How Do You Help Out A Friend or a Family Member in a Toxic Relationship?

How Do You Help Out A Friend or a Family Member in a Toxic Relationship? how do you help out a friend or a family member in a toxic relationship?
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Witnessing a friend or family member trapped in a toxic relationship can be a heart-wrenching experience. You care deeply for them and want to see them happy and safe, but finding the right way to support them can be a complex and delicate task. However, despite your efforts, you might feel helpless because your advice or attempts to assist them haven’t worked. So, what can you do?

Sometimes, giving advice may not be effective because the other person may feel like you don’t fully understand the situation. It can be challenging to comprehend the dynamics of an abusive relationship without understanding the psychological aspects. This lack of understanding may even lead you to distance yourself from your friend or family member, as you may wonder why they can’t simply leave. You may even feel bitter towards them because you feel that they are not “listening” to you. Today, I’ll provide tips on how to support someone in a toxic relationship without judgment, criticism, or making them feel powerless.

1. Listen without Judgment

The first step is to listen attentively without interrupting or passing judgment. Let them vent and express their emotions. Avoid telling them what they should do or that they are being abused. Simply being a listening ear can be incredibly therapeutic and empowering. By providing a safe space for them to talk, you convey that they have someone they can trust and confide in, without fear of criticism or judgment. This reassurance can help them release their emotions and frustrations, offering them a sense of relief.

2. Validate their experiences

Additionally, it’s crucial to validate their experiences. When they share their feelings of sadness or distress, don’t dismiss or minimize their emotions. Instead, let them know it’s okay to feel the way they do and ask how you can support them. Validating their experiences helps them feel understood and acknowledged, without negating their emotions. You can express empathy and say something like, “It’s okay to feel sad. What can I do to help you process these emotions?”

3. Avoid Criticizing their Decisions

Although you may have good intentions, being harsh or judgmental will likely backfire. They are already being criticized within the relationship, and your criticism may reinforce their feelings of powerlessness. Instead, continue to listen and avoid criticizing. If they seek advice, provide constructive suggestions without belittling them. For instance, if they ask for guidance on saving money, offer practical tips without condemning their past choices.

4. Educate Yourself

Educating yourself about the mechanisms and dynamics of abusive relationships can greatly assist you in providing helpful advice. Learn from professionals such as counselors or therapists to gain a better understanding of the complexities involved. By doing so, you’ll be equipped with more knowledge and can offer advice from an informed perspective, rather than relying solely on your own feelings or assumptions. This approach is more likely to encourage the person to take action, knowing they can rely on your well-informed support.

5. Encourage Professional Help

While it’s essential to offer your support, recognize that you may not have the expertise to handle a traumatic situation or abuse. Encourage them to seek professional help, such as seeing a counselor. If financial constraints are a concern, consider suggesting that you will cover the expenses. By advocating for professional assistance, you show your friend or family member that their well-being matters and that there are resources available to help them. However, it’s crucial not to force them into therapy but rather present it as an option that can empower them to take responsibility for their healing.

6. Be Patient and Supportive

Lastly, be patient and supportive throughout the process. Avoid pushing them to make immediate changes or isolating yourself from them if they don’t act according to your advice. Being patient and understanding is crucial because someone in an abusive relationship may already feel powerless. Keep communication open, letting them know that you are there for them when they are ready to make a change. Don’t sever ties or distance yourself from them simply because they aren’t leaving the relationship right away. By remaining present and supportive, you leave the door open for them to reach out for help without fear of judgment.


Supporting a friend or family member in a toxic relationship is a challenging task, but with the right approach, we can make a significant impact on their well-being. Remember, forgiveness and compassion are key. Even if they say hurtful things or unintentionally try to harm you, understand that they are acting under manipulation and trauma. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or allowing abuse, but rather acknowledging that they are in a difficult situation. It’s crucial to maintain boundaries to ensure your own well-being, but also be ready to support them when they need it. By fostering a compassionate and understanding environment, we can make a positive difference in their lives and help them embark on a journey towards healing and a brighter future.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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