Increasing the odds of surviving Abuse
The description for "Abuse" can be found under "Why be prepared".
The following information is intended to aid those seeking solutions to various forms of abuse.
Surviving the many variations of abuse requires a clearer understanding of what validates abuse for any sub category or subject matter defined as such. For many people, ... the identification of abuse is based on personal opinion and awareness which is subject to changes as we mature into a clearer understanding of what is accepted as appropriate behavior. Surviving abuse implies a past tense or previous occurrence. If the aim is to survive abuse than perhaps the best way to do that is to have a better understanding on what typically defines being victimized by another. Once we have a clearer understand of what constitutes abusive conditions and situations than we stand a better chance of establishing preventative mindsets advantageous for survival. Setting clear boundaries and expectations are an important key to prevent becoming a victim. Situations of abuse involving people who are less fortunate or dependent on others benefit greatly from the avocation of family and friends. Other forms of abuse such as "social abuse" can be alleviated by adjusting how we react to being attacked by another. Abusive behavior can be curtailed or avoided for the most part but does not guarantee sanctuary from the attempts or actions of others. Awareness, our demeanor and appropriate reactions to abusive environments are key in diminishing the odds of becoming a victim of most all forms of abuse.
As defined in the "Descriptions of Abuse" the solutions provided are applicable to the specific categories listed below.
Physical: Hitting, Slapping, Shoving & Hair pulling resulting in physical pain.
How To Prevent Physical Abuse
1. Muster the confidence to speak out or stand up to the abuser. Though this is very difficult to do, this is basically one of the most essential steps to take. Study the behavior pattern of the abuser and the triggers that cause a person to be violent. Learn not to be present as a target for the abuse. Have some ready reasons you can use to get out of the house.
2. Find an area in the house where you and/or your children can seek refuge. Avoid closets, bathrooms and the kitchen. Choose a room with a phone or go outside or stay near a window where people outside can see you.
3. Build a trustworthy network of friends, co-workers and neighbors. Tell them that you are suffering from physical abuse, get their commitment to support you and provide assistance when you need it. Invent a signal, password or code to let your children and your network know when you are in danger and they should contact the authorities.
4. Devise an escape plan and put it in place.
⇒ Ensure that your car always has gas
⇒ Park it facing the driveway exit with the driver’s door left unlocked
⇒ Have a set of spare keys made and hide it in a place where you can easily get it
⇒ Pack an emergency bag with clothing, cash, important documents and phone numbers. Leave it with a trusted friend.
⇒ Map your escape route and practice with your children how to escape quickly and safely.
⇒ Program emergency numbers in the speed dial function of your cell phone.
⇒ Ask someone if they can pick you and your kids when there is an emergency, call the police or allow you and your kids to stay temporarily.
5. Seek professional help. Every state has agencies that handle domestic violence to provide professional, psychological, financial and housing assistance at critical times. When seeking help, protect your privacy and cover your tracks for it is very likely that the abuser is monitoring your activities.
⇒ Use public pay phones.
⇒ Avoid cordless phones and cell phones they are easy to tap.
⇒ Use prepaid cards when making calls so the numbers will not reflect in your phone bills.
⇒ Get your own cell phone and hide it from your partner.
⇒ Do not erase your internet history because it becomes a trigger that you are trying to hide something.
⇒ Use a computer at work, the library, at a friend’s house, or at a community center.
⇒ Change your user name and password.
⇒ Create a new email account.
There are other ways that you can prevent and escape from physical abuse. Make use of all the available help that your state and the local community can give you. Do not feel ashamed when you become a victim. Keep in mind that you are not to blame, that you did not cause the violent behavior, you deserve respect, that you and your children deserve a happy and safe existence and there are people willing to help. [Source]
20 Ways You Can Help Prevent Child Abuse
National Child Abuse Hot-line: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Unrealistic expectations of parenthood, differences between what we want and what we actually have, a strained relationship with our marriage partner, too much to do and too little time, financial problems, drug abuse, alcoholism, and a history of being abused as a child are examples of problems that can cause parents to take out anger and frustration on their children. Even very loving parents can lose control to the point of child abuse. [Source]
Here are some actions you can take to help children and their guardians.
