Mental Health & Violence

How to Avoid Dangerous Domestic Situations

We often hear these words, ” She stayed even after she knew, it’s her fault”, or we hear, ” He’s a man, really, she hurt him?”. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. Anger , fear, anxiety, serious mental issues, and unrest are familiar in every demographic. As a mental health therapist, and a survivor of IPV (Intimate Partner Violence), I would like to explain a very small bit of how to stay safe in an unsafe situation. My tips are just that, tips and do not account for calling help in danger, or seeking safety in any circumstance. If you are a victim of violence, please immediately seek help with a local agency and law enforcement.

Just to clarify some common ideas about victims, let’s just understand first of all, she\he is probably caught in a trauma bond with the individual. They have grown addicted to the cycle of abuse and reward in most common situations, and this addiction feels like home even if it is a dangerous place to live. Victims often love their abusers. Victims often need their abusers, they have children together, they share finances, a home, etc with this person and can not just cut out and leave safely. Victims usually return to their abuser an average of seven times before they leave for good. If you know someone who is being abused, please reach out to help and do what you can to get them to safety.

How Do I Avoid Danger?

  1. LEAVE– this is so easily said isn’t it? This is the most effective and safest form of action. Take what you can, find a safe place to go, and stay there. I know it seems impossible to have to start over again. I know you think they will change. I know you are scared. Find someone you can feel safe with, confide in them, and let them help you.
  2. LEARN– there are triggers that many abusers have that lead them to outbursts. Seeing the signs of these triggers early can be lifechanging. Don’t rush in to a relationship with someone. Take your time to get to know them. Are they unsually jealous? Do they keep track of where you are going and who you are with? Do they seem to give you lavish gifts, but then insult you softly in the next moment? Have you met their family? Have you ran a background check on them? Do you know their criminal history? What do you know about their past relationships? Are they violent physically, mentally, or verbally? How are they around children, animals? Watch and learn before getting emotionally invested in a person
  3. LEAN– have you asked your friends\family about their opinion of this person? Do they seem comfortable around them? Talk to family and friends about your situation whether you are in it alread, trying to leave it, or are just getting to know this person. Confide in someone you love about your concerns, DO NOT let the abuser ISOLATE YOU!!
  4. LOVE– You are the most important person on this planet. Your feelings are valid and you matter. Please do not let anyone influence you to the point that you do not feel value or valid. Someone loves you. There are so many good people in this world, that there will be someone else to show you love. You don’t have to settle. Love yourself enough to care about how you are being treated and do not let anyone take that love away from you.
  5. LOUD– Be loud. Scream to the rafters if you have to. Call the police if they hit you again. Don’t just threaten to do it, do it. Get the DVO. Get in the car and go to your parents. Let them know you will not be the victim any more.
  6. LISTEN– Take that advice. Get therapy, go to group counseling. Heal from this trauma. That is what it is. This is trauma, you are suffering from PTSD from being abused. There is nothing wrong with you, you didn’t do this to yourself, they did it to you. Give yourself grace and heed the advice of those in your life that love you. Get help.
  7. LIVEYour life is IMPORTANT. You are NEEDED. Take care of yourself. Imagine what you would tell to a person who was dealing with what you are dealing with. What would you say to them? Most likely you would tell them they are beautiful and smart and they deserve so much better. They deserve to live the life they wanted. You do too. So, please live.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, you can reach them at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). If you would like to schedule counseling please contact me here. In any emergency, please call 911.

I hope this helps someone today, and as a survivor, I say to you, always remember you are worth it.

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