There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a bad relationship.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t experienced a toxic relationship, then you’ve probably been a backseat driver for a loved one going through it. “It’s gonna be a U-Turn at the next red light to avoid heartbreak!”
For an outsider looking in, leaving an abusive relationship may seem like the obvious choice. Someone treats you bad? You leave them. 1+1 =2.
But for someone stuck in an abusive relationship? Everyday is a battle that wears them down. Even if you can’t see their battle scars, they have them. Tough love doesn’t always work.
For people suffering this daily struggle, it’s not that they’re ignoring your well intentioned advice. It’s that they are so accustomed to the abuse it starts to feel like home (ie: Stockholm syndrome).
Thankfully, a Reddit user who is being hailed as a “hero” knew exactly how to advise one woman when it came to leaving her abusive relationship — and it’s not the approach you’d think.
All the identities have been concealed to protect the identities of the parties involved.
In a heartwarming Reddit thread, one user shared the amazing story of how they helped a neighbor in need…without even knowing it.
When u/OptimisticOctopus8 stumbled on a Reddit thread asking for advice, the headline didn’t just grab her attention, it pulled at her heartstrings.
The anonymous user (who we will call “Jane”) shared she was in the middle of an abusive relationship and didn’t know how to get out. Jane came to Reddit seeking guidance — but the responses she got were a mixed bag.
Scrolling through the comments u/OptimisticOctopus knew she had to jump in and say her piece, even if it got lost like a needle in the haystack.
“I didn’t do the whole, ‘Dump them, get a lawyer, delete Facebook, hit the gym!’ thing.
Instead of telling her all the things that were wrong with her relationship, she decided to tell her what it looks like when a relationship is right.
And the results couldn’t have been more perfect.
“Today I Learned I Changed the Entire Trajectory of Someone’s Life for the Better”
They kicked things off by painting a picture for the person stuck in the abusive relationship – a glimpse of what a healthier, opposite kind of relationship could look like.
“It was more like just contrasting their relationship with the healthy relationship they could have in the future and explaining the kind of things that needed to happen in order to create that future.”
With their words, they gently steered them toward envisioning a future filled with positivity. They urged them to release the toxicity of the present, making room for the potential goodness that awaited ahead.
“I also reassured them about some things that worried them,” u/OptimisticOctopus added.
Still, she had no idea her words would have lasting impact on one stranger’s life. “If nobody told me, I wouldn’t even have realized I’d written that comment – I don’t remember having written it.”
An Unexpected Email Arrived 6 Years Later
The impact of her forgotten words lay dormant until six years later an email notification brought the past rushing back.
“Jane”, the recipient of u/OptimisticOctopus8’s advice, reached out to express her gratitude for the incredible words of wisdom she received all those years ago. She shared the transformation her life had undergone — and it’s downright inspiring.
“It made me cry happy tears. It’s so touching, and it’s amazing to think I changed somebody’s life through a Reddit comment,” u/OptimisticOctopus8 reflected.
Jane shared that u/OptimisticOctopus8’s comment ignited her decision to break free from the abusive relationship. It set in motion a journey where she embraced singleness, delved into long-term therapy, and grasped the intricacies of fostering healthy relationships.
Today, she finds herself in a mutually respectful and satisfying relationship — a reality that once seemed unimaginable.
In the vast digital landscape, u/OptimisticOctopus8 may not have set out to be a hero. Still, her empathetic and insightful words resonated with Jane. Her story illustrates the profound impact a virtual stranger can have on a life in need of guidance and hope.
Other Survivors Chimed in Sharing Their Stories
The impact didn’t stop with Jane’s story. Other survivors chimed in, sharing their own experiences and expressing gratitude for the positive influence of online communities.
“I love this! I’ve been on the receiving end,” one user shared. “Some comments made me think hard, and now, six months out of that relationship, I’m grateful to all the Reddit communities.”
Another user, u/wakeboarderCWB, added, “I don’t care how tough you are; this is enough to make you tear up. Good for you. We need more people like you in this world and less like that person’s ex.”
Sure, sometimes the internet comment section can be a mean place — but this story is a reminder that with great power comes great responsibility.
The same thing that can tear you down has the power to build you up!
Empathy and Patience Goes a Long Way
There is a delicate balance between giving helpful advice and hurtful advice — that’s why therapy can be healthier alternative than consulting your best friend.
Our loved ones can be so biased even if its for the right reasons (like wanting to protect us). Therapists are trained professionals who specialize in looking at all sides of a situation.
But even thought she may not have been a licensed professional, u/OptimisticOctopus was able to bring this same, non-judgmental energy to the conflict, and it made all the difference.