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Family Violence & Domestic Abuse: Information, Advice & Resources for Leaving Safely
In This Hub:
Emotional Abuse Tactics
Violence, Power & Control Wheel
Non-violence & Equality Wheel
Ok, so it's Abuse. What Now?
- To Stay Or To Go
Create Your Own Destiny
How I became Safe at Last
My Journey, My Way
- Don't Stay For The Kids
- Don't Worry Be Happy
The Power Within
45 Ways to Improve Your Life
A Poetic Guide to Healthy Loving
Links to related information and resources
Are you a victim of abuse?
Someone once asked me about domestic violence and what to do when someone, who you know is being abused, refuses any aid. She said “You can't help those who won't help themselves” and I agree. You see I used to be one of those people, but it was not because I enjoyed being unhappy or frightened. No woman chooses violence.
Many woman do not realize that they are experiencing domestic or family violence. This is particularly true when physical violence is not present (yet) and/or if physical violence is excused and eclipsed by emotional and/or psychological abuse. Mental/emotional abuse is never obvious, and the injuries it inflicts can be invisible, both to the victims and to others, and can take much longer to recognize. Once it is recognized, it also takes a lot longer to heal from the emotional and mental trauma which are invisible injuries that last a lot longer than bruises or broken bones. Indeed some bury so deep that they never do.
Further complicating things is that, because it is so hard to recognize, emotional abuse is also very easy to deny. Words can be twisted and distorted to justify and excuse, and of course the things that are said to hurt and manipulate you are only said behind closed doors. It can be hard to remember exactly what was said when your world feels like it is caving in, and the abuser will jump on this uncertainty to highlight your insanity and to once again shift the focus away from his own appalling behavior, which makes one feel unsure about what really happened, compounding one’s confusion and distress, and deterring one from objecting or trying to reason the next time it happens. In the end all you know is that you will do anything you can not to "upset" the abuser.
Following are 2 lists and diagrams to help the reader recognize the specific behaviors that together characterize the nature of family and interpersonal violence.
Emotional Abuse Tactics
- Name Calling
- Criticism & Put-downs
- Yelling & Swearing
- Insulting you, your friends/family
- Emotional Blackmail
- Mirroring (counter accusing)
Signs of Domestic Violence
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Social Abuse & Isolation
- Psychological & Mental abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Economic Abuse
- Intimidation, Coercion & Threats
- Minimizing, Denying & Blaming
- Using Children
- Unequal Rights &/ Privileges
- Spiritual Abuse
Violence, Power & Control
Freedom for me meant trusting myself instead of him! Your perpetrator
will try to make you think you're crazy - You're NOT! Trust your own
instinct, intelligence and strength!
Non-violence & Equality
OK, so it's Abuse. What Now? > Creating Your Own Destiny
Do not live in the Darkness of the past, or let fear stop you from creating your own destiny. Take responsibility for your own happiness, and be the author of your own destiny. Find the light and add your own to its brilliance. ..
Walk Free From Fear!
No Right Or Wrong Decision
Domestic violence is reaching plague proportions in our society. As a society, we can inspire and enlighten. In our local communities, we can work together to raise awareness by providing easily accessible educational and practical information.
Despite such efforts, some victims may find it hard to accept that they are experiencing domestic violence. In such instances, patience, persistence and discretion can pay off, however it still has to be their own realizations that help them to decide whether to go or stay.
In all instances we should offer emotional, practical and financial support to victims who seek help, whether they need assistance to leave and ongoing support to move on afterwards, or if they need ongoing support to help keep themselves safe if they do decide to stay.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Once somebody has realized that they are not stupid, lazy or crazy, but in fact the victim of an abusive partner, they will need to decide if they are going to stay or go.
To help themselves decide, they may try to figure out if their partner is doing it on purpose or if they just don't know that it's wrong. While one can understand why a victim would want to know this, trying to determine whether a partner is being purposefully abusive or not is a hard thing to do, sometimes even for a professional.
If you are a victim who is asking this question, and your partner has never been physically abusive to you, then perhaps you could try choosing a "safe" moment to speak to your partner about their behavior, being sure to point out that, whether or not it is intentional, the behavior is causing you a great deal of emotional distress and is unacceptable.
With or Without You...
Let them know that they can get help if they wish to change their behavior, but that they must take responsibility for their own actions and be the one to decide to change.You cannot make the decision for them, or control what decision they make, and if you try to, any success will most likely be very short lived, and may even completely backfire on you, putting you right back to the beginning.
Hopefully, your partner will want to change their behavior too and the two of you can begin your journey of emotional growth together, but if they cannot take responsibility for their behavior and choose not to seek help, then you need to embark on that journey alone.
Decide For The Right Reasons
In any event, you will need to seek some professional guidance for yourself, and quite possibly for your children if you have any. If you are a parent, remember that staying in an abusive relationship "for the kid's sake" is actually far from the best thing for your child/ren. The best thing for them is doing whatever is best for YOU. Your kids will thrive under the nurturing guidance of a happy, functional parent.
Family Violence Support Services
In many cases, victims often access a network of support services in the first few months after a separation. In most cases, if there has been a history of family violence, and you are unemployed or on a lower income, many of these services can be offered for free.
