Abuse Survivors Library
If you're in an immediate crisis - please stop reading and call a hotline, 911, your healthcare provider, or someone you trust.
What Happened To Us:
Child abuse means abuse inflicted on a child (someone under 18yo) by an adult. It can be physical, sexual, emotional/verbal, or neglect.
|Definitions, Hotlines, and Helplinks|
list of warning signs for all the different types of child abuse, and links to various child abuse resources.
|Korczak's Declaration of Children's Rights|
classic text focusing on morality, empathy, respect, and boundaries, rather than basic material needs.
|Child Sexual Abuse|
warning signs, statistics, tips on how to talk to a child if you suspect they're being abused, etc.
another form of child abuse by parents, where incestuous relationship is emotional rather than physical.
|The Blue Bull And The Lion|
True story written by survivor of child sexual abuse and neglect, describing her thoughts on the subject back when the abuse was happening. No graphic details.
|Three Deaths of Grandma|
true story written by a Fort Refuge member about her grandmother. Deals with child emotional abuse.
|Lax Lorraine and a Locker|
True story of child abuse and neglect - and how adults who were trying to help made things worse by not thinking through consequences of their actions.
|My abuser and me: So much in common|
Letter written by a child abuse survivor to her father, contains empathy and acceptance rather than rage.
|Letter To My Younger Self|
I want you to know that, no matter how tough it now seems, and how hopeless and frightened you feel, you will get through it, you will dig deep and find and do what it takes to survive...to maintain your true essence.
|It Ends With Me|
Letter by an abuse survivor to her siblings and parents, sharing her perspective on the past and her feelings and hopes for the future.
|Info for Teens|
what are your rights and what to do if they aren't being met. List of teen hotlines and helplinks too.
|Books About Child Abuse|
mostly memoirs of survivors, but some self-help too.
Domestic violence means abuse inflicted on one adult by another, while both live together in the same household. Most often it's physical abuse by an intimate partner, but it can also be abuse of elderly parents by adult children, etc.
|Basics, Hotlines, & Helplinks|
Domestic violence can feel chaotic, unpredictable, and unique - but it really isn't. It tends to be a repeat cycle: violence is followed by excuses, honeymoon, tension build-up, and then violence again. If you're trapped in it - you aren't alone, and there's a way out. Read about how it works, who perpetrates it, why victims get trapped in it, and what are your options.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where the victim bonds with the perpetrator, fears those who try to rescue him/her, and believes the perpetrator is in fact protecting him/her. The page analyzes the sources of this syndrome: love towards the abuser, perceived threat to survival, isolation, perceived inability to escape, cognitive dissonance, etc.
|Growing Up In A DV Environment|
Domestic Violence through the eyes of a child - survivors perspective on what it felt like to be surrounded by family violence as a child. What conclusions about relationships, disagreements, and violence she drew from this experience. And how she can now compare it to how things work in healthy homes.
|If you're accused of domestic violence|
Majority of DV cases are repeat offenses: the person continues doing what got them in trouble in the first place, be it beating up on their partner or naively continuing to trust them instead of getting a lawyer. This page lists ten things to consider, to help prevent this from happening to you, whether the accusation is false or not.
|9 ways to be accountable when you've been abusive|
Nobody wants to be "an abuser." No one wants to admit that they have hurt someone, especially when so many of us have been hurt ourselves. But the truth is that abusers and survivors of abuse do not exist, and have never existed, in a dichotomy: Sometimes, hurt people hurt people. When we are able to admit that the capacity to harm lies within ourselves - within us all - we become capable of radically transforming the conversation around abuse.
|Why Do Women Stay?|
Choosing to stay in an abusive relationship its rarely about masochism. There are rational and practical reasons, why women do it: fear, lack of awareness, lack of resources, unsuppotive responses from family/friends/social services, etc.
|Safety Planning for Battered Women|
Statistically, victims of domestic violence are 70 times more likely to get killed by their partner when they leave the relationship than at any other point in time. If you're trapped in a violent relationship - plan your escape carefully. The page addresses strategic safety planning, risk appraisal, identification of resources and protective factors, checklist, etc.
