reading this made me cry cause I went through this and I felt so alone. It wasn’t severe enough for him to be monitoring my e-mails but just realizing just the one time was bad enough. I’m out of the situation (thank God) but I feel for anyone that is going through this. Thanks for posting this

  2. Where can I find such a friend?
    How do I move on, get closure?
    Where can I find a reasonable priced attorney that will actually represent me?
    Many of us go thru post traumatic stress tho not believed. How do we find someone for helping thru that?

    • HI Debora,
      thank you so much for your comment. I know just from the other comments on this article that people do care and will believe you. I would point you to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other similar organizations. They may be able to connect you with a new friend who can help you on your journey. Also, consider talking with your doctor. A family physician, psychologist, ob/gyn, internal medicine doctor, emergency room doctor…all of these professionals can connect you with resources. Thank you for your honest and open comment. I pray that you do find peace and closure as well as a friend to help you through this difficult time.

      • I love the article but would like to respond to your answer to the woman so obviously in pain. One of the missing pieces on marital abuse is highlighting of the verbal abuse that occurs and that can be a precursor to more.Patrica Evans’ books were eye openers for me!
        As a master level social worker and a survivor it took years –
        actually decades to realize then confirm that the abuse was real.
        Friends didn’t help they thought I was over reacting.Such a good guy. How can that be?

        I didn’t have the words or the safe environment to work through the mind games I was being led on every single day. Professionals were not that much better.Highly educated women just don’t get abused. NOT!

        Going to a domestic violence shelter with five kids from the burbs wasn’t a good option.The kids wouldn’t go.
        LEAVE somehow – someway leave even if it takes years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!When that happens you can begin to tell your story. You will have mental peace quiet enough to form the strong words you need to tell.Search for a friend.Pray for a friend who will actually listen and not judge or disbelieve.Family can be as bad as supposed friends.Everyone is dealing with abuse in one way or another and most are blinded.Some more than others.Search for a 12 step group like CODA or a 12 step recovery therapist. They will understand. You live in a world not of your choosing. It doesn’t seem real at times.Can’t be real because how in the name of heaven did you get there?
        It does get better. The sadness is hard in realizing losses pent in time trying to leave. But it does get better and you can in room that you can actually breathe fully in!

      • Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I’m sure that it will be helpful for the other women reading this. It is sad that people don’t always believe how “nice” guys could actually be incredibly abusive behind closed doors, both verbally, emotionally, and physically. And, yes, you need to figure out the best way for you to leave. Shelters are one option, but definitely not the only way. Thanks again for sharing.

    • I AM IN THE VERY SAME CRAP! I HAVE Been control and mannipulataed for 18 years but in the last 10 years has been the wrost!! I am not allowed to go to dr, have freiends, My Fanily is Shit, I have a Dog. Name Malachi he is 12 years old and he is My Dog I am His Mama, He is my Angel! I will Not Leave him behind He counts on me being here for him and I count on hin being here for me
      I Need to get away from him,I need a Lawyer that will take my case and me get a Divorve and far far awat from his EVIL WAYS

    • There is help you can find such a friend at your local shelter. They can help you find legal help, counseling, pick up the phone and call your local shelter if you can’t find the # call me 409-384-1225. Wanda. Been doing just this for 10 1/2 years. Whatever it is that you are going through you don’t deserve it.

    • Call the national domestic abuse hotline or your state hotline. There are many programs around the country to educate and advocate for survivors of domestic violence. Their services are free and they know how you can find an attorney to help you with legal matters.

  3. I’ve been through this more times than I am willing to openly admit most days. Now up to four abusive relationships….the first three physical, the last one emotional/psychological, and I left before he hit me. I knew what came next…

    I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I have survived. I’ve learned, I’ve grown and I know that my pain can be used to help someone else.

    When you’re ready. ❤

  4. Good article. As a psychologist who deals with women with eating disorders, though, I wish you would have used a more realistic body in the image after #8.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read it. Domestic violence is such an important issue. That’s wonderful that you are helping those with eating disorders. That is definitely another challenging arena. I worked in several eating disorder clinics during medical school. Definitely such a struggle to overcome.

