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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: NOT responding works just as well, because you refuse to play their game.
Author: Fraser Trevor
Rating 5 of 5 Des:
You need to be prepared for the fact that your determination to be free from your abuser will be met with extreme resistance. The abuser doe...

You need to be prepared for the fact that your determination to be free from your abuser will be met with extreme resistance. The abuser does not want to lose their daily fix. This is what you are to them. They are like a drug addict and you are their cocaine. The sad thing is that they may not realize that this is what is really going on. It is possible if they were a victim of abuse themselves.

It is important to put as much distance between you and your abuser, whether in actual miles, or by limited contact. If you can only do this by limiting the contact, take it a step further to make it email conversations only, except in cases of absolute necessity. This will most likely be the case if you are sharing custody. If you have not set up your divorce agreement, make sure that you include this. If necessary, get a protection order. It will keep them from thinking that they can enter your home or confront you in public whenever they please.

Set up a tape recorder on your phone, and make sure that the abuser is aware of this fact. If you have Caller ID, you will know when to use the recording phone. Make sure that you check with your local law agency as to the legalities of this.

If possible, do all conversations through email. First, you will have everything on file. Make a copy of your emails so that you do not lose them if your computer crashes. Second, it will make it easier for you to clarify your thoughts. You will be able to make sure that you have stated things as you meant to. You won't react with emotions, but with clear thinking.

Fear is your worst enemy. Real or imaginary, you will continue to physically react just as Pavlov's dogs did to the ringing bell. Seeing the person's name on your Caller ID or hearing their voice on your answering machine can cause a reaction. Even the thought of having to check your email can set your stomach into turmoil. Don't be surprised if you break out in a sweat, become sick to your stomach, or even have panic attacks. These are all normal reactions.

It is very hard to stop listening to the tape recorder that continually plays in the back of your mind. You will doubt your abilities to do well. Maybe you are having trouble with your finances. Maybe it involves something with the children. It could be at work. Everything you do, you will question and doubt yourself and your abilities.

Maybe this person has made threats to you. Nothing obvious, like ending your life, even though it is a short leap from emotional to physical abuse. Maybe the threat is financial, or something involving the children. These threats, whether real or imaginary, can make that last bit of spine that you have left crumble into dust.

At that point, you will increase your odds of making bad choices, such as in a divorce settlement, just to make it all stop. That is why you never make any decisions while under pressure.

People may tell you that you are doing a great job, or that you are a wonderful person, or a great parent. It won't matter what they say, you will still wonder if they are being truthful. And why wouldn't you? The person that "loves" you has told you for years that you are no good. You may be uncomfortable or embarrassed by true praise. Try to accept their praise and let it be a building block for your new self esteem.

So what do you do to start yourself on the road to recovery?

First, find someone with a "pit-bull" mentality to be your support person. The person should be someone who understands what you are going through. This can be difficult because people sometimes have trouble understanding emotional abuse. It is a lot easier to believe something when you have tangible proof of the abuse. You will need this person to be there to help you when you are quaking in your shoes. For example, maybe it is to just give feedback on a conversation or email. They will be your courage.

Get counseling, whether from a domestic violence agency or a mental health counselor. Sometimes it is easier to take advice from someone not connected to you personally.

Try to figure out what type of abuser you are dealing with. A good book for this is Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You, by Susan Forward, PH.D. The author will explain how you gave them permission to treat you as they do, plus survival and recovery tips.

Physical activity is very good. It keeps you from settling into depression. Yard work, scrubbing the kitchen floor, or organizing are just a few ideas. Every time you accomplish something, no mater how small, is a victory. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you did good.

The hardest thing that you have to overcome is not being afraid. People will assume that because you are no longer with this person, the fear evaporates. Not so! Especially if you have to continually have contact with this person, as in the case of joint custody of your children.

They may continually push the buttons that they have had success with before. They may also appear to be agreeable and easy going, and then attack when you are least expecting it. This is where your support person can help you. At first, you may be upset because you allowed them to slip behind your defenses. It is normal to let this happen, because again, this is the person that you may still love. But, over time, the love will lessen, and you will be able to mentally arm yourself for the next attack.

If you try to stand your ground on something, there may be a big explosion. Not surprisingly, this will cause you to take a few steps back. But if you keep at it, little by little, eventually they will realize that they cannot cause the fear in you as they have before.

Let anger give you strength. For example, if they criticize your parenting, and you know that what they say is unfounded, allow yourself to get mad. Therefore, if you need to respond, you will be less afraid. It is like the battle cry that an army lets loose when starting an attack! Sometimes, NOT responding works just as well, because you refuse to play their game. If your abuser agrees with you, don't be surprised that he will still try to get the last say, just to make a point. Let it go, and rejoice that you did not back down!

Until you can be totally free of them, they will always try to cause you pain, unless they find another victim. But the key is to eventually look at it as a childish tantrum, instead of an attack on your well being.

Be patient and kind to yourself. Learn to believe in yourself. Realize that the abuser is really someone who has their own low self-esteem issues. Learn to not be afraid. Remember that this all takes time, but it will get better. Tell yourself, every day, that you ARE a good person!

Dream Warrior Solutions

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