Rape means non-consentual sex (vaginal or otherwise), where the perpetrator forces it on the victim against their will and the victim is helpless to escape.
|Definition, Hotlines, & Helplinks|
basic idea on what is rape and what is consent, and a solid list of hotlines and very helpful websites.
|Rape of Men: Myths and Facts|
There are social stigmas, stereotypes, and wildest misconceptions surrounding the topic of male rape, making it exceptionally hard for survivors to speak of their experience and get the support they need for the aftermath of this trauma. This page offers basic information, statistics, and links for further reading.
|Multiple Victimization of Rape Victims|
Studies show that women who had been raped before were seven times more likely to be raped again, compared to those who have never been raped. If I keep getting raped over and over, simply reminding myself that it's not my fault doesn't really comfort me. I can't help but wonder why me, what makes me different from other people, does it say "rape me" on my forehead? This page deals with possible causes of revictimization and how to avoid it.
|Reporting Rape or Sexual Assault|
What happens when you report a rape, what the legal process consists of from the report to the conviction, what it feels like to the survivor, what are your rights, and how to make it less stressful.
|12 Things No One Told Me About Sex After Rape|
Too often the assumption is that if you have been raped, you are sexually broken and forever unfixable. That sort of discourse is not healthy or empowering or even sympathetic. What I want to say is what I wish I had been told: rape is not a form of sex, it is a form of assault. Sex feels good. Assault is traumatizing. It is possible for sex to exist after rape because they are different experiences.
Emotional abuse is a pattern of various behaviors that are not physically or sexually violent, but that are aimed at scaring, humiliating, or degrading the victim, denying them basic human rights and dignity, and keeping them trapped without a way to escape.
Emotional abuse is a confusing and controversial topic; this page attempts to clarify it.
|Emotional Abuse Tactics|
Top tactics emotional abusers use to hurt and intimidate their victims, with examples and explanations.
Adult daughter's perspective on what her mother is like; long, but many people relate. No solutions offered.
|How To Deal With A Narcissistic Mother|
Practical ideas on how to make this relationship more functional and healthy, regardless of whether mom cooperates or not.
|The Art of Emotional Abuse|
One survivor's perspective on what emotional abuse feels like.
|Books about emotional abuse|
Literature on emotional and verbal abuse, codependency, and breaking free from it.
Religious abuse means using a system of beliefs to inflict and/or justify abuse: physical, sexual, and/or emotional. Religious abuse might or might not take a form of a ritual, and can be perpetrated by an organized group of people or just a single person.
Religious abuse means using a system of beliefs to manipulate the victim and inflict harm, pain, and suffering on them. It does not involve any supernatural powers (though it's not rare for perpetrators to claim such abilities and for victims to believe them). However, it does involve a great deal of indoctrination: not only do you feel powerless to resist, but you often aren't even sure that you're being abused altogether.
|7 Characteristics of Spiritually Abusive Groups|
A list of some of the traits that seem to be commonly present in groups that practice religious abuse and usually lacking outside of them, to see whether these traits are what allows for abuse to happen.
|Reclaiming My Faith After RA|
cult survivor story on recovering her spirituality despite the abusive experiences with religion in childhood.
|More Info and Tips for Hotline Workers|
what is ritual abuse, who is involved, why it continues, what are the symptoms, etc.
|Books About RA|
memoirs of survivors of various cults, international.
Repairing The Damage:
Stages of healing, anger management, identifying your feelings, knowing your needs, improving your self esteem, etc.
|Stages Of Healing From Abuse|
Denial, Emotional Crisis, Bargaining, Anger, Grief, Acceptance, Depression, Repairing the Damage, and Integration.
|Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions|
Colorful graph to identify your feelings, priceless for abuse survivors. Includes 32 emotions and their connections to each other.
top ten methods to cope when you're triggered, having a flashback, or an anxiety attack - including famous "Frozen Orange" technique by ManySouls.
a bunch of calming nature videos, Buddhist meditations, piano music, and mp3 recordings of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation scripts.
|Basics by Tony Schirtziger, LCSW|
Three articles on the basics of emotional health. What are needs, how are feelings created, need for attention, four kinds of attention, discomfort, triggers for feelings, feelings we create. Sadness, Anger, Fear, Excitement, Joy - and Guilt, Shame, Imagined Fear - how to recognize them and what to do about them
|Dealing with Anger as an Abuse Survivor|
Article written by a Fort Refuge member describing various techniques she uses to handle and resolve her anger.
|A Self-Help Guide to Self Esteem|
practical tips on how to improve poor self-esteem and why it is important.
|Abstract Art As a Means of Abuse Recovery|
Survivors story on how painting helps her cope with aftermath of child abuse by releasing tension, providing an outlet for emotions, offering a distraction for SI urges, and giving a sense of accomplishment.
books on various self-help topics.
