/Dear Sara, my daugher is in an abusive relationship…

Dear Sara, my daugher is in an abusive relationship…

Dear Sara,

I think that my 15 year old daughter Taylor is in an 
abusive relationship. She has come home with bruises
on her arms a couple of times (she denied he did it)
but there is mostly an emotional abuse going on. If
she doesn't cooperate then he pulls away emotionally 
and puts her in the deep freeze. This seems to be
effective with her. He insults her and tells her that
she is stupid and doesn't deserve him in text messages
that I have seen. I know that this isn't good for her
but how do I stop it?

Roxanne

Dear Roxanne,

Taylor really needs your support right now. Give her
the opportunity to talk things out. If she thinks you
are being critical of the boyfriend then she won't want
to talk about him, so you need to be careful. Just feed
back to her in a gentle what she tells you and try to 
talk about what a good relationship looks like, how loving 
caring people relate to each other. She needs to know that
people who love each other are supportive of each other
and give compliments and encouragement rather than insults
and put downs.
You could point out people who have good relationships. 
Include her friends in this as she may not see older 
couples as relevant. If she decides that she doesn't 
want this kind of relationship, her boyfriend may up 
the ante to control her by being more abusive. She will
need your protection then. You may want to set curfews
and limit her cell phone and computer use. Take away 
her cell phone if she is being harassed. If he stalks 
her or threatens her, call the police. Be very aware of
what goes on in Taylor's life until he is out of the picture.
It's difficult for a teen to give up a relationship like 
this because she will begin to believe the negative input.
Taylor may need a therapist experienced with abusive 
relationships. Ask your family doctor or local mental 
health facility for a referral. Good luck.

Sara