Worried About Someone
It’s not always clear to work out if controlling behaviour is happening, especially if you’ve not had reason to think about it before. It often builds up slowly to the point where you think ‘that’s just what they’re like.’
If you recognise some of these signs and are worried about a friend or family member, here are some of the things you could do…
Find a Way to Check the Situation
If you’re unsure, it is worth finding a way to check. If you can make the opportunity to see the person, you can watch and listen for any things that might help you decide.
Are you comfortable with what you see or hear? Or does something seem not quite right?
Controlling behaviour often builds up over time. It can be easy to get used to things. If you’re not sure if this is happening to you, you can find useful information about all forms of domestic abuse here.
Confide in a Trusted Friend
Is there someone you trust who you could talk to? Make sure this is someone who can keep your confidence. They may also be worried like you. The important thing is to consider the person you know and their situation and not to try to take over, even if you both feel that domestic abuse is happening.
You may decide to make a joint plan for what to do.
If you’re the one experiencing this, your friend could find out information for you, so that you don’t have to and you don’t have to hide anything at home.
Contact a Domestic Abuse Support Service to Find Out More
If you want to find out a bit more about what is happening to you or someone you know, or what could happen if the domestic abuse is reported, you can find out more about domestic abuse and how you can help here.
Or you could call the National Domestic Violence Helpline, which takes calls anonymously and is open 24 hours, on 0808 2000 247.
Talk to and Pass on Info to Someone You’re Worried About
Think carefully about how to approach it. What if you’re wrong? What if they react badly? Consider them and their situation.
There are no hard and fast rules to how to do this, but here are some tips:
- Find an opportunity when you are alone with the person or won’t be overheard. They may understandably be very uncomfortable or frightened about the possibility that someone may overhear or find out about any conversations they have about this.
- Raise the issue in a way which says you are concerned. You are not judging anyone or making accusations – you’re worried about them and want to help if they need it.
- Try to listen carefully to what they say. Repeat this back to them, to be sure you are understanding what they have said.
- Ask them if they’d like to do anything about it or how they would like you to help. They may not be ready to take any action yet.
- Offer to find out more about what happens if the abuse is reported. Remember they may not want to risk having information about domestic abuse services in their bag or pocket.
- Before the conversation ends, can you arrange to speak again and make a time and place to do so that is safe for them?
Remember, support from a friend can mean a lot but it is the choice of the person experiencing domestic abuse whether or when they want to choose to take action.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse and want to get out of the controlling relationship, the websites below have information about the options, what you may need to consider and what might happen to you or your family if you make this decision.
Be Sensitive and Don’t Jump In
Controlling behaviour can result in very tangled emotions, especially if the person is subject to threats about what will happen if they leave and they have been living in this distressing environment for some time.
To know that they have support from people who care about them can be really important. But it is the choice of the person experiencing domestic abuse whether or when they want to take action. Your support could encourage them to get help when they’re ready.