Life after Domestic Violence
"I will never be in an abusive relationship." and "I don’t understand why she is with him", and "he constantly beats her". These are common statements that people say when they see a woman in an abusive relationship. My response to statements like that is that you can’t predict the future or never say anything that you won’t do. I say that now. Unfortunately, I made such statements about women in abusive relationships until it happened to me. I was lucky that I was not involved in a physical abusive relationship. But abuse is abuse whether or not it is physical or verbal. Women who are in abusive relationship are able to hide their situation from other people, but there are some obvious signs. For example, a woman who wears long sleeve shirts and turtle necks during the summer - Is she hiding bruises? How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship?
Signs of Domestic Violence
1. Dependency. The dynamic of an abusive relationship is control and dependence. A man must make you solely depend on him in order for him to have control of the relationship, and he may tell you that you need to quit your job and take control of your bank account. Do not quit your job and always have access to a bank account. My last partner tried to get me to quit my job, and tried to make me feel bad about my career because I didn’t make a lot of money.
2. Isolation. Another tactic is isolating a person from their friends and family. Isolating a person from their friends and family makes a person feel that they don’t have anyone to talk to or a support system. Secondly, you feel embarrassed about your situation, thinking no one will understand. Tell someone. It could save your life.
3. Mind Control. Mind control is the key forcing somebody to become dependent while becoming isolated from your friends and loved ones. Examples of mind control are constant statements such as "you’re stupid and ugly". The most common statements are "no one will want you", and that you are "lucky to be with him". No, he is lucky to have you.
How to Pick Up the Pieces
Abusive men have “caveman” beliefs and insecurities about themselves that include dissatisfaction with their life, jealousy, and sexual inadequacy. But you have to have the courage to get out. You are not the only one. Sometimes it only takes a phone call. Remember, there is life after an abusive relationship. I will never forget the day I left my abusive relationship. He put me out of his house and I had to start from scratch. It ruined my relationship with my family and almost ruined my career while I was with my last partner. It only took one phone call, and I started to rebuild my relationship with my mom and rebuild my career. Even though I restored my material things, I was heart-broken and sunk into a deep depression, but leaving the situation was the best thing for me. I felt sad, angry, and worthless. Furthermore, I didn’t want to ever be in another relationship. However, I found love after being in an abusive relationship.
1. Talk to Someone.
For the most part, I am a private person. However, I knew I had to talk to someone. If you can’t afford to see a psychologist, seek help from local support groups for domestic violence survivors. You can also search for counseling from local church organizations. Getting a closer connection with God helped me too.
2. Rebuild Relationships.
The most important thing you can do is rebuild relationships with your friends and family. You support system can help you express your feelings, rebuild your confidence, and make you feel that you are not alone, but do not get involved in another relationship until you learn how to be in a healthy relationship with your friends and family again.
3. Get Yourself Together.
After you find someone to talk to and get a support system, start repairing the things you lost during the relationship. This can include rebuilding your credit, getting your own place, or continuing your education. Getting yourself together is another way to rebuild confidence.
These are some of the methods I used to help me get my life together after surviving an abusive relationship. As always, seek professional help if you need to. Some case are severe than others, so consult a professiona if you believe that you need serious help.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
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