If you're currently experiencing domestic violence, it's important to know that help is out there. There are people, companies, organizations, and a whole lot more that want to help you and can help you. It's all about finding the type of help you need. Remember, you don't need to do this alone and it's best if you don't do it alone. Domestic violence is extremely dangerous, and the last thing you want is to get caught in an even more dangerous situation when you're trying to leave.
Types Of Domestic Abuse
Before we get into the types of help for domestic abuse, it's important that you understand what domestic abuse is. Most people think of physical abuse. While this is a type of abuse, it's not the only type of abuse. It can be the easiest to recognize because it generally leaves visible marks such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc. But, there are other types of abuse that are also damaging to a person.
Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse are all part of domestic abuse. Many people that are in these types of abusive relationships often have a harder time recognizing that it is abuse. They might not realize that all relationships aren't like that. Or, they may feel that they deserve the behavior that they are getting.
Abuse is meant to cause you to lose confidence in yourself and believe that you are worthless. When you feel this way, you become dependent on your abuser feeling that you are lucky to have them because they put up with you and all your imperfections. In reality, they have just lowered your self-esteem to the point that you do not see the truth. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the harder it is to leave.
That's not true. There is no type of abuse that is OK. And, there is nothing that you can do to deserve being abused in any way. When you recognize that you are in an abusive relationship, then it's important that you take the next step of getting help.
Types Of Domestic Violence Help
The first thing that you can do if you are a victim of domestic violence is to leave on your own. Again, it's best not to go entirely alone. Find a friend or family member, someone you can count on, to help you move your belongings out of your shared space or even just to get you out on your own. Getting out the first time may be as simple as walking out the front door while your partner is at work or away with friends or as difficult as trying to sneak out when they aren't paying attention. No matter what it's going to take, make sure you at least tell someone that you're doing it and when to expect you.
It's also a good idea to have a place where you're going where your partner won't be able to find you. Then, only tell the necessary people where you are staying until you can get back on your feet in a place of your own.
Next, getting a restraining order is an important next step. When you go to the police, you will need information about the abuse itself. Keep in mind that the police generally deal with physical or sexual abuse, not mental or emotional abuse. That doesn't mean that mental or emotional abuse is any less serious, just that the police aren't well equipped to help you or give you a restraining order for it. Also keep in mind that, in essence, a restraining order is just a piece of paper. You'll use it if the person comes back, but you'll also need a way to protect yourself better than just that restraining order.
Friends and family are an extremely important part of the process when it comes to leaving a domestic violence situation. The longer the situation has been ongoing, the more distant your friendships and relationships with others may have gotten, but that doesn't mean that those people won't help you if you call. Chances are they've seen the problems that are happening and were waiting for their opportunity. If you need them, they will be there to support you. All you need to do is ask them to help, and that's all it will take to rekindle the relationship and get their help.
The shelter is another place you can go for help if you're leaving a domestic violence situation. Shelters can be for families, for men or women. In general, the shelter will be separated so that men and women are not near each other. This helps those who are escaping from domestic violence situations to feel more secure and cuts down on the chances of any kind of problem between the residents. Shelters are generally a short-term solution, but they can help you get set up with housing, jobs, legal help, mental health help, and a whole lot more.
Therapy can help you see what you need to do to restore yourself after being in an abusive relationship. If you are still in the relationship, couples therapy can help you and your partner learn what changes need to be made for your relationship to carry on more healthily.
If your partner is unwilling to go to therapy, then you can go on your own. The therapist will be able to help you see how to set boundaries to protect yourself. They will also help you to learn how to identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship that you may have been missing.
Since a therapist is an outside third party and doesn't know either of you personally, you can trust that you are getting the professional advice of someone with the knowledge and expertise to help you.
If you are in a physically abusive relationship, then it's important that you get out first.
Now, it's important to back up a step and focus on something else. Maybe you're just not ready to leave yet. Maybe you're not sure that you're a victim of domestic violence or you know that you are, but you believe your partner can change and will change. Maybe you just can't imagine leaving either because you don't know how or you don't want to give up yet. That's okay too. Just know that there is a lot of help out there. For you, the first step should be seeking out professional help. Not that there's anything wrong with you, but professional help can allow you to look at the situation objectively and see what you want to do next more clearly.
If you're in a situation that's dangerous getting help is important and maybe talking with someone about what you're going through and how you're feeling will make a choice, one way or the other, easier for you to make. The most important thing is making sure that it's your decision. No one can tell you to leave or not leave your partner (or they can, but it's not going to change your mind). You are the one who has to be comfortable with the decision that you make and if you're not ready to leave, then talking with a professional is the first step.
If you are a victim of physical abuse, it's important to get out and protect yourself. This is not a time to stay in the relationship. You need to get your distance to get the help that you need and make sure that the other person doesn't continue to hurt you.
The Hard Truth
Unfortunately, the truth is that someone abusive is extremely unlikely to change. There are a few people who can get professional help and can make changes in their lives, but those changes won't happen during your relationship. The best thing that you can do is to walk away, for your health and wellbeing and even for theirs.
Seeking help and trying to make changes while they are in the relationship is nearly impossible. If you have a hard time walking away, talk with a professional. Tell yourself that it's possible that they will get the help they need and it's possible that you will be able to return to your relationship in the future, but now is not a safe time to stay.
Once you are safe, you can address the next steps.
Then, talking with a professional is the first step.
You Need To Take Action
Unfortunately, many people don't know how to recognize the signs of domestic abuse. Or, if they do, they are unsure of what to do if they suspect that someone is being abused. That means it's up to you. You need to take action to get the help that you need.
Depending on your situation, this could mean leaving the relationship, or it could mean staying in and learning how to improve your relationship. If you are staying in the relationship, I will involve you setting boundaries for what you are willing to accept and what you're not willing to. This is an important part of getting the help that you need.
If you're struggling with leaving a domestic violence situation, the first thing you should do is seek out professional help. You'll be able to talk with someone who can help you understand your thoughts and feelings and all of your options with a completely objective view. Your friends and family, if they see what is happening, will likely tell you to leave immediately, but a mental health professional, like those at ReGain, will help you to understand your options better and to come to the best decision for yourself, not for anyone else.