  5. This is such a great article. As a survivor, 3.5 years free of ‘him’, I cried when I read this, grateful that I was blessed enough to have that one friend who did everything on this list, short of the DV Hotline #. We made 2 escapes, 1 many states away. It amazes me that she and I packed everything in a uhaul by ourselves and my friend drove that truck like a champ 12 hours straight! Of course he followed soon after and it was only a short period of time before we had to plan another escape, quickly. She found a little tucked away apt., she and her husband moved all my things this time because I never went back there. Mind you, we are not young, I waited until I was in my 50’s for something like this to happen. I know many of my other friends and family more or less abandoned me, thinking and saying just leave. But that 1 friend stood by me and I would have never, ever made it without her. She never read this article, she has now. This is one of the BEST things I have seen regarding how to help a friend. I still live somewhat in hiding but I am free from the abuse. Not sure if I can say free from ‘him’. He’s still in the area, where he has NO ties, NO family, NO friends. We learned to be better than the police and the judicial system as he was finally arrested, (stopped for driving offense and had the outstanding warrants for 3rd felony CDV and Kidnapping) so he served 90 days before they released him. The DA told me that they could not find me. CRAZY. They also told me that I was doing a good job hiding and to keep it up. I feel the judicial system failed me many times over, but my friend made it all possible. Without her, there is not a shadow of doubt that I would have been dead sooner or later at his hands.

    • Thank you so much for writing and sharing your story here!!! You sound like an amazing woman who had an amazing friend. Thank you for your feedback on the article. It is always good to know from those who have experienced what I am writing about find it helpful and accurate. I am so sorry for all that you have been through! I can’t even imagine! If you are interested I recently wrote another article about domestic violence and included one of my friend’s stories. You can find it on my home page at The Mom in Me,MD. Thanks again for sharing your story! Sincerely, Emma

    • all my family has forgotten me. and My abuser ran my only friend away. I HAVE NO ONE But My Dog “”Malachi”” hes gone thu everything i have snice he was frist borned he is my angel and i am his!!!!!!

  6. I just left after 18 years of control and mental/verbal abuse for years..my two boys were saying horrible things to me but that’s all they learn..the behavior their father presents..I moved out w my clothes and my dog. I haven’t worked in 17 years and have no skills. I’m getting to the fact that this is real! This is everywhere. Sometimes you have to look into someone’s eyes and try to imagine the pain someone’s in…then multiply your worst experience by 100..

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine how much courage it took to leave. May you find peace and healing as you move forward. You are so right. It is everywhere…even the places we least imagine.

  7. Pingback: What an abused woman needs her friends to know | The House on Chestnut Street

  8. Someone I went to medical school posted this on FB today and I cried reading it & then immediately shared it. I left my abuser who was a fellow medical student and significant other 3.5 years ago. The abuse started when we were studying for Step 1 (mostly verbal then) and continued through rotations. I would goto the hospital for my rotations with bruises and when anyone asked I usually blamed the dog running into me as the cause of my injuries. The physical abuse began but didn’t escalate till later. If he had a bad day at the hospital I would deal with the brunt of his anger and frustration. My medical career was left at the wayside when he matched and we moved to where he matched. The abuse escalated from daily verbal/ emotional abuse to violent physical & financial abuse as well. My friends were my rock and got me through as many tear filled phone calls, emails and texts that I could hide. This list reminded me of all that they did. My daughter and I are safe partly because my friends helped me get through a terrible time in our lives. I’m still picking up the pieces of my life as the abuse really did a number on me but I have hope that with my family and friends I will fulfill my dreams. Thank you for putting this list up! I hope others see it and help their friends who may be going through the same.

