How do you help someone who is in a psychologically abusive relationship?
The reason I ask is because my sister is caught in one. They have been together for around 6 to 7 years now and have an 18 month old son together. The first couple years they were together the relationship was very volatile. They lived together in my parents house and after one rather nasty night my dad threw my sisters boyfriend out. My sister and her boyfriend ended up buying some land with an old barn on it and they secretly renovated it and have lived there since.
Numerous times over the years my sister has left or been thrown out, then has gone back the next day. She has had to give up all of her friends, she isn't allowed to use things such as Facebook and if she does she gets accused of cheating, she was once even accused of flirting with my current boyfriend at the time who was just sending her a birthday message. She also has to handle his . problem and is often the one that gets shouted down when he has spent all of his money. Most recently my sister was told she shouldn't talk to our mother (this is because my mum had left my dad last year and the boyfriend believes my sister should take sides despite our parents explicitly expressing they don't want us to do that) and the other night the boyfriend made my sister pack up her things and her sons things and leave.
My sister has zero confidence left and believes that if she leaves nobody would want her, especially as she has a child.
How can I help her and what are the first steps I should take?
I like to tell people I have the heart of a small boy. Then I say it's in a jar on my desk.