Many people mistakenly think that recovery from a domestically violent situation is as simple as leaving the abuser. Unfortunately that is far from the reality that individuals recovering from abuse face. In fact, by the time the individual is able to find physical freedom from the abusive party, he or she is likely in a gridlock of mental and emotional abuse. However, recovery is also possible in this capacity if an individual is able to find the right support system and develop effective coping skills to navigate healing.
What to Expect During Recovery
Recovery in any form is challenging, but it is especially complicated when abuse is involved. Individuals often need to relearn basic interpersonal and relational skills, such as trust and connection, which they’ve lost as a result of the abuse they have endured. Understanding that recovery will take time goes a long way toward helping the individual recover, as does knowing what to expect during recovery. Most individuals benefit from:
• Learning to expect new feelings during the recovery process.
• Understanding the challenges that may complicate recovery.
• Developing coping techniques to facilitate lasting recovery.
Recovering from Domestic Abuse
Recovering from a domestically violent situation requires a multifaceted approach. To begin the process, one must understand that anxiety and fear are to be expected. Many victims of abuse:
• Still hear the voice of their abuser in their head even after leaving.
• Experience extreme anxiety when doing something the abuser condemned.
• Have feelings of sadness and or even a desire to return after leaving the abuser.
• Feel fear and melancholy associated with a place of significance to the relationship.
• Want to maintain a connection to friends or family members of the abuser.
These feelings point to the emotional attachment of the relationship and are normal and to be expected. An individual experiencing these feelings may consider returning to the abusive situation to make the current feelings of fear and pain subside. To be able to remain strong and committed to recovery, the individual needs:
• Refuge that is safe and separate from the abuser.
• Support from a trusted friend or family member.
• Legal support to provide protection and counsel.
• Self-confidence to remain strong and move on.
For many individuals finding each of these components can be difficult. Seeking the counsel of a trusted therapist is often an effective first step toward recovery. A mental health professional can help the abused individual find the resources that he or she needs to begin the recovery process safely and facilitate ongoing therapy to support the individual’s mental and emotional needs. Most individuals recovering from domestic violence process the emotional trauma of the situation in a cyclical fashion that involves several stages:
• Safety and Stabilization
• Remembrance and Mourning
• Reconnection and Integration
• Safety and Stabilization
Working through these stages and processing the emotions associated with each is no easy task. Likewise, there is no timeframe associated with recovery – each individual must allow him or herself the time he or she needs to recover. A confidential healthcare professional can help facilitate the process and help the individual set appropriate expectations of recovery. So while the recovery process looks different for different people, the first step for everyone reaching out and getting help.
It’s that time of year again! The new year is here and comes with many new opportunities. We’re notorious for creating new year’s resolutions for ourselves as individuals, but what about for our relationships? Check out these 5 new year’s resolutions for you and your partner.
1) Put your phone down and plug back into your relationship.
In an era of technology, we all are constantly plugged into our phones. It’s easy to find ourselves checking social media or texting during conversations or down time. Instead of picking up your phone use that time to reconnect with your partner. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation while looking directly at them and maybe even sneak a handle hold in.
2) Have one new adventure each month.
Oftentimes our relationships become bogged down with responsibility and mundane daily tasks. While “adulting” isn’t fun, it’s necessary. It’s also necessary to regularly have new and fun adventures together. Not only does this break up the monotony in your relationship, it also allows you to create fun and exciting memories together. Remember, the couples that play together stay together!
3) Find a new hobby… together.
If you already have an individual new year’s resolutions list, I’m willing to bet there’s a resolution that pertains to a hobby. Hobbies are important to us as individuals as well as couples. Finding a hobby with your partner is an opportunity to share something in common. Consider joining a bowling team, invest in a new gaming system or start exercising together. The more positive things you have in common with your partner the easier it is to find happiness and excitement in your relationship.
4) Set goals together and make a 10-year plan.
Goal setting is always on the top of the New Year’s To-Do list. Have you set any goals for your relationship? Sit down with your partner and agree upon a few measurable and attainable goals to reach in 2019. Take the long-term goals and make them into a 10-year plan. Not only does this create a road map for your relationship, but it also keeps you thinking about the future and makes you more likely to work towards it.
5) Let the past go.
This is one of the hardest things for most couples to do. The bad things we’ve experienced often linger in our minds and can overshadow all of the good things that are happening now. This doesn’t only happen to us as individuals, but also as couples in our relationship. Don’t allow your relationship to be clouded with the gloom of the past. Focus on what’s happening currently and celebrate those things. Take the hard things as they come and don’t let the past influence how you deal with the now.
Implement some of these resolutions and start off 2019 right for yourself as an individual as well as a couple. Happy New Year!