Listening Without Judging: Ask Noah

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Q: My friend is dating a guy who I think is emotionally abusive. She rarely brings it up, but it's quite obvious to me. How do I get her to leave him?

A: I understand your desire to protect your friend. However, she needs to make her own decisions. If she's already feeling bullied by her boyfriend, she doesn't need your critical voice to join in.

Your primary role is to listen without judgment. She needs to speak her mind without fear of being criticized or censored.

I would caution you in pushing her to "accept" that she's in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is a very difficult, very painful process, which is deeply personal. If it is true, she will need to take her own time to discover it.

If she expresses profound helplessness or wishes to take action but doesn't know how, be ready with ample resources including numbers of a highly qualified therapist, help hotlines or information regarding support groups.

If she does ask directly for advice, be clear and concise:
  1. The abuse is not her fault.
  2. Acting differently toward him won't change anything.
  3. She is not alone.
  4. There are ways to get help.

If you need further consultation, do not hesitate to reach out.

As always, please send questions and comments to ASK NOAH at nskass@gmail.com.

Have a profitable and peaceful week,

Noah

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.

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