rebelling against low expectations

How do I encourage my hurting friend and her family?


ANONYMOUS WRITES: How do I encourage a friend whose parents have an unhealthy marriage that is drastically affecting the family? My friend doesn’t feel free to express her hardships with her parents and she fears telling another adult and getting help because of how her parents might react. The stress it’s causing my friend is unbearable. She also has been very close to her brother until recently. Her brother is now in a relationship with a girl and has neglected my friend and treats her rudely, which makes this doubly hard.

Another challenge is that on the outside, this family looks really great! So very few people, if any, can tell what’s going on. I suspected something was up after being at their house so much, but only really know because my friend confided in me. They’re a Christian family, but they’re broken. I know it’s not my place to advise or help the parents, but how do I help my friend who is hurting deeply? How do I encourage her to get help when she’s refusing?

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  • I think the best thing you can do for your friend is pray for her. I know that sounds cliché, but really prayer is very strong. There is more than just a struggling family here, there is spiritual warfare. A real battle is going on between good and evil and the best thing you can do is pray.
    “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” -Romans 12:12
    It sounds like your friend has already found you as a confidant, so you can just continue to be there for her.
    You said it was a Christian family. Try to encourage her in her relationship with Christ. Jesus is the best help and comfort she could get right now.
    This is a hard situation I will defiantly be praying for you and your friend! Remember… “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

  • Praying for her is a great way to help. Maybe get some other friends and family members to pray for her. Be a good friend, put her first, and let her know that you’re always there for her to run to to cry with, laugh with, or go grab food and watch a movie with.
    Let her know how much you love her, and how much God loves her. And don’t only say it, show it as well.
    If you would like, I’ll also keep her and her family in my prayers. ❤️❤️

  • Be a shoulder for her to cry on. My family is going to thru a very similar situation, and at least for me, having someone be there means the world. Having a person to yell at, cry to, or just sit with in silence has kept me sane during the past few months and I wouldnt have made it without my best friend. Of course keep praying for her too, and I applaud and thank you for helping her and not leaving her to deal with this alone.

  • I have been in a similar situation. Before my best friend’s parents split up (due to abuse) it was super tough to not be able to do anything. And even now as they’re still struggling it gets very hard. My best advice is just to be there for her – hang out with her often, be ready to talk when she wants to. Pushing too hard will possibly just make it worse. Text her regularly to make sure she knows you’re thinking of her and can talk if she wants to. Something my friend and I do is rant to each other – if one of us is having a rough time or is really frustrated about something we rant about it to each other. The other person just listens and sympathises. 🙂 I dunno, we found it helpful. 🙂

    Apart from that I’m not sure what else to add. I guess I do want to say, that from my experience it’s important that she knows that getting help is not a bad thing – in my friend’s case, the parents needed to split up for both the physical and emotional the safety of the kids. I’m not saying her parents should do that, but I think she needs to understand that her and her families safety is really important. And I don’t mean just physical safety – mental and emotional safety is huge.

    I don’t know if this will help at all, but I hope your friend’s situation gets better! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for trying to help your friend! That in its self is a huge encouragement, I’m sure.

    Beyond just being there, pray deeply and often. Ask for specifics to bring to God, and let her know how/what you’ve been praying.

    Fill her with the Scripture. Her strength has to come from God, and He does those things mainly through His Word, so send her verses, hold her accountable to spending time in the Word. (And make sure you’re not slacking either, you won’t have the strength to encourage unless you’re filled with the Word too.)

    Pure, loving, non-awkward hugs are another huge encouragement. She probably doesn’t get much (genuine) affection at home, so that might be a good way to show her she’s loved. Maybe ask of its okay though, because people might be taking from her physically and you don’t want to add to that pain.

    Hope this helps!

rebelling against low expectations

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