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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How to help friend going through break-up?

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Author Topic: How to help friend going through break-up?
pinklightning
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I'd like some advice on how I can help my friend who is going through a break-up. I have been the supportive friend many times before, helped many other friends through their heartbreaks, and I love being able to help them and be the one they go to. But this situation is a little bit tougher for me to deal with. None of what I usually say works and even when I draw on my own experience it seems to go in one ear and out the other with this particular friend.

Some background on her situation: she was with this guy for almost four years. After their first year of being together, he cheated on her. They broke up for a little while but got back together. Since then it seems, her confidence level plummeted and from my perspective, it seems like she could never get past that he cheated - she has a serious complex about the other girl (stalks her Facebook, shows me pictures where she looks slutty, says "what a slut, can you believe her?!" etc. and is afraid to even go out to certain places for fear of running into her!). Also I learned that her ex would say verbally abusive things to her that I think over time brainwashed her into thinking she is ugly, fat and not worthy of love. (He would tell her things like she should go to the gym, she needs to work out, etc.)

Anyway it's a classic scenario where you know the guy treats her like crap but she is still attached and still loves him for whatever reason so even though she knows she should leave, she can't. They broke up again last summer, got back together AGAIN, and then just now within the last month broke up again. And yet she is still upset and wasn't the one to initiate the breakup. I know he is really bad for her and want to somehow be able to help prevent her from going back to him again and continue the vicious cycle of breaking up and getting back together.

The biggest problem is, she tells me she doesn't think she will find anyone else. She is a wonderful girl - pretty, warm-hearted, smart and funny. Obviously I know she has a great chance of finding a great new guy who will treat her 100 times better than her ex did. But saying this to her does not seem to get through to her. I know I am not a miracle-worker and I can't change her own opinion of herself, but is there anything I can say that might make somewhat of a dent in her mind to where she actually might start turning around and feeling better? Even when I draw on my own experience, saying, when I broke up with my ex, I was devastated too, but look at me now, I'm in a great relationship with a wonderful guy who treats me great... it doesn't seem to comfort her at all. She still thinks she has no chance of finding someone else.

She also often says she is afraid of being alone and she is depressed (makes remarks about wanting to die etc.). I am really worried about her and want her to realize what she has going for her but I don't know how to do that.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! [Smile]

Posts: 6 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
tigerfishy
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This sounds like a verbally abusive relationship to me, and really, even as a friend, there isn't a whole lot you can do. In most abusive relationships, you can tell the woman she is being abused and she will get defensive or say she deserves it and keep going back to the guy.

First, I would say try talking to her. Explain that you think this is unhealthy and abusive, reassure her that she is beautiful and intelligent. If she gets extremely defensive, don't argue with her. Just let it go.

If that fails, all you can do I think is watch. I know how hard that is, but if you've already tried talking to her and she just won't listen, there aren't many other options. You can be there for her everytime she needs a friend, and you just have to hope that one day she will realize how bad this guy is for her and she will get up the courage to leave him.

I'm not a professional, just a peer. But I will provide what I think is the best advice.

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I'm not a professional, just a peer. But I will provide the best, most honest advice I can.

Posts: 16 | From: Oregon | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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Also, if she seems to be earnestly considering harming or killing herself, then you'll want to refer her to a counselor and/or inform someone in her family, or another trusted adult who can help her. Serious threats of suicide are beyond what anyone can or should handle as a friend, so you will want to get someone else involved to ensure her safety.

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9186 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pinklightning
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Thank you both very much for your advice. I think you're right, Fishy... all I can do is just be there for her and hope to God that she begins to really believe she deserves better than that. I think it is just mostly frustrating to me because I can't believe she doesn't see how great she is and how much she has going for her! To me it's obvious! But of course, the way we see ourselves is often completely different than how others see us.

Joey - Mostly I think her suicidal comments are cries for attention and exaggerations, as she is young and can be dramatic. But I will definitely keep my eye out if they become consistent and repetitive, and then look to some professional options.

It seems to have gotten a bit better in the last few days... I just hope she keeps the strength not to go back to him!

Thank you both again. [Smile]

Posts: 6 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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