- Don't tell her to leave or stay. She is confused and in need
of support. She will not trust you if she feels the only way to get
your support is to leave the relationship or to stay in the
relationship. She does not need your advice.
- Don't blame her for what has happened to her. It's easy to do
when a counselor is feeling hopeless or inadequate.
- Don't take over for her. She needs to act on her own behalf
to rebuild her self-esteem. When you take responsibility for her
feelings to try to meet her needs for her, you reinforce her low
self-esteem and her victimization.
- Don't belittle or condemn the batterer. When you agree with
her negative sentiments toward the batterer, she will not be able to talk
with you if she changes her mind or when she has strong feelings of love and
attachment for him. Usually underneath her negative sentiments are
some feelings of love, concern and tenderness.
- Don't pressure her into making decisions. She needs time to
sort out her feelings and make reasoned decisions. She may lack skills
in decision-making and expressing feelings.
- Don't minimize her feelings or experiences. She may lose
confidence in your ability to understand her situation or to help her.
- Don't divert the focus to other problems. Don't let your
discomfort keep the focus off battering. Her safety is the first
concern to deal with.
- Don't attack her as a parent. She may have difficulty acting
for her children's safety as well as her own. She needs support to
- Don't tell her how to change her behavior in the relationship to
stop his violence. She does not control the violence nor can she cure
- Don't think assertiveness skills will stop the violence.
Being assertive may increase the danger for her. Trust her 'gut'
feelings about what she can do or say and be safe.