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how to stop an unhealthy relationship without calling quits entirely?

my friend has been hitting me, trying to make me do everything with her, trying to distance me from friends+family ect. of course you would tell me to stop being friends with her but she has tried to kill herself multiple times before and she can only go into large crowds with someone she trusts (so school would raise some issues for her) so want to change the friendship around, i just dont know how to do that

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Sam

Hi there,

It's natural to want to help your friends because you care and want to be there for them. However, friendships can be stressful when the relationship is very one-sided. In a healthy friendship there's a balance of supporting each other and treating one another with respect and care. It’s always okay to leave a friendship if you want to.

When you realise that a friendship is unhealthy, it's important to take care of yourself. Being assertive is a skill you can learn to help you set healthy boundaries in your friendships. Learning to stand up to friends who are being demanding and controlling is a big step. But it's important for your needs to be met and your feelings to be heard.

Being hit by someone else, also called physical abuse, is wrong and is not your fault. No one has the right to express their emotions or behave in a way that's harmful to you. Physical abuse, being told what to do and being distanced from friends and family are all signs of someone else trying to control you.

Sometimes the control involves making you feel that the other person needs you and can’t manage without you. It can make you feel important. However, that person also needs the right support so they can become more independent in the future.

Friends who are feeling suicidal and have attempted to end their life need additional support from adults and services that can help. Finding the right adult to tell will sometimes depend on how urgent your worries are. Remember that phoning emergency services on 999 is the quickest way to get help to someone who is taking action to end their life.

If your friend is abusive and you want to end the relationship, that's okay. You're not responsible for your friend’s well-being, only your own. Both you and your friend could also try to broaden your friendship groups by making new friends so you have extra support.

Remember, you're not alone. You can get more support to make positive changes in your friendships or with anything else you're worried about by talking to one of our counsellors.

Take care,

Sam

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