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Ways to Support your Partner

  • Try to listen and believe them
  • Ask what they need - don't guess
  • Learn about the effects of abuse and the recovery process
  • Help them make choices
  • Accept and validate their feelings
  • Recognise there can be many stages in the healing journey
  • Ask if it's OK to hug or touch them rather than assume its OK to
  • Understand that each person will find different ways of dealing with the effects of abuse
  • Encourage them to get help when they are ready
  • Find therapy, or support, for yourself
  • Respect boundaries and limits
  • Learn and practise time out skills to avoid arguments
  • Gently communicate about your sexual relationship and be patient with this
  • Find time to be together, and also time to be apart
  • Blame the abuser(s), NEVER the survivor
  • Plan for crises (including possible suicidal thoughts)
  • Acknowledge progress in the healing process
  • Know that the person's experiences of the abuse are only part of them, not all of them

Things to try and avoid if possible:

  • Avoid blaming your partner
  • Don't defend or threaten to harm the perpetrator
  • Don't tell others about the abuse without their permission
  • Try not to promise things you can't give
  • It is unhelpful to tell them to forget the abuse and move on
  • Don't try to convince your partner to confront the abuser
  • Try not to overwhelm your partner with your own anger - find other ways of dealing with your own anger if you can
  • Try not to take any outbursts personally
  • Don't force forgiveness or cheerfulness on your partner
  • Don't try to hurry the recovery process
  • Make sure you don't isolate yourself