Most of the options mentioned for ‘Partners’ are equally relevant when choosing which friends to include as part of your Support Team. When asking them for help you could consider whether they would be prepared to :
- Receive phone calls when you are distressed, including at night.
- Listen if you need to talk about the abuse and your feelings.
- Accompany you when you need support, to G.P.’s appointments, shopping etc.
Like your partner, friends will have their personal needs too. So, some negotiations will have to take place about what they can offer.
You may be thinking that all this asking for help sounds very weak and that as a man you should be able to cope. Try to remember :
- It’s a sign of courage not weakness. The journey you’re embarking on is very difficult and some teamwork will help you get to where you want to go.
- You don’t have to ask everyone for help. To help you through times of crisis choose one or two special friends who you are close to and trust.
Generally, all the above options hold for family too. But there are also a number of pitfalls to be aware of :
- Your abuser may still be around. If he/she is, you’ll have to weigh up very carefully what contact you want. Having contact with your abuser may trigger distress at any time. This could be even worse if you feel in a crisis.
- Now is not the time for family disclosures and confrontations in order to get more support. Such confrontations need very careful planning and do not necessarily result in you getting what you want. To try it whilst you’re feeling in crisis is very risky.
Nevertheless, you may have someone in your family who you are particularly close to. This may be someone you could consider including in your Support Team. As well as needing to be a good supporter you might want to consider the following :
- Do they already know about the abuse? Are they supportive? Have they shown that they are ‘on your side’, and do not have the sort of divided loyalties which could make them ‘leak’ things out to the family and your abuser. In a crisis this could cause you the sort of extra stress you don’t need.
- Are you able to see them separately from the family? It may not help you handle your crisis if you have to go into a stressful family environment to get support.
There are a number of different types of professional helpers :-
- Counsellors and Psychotherapists