Abusive Marriage Takes Toll on Friendship

Question: My friend has been married for 11 years. The relationship has been tumultuous from the start.

He drinks daily and comes home nasty to pick fights with her. In the past, she has verbally taken him on, and now she is numb and acquiesces.

I have suggested counseling for both of them, counseling for just her and even offered my home to her for a while, should she get the courage to leave him, so she can get her feet on the ground. However, she does nothing but continue to complain about him.

I am tired of it and do not enjoy these conversations. I have even told her bluntly, “I don’t want to hear about it because you don’t do anything about it.”

I think she is a bit hurt that I, as her friend, am not there anymore in this regard. Is there any advice you can offer that may motivate her to move on and restore her happiness? —

Broken Record Concern

Answer: You may not be able to compel your friend to change her life.

Your willingness to offer material as well as emotional support is the essence of true friendship — and now you need to find a positive way to manage your own frustration.

Instead of shutting her down when she shares her troubles, you could respond by saying, “I’m so sorry. I hope one day you will take me up on my offer to help you break free from this abuse. Can you think of anything you could do differently?”

Because you are willing to remain active in her life, you could extend the opportunity to attend an Al Anon meeting along with you. There she will find a community of other people whose lives have been affected by a loved one’s drinking.


Supporting your friend is a great thing to do,now you need to find a positive way to manage your own frustration.

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