What to say when your friend is dating someone who’s controlling

Handling conversations with a friend who’s in a controlling relationship can be a delicate matter. You want to express your concerns without coming across as judgmental or pushy. The key is to approach the conversation with empathy and support, while also being honest about your concerns. Here are some strategies and example sentences to help you navigate this sensitive topic:

Expressing concern without being accusatory

When talking to your friend, it’s essential to avoid being accusatory or critical of their partner. This can lead to defensiveness and create a rift in your friendship. Instead, focus on expressing your concern for your friend’s well-being and safety.

I’ve noticed you’ve been canceling plans a lot lately, and I’m worried you might be feeling trapped in your relationship. Is everything okay?

I care about you, and I want to make sure you’re happy and safe. Have you noticed any red flags in your relationship?

Asking open-ended questions

Asking open-ended questions can help your friend reflect on their relationship and identify potential issues. This approach encourages them to think critically about their situation and opens the door for a more in-depth conversation.

How do you feel when your partner gets angry or upset? Does it make you feel scared or anxious?

What are some things you’ve had to change about yourself or your habits since you started dating?

Sharing personal experiences

If you have a similar experience or know someone who has been in a controlling relationship, sharing your story can help your friend feel less isolated and more likely to listen to your concerns.

I’ve seen what controlling behavior can look like, and I’m worried that might be happening in your relationship. Would you be open to talking about some of the signs I’ve noticed?

A friend of mine was in a similar situation, and it was really tough for them to get out. I just want to make sure you know I’m here to support you, no matter what.

Avoiding blame and shame

It’s essential to remember that your friend is likely already feeling trapped or ashamed about their situation. Avoid blaming or shaming them for staying in the relationship, as this can exacerbate the problem.

I’m not trying to say you’re doing anything wrong, but I want to make sure you’re okay. Have you considered talking to a therapist or counselor about your relationship?

I care about you, and I think you deserve to be happy. Can we explore some ways to help you regain control in your relationship or find resources to help you get out?

Focusing on positive relationships

Highlighting positive relationships and friendships can help your friend recognize the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Remember how we used to hang out all the time and have so much fun? I miss that. Maybe we can plan something just the two of us soon?

I love seeing you happy and carefree. That’s what I want for you in a relationship. Is that something you feel like you’re getting from your partner?

Being patient and supportive

Ultimately, it’s crucial to be patient and supportive throughout the conversation. Your friend may not be ready to acknowledge the controlling behavior or leave the relationship immediately. Your role is to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for them to open up.

I know this is a tough conversation to have, but I’m here for you, no matter what. Let’s take things one step at a time, and we’ll figure it out together.

Remember, I’m not going anywhere. If you need someone to talk to or a safe place to stay, my door is always open.

In conclusion, when talking to a friend who’s in a controlling relationship, it’s essential to approach the conversation with empathy, support, and concern. By using these strategies and example sentences, you can help your friend feel heard, validated, and empowered to take control of their situation. Always remember to prioritize your friend’s safety and well-being, and never try to force them to do something they’re not ready to do.

Be kind ❤

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