Things you can do to improve your quality of life: cleaning, cooking, sleeping, arts & crafts, etc
|Surviving The Holidays|
Holidays are an opportunity to break the routine, create good memories and traditions, and share them with the people we love. Dropping the "should"s and finding what works personally for you can turn the holiday season from something you dread into something you look forward to.
|Tips for Better Sleep|
reasons why people suffer from insomnia and suggestions that will help you establish better sleeping patterns.
A bunch of simple quick recipes you can fix if you're hungry and can't or don't want to spend time on cooking. Great for littles :)
|17 Tips for Hoarders|
Hoarding is an anxiety disorder frequent in abuse survivors, this page has various suggestions to overcome this problem and improve your quality of life.
|Surviving Dental Appointments|
23 things you and your dentist can do to make your dental appointments more comfortable for you
|Books about practical life skills|
self-help books on things like time management, budgeting, cleaning, etc.
Healthy vs unhealthy relationships, how to communicate with people, how to set boundaries, how to avoid drama, how to not abuse others, etc.
A lot of relationship disappointments and conflicts come from simply losing track of what the relationship is in the first place. For example, wanting sex from a friend or therapy from a spouse. Simply restating the nature of the relationship (and letting it sink) is often therapeutic on its own.
During abuse, listening was pointless because we couldn't trust what was said. Outside of abuse, however, the best way to understand someone is to listen to and - more importantly - hear them.
Three articles by Tony Schirtzinger, LCSW, on how to solve interpersonal problems. Does the problem exist? Is it significant? Is it solvable? Do you honestly want to solve this problem? Do you want to blame someone instead of solving it? Is it that you really can't or only believe so? Arguments about everything, arguments that go nowhere, and the power of the moment - the real problem solving. Priceless for abuse survivors.
|The Karpman Drama Triangle|
The purpose of the Victim, Rescuer, Persecutor Game, why do we play it, how to break free, how to spot emotional manipulation patterns in others and yourself, difference between drama and being an adult.
|Non-PD Recycle Bin & Tool Box|
two very extensive lists of approaches to personality disordered individuals: things that work and things that don't
|Dealing With A Passive-Aggressive Manipulator|
Article explaining what is passive-aggression, who engage in it and why, and 8 tips on how to handle it
|Books about relationships|
Our collection of books about relationships, available on Amazon.
Tips and tricks on how to support others. Feel free to use yourself or link your loved ones to these pages.
|Personal Note to a Supporter|
article explaining top 5 things about abuse and its aftermath to someone who never experienced it, in simple terms, with clear conclusions on what helps and what doesn't.
|If Physical Diseases Were Treated Like Mental Illness|
Classic cartoons by robot-hugs on some of the unhelpful things people say to those struggling with mental health issues.
|Reporting Suspected Abuse|
things to consider when you're choosing whether to report your concern or not (including legal requirements), numbers to call, description of the process.
|When Someone You Know Struggles with Fears, Anxiety, & Stress|
tips on supporting someone in a suicide crisis.
|How to approach someone with ED|
helpful article for supporters, listing basic DO's and DON'T's when approaching a loved one who struggles with an eating disorder.
|How To Convince An Addict To Get Help|
basics on how to do an intervention on a loved one with a substance abuse problem.
Pages where you can see our art and poetry, and submit your own - or post your story and raise awareness about abuse and help other survivors.
various artworks posted by Fort Refuge members, from abstract patterns to self-portraits; not extra gory.
Poems and creative writings by Fort Refuge members, talking of what abuse and its aftermath feel like.
Our tributes to those who died through child abuse, domestic violence, rape, or other forms of abuse. You can add a tribute too.
|Tell Your Story|
the place to submit your writing to this library.
How to choose a good therapist, what to talk about in their office, and when to quit.
|First Therapy Session|
lessen the anxiety by having a solid plan of what to tell your new therapist and what questions to ask them.
list of the most common therapy approaches explaining what each is all about, it's pros and cons. Plenty of links for further reading.
What happens inside, what is Baker Act, difference between ER stay and admission, between inpatient and outpatient treatment, and what to pack when you're going inpatient.
|Hiring & Firing a Therapist|
forty questions that will help you evaluate your therapist and decide whether it's worth it continuing with them
|Recovery Bill of Rights|
your right to personal authority over your life, boundaries, healthy communication, etc
How to ground when you're triggered, dealing with panic attacks and flashbacks, managing phobias, etc.
|Coping with Trauma|
basic article on how trauma affects people, how to cope with it, and when to ask for help.
|Panic - A Self-Help Guide|
extensive material on what is panic, where does it come from, how to recognize it, and how to cope with it.
|Dealing With Worry - A Self-Help Guide|
The unimportant, the unlikely, the uncertain, and the uncontrollable: how to distract, limit, or share your worries with others.
|Managing Your Fears & Anxieties|
collection of articles by Stan Popovich on coping with and overcoming fears, anxieties, and worries.
|Beating The Monster: Agoraphobia|
One survivor's story of recovery: It's a painful and scary process because most of what has to be done is exposure. I wasn't sure if it was worth it, but looking at it from this end I can say it definitely was.
|Living With Agoraphobia|
Excerpts from a journal of an abuse survivor who struggles with agoraphobia, but is making progress.
