my friend is in an abusive relationship with her ex. how can i help her?

snippets of what people shared on campfire.


TW: emotional abuse, rape, violence.

Hello dear friends!

A dear friend of mine has been separated from her ex partner for about 18 months now. She has 2 kids (3 and 6) with him and left him because he was not only very egocentric but also abusive (marital rape), agressive (adult trantrums), controlling (she could not meet/talk to friends, especially male friends including me) etc.

She now lives on her own (not too far from him), has shared custody, they still own a flat together they have hard time selling it (he also owes her some money). He stills sends agressive messages or loving/sexual ones, sometimes pressure her to have sex or cuddle during kids transitions. Threatening to kill himself with the kids and her at the same time, or to leave the city , or to claim full custody...My question is how can I help her so he cannot threat her or the kids life and stop all the abuse mentionned above. Police won't help until he takes action, she's afraid of pressing charges as she wants to sell the flat first (she needs the money). I feel very helpless and fear that something bad will happen.


I am afraid there is no other way, than going the one through taking legal actions. Otherwise he will not be stopped.


feel for your friend S. What country is this in? It helps to know to understand the legal context and members familiar with the jurisdiction can give more specific advise.One idea would be for your friend (if they haven’t already) to start building a dossier of evidence: dates, items, writing down in a diary or even better electronic and emailing it to someone (e.g. you) periodically. Take recordings etc.


sounds like a really difficult situation 🙁 im curious if you know anything about his support system? i imagine he doesn’t have much of oneim a pretty big believer in “hurt people hurt people”. not that it is yours or hers or anyone’s responsibility to help him, and i imagine you guys are exhausted (and more) from dealing with him. but i think it’s worth considering to at least offer 1 possible move, to take a step out of the helpless frame.and just want to throw out the consideration that the legal route might actually cause him to lean further into the attention/love seeking actions he’s been taking


I assume can get legal advice without him finding out until it’s necessary for him to find out. Perhaps an equivalent of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Quite possibly free legal representation too.By that stage, he’s most likely to be restricted in some way in terms of contact which would allow the police to enforce and help whenever it’s necessary.She does need to collate evidence to all the issues you mentioned in some shape or form though.


If you can remove her and the children from where they are to somewhere the partner doesn’t know, that might work and it’s definitely better than her staying in the same home as him.But as it’s unlikely to be a permanent situation (at least until it’s sold), it will likely only delay the inevitable of him knowing where she is and her possibly being forced back into living with him. It’s also possible that it will make him worse in terms of how he reacts to her and the children.The other issue is that as the children are his. If she tries to escape the situation with them, he could accuse her of “taking the children away from him” which could be problematic if it came to court.


Yeah. She’s about to sign the provisional sale agreement. Then she’ll send an email to him via her lawyer with things he needs to stop right away or she’ll take legal actions.


I think it’s probably right for her to stay at her parents’ home or a friend’s place to avoid any immediate blowback when she emails him.

Coercive control mixed with emotions of love and feelings of loyalty can be an explosive mixture for all parties concerned.

This is a very delicate situation at a potentially pivotal point. I sincerely hope your friend manages to navigate herself through this without too many repercussions. Any professional help she can get (through the state or privately) will help arm her with the information she needs to steer through this maelstrom.

S - thanks for sharing this on-going story with us all. I hope that 2023 hastens to bring a happy ending for her and her children!


All the insights I’ve gathered from you all are very helpful!!

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