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Abuse Survivors Library
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Emergency Escape Plan
Being involved in a violent relationship is kind of like living on top of a volcano. Some people leave once they realize it and never look back. Others run off during the eruption, wait out the danger, and come back once things calm down. Many go back and forth a few times, but eventually leave for good. Whatever your long-term plan is (staying or leaving), it's crucial to ensure your basic safety in the here and now, while you're still sharing the house with your abuser and the volcano can erupt any minute. The beauty of an emergency escape plan is that you don't have to hide it, because it's applicable in any emergency: fire, flood, earthquake, burglary, etc. Any reasonable person would commend you for being conscious of safety, your partner won't question your motives, and your friends and family won't suspect abuse (if you wish to keep it secret). You can even disguise your plan as a joke, a game, or a hobby (e.g. zombie apocalypses). It consists of simple adjustments that are easy to implement, but that would drastically increase your chances of surviving violence at home, and eventually escaping it.
How To Deal With A Narcissistic Mother
Mother is supposed to love and support you unconditionally, approve of you as a person, root for you even if you messed up and everyone turned away from you - mom is the one person in the world who will always be there for you. She is also the one who was supposed to teach you right and wrong, and whose judgment you relied on completely. It was her opinion of your character that you based your self-worth on. Nobody likes to be called selfish, ungrateful, disrespectful, rude, cruel, etc, especially by their own mother, so we would go to great lengths to earn our mother's approval, love, and support. That's what causes strained relationships between mothers who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and their adult children: this approval, love, and support will never happen. Bashing people with mental health issues is a pointless exercise, but if you aren't ready to cut your mom off - there are things you can do to not let her impairments affect your quality of life.
Financial abuse is a situation where someone robs you of your money or other assets by playing on your vulnerability or taking advantage of your trust. For example, convincing you to give them your paycheck, stealing your cash, draining your savings account, maxing out your credit cards, making you sign over your house, or using your name to open loans. Sometimes it's done openly (e.g. "sign your house over to me now or I'll kill you"), but often it's disguised as "helping you manage your finances". Financial abuse usually happens in domestic relationships, i.e. between spouses or adult children and their elderly parents, but can also happen between friends, siblings, dating couples, remote relatives, neighbors, etc. It results in financial troubles (like getting evicted from your own house), stress and anxiety, shame, and damaged family relationships. Financial abuse is a crime, but rarely gets reported and prosecuted because it's painful to admit, embarrassing to talk about, and very confusing. However, avoiding the problem doesn't solve it; the more you know about it, the better protected you are.
My abuser and me: So much in common
To my father...my abuser. Have decided it's time to get a bit of balance into my thinking about me and you. Truth is we share so much...sometimes reacted to some of it in different, sometimes in similar ways. Both grew up without the parental support we deserved - you because your father died in the Spanish flu epidemic and your mother did not cope well on her own...tended to put her kids second as she sought to find a new husband and life for herself. Me? Don't really need to go into details about your and my relationship (you know that well enough) but, it was not all down to you...like your mother, my mother (your wife) did not always cope with the situations she found herself in. Tried her best I am sure but did not, or chose not, to see (at the time the limited options) to protect my sibs and me. I often wonder did you really not care for me as much as your behaviour would suggest or like me did you learn to tough things out rather than express your pain to a world that seemed not to care? Did you as a child dream that someone would save you...take some of your too heavy burden on their shoulders? That you could be as carefree as the other children around you appeared to be. Did you like me fear that your mother would leave you, worry how you would cope? In my case I was luckier than you were. My mother did not take my sister and leave 13 year old me and my younger brothers with a step-father who barely knew us...move overseas...set up a new life with a new...
Many abuse survivors struggle with depression, addictions, unhealthy relationships, even suicide thoughts. One of the reasons it's happening is that abuse robs you of your identity, so once it's over - you feel lost and unsure of who you are anymore, and try to fill your life with unhealthy distractions. Another reason is that abuse causes a lot of conflicting feelings: pain, anger, fear, frustration, love, confusion, self-blame, hope. Talking of these feelings is hard, and even the most supportive friends can't listen 24/7. Journaling resolves both of these problems. It allows you to express your thoughts, feelings, desires, plans, hopes - free of judgment or limitations. To re-discover who you are and what you want to do with your life. This page lists a few of the most common approaches to journaling - pick the one that seems most inviting, or experiment with them all.
