Approaching an Abuser
Confronting someone on their abusive or controlling behaviors may be one of the hardest things you ever do. It could also be one of the most compassionate. Always remember that while an abusive person may be open to talking with you, true change can only occur if that person is willing to be accountable for their actions, and be willing to take the necessary steps to help themselves.
What to do:
- Stay calm.
- Keep yourself safe. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are in danger or at risk of being harmed.
- Recognize the behaviors as abusive – don’t minimize the abuser’s actions as “situational” or “circumstantial.” Their behaviors are not acceptable and their actions are against the law.
- Tell the abuser what it is like for you to witness or be aware of the abuse.
- Let the abuser know they are the only one responsible for their actions.
- Let the abuser tell their story in their own way and time.
- Support the abuser’s feelings (fear, attention, anger), not their abusive behavior (yelling, hitting, ridiculing). Continually maintain that there is no excuse for the abuse.
- Validate their willingness to work to stop the abusive behaviors. Contact LEVI for Longmont area resources that can assist in their recovery.
- Be ready to terminate relations with the abuser if they continue to be abusive. By saying you won’t take sides, and staying “neutral” between the victim and the abuser, you give the message to the abuser that their actions are acceptable. However, if the abuser is getting help, provide consistent support and encouragement.