1. Be a good example.
Respect your family members. Use a courteous tone of voice with them. When children misbehave, let them know that you dislike what they did, not who they are. Don't hit your kids; violence teaches violence. Apologize when you're wrong. Say "I love you" more often. Reward good behavior.
2. Be a friend to a parent.
Listen. Sometimes, just being able to express anger and frustration helps ease tensions. Go shopping with a parent and child. Children are usually better behaved when their adults are happier and more relaxed. Invite a parent to go jogging or bowling or golfing. Exercise helps relieve stress.
3. Reach out to neighbors or relatives with children.
Offer to babysit to give them a much-needed break.
4. Praise and encourage the children you know.
Mean words can make a child feel worthless, ugly, and unloved, and the hurt can last a lifetime. So be positive. Tell a child you're proud of her and why. Stick up for her; don't let others tease or make fun of her. Smile. Let her know she is important to you. Say, "You're terrific. I like you!"
5. Take action...don't wait for someone else to do it!
Arrange for a speaker on child abuse and neglect to come to your PTA, church, club, or workplace. The more we all know about abuse and neglect, the more we can do to stop it.
6. Organize safety systems for your neighborhood.
Arrange for neighbors who are at home most of the day to watch out for children on their way to and from school. Set up "safe houses" where children can go if they feel threatened or afraid. Participate in a telephone network for neighborhood children who are home alone after school and need help, advice, or reassurance.
Volunteer your time in a child crisis shelter, parenting support program, drug abuse prevention or treatment program, or shelter for the homeless.
8. Set up an after-school-hours program at a retirement home.
It's hard to tell who benefits more from such an arrangement, the children or the elders.
9. Form a Carpenters Guild.
Work with others in your church, club, or workplace to repair homes of disadvantaged families to make them more livable for children.
10. Host a baby shower.
Invite friends and neighbors to bring items for needy infants and children.
11. Start a resource room.
Call your local office of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and collect diapers, clothing, toys, books, and formula to help ease the transition for children who must be removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. Hold a fund raiser to buy school supplies for foster children.
12. Work in a day-care center.
Volunteer your time in a day-care center that serves abused and neglected children. Work with your church, club, or organization to form a partnership with a child-care center that serves low-income children.
13. Be a mentor.
Help a pregnant teen to learn parenting skills. Or be a mentor to a pre-teen through one of the school mentoring programs.
14. Learn more about child abuse and child abuse prevention.
Teach others. Plan an adult education program in your church, club, or organization to inform people about children's needs. Open your group's facility to local education programs for parents.
15. Become a foster parent.
It's not an easy job, but the rewards are great when you help a child learn what it feels like to be safe.
16. Help a foster child get a good start.
Call the Preparation for Adult Living program in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and provide "housewarming gifts" of linens, pots and pans, small appliances, and lamps for 18-year-old foster children who are moving out on their own.
17. Get involved with the child welfare board in your county.
18. Understand which children are most likely to be abused.
Although child abuse occurs in all racial, ethnic, cultural, and social-economic groups, physical abuse and neglect are more likely among people living in poverty. Children who are most likely to be abused are children who are mentally retarded, premature, unwanted, stubborn, inquisitive, demanding, or have a disability.
19. Learn to recognize the signs of abuse.
Know the signs of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse listed at the bottom of this page. Know them.
20. Report suspected child abuse and neglect.
Call 1-800-422-4453 or your local law enforcement agency if you think a child is being neglected, sexually abused, or physically or emotionally abused. Children are hardly ever abused only once. If you suspect it, you must report it. That's the law. Reporting suspected child abuse makes it possible for a family to get help. [Source]
Emotional: Put downs, Gilt trips, Humiliation & Mind games.
Emotional Abuse Prevention
Emotional abuse can take a variety of forms, from humiliating jokes to degrading comments, and it's not always easy to notice. It is important to recognize the signs, and remove emotionally abusive behaviors from our relationships.
