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Relationships


Abusive Relationships: What To Do When Love Turns Violent
 by: Emily Kensington

As a psychotherapist, I often treat victims of domestic violence and abusive relationships, and have witnessed first-hand the trauma that remains even decades after someone leaves an abusive partner. Typically, the cycle of domestic violence is this: There is an "incident," typically small, in which the abuser's response is exaggerated and violent. Afterwards, the abuser may apologize for abuse, promising that it will never happen again. Typically, the abuser blames the victim for causing the abuse, but then a "making up" period begins in which the abuser is charming and bearing gifts and the victim believes that the violence will cease. Then the story repeats, and each time, studies show, the make-up period becomes shorter and shorter.

Abusers tend to be highly controlling, often prohibiting their partner from working or leaving the house, thereby preventing any semblance of independence for the victim. In addition, there is a breakdown of couples communication, and the victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm and are always "walking on egg shells."

What You Can Do If You're A Victim:

If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, call 911 or your local police. They can help you and your children leave your home safely and arrest your abuser if they have enough proof that you have been abused.

Get support from friends and family:

Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened.

Find a safe place:

If he won't leave, then you and your children must. There are temporary shelters that can help you move to a different city or state.

Medical Assistance:

If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Medical records can be vital evidence in court cases. They can also help you get an order of protection. Give all the information about your injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.

-Get A Personal Order Of Protection

ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: WHAT TO DO WHEN RELATIONSHIPS TURN VIOLENT

Safety Plan:

Your safety is the most important thing. These tips can help keep you safe. If you are in

Consider:

-Have important phone numbers nearby for you and your children, such as the police, friends, local shelters, and various hotlines.

-Identify friends and neighbors you could inform about your dangerous situation. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry/violent noises or they see your abuser near your home or children.

-If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.

-An evacuation plan in order to escape your home.

-Identify safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons.

ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: WHAT TO DO WHEN RELATIONSHIPS TURN VIOLENT

-Try to remove any weapons from the house.

-Think of how you might leave, doing things such as taking out the trash, walking the dog, or going to the convenience store that get you out of the house.

-Put together a bag of things you use everyday, and hide it where it is easily accessible. In this bag include all important paperwork such as birth certificates, social security cards, driver's license, bank books, etc.

-Identify places you could go if you leave your home.

-People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans or arrangements for your pets.

-Open a bank account and get a credit card in your name.

ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: WHAT TO DO WHEN RELATIONSHIPS TURN VIOLENT

-Abuser's attempt to control their victim's lives. When abusers feel a loss of control - like when victims try to leave them - the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.

-Know that it is common that abusers will try to kidnap, threaten or harm the children in order to get you to return, so take the necessary precautions.


About The Author

Emily Kensington is a couples therapist. For free relationship advice and romance tips visit http://www.hearts-and-kisses.com

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