New Beginnings After Domestic Violence: Preparing for a Fresh Start

PODCAST: Trauma and Inflammation – Episode 1
June 8, 2020
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New Beginnings After Domestic Violence: Preparing for a Fresh Start

Leaving an abusive relationship is a terrifying choice, but it’s the healthy one. With carefully planned strategies, you can escape quickly and safely. Here is important information brought to you by the Arizona Trauma Institute to help you transition into a new life.

You are not alone. You may feel isolated, but there is help available to you. While you may feel more comfortable reaching out to friends and family, that may not be the most practical choice. Psych Central explains that sometimes people close to you may minimize your situation, or you may unintentionally put them in danger by involving them. Connect with an agency or organization designed to help people leaving abusive situations. If you can’t find a local agency, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 at any time of day or night, any day of the year. Black Enterprise Magazine explains the operators are specially trained to offer you personalized help when you are leaving an abusive situation. If you live in the Phoenix metropolitan area you can contact CHRYSALIS, a trauma certified organization, at 602-944-4999.

Saving funds. If possible, squirrel away some money before your escape. You can stow it in a place you feel your partner would never look, such as in the bottom of a tampon box. You’ll be in a hurry once you leave, but try to remember to make copies of as many important documents as you can (or snap a photo on your phone) including bank statements, tax returns, car titles, etc. Once you are away, a great suggestion is to open a separate bank account without your partner knowing. If you get a raise, you can request the additional amount to be direct deposited into the account. Another idea is to purchase small items such as hair care products with your joint debit card and then return them. Most stores will offer cash for small returns and it wouldn’t appear on your bank account. If you need to borrow money from friends or family members, ask for specific amounts. Vague requests are harder to swallow.

Safety first. If you need to leave and can’t get to a shelter immediately, consider contacting a hospital. Many emergency rooms will allow you to stay a night. If you need to sleep in your car, try heading to a Walmart, since most allow overnight parking. If your partner calls your phone, let those calls go to voicemail, since they can be used as evidence if they leave threatening messages. Whether you move into a new home, an apartment, or a friend’s home, make sure there is some form of security system to give you peace of mind. A monitored system is best, but it can get pricey. At the very least, install an unmonitored system. The noise will scare away any unwanted guests, and they won’t know that it isn’t sending out an emergency signal. However, once you have the funds, upgrade your system for maximum security.

Settle in. Moving to a new place free from your abuser will inevitably come with an adjustment period, but when you feel ready, take some time to make the home your own. Create a relaxing environment, aiming for a space free from anything that might trigger traumatic memories. Splurge on a few pieces of calm-inducing decor, like a landscape painting, to help make your new house a home. Lastly, clear your home’s energy to instill a sense of balance by burning sage and using bowls of salt to absorb negative energy.

Moving on. Once you are safely away and have time to process, you should consider taking your life in a new direction. It’s your opportunity to re-create who you are and pursue your dreams! Although you went through a traumatic experience, there is much you can learn from it. Not only can you now identify the red flags, but you have a clear understanding of how to set healthy boundaries. You can use what you learned and went through to help others by sharing your story and providing a beacon of hope to those currently in or fresh out of an abusive situation.

New life, new you. Escaping from your situation is the first step to a safe and happy life. Find help, plan carefully, save money if you can, and make safety your first priority. Then enjoy recreating your life with your fresh start!

Blog submitted by Janet Campbell (janet@elderspark.com)

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