Realize that we cannot change our offender, only our reaction and responds. We can attempt to show our offender how damaging these behaviors are and how they are affecting us, and hope they will agree that we are being badly treated. We can only hope our abuser will then make the decision to change. However, ultimately, we cannot force them to change.
→ Understand that the abusiveness in our offender may be rooted in multiple layers of their emotions and perspectives. Trying to change them through arguing or persuasion translates to them as the complete denial and devaluation of their experiences and realities. They will feel an immediate instinct to protect the intricacies of their own thought patterns and push our logic away in the process. Remember that we cannot argue logically with an unreasonable person.
Put safety first. Our energy is most effective when we make changes to ourselves. Abusers rarely change. Think about your needs and how you can meet them while staying safe.
Set new, reasonable terms for the relationship with clear and consistently implemented consequences. Decide (ideally together, but if that isn't possible, decide for yourself) that you're going to learn a new way of being in this relationship. Abuse most often exists because the emotional weaknesses of the abuser demands the exercise of control or torment of others to give them a feeling of emotional security and fulfillment. Abuse most often starts because of insecurity or trust issues with the abuser.
→ It is most often enabled by (1) the victim's inability or failure to recognize the abusive behavior or (2) powerlessness of the victim, as in the case of a child enduring the emotional abuse of a parent. In adult relationships, sometimes, neither partner understands a healthy way to diffuse abuse and to respect each other or themselves.
→ Establish for yourself that you won't accept less than a safe and respectful relationship. All interactions will be honorable, and will specifically and especially exclude: name calling, character attacks/judgments, raised voices, spitting, throwing objects, etc. Be prepared to accept that this may never happen, especially in advanced stages of abuse, and that your commitment to a healthy, respectful relationship may result in the termination of this abusive one. When it comes to any such termination, be prepared to do that carefully and strategically, so as to avoid violent retaliation against you; emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse, so you do need to take steps to stay safe.
→ Always be careful when leaving an abusive relationship, even one that's "just" emotionally abusive. You can get help in establishing a "safety plan" by calling the National Domestic Violence Hot-line at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.
Set boundaries. Abuse, in general, is an issue of disrespect that usually involves trespass upon an individuals equality and freedom due to unclear or poorly-defined boundaries. If you are on the receiving end of abuse, it's up to you to set up clear, reasonable boundaries for an honorable relationship and to consistently stick to them. Let your partner know that you now recognize your responsibility in allowing the disrespect in the past, but that this era has now come to an end. Recognize the damage incurred by the previous era and establish a commitment to obtaining the support needed to forgive and restore the peace and strength necessary for mutual respect in all of your future relationships.
→ Continuing to enforce disrespected boundaries while living with or constantly seeing an abuser will only enable and give the abuser permission to continue the abuse. Your presence is all that is needed for them to translate it into permission. Remember, you are dealing with tragic self centeredness of unfathomable depth and complexity. The abuser sees your lack of commitment to boundaries as a sign that you approve of their abusive behavior and in some way you are there to rescue them from themselves. You are not dealing with a reasonable person. Your logic and ethics are working in the abuser's defense, not shedding a contrasting light for them to use as guidance.
→ Do not tolerate repeated offenses longer than 30% of the total time you've been in the relationship. If you fail to stop tolerating it, then you must begin realizing your codependent streak and work against it with outside backup. You are not doomed to loneliness and the abuser does not realize or recognize how much they need you to pull away from them right now. You are not abandoning them or the relationship at this point. You have permission to separate.
Develop emotional intelligence. In cases of abuse, both partners are often unknowingly suppressing important emotions. Receivers of abuse are often uncomfortable expressing authentic, respectful anger, which is necessary to establish boundaries. Abusers are often expressing fear, not anger, when abusing. It is the "fight or flight" response that is coming through, and in order to end abuse, both partners must be willing to learn new ways of feeling and expressing their true emotions to end the pattern of blaming, shaming, and punishing. Express your deepest and strongest feelings only in forms where they will receive the fullest respect and support, such as a diary, a blog, a group of very close friends or trusted family members, a professional and respectful psychologist, etc. Abuse is NOT your fault. You deserve to be treated with respect.