How to climb out of it or how to live with it
|Depression - What is it?|
signs and symptoms, available treatments, and practical steps you can take to make yourself feel better and stick through this rough time.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - The Power Of Small Steps I|
First article in series on practical thing we can do to get better after an emotional crisis, climb out of depression, and have a happier, more productive life. Focus is on making that very first step.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - The Power Of Small Steps II|
Turning the first small step into a habit, consolidating progress, dealing with setbacks.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - The Power Of Lists|
Tips on what to put on your TO DO list when you're trying to climb out of depression.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - The Power Of Motivational Statements|
Tips on how to use positive affirmations and quotes to feel better.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - Benefits Of Helping Others|
Offering support to other people can help you overcome your own emotional distress.
|Recovering From A Breakdown - The Power Of Counting Your Blessings|
Article on how focusing on positives can help you combat depression.
|Staying Happy in Hopeless Situations|
keeping a healthy perspective, handling fear of the unknown, channeling your focus out of the loops of hopelessness and despair, focusing on a way out, finding faulty thinking patterns, accepting the facts, etc
how to challenge your negative thinking, get out of bed, focus on the task at hand, use positive affirmations, and reach out for support
Suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, addictions, or any other non-accidental action that is harmful to your body.
|Suicide Hotlines & Helplinks|
|Ending Your Life Is Not The Answer|
short article by Stan Popovich on things to consider if you're feeling suicidal.
|The Black Coat|
fiction story about suicide. Trigger warning - it's a horror story, though not graphic. Might be a good read if you're feeling suicidal.
|Self Injury: Definition, Hotline & Helplinks|
basic idea of what is self injury and a list of hotlines that might be helpful.
|Self Injury Myths and Facts|
what is SI, why does it make people feel better, who are the people who SI, aren't they psychotic, is SI a failed suicide attempt, what can be done for a person who SI's, etc.
|Bill Of Rights for Those Who Self Injure|
ten basic rights such as humane treatment, unbiased careproviders, validation of feelings behind SI, etc
over 60 things you can do to battle an urge to self-injure.
3 questions to figure out if your habit is a problem for you or not, info on how abuse and addictions are interrelated, and links to helpful organizations.
|Internet Gaming Addictions|
article explaining why certain online games are so addictive
|Eating Disorders Hotlines & Helplinks|
basic article on recognizing an eating disorder, and a list of hotlines and websites that might help.
|Definitions of Eating Disorders|
what is anorexia, what is bulimia, what is compulsive eating.
|How I became a prostitute|
by an anonymous survivor who wanted to share her story
Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder), where it comes from and how we live with it.
|Info & Links|
basic article on what is DID/MPD and how do we live with it, and some helpful links.
what is dissociation, what causes it, what's a flashback, multiplicity, alter, co-consciousness, and integration.
an overview of diagnosis and treatment.
who are they, what are their origin, etiology, development, and functions, and how to treat them.
|Shades of a Girl|
creative writing by Fort Refuge member describing what DID is like to them.
|Color Programming and DID|
description of how some RA survivors associate their alters with particular colors due to programming.
|RA Color Programming|
another version of color-alter association, by a different survivor.
|You Know You've Got DID When...|
Excerpts from our famous thread with light-hearted jokes on what does it feel like, to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
|Books about DID|
written by survivors and/or their therapists; there's also a section of books for kids/littles.
This library is a collection of writings submitted by the members and visitors of Fort Refuge such as their stories, thoughts, experiences, insights, helpful links, phone numbers, poems, artwork, jokes - anything at all that members of our support group found interesting and beneficial to adult survivors of abuse. We are a diverse group and not all of us necessarily agree with or endorse materials posted here - we simply provide you with a platform to share information on abuse, its aftereffects, and techniques on handling both. If you're looking for a topic not covered in this list yet - forums contain plenty of info as well. Our library is frequently updated, please check back often, and feel free to contribute your writing!
~ Albert Einstein
© 2008-2016 Fort Refuge. Please don't reproduce without permission.