The global pandemic is here to stay for a little while. Unfortunately, for a lot of households, prolonged lockdown or quarantine – depending on how you choose to call it – can have devastating effects. Indeed, staying at home is only the safest option when home is a safe place. Unfortunately, for women who live in an abusive relationship, lockdown is the worst thing that could happen. You might have friends who are going through a lot of stress, so here are some clues to help them and avoid any faux pas. 

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Their behavior has changed

There is no denying that a second COVID wave can be a stressful event. However, you may notice that your friend’s behavior has changed dramatically. Most people are likely to react with emotional fatigue and frustration at the thought of being stuck at home for several weeks. However, if your friend displays signs of intense agitation or is going out of her way to stay out of her house at the risk of exposing herself to COVID, you may want to reach out. 

There could be a lot of reasons for not wanting to stay at home. It’s worth remembering that an abusive relationship could only be one of many. But you can’t know unless you talk to her. 

Offer a safe place to discuss their worries 

Is it time to make a change? More often than not, people come to their own decisions when they have a safe space to rest and reflect on their choices. Providing a safe area for your friend to reflect is the best thing you can do. She may come to realize that she is making bad choices. She might also be ready to open up about her issues. As mentioned above, don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Cabin fever or fear of loneliness can drive your friend to act out of character to avoid staying at home. However, if she happens to face domestic violence or abuse at home, you can encourage her to raise the issue with a family law attorney. An attorney can ensure her rights and custody through a separation, for instance. 

Don’t force things

An abusive relationship is a complicated situation in which your friend may not realize that she is, indeed, a victim. Therefore, if your friend doesn’t feel ready to proceed to a legal step, you can still recommend talking to counselors who can protect her. It isn’t easy to make the decision to prosecute a partner. More importantly, it’s not something you can force them to do. A hotline can provide an experienced listener and advisor for her to move further. 

Accept that you may be wrong

It’s essential to be aware of the signs that your friend is in a toxic relationship. However, you have to be realistic. Sometimes, things are not what they appear to be. Unless your friend confirms your suspicions, you should leave room for other explanations. Someone could be acting out of character because they struggle with the pandemic isolation, for instance. COVID has affected people’s mental health dramatically, and many are ready to take risks to avoid being stuck at home and lonely. 

As more pandemic waves may be coming, we need to know how to look after our vulnerable friends who are not safe at home. Recognizing signs of toxic situations and understanding how to provide support can make a great deal of difference. Be the friend your friend needs. 

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