It has long been understood that domestic abuse significantly harms victims mental health, this frequently manifests as invisible harm and victims need guidance on how they can protect themselves emotionally and mentally when an abusive relationship ends. Here are a few suggestions.
- Think about doing a victim’s course such as the Freedom Programme, it can be a revelation to gain understanding of how people get trapped in abusive relationships. This can be a first step for a victim moving towards lasting security: https://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk
- Remember communication is used to further abuse, ask yourself if the following phrases sound familiar on the part of the abuser:
“It was your fault/ you made me do it”
“It will never happen again”
“You don’t want to break up the family”
“I’m the victim here” (this is gaslighting)
- If you can stop communication altogether then do. Don’t give warning, don’t respond to pleas, to threats, just do not reply. Block numbers, never pick up withheld or unknown numbers, change your email address, reset passwords. It is challenging to do this, especially in the short term, but gets easier.
- If zero communication is not an option, you have safer choices, deal through third parties, family, friends or solicitors and if you have to communicate about children, use a Parenting App, some have built in safety features designed to reduce abusive communication.
- If you can, keep abusive messages, as they can amount to valuable evidence if this matter goes to court.
- Get medical help, victims of domestic abuse don’t just have physical injuries, they have mental health injuries too. Depression and anxiety, PTSD and trauma require the right support.
- Be kind to yourself, you deserve better than a life of abuse and victims can and do rebuild their lives.