Understand the dynamics of relationship. Some relationships are formed on physical attraction only, some on repeating past patterns learned from a parent; some are not of our choosing (as with a parent), and some are influenced by one or both partners' use of alcohol and drugs or the presence of mental illness. Regardless of what factors play into a relationship's dynamics, it's important to recognize that abuse is never warranted, and abuse is never the fault of the abused.
→ In a perfect world, relationships would be our highest learning playground. Perhaps the one we're with has the most to teach us, and often triggers the most extreme emotional responses. If you feel that it's safe to stay and learn with your partner, then take a good look at the dynamics playing out which have something to teach you. If you don't feel safe enough to stay, but need to end it, then reflect back on what you might learn about the relationship patterns that were in place. The learning may be about valuing yourself, unwinding old traumas, or expressing emotions healthfully.
Source your safety. It's easy to think that your partner is in charge of your safety depending on his or her behavior; ideally, a partner would keep you safe and respect you, but you are the only one who can create safety for yourself. You do this by making choices. You have an innate navigational system within yourself that allows you to make decisions which feel right for you, and which will keep you safe and happy. When you learn to pay attention to your instincts, you will know which choices are life affirming, and which ones will drain you of your energy or create chaos.
Get some coaching or professional help. Find a relationship coach or mental health professional who can help you with this issue. It is possible for both partners to unwind emotional abuse if they choose to. Finding a great support system, preferably one that utilizes a holistic approach to healing domestic violence will create the healthiest and most successful environment for learning and healing.
→ When your partner is willing and able to work on the behaviors and wants to make a change (for example, if the abuse is related to use of alcohol or other substances, and they're seeking to make changes in both those abuse triggers and your relationship), a no-blame approach in counseling might benefit you both. However, if your partner shows no signs of changing the cycle of abuse, a therapist who is individually focused on your safety and well-being is your best bet. They will be able to help you work out your own goals and boundaries within the relationship and, if need be, when and how to leave the situation with your safety as the primary concern.
Know when to say goodbye - and make a plan to do it safely. Sometimes, relationships are just wrong and cannot be saved. For your sake, and for the sake of your mental health, try hard to recognize as early as possible whether or not this relationship is even worth working on. The reason we date before marriage is to discover whether or not we are compatible. We thwart that process when we refuse to see that being treated poorly by another adult is unacceptable. Always be careful when leaving an abusive relationship, even one that's "just" emotionally abusive. You can get help in establishing a "safety plan" by calling the National Domestic Violence Hot-line at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.
Verbal: Name calling, Threats & Yelling.
Keeping our reactions in check
Verbal abusers gain control and they benefit from abusing you. By abusing you, they feel more in control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. When the abuser infiltrates your every thought, you’re more likely to do things and say things the abuser implanted in your mind. By controlling you, he or she gains more control over his or her life, too.
Your abuser knows that after verbally abusing you, you will react in predictable ways. You may cry, you may yell, but after awhile, you go back to them with an open heart, begging for them to love you. And every time you beg to be worthy of your abuser’s love, they get a self-esteem kick out of it.
There are a number of steps you can take to regain control of your thoughts, emotions and actions when facing abuse. One of them is reaching out to others. Reaching out to others covers a broad spectrum of behaviors from calling hot-lines to receiving counseling from someone familiar with abusive situations.
Take action and set boundaries, share concerns with family and friends, seek community assistance or counseling, implement avoidance tactics and show little or no reaction to verbal assaults. If required, remove ourselves from the potential of being exposed in the future by the same offender, (Change the environment). [Source 1] , [Source 2]
Sexual: Unwanted touch, Sexual force of any kind.