    • Thank you so much for your open and honest feedback! I am so glad that you and your daughter are now safe. I can’t imagine how horrific all of that has been for you. I am so glad that you had friends who were able to show you the support that you needed. Best wishes as you move forward and rebuild your life…now being allowed to be the amazing person that I’m sure you are free of criticism and undeserving abuse. Thanks again for commenting and sharing. Sincerely, Emma


  9. I Am in a very bad Evil marrige Long story shot I need Help as I have No One that is willing to help me get away from This Evil Man I do Not Know!!!!!!!! I am 60 years old I have been married to him for 23 years May 30th this year. I have been trying to get out of this marriage for 10 years but he will not have it!!!!
    He has a Lot of Pull in the city we live. Plus he is a Master Mannipulator Narrisstic, i am scred to death me and Malachi will die by his hands. I keep wishing he would get pick up for being Drunk. Which he is 241/7 but police let him go each time!
    I called police May20,2015 at 9:15pm and he ran cause he knew if he was there when police got there he would go to Jail. The Police came took Report , Took Picture of my Broken Nose Busted open Mouth. And the Police has yet arrested him and He ought Police back to house and they told me He has all the right to be here as you Do!! W.T.F

  10. Great article, it brought back so many memories of days and nights in hell. the memorizing the phone number part is so true. people asked why didnt you call or why didnt you grab one of thoe numbers off the bathroom stall. they do not realize that in many situations, your phone and email are watched closely. my ex would even go through my clothes to check for numbers to abuse help lines, would not let me go anywhere alone and insist on filling out dr paperwork for me so i could not write a message on the paper or mark the box that said check if you are in an abusive situation.

  11. All the abuse I have endured from a child til now all I think about is how to end the pain I don’t want to see the next day.

  12. hey ladies

    my spouse keeps on swearing at me and telling me constantly of my past and he do this in front of the kids. i have spoken to him so many times but he keeps doing it.

    every week we have a new episode of his anger. i need help. one thing i think i did was miving in with him. so now i am still looking for an accomodation to move out.

    how can i handle the pressure form now till i find my house?

    assist please.


  13. I have been out of a very abusive 26 yr marriage for two years. He was very politically connected & left us penniless. I’m still picking up the pieces night terrors etc.., but the worst was being forced to sell the house I bought which left me and two children homeless. We were forced to rent a room in a house where all kinds of terrible things go on. They extort us for money verbally & psychologically abuse us. The shelters in this area are in horrible scary areas and always full. I have made great progress I just need to get steady and sustainable employment. Once we are out & in our own place I hope & pray my life will get somewhat normal again. There’s so much more but you ladies already know the ugly truths that go with the aftermath. I do thank God daily that I got out alive. So the moral to my story is how to deal with all the aftermath. And it’s true friends and family do not want to know and/or hear it. It’s just easier to block out & pretend it’s all made up. I guess that’s why I had multiple body parts broken and am still presently homeless with two young sons. From south jersey where there is little to no help. Lots of great advertising though. Thanks for listening.

  14. Hello! It’s a great article, I have one hope and prayer, can you take out the gender. I believe this is wonderful advice that applies to all domestic abuse victims. My brother went to the hospital multiple times secretly, he was in danger, he needed a safe getaway plan, he needed tone listened to, et cetera. So great article! But if you could make this for all victims, regardless of gender, I’d be so happy. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for your comment Stephanie. I am so sorry to hear about your brother’s situation. You are absolutely correct in saying that men can be victims as well. This article was not meant to be all encompassing and was specifically written with the female victim in mind, but it definitely doesn’t downplay the fact that everyone should be treated with respect. I agree that everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, faith base etc. should never be subjected to abuse. Thanks so much for your comment and for advocating for all genders.
      The Mom in Me, MD

  15. What about guys who get verbally abused and manipulated by ignorant bitches that threaten to leave, that threaten to rat on people, AND who act like victims and since she’s a woman everyone automatically believes her?

    • Men are and can definitely be victims. This article was specifically geared toward women victims but the same could be written with a male victim in mind. No one deserves to be abused regardless of race, age, gender, or faith base etc. etc.

  16. Pingback: Greeks Against Domestic Violence | DP Taught Me

  17. Pingback: 8 Things Every Abused Woman Wishes Her Friends Knew | findingmyvoice2speakoutagainstdomesticviolence

  18. This article made me cry. I tried to leave my abusive husband several times. Where do I go? How do I escape? He always said he would take our child and disappear if I left. Finally after 19 years my son and I did leave. I had to get an emergency protective order against him for my son and I. We are so much better off now. I do have hang ups though. I don’t want any man too close emotionally. I am probably scarred for life.

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