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Domestic violence messes up not only your life, but also your mind, making peace elusive even if you muster up the courage to get away. Here is a 5 point plan to help women who need to recover from an abusive relationship.
These are tried and tested techniques that will help over time. I don’t know how others are trying to recover but here are some things that helped me. While I still get worked up over some memory, or jittery when I look at a message, I have come a long way from the person who had near panic attacks every time I so much as saw a mail in my inbox.
I know only too well what it is like to not have a clear idea about what you should do and not many of the articles out there are very helpful because not many websites are targeted at Indian women. So my strategy may work for you if you are an urban Indian woman, may be a parent, and you need your wits around as you cope with the nitty-gritties of divorce.
If it is possible at all, then stay as far away from your abuser as possible. Be in a place where you don’t have to see him everyday or even for weeks. This will give you the space you need for the panic response to subside. It will also help you get back to thinking for yourself and not just react to what he does or says. Your actions will be defined by what you chose to do rather than trying to do or not do what he expects you to do.
Whether you are away or nearby, there is no escaping messages, emails and calls. I got threatened and abused repeatedly on phone and while I made sure I recorded every call, I was sick at the end of each call. I was emotionally drained and felt wretched. I would go over every word and expression and cry my lungs out when no one was around. It is gut wrenching I know. But, you need to stop trying to make sense of what such people say. Their words should not have the power to hurt you.
Imagine a big recycle bin in your head where the words go and then imagine emptying that recycle bin in some vast outer edge of the universe. This visualisation actually helped me a lot.
I cannot stress too much the importance of pen and paper. Blogs help but even anonymous blogs seem scary or you may be threatened or bullied into taking them down. But a journal or diary can be written and the pages can be flushed down any time. But, never make the mistake of going back and reading what you have written. Those pages where you lay your soul bare should never ever resurface.
Even if you have a very, very supportive family or are expecting a decent settlement, find a job — not a time pass job to keep you occupied — a real job that pays enough to make you financially independent. This will help you regain your confidence as you prove him wrong by going out in the real world and making things work for you without his help.
Prayer does not mean a chant or a ritual. It is an act that brings hope. I do not follow any religious ritual or believe or disbelieve in any God. To me, God is synonymous with hope. At my darkest hour, prayer has helped me cling on to the hope that there will be an end to my suffering, or at least suffering at the hands of this monster. It helped sharpen my focus as I dealt with my insecurities. If possible pray with a friend or a family member you trust.
Image source: man slapping woman by Shutterstock.
I am an urban Indian woman and I hope to be able to bring about
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