Ways to Reduce your Risk of Sexual Assault
⇓⇓ Links ⇓⇓
Preventing financial abuse and exploitation of elderly parents
Some have called elder abuse "the crime of the century". One of the few ways to stop financial elder abuse is to report it. If you suspect that this is happening to someone you care about, it is important to know what to do. Here are the steps you can take to report financial elder abuse. Sadly, most abusers are family members. I have heard numerous people tell me that their aging loved one was being taken advantage of by a relative, but that they "didn't want to make trouble" for the relative, so they weren't going to get the police involved. This is frustrating for any lawyer to hear. In their minds, abuse is better than "making trouble." I can't report it, as the names are kept secret from me by these individuals. Most often, they call to confirm their suspicions that a certain action sounds like financial elder abuse. I listen, I tell them it does sound suspicious, and to please call the Elder Abuse Hot-line. Then, they do nothing. Maybe you're one of those who do nothing, or perhaps you're considering reporting this crime, but don't know how to do it. If you think an elder in your life has been or is being abused, I can only urge you to speak up. You need details to make a useful report of financial abuse. The process varies from state to state, but in most situations, law enforcement has a reporting form which allows you to make a report of abuse confidentially. In any report, whether written or verbal, certain essential information must be included in order to permit law enforcement to do its job. You must name the elder whom you think is being abused, and identify the address where the elder can be found. You must name the suspected abuser, and provide that address if you have it. You are not required to give your name, but it can be helpful for you to answer law enforcement's questions as an investigation of the suspected abuse begins. If you report abuse, the matter will likely be referred for investigation, and an experienced investigator will contact you. If you are afraid of the suspected abuser, you can remain anonymous. You will need to identify the location of any suspected actions which appear to you to be abuse, whether they are at the elder's home, or a facility caring for the elder. Next, you need to specify what you saw or heard that caused you to suspect abuse and when it occurred. General comments are not helpful to law enforcement. As an example, "My nephew has been ripping off his grandmother for years" is not as helpful information as "My nephew, John Smith, took his grandmother's checkbook, and I heard him threaten her if she didn't write him a check out of it last Sunday." Law enforcement needs witnesses and other evidence to make its case against an abuser. Identify the witnesses who are aware of the suspected abuse. The more specific things you can provide, and the more witnesses you have to back you up, the better. The district attorney in your county or state has a better chance of stopping an abuser by getting him or her convicted of a crime if you can help provide the necessary evidence the D.A. can use in court. If you believe that this crime is taking place, there is no easy way to stop it. Reporting it takes the matter out of your hands and puts it on law enforcement to protect the elder. We cannot stop the horrible effects of elder abuse unless we are willing to speak out and report the facts. If the suspected abuser is a family member, it may be painful to meet your duty, but we encourage you to go forward and report this crime for the sake of protecting our vulnerable elders. Some elders are threatened and intimidated by their abusers and are too frightened to report the problem themselves. [Source]
Social: Discrediting, Controlling, Isolation from friends of family.
A good place to start in defending against becoming a victim of abuse is to decide what we are willing to tolerate and what is not acceptable. This is the metaphoric line we draw in the sand defining an outgoing message of warning against further aggression. The point where we set mental alarms prompting responds or action. Responses are typically diverse between people and largely dependent upon the level and degree of offense but should reflect that of disapproval at the very least.
Setting boundaries is a life skill that has been popularized by self help authors and support groups since the mid 1980's. It is the practice of openly communicating and asserting personal values as way to preserve and protect against having them compromised or violated. The term "boundary" is a metaphor – with in-bounds meaning acceptable and out-of-bounds meaning unacceptable. Without values and boundaries our identities become diffused and often controlled by the definitions offered by others. The concept of boundaries has been widely adopted by the counseling profession.
See more on setting boundaries below
- 1 Values and boundaries concept
- 2 Risks of reestablishing values and boundaries
- 3 Complicating factors
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
Things to consider
The diversities between people can often result or require the use of alternative forms of counter measures as well as enhanced levels of energy and enthusiasm required to be effective. Timid or passive people are often more susceptible to heavier degrees of resistance and subject to being available for targeting. Assertive and inquisitive individuals generally present elements of stead fast and relentless opposition to receiving abusive behavior and are decisive to let it be known where the boundaries are as a warning.