Stop being a VICTIM and become a SURVIVOR both inside and outside of the relationship. You’ve got this..
Surviving domestic violence comes in many shapes and sizes. The thing to remember is that you can be a SURVIVOR whilst still inside a domestic violent relationship or when you leave that relationship, it is all about mindset; being prepared and having faith in your own inner control.
TIP 1: YOU HAVE A CHOICE.
When I say have a choice, I mean you choose to stay in the relationship and that is fine or to leave the relationship. The choice is yours nobody else’s, no matter what you choose. I know you are thinking that you don’t have a choice because you have no rights or power. But you do have the power within your inner being to decide what to do for you.
I chose to live in a domestic violent marriage for 18 years. I chose to leave the marriage a couple of times and I chose to return. All along the way I kept believing that God would show me the way when it was the right time, however it was really up to me to decide when I was ready to choose to get out.
Make your choice and be proud of yourself, no matter what that choice. It is the pride you gain from having control over your life that nobody can take it away from you. Only you know what the right thing for you at any given time is, so don’t succumb to the guilt or shame associated with being in a violent relationship.
TIP 2: PREPARE YOUR FUTURE.
Living inside a violent relationship can mean that you have no access to money or freedom of the internet or help organisations. You have to get crafty. I suggest you find a way to get a hold of your identification documents as a priority and secret them away, preferably not at the house. You want to be able to access these documents if you have to make a quick escape from your circumstances. See if you can take out a safety deposit box at your local bank or safety document holding; ask a friend to hold on to some paperwork for you (you don’t have to go into great detail about what the paperwork is for) or secure a post office box and place them inside there. Anywhere where only you know where they are and you can access them when needed.
Identification documents are vital to establishing your future.
Next thing is to start building a separate life from your partner. Do this by opening a bank account in your name only, you use your identification documents to do this and set aside a few dollars from the household spending to put into the account. You might not have access to the household money, but see if you can find the odd dollar in the washing or behind the couch or any loose change from the pocket of your partner’s pants. You are not stealing from the household, you are taking what is rightfully yours. These small amounts will eventually mount up and you can use them for yourself. Don’t fall into the trap, however of disclosing this account and start adding to the household if things get a bit tight financially. It is essential that you continue to grow your balance to give you the financial freedom should you decide to start over somewhere else.
Also, get a store card or credit card for some household purchase and make sure the card is in your name alone or at least in joint names. You are building a credit history with these cards and creating an identity to build your future on.
TIP 3: HIDE A SET OF KEYS TO YOUR PREMISES.
Often a violent partner will try and lock you out of the house, so it is important to have a spare set of keys available to gain access when safe. I suggest hiding a set of keys around one of the plants of the garden where you can access them close to the property if you are locked out. Put them inside a sealed plastic bag then bury it somewhere that is not going to be seen or accessed by your partner. If you can get access to your property when it is safe, you can gather your possessions or access the kids. You just need to pick the right time to gain access and you can come and go whenever you feel safe to do without being noticed. Don’t leave any obvious signs that you have been there unless you are leaving for good. Nothing worse than being locked out of your home without clean clothes when you have to find somewhere to spend a day or a few days, whatever the circumstances.
Make sure you gather things like medications; prescriptions; phone chargers; toiletries and any precious items when you get back inside the house as your partner may get rid of them and then it is a lot of trouble to replace most of those things, especially if you have limited funds.
TIP 4: TELL SOMEONE.
I know it is a difficult thing to confess to anyone that you are being abused in your own home. A lot of the time, a violent partner will make sure you don’t have access to your family and friends and keep you isolated. Try and reach out to someone you feel safe talking to who will not judge you or throw it up at you if you are choosing to stay in the relationship. You don’t need criticism from outside of the home too.
Your family and friends will be in disbelief, or maybe not, and won’t know what to say or do. That is perfectly okay, so long as they don’t try and make you feel bad for staying in the situation. If you must explain yourself, just tell them you are choosing to stay at this time for your own reasons and leave it at that. The important thing is that someone knows what is happening inside the home because it may seem like a normal household to the outside person.
Even if you have to tell your doctor, at least there is a record somewhere in the system that identifies you as being a victim of domestic violence. If you suddenly go missing or have to call the police, there is previous history of the domestic violence and how long it has been going on. This doesn’t mean you have to take any advice from the doctor or any hardship about what not to do. You are merely stating a fact and if there is help offered that you feel comfortable taking, then that is good, but don’t take any judgment from anyone.
TIP 5: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
If you believe in yourself, no one else’s opinion matters. Know that you can do anything and that it is your choice what that anything is. You are not weak but powerful.
When you are being told you are worthless; ugly; stupid, hopeless or any other degrading comment, it is easy to believe it, why wouldn’t you. Well, it is time to stop believing this negative about yourself. It takes a very strong person to put up with verbal; emotional; financial and sexual abuse from someone who is meant to care about you. Use that strength to turn the negative thinking around. You are not the person who has the problem, it is your abuser who is intimidated by your awesomeness.