In Australia, most Magistrate Courts have a Family Violence Service Office either in the court complex or in an adjacent building. I would recommend this service as the first port of call for any victim seeking information and/or support. The case workers are fantastic, and can offer many things including:
- Crisis counseling
- Referrals to refuges
- Referrals to or information about womens, childrens and/or financial counseling and support services
- Immediate basic legal assistance with restraining order applications and legal aid applications
- Court support
- Victim advocacy and support
- Emergency Information Packages and many other resources
No Matter What, Keep a Diary
If you are still undecided about what to do, or if you have decided to stay, I will still advise getting some professional support. One of the best pieces of practical advice I can offer you is to KEEP A DIARY. Even if you only make brief notes about any incidents, conversations or fights, it will help you to have a clear memory of things as time goes by, and it will also help to keep you sane . Personally, I would suggest you do not tell your partner about it, and that you keep it in a safe place.
If you have left and your abusive ex partner is still harassing you, then I believe it essential that you keep a diary. Make a record of all unwanted visits, conversations, phone calls, text messages, emails or times when you see their car in your street or "bump" into them at your local shops even though they live half an hour away.
Also make a record of things that may seem insignificant such as phone calls from private numbers in the middle of the night that then hang up or don't speak or finding things in your house or garage/shed moved around. If you notice something really strange and find yourself thinking "I must just be paranoid", don't just shrug it off, still keep a record of it.
Trust Your OWN Instincts
There is a big difference between being paranoid and hyper-vigilant, and most victims of domestic violence will experience moments of hyper- vigilance after abuse. These people often realize that they seem more vigilant than would be normal,but they are not in a normal situation, and may not realize such feelings are quite natural. They will often incorrectly identify their feelings and the resulting behavior as paranoia instead of hyper-vigilance where a true paranoiac would simply not even think to ask themselves if they were being paranoid, they would simply be certain that someone was doing something or something was happening.
So trust your instincts and don't doubt your intelligence, and keep a good record of things in a diary. You don't need to act immediately regarding feelings or uncertainties such as these, but keeping a record of strange or unlikely occurrences can build a picture over time and will be extremely useful if you ever do need to take action, particularly if you end up needing to obtain a restraining order.
Don't Worry, Be Happy
On a more positive note, things can get better, you just have to choose to make them better. It will be a hard decision to make and the journey just as difficult, but more than worth the effort in the end.Remember, help is available, you just have to find it and then ask for it!
Finally, don't forget how powerful your thoughts can be. Try not to worry too much and think positively as much as you can. Deal with your grief, but save all the painful memories and feelings of hurt, confusion, anger and fear for those hours when you are with your counselor. If you ruminate, you'll just get stuck into a different kind of rut. The more you practice being positive, by thinking positively and talking positively, the easier it will become until it just comes naturally. Please read my other hubs for inspiration and enlightenment. Stay strong, keep safe, let your light shine and good luck.
Don't Stay For The Kids!
Seek Professional Support
TIP # 1 - KEEP A DIARY!
The Power Within!
Never forget the quantum physics behind it all.
Do not live in the Darkness of the past,
Or let fear stop you from creating your own destiny.
You have the knowledge to liberate yourself from those fears,
And the Light of your brilliance can shine once again.
So take responsibility for your own happiness,
And be the author of your own destiny.
There is no choice between Darkness & Light,
Darkness is but the absence of Light.
And how boring would the nothingness of Darkness be,
Compared to the Light of Creation,
In a Universe of infinite possibilities?
You have the Power, now use it!
45 Ways to Improve Your Life
- Forgive people. Do not forgive them for the purpose of giving them another chance, but to give yourself the chance to let go. Then forgive yourself too.
- Let the universe seek its own revenge. Karma will be punishment enough, so leave them to their fate, and return to your own journey.
- Love and believe in yourself. Then the love and warmth you seek will be able find you.
- Dream more while you are awake.
- Watch the documentary called "What the bleep do we know".
- Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- Don't waste your precious mental energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your positive energy in the present moment.
- Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
- No matter what - hang in there!
- Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- Don't keep dark secrets - they will keep you sick. At the very least, share them with a stranger.
- Don't waste time hating anyone. Hate only feeds the darkness and leaves you cold, alone and empty.
- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
- Make time to practice meditation and/or prayer.
- Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six.
- Each night before you go to bed, consider what you have accomplished, and what you have to be thankful for.
- Treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Don't be a gossip.
- Think positive thoughts.
- Take time out to appreciate a scenic view, watch children play or smell the flowers.
- Do the right thing. Give of yourself for the greater good!
- Perform a good deed, and don't tell anyone.
- Have a sense of purpose that gives you direction.
- Smile. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
- Keep a diary.
- Stay in touch with family and friends.
- Take responsibility of your own happiness and be the author of your own destiny.
- Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
- Take a walk every day, or do some other exercise.
- Play more games and read more books.
- Buy a DVR and record your late night shows and get more sleep.
- Clean clutter from your house, your car, your desk, and let new and flowing energy into your life.
- Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants. Eat less food that is manufactured in plants!
- Drink green tea and plenty of water.
- Take the scenic route for a change.
- Make a "To Do" List and try to get at least one thing on the list done each day.
- Take a moment everyday to appreciate what you have.
- Try to make at least 3 people smile each day.
- Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.
- Call your family often... (Or email them to death!)
- Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
- Don't try to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
- Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
- Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
- Ask, Believe, Receive.
Please read my other articles on this topic:
(Disclaimer) Please Note:
All names in this article have been changed for legal purposes and to protect the privacy of the Author. Except where otherwise credited, or where text forms part of an external link, this article is under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last", of Perth, Western Australia. All rights reserved.
All persons, places and objects shown in the images in this hub are are shown for illustrative purposes only. They bear no relation to any real person or event. All persons shown are paid models. Unless otherwise credited, all images are under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.