If This Was You...

Recently I received a question, and while the question was personal and specific, it made me realize that the tactics to use are helpful to anyone in a breakup situation. 

What do you do when someone you love, like a friend, sister, daughter, or even mom, goes through a breakup? Even worse, what if you find out that there was abuse involved, whether physical or emotional?

This is a tender subject for sure, and so many who go through it feel hurt, embarrassed, and alone. It’s easy for the outsider to wonder about this.

Why did she put up with it?

Why didn’t she leave?

I never would have thought this!

How could she have stayed?

While these questions are great ones, they are not appropriate now. They are the last thing you want to say to a person going through this.  They will pull away from you fast and hard. The key here is to back off. Talk about anything but that situation. Let them come to you.  It’s important that they feel safe in talking about it.

Here are some ideas on how to help them heal and let them know you are there for them:

  • Don’t give advice – just listen.  Listen to them when they are ready to talk.  Let them get out what they can when they are ready. Don’t push.  
  • Communicate with them.  Let them know how proud you are of them. How strong they were that no matter how much they may still love this person they recognized that they needed to leave.   
  • Reach out and let them know you are thinking about them. A phone call, email, Facebook Message or text can do wonders during this time when they are feeling alone.
  • Do things with them.  Projects or activities are a great way to help them start to heal. Remodel a room. Go for a mani-pedi and lunch. Find one of those painting parties. Get them out to enjoy life again. Sometimes in a non-threatening situation they will feel more comfortable talking about how they are feeling.  Let them talk at their own pace.  Again, don’t give advice unless they specifically ask for some.  If they do, then keep it short.
  • Do some volunteer work.  It may help her to heal by helping someone else. It can be as simple as decluttering and donating the items, or it could be helping out at a children’s center or women’s shelter. Whatever feels good to them.
  • NEVER say “I told you so”.  No matter if you saw this coming a mile away, or you had a bad feeling from the start, this will make them retreat and not feel comfortable talking to you about it. They will feel judged and stupid.  
  • Resist the urge to trash the Ex. Let her do the talking there. Some people will get defensive and start defending the person, which is not helping her to heal.

It is so important to help her feel like she is not being judged and start to feel normal and loved.