Counsellor: abusive relationship

Q: My best friend is married to a man with a split personality. When he drinks, he’s a nasty bully. When he’s not on the booze, he’s a sweet dad. I try to be an understanding friend but I think she needs counselling. How can I suggest this without her taking it the wrong way?

Ella, Gateshead

A: She is lucky to have a friend who understands so clearly the bind she is in. She can’t change her abusive husband, and she lacks the confidence to reach out for support.

Suggesting counselling is tricky but the next time she confides in you, try saying, ‘I’m so sad this is happening to you. I’m here for you, but it might also help to talk to someone confidentially.’

She will probably tell you she is doesn’t have the time or the money, at which point you can text her 0808 200 0247, the number for the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline.

They can provide emotional support and refer her to local services. They also welcome calls from friends and family of those being abused. Visit the National Domestic Helpline website for more advice.

Emma Marlin, Counsellor


HAVE YOUR SAY! Have you got more advice to offer on this question? If so, make sure you add a comment in the box below. If you’ve got a question for one of our experts, you can also post that below as well.

Got a problem? Email Emma with your question now