Written By: Naomi Epps
Hollywood has a special way of bringing us closer to all the crazy things that can happen in life. So there’s really no surprise when most of us grow to become really paranoid when it comes to certain matters. Like seeing frauds and scams wherever we go, or imagining things that are just not there. Like imagining your best friend or one of your girlfriends is in an abusive relationship. Or imagining your mailman is a serial killer and your landlord a child abductor…. Well that might be a bit to far, but you get the point lol.
But back to the issue of your friend? How can you tell if she’s really in trouble and hiding it or if your Tyler Perry scenarios are messing with your head again? Here are some signs that should really make you dig deeper.
Sign 1: She doesn’t go out anymore. If your girlfriend used to be one of your out on the town buddies and you don’t seem to be able to convince her to go out anymore, she might be going through some rough and possibly violent domestic troubles, no doubt about it. Of course she might also be having the time of her life with her new boyfriend, and she just doesn’t feel like going out and partying all the time. But if her relationship with the guys before her current boyfriend were never closed or secluded, you might be right to be suspicious.
Obvious or even dramatic changes in her behavior are always reasons for suspicions, so if she never goes shopping with you on Friday’s like she used to before she met him, or if she cancels all her hair or nail appointments, it’s time you had a little phone chat with her – the phone is probably the only communication medium she hasn’t closed or she wasn’t forced to close yet.
Sign 2: She looks scared all the time. If you do manage to get a glimpse of her from time to time, at birthdays, for instance, she is always accompanied by her man, which is not necessarily a bad sign. But when you see the frightened look on her face or the fake grim, provided you actually know this person very well and you can tell when she’s pretending to be happy and cheerful, you’ve probably just spotted another obvious sign of abuse.
Also, if she used to be the chattiest person alive and now she’s all quiet and acting really mysterious, not talking about her personal life, her plans or her vacations, she’s very likely to be too scared to say a single word. Whether her (probably abusive) boyfriend is in the room with her or not, she can’t focus or pull herself together to talk to you like she used to. This is a clear sign she’s afraid and her boyfriend is most likely what she’s afraid of.
Sign 3: She’s sad. Like really sad. If you manage to talk to her every now and then and make her share her thoughts, and by the end of your talk you feel really depressed. You just feel it in your guts, or you see it in her eyes: she’s truly sad and she acts like the whole world’s coming to an end tomorrow. On the other hand, she’s got everything going for her, so why the sad face? It just doesn’t make any sense. Plus, isn’t she supposed to be drunk with happiness all the time? After all, she’s the one who dates that hot guy and has that great job!
Sign 4: She covers her ears when people fight. If you notice her ducking a lot like someone’s about to hit her whenever she hears someone yelling or fighting, she might be the victim of an abusive boyfriend. Also, if she tends to constantly look back like she’s afraid someone might be following her; maybe her boyfriend is really pulling an Ike and Tina episode on her. Don’t hesitate to ask her if she’s feeling OK, or if there’s anything you can help her with. She might burst into tears and tell you a frightening story, or she might change the subject and pretend everything’s fine.
Sign 5: “Hi, honey, where are you?” If her boyfriend calls her every 30 minutes and asks her exact location, he’s either really jealous or he’s a puncher. Either way, it doesn’t look good. If you see your friend texting all the time, or calling her boyfriend whenever she reaches a certain destination, I think something’s really rotten there. She might be too traumatized to whisper a single word about it, but you should definitely ask her what’s up with that.
Sign 6: “I’m here to serve you.” It’s like you can almost hear those words coming out of her mouth each time you see her preparing dinner for her partner or doing his laundry. She’s jumping through hoops to please him every second of the day, she’s always asking him if he needs anything and she’s always quick to give him a massage. This, my girl, combined with other signs is a definite signal of an abusive relationship.
Sign 7: They fight all the time. Now this can mean two things: they’re either not compatible which leads to arguments all the time or their fights usually end up with a few slaps in the face or a few punches when they’re all alone.
Sign 8: She’s covered in bruises. Whenever she’s wearing a T-shirt you can notice a couple of bruises coming out of her sleeves. She never admits her boyfriend hit her; she’s always serving you the same line she’d fallen down the stairs or hit the door. Come on, she’s not 3 years old anymore! She’s either the clumsiest friend you’ve ever had or she’s having slaps for dinner every night.
Now if you’ve finished reading all the signs and you’re almost positive your friend is being abused, don’t be afraid to confront her. She’s more scared than you are, but you need to find a way to get through to her. You can always call the police if you’re 100% certain something’s really going on inside their home. You can opt for a more dangerous scenario: you must have a brother, a husband or a work companion who can talk to this guy, man to man, and let him know he’ll be watching him, but whatever you do don’t just turn your head, your friends life could be in danger. For more tips on how to help a friend that’s being abused contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE
Have you ever had a friend that was in an abusive relationship? What was it that lead you to this discovery? Let us know in the comments below.