What to tell your therapist first time you meet them
The thought of seeing a therapist for the first time can be anxiety provoking, even if you saw other therapists before. For many people a big part of this anxiety is wondering what to tell this new therapist during the first session. While obviously this depends on what do you want from them, there are a couple of ideas below - not to use as directions, but simply as an invitation for creativity. Maybe reading what other people discuss with their therapists on first session would help you clarify what is it that YOU want (or don't want) to talk with your new therapist about.
Info for Teens
Everybody has the right to happiness. With adults it's their headache to reach it. With minors - it's society's job to provide you with a healthy, safe, supportive environment where you can thrive. Nobody can make you happy but yourself, but adults responsible for you (like your parents, your teachers, your doctors, your local police officers - everyone around you) have the responsibility of providing you with your basic needs, things no one can be happy without. Society cares about you, wants you to reach your full potential and turn out a happy, healthy, smart, responsible, well-adjusted individual. This is why we have laws in place to make sure you get what you need to do that: You have the right to a safe home, adequate clothing, school supplies, food, medical care. When you don't have a winter coat, your home has no electricity, you haven't seen a dentist in years, there's no food in the fridge, or mom and dad yell at each other every night so you can't focus on homework - this is a bad environment to be in because you can't function like this. Nobody can thrive while cold, hungry, or sick. You have the right to education and guidance. If you can't read - you won't get very far in life, you know. If you don't know how to do laundry - it's going to be hard once you move out of your parents' house. If you never learned how to balance a checkbook - things will be rough when you get your own bank account and start paying your own bills. You have the right to learn all...
Latest articles:10 Tips for Procrastinators
Procrastination is the habit of putting off, delaying, avoiding things that need to be done. It's a form of self-sabotage that carries heavy consequences - but many abuse survivors engage in it because of how the past trauma affects us. Read about ten ways to overcome this problem and reach your goals. (Published on Mon, 17 Feb 2020)Inspirational Quotes
Hundreds of inspirational quotes about abuse, recovery, and mental health, organized by topic. Fort Refuge members can add quotes and bookmark their favorites, to use as a grounding tool. (Published on Fri, 07 Jun 2019)Journaling
Journaling allows you re-discover who you are and what you want to do with your life, now that abuse is over, and to express your thoughts, feelings, desires, plans, hopes - free of judgment or limitations. (Published on Mon, 19 Mar 2018)Religious Violence
Religious violence is dangerous because its perpetrators genuinely believe they are doing the right thing, and therefore are not afraid of legal repercussions and won't take pity on their victim. It's also terribly confusing, because it's often perpetrated by your family, the people who are supposed to love and protect you. Like any other form of abuse, religious violence is not limited to any specific religion or culture, so it's important to be aware of the danger no matter who you are or where you live. (Published on Fri, 09 Mar 2018)Survivor's Gym
Physical exercise is a great way to distract when trauma work becomes too overwhelming. This page has exercise istructions videos for people of any age and fitness level, not requiring any special equipment. (Published on Fri, 23 Feb 2018)
Articles About Abuse:
Articles about abuse inflicted on a child (someone under 18yo) by an adult. It can be physical, sexual, emotional/verbal, or neglect.
Articles about abuse inflicted on one adult by another, while both share the same household. For example, physical abuse by an intimate partner, or abuse of elderly parent by their adult child.
Articles about non-consensual intercourse (vaginal or otherwise), where the perpetrator forces it on the victim against their will and the victim is helpless to escape.
Articles about a pattern of 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.
Articles About Recovery:
Articles about stages of healing, anger management, identifying your feelings, knowing your needs, improving your self esteem, etc.
Articles about things you can do to improve your quality of life: cleaning, cooking, sleeping, arts & crafts, etc
Articles about healthy and unhealthy relationships, how to communicate with people, how to set boundaries, how to avoid drama, how to not abuse others, etc.
Articles about supporting an abuse survivor, our art and poetry, abuse stories, glossary, etc. Feel free to add to these projects, and share them with your friends.
Articles About Mental Health:
Articles about therapy: how to choose a good therapist, what to talk about in their office, and when to quit.
Articles about how to ground when you're triggered, dealing with panic attacks and flashbacks, managing phobias, etc.
Articles about Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder), where it comes from and how we live with it.
Articles about suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, addictions, or any other non-accidental behaviors that are harmful to your body.
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!
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