Ask Melanie

The Charger Bulletin

Dear Melanie,

My best friend is in a mentally abusive relationship, or at least I think so, I am not sure if abusive is too harsh of a word or not. She second-guesses everything she says because of the man she is with. She says that she is changing because she loves him, but I can see the real root of the problem. She is a completely different person. What should I do?


To start off, I am not at all certified in this topic, so all I can do is offer my best advice to you from a personal standpoint. Abuse can come in many forms and actually the most common form is the kind that can’t be seen. People who are abusive mentally usually plant a seed in their victim’s head of what should be considered wrong or what, and when it is a romantic relationship the victim usually complies because they don’t want to lose their abuser’s love.

If you feel as though your friend has suddenly morphed into a different person, you have to make sure that this is because of mental abuse and not by choice before you go ahead and move forward with this. Sometimes relationships change people in all kinds of ways with no abuse involved. If your friend used to go to a lot of parties and now you notice them staying home more to be with their significant other, it could very well have to do with some form of mental abuse; that they will feel guilty if they leave their partner at home, or it could be because they are sick of partying and are becoming more accustomed to spending relaxing nights in.

I am not saying in the least that you are wrong about this problem; all I am saying is to seriously consider the facts before you jump to a conclusion, because accusing someone of being abusive can really put a strain on everyone involved, especially if it is not true.

These decisions that your friend seems to be making based off of their relationship could very well be lifestyle choices and so I think the best thing for you to do is to sit down with your friend and discuss these changes. If it seems like they are answering half-heartedly, or acting funny, then I would suggest contacting a counselor or therapist on campus and going from there.

I really hope that this helps in some way. This is definitely a tricky situation and you need to be careful with how you handle it. Love can do crazy things to people and sometimes most of those decisions are voluntary ones. If you know your friend well, then I think talking to them and getting a gauge as to how they are acting will really make the difference in helping you determine if the situation is problematic or not.