When you’re in a relationship that involves domestic violence, you feel like you’re completely alone. Even though one in four women will experience some sort of domestic abuse in her lifetime, you feel like you’re the only one in your situation. Trust me when I tell you this isn’t uncommon.
You’ve Been Isolated
One of the most common tactics of an abuser is to isolate his victim. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been locked up in a dungeon, but it can feel very similar. Abusers have more power and control when they have isolated you away from your family and friends.
This isn’t something that happens overnight. Slowly, an abusive partner will pull you away from the people you’re closest to. They might do this by making you feel guilty for spending time away or expressing jealousy towards the attention you’re giving others.
Over time, you’re not seeing your family or texting with your bestie as much. Your partner has effectively isolated you from the people you love so that your entire world revolves around your abuser.
You don’t feel like you have a support system
In the process of becoming isolated, you’ve lost touch with a lot of the people you used to lean on. Suddenly, you don’t have a support system to text when you need them. This realization can make you feel extremely lonely. You might feel like you have no one to share your concerns with. You might not even realize your support system has vanished until you go to lean on them and they’re not there.
In a healthy relationship, our partners are a key factor in our support system. One of the reasons we’re partnered with them is because of that support. But in an abusive relationship or a relationship that involves domestic violence, partners don’t provide that support. They may be dismissive or uninterested in your concerns. You may not be able to talk to them about your concerns at all for fear of retaliation. This just furthers your isolation.
Even if there’s still someone left that you might feel you could talk to, you probably don’t want to tell them about what you’re going through. You don’t want to admit to them that there’s an issue. You’re ashamed and embarrassed.
You don’t want to air your dirty laundry. Maybe you’re afraid to be seen as whiny. You don’t want to be a burden to your friends or family with your issues. It seems easier to keep everything to yourself, but the reality is, that action is isolating too.
Pride is probably one of the hardest emotions to overcome. Admitting to domestic abuse somehow feels like a failure on our part. We would rather suffer at the hands of our abuser than admit we need help.
Depending on the level of abuse your experiencing, you might be afraid to reach out to anyone for help. You might feel like you HAVE to deal with your abuse alone for fear of retaliation. Perhaps your partner has made threats. Maybe he told you that if you tell anyone, he’ll hurt you or your children. Maybe he hasn’t said so out loud, but you fear what he might do if he found out you were talking to someone.
This fear causes you to retreat. It prevents you from reaching out and it isolates you inside your own head. You don’t feel like there are any other options. You don’t feel like there’s any hope or any help.
You’re Not Alone
Let me start by telling you that you’re not alone. There are thousands of other woman who are feeling alone right this minute for the same reasons. They would understand what you’re feeling, because they think they’re alone too.
Unfortunately, me telling you you’re not alone isn’t enough to make you feel better. I know that from experience. There’s no magic words I can say that will make this situation better for you.
But I can offer some advice
Reach out to your support system. They’re still there, they still love you. It hasn’t been too long and I promise they’ll understand. Send the text, make the call. They’ll be there.
Then, find some resources. There are lots of resources out there for women who feel like they don’t have any other options. You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Build a team behind yourself. Follow this link for some excellent resources that you can add to your team.
Consider The Police
If you’re in a dangerous situation, please call 9-1-1. Please don’t hesitate. It could save your life.
If you are not in a life threatening situation, but you still feel like you need help, you can always reach out to your local police department. Police Departments have whats called “non-emergency” numbers. This connects you with the department without tying up the 9-1-1 emergency lines. You can speak to an officer about your situation, find out about resources in your area including domestic violence protection orders and ask questions.
Please note, depending on your state, if you tell the police officer about criminal activity, you may not have a choice in whether your police department takes action. In some states, the police are required to make arrests in domestic violence situations.
This should NOT prevent you from contacting the police in an emergency or from reaching out to them for resources. I simply want to make you aware that sometimes the police are required to act on certain information.
You don’t have to fight your domestic abuse alone. You just have to be willing to reach out for help. Take the first step. It could save your life.
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