Fort Refuge - Abuse Survivors Support Group

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 (11)
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.
Covert Incest

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.
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 (7)
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
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 & Sexual Assault (4)
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.
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.
Multiple Victimization of Rape Victims

article dealing with possible causes of this phenomenon.
Emotional & Verbal Abuse (6)
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.
Narcissistic Mothers

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 and Ritual Abuse (5)
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

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:

Emotional Health (10)
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.
Grounding Techniques

top ten methods to cope when you're triggered, having a flashback, or an anxiety attack - including famous "Frozen Orange" technique by ManySouls.
Calm Room

a bunch of calming nature videos, Buddhist meditations, piano music, and mp3 recordings of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation scripts.
Basics 1: Your Needs And Wants

the difference between our needs and wants: what are needs, how are feelings created, need for attention, four kinds of attention, discomfort, triggers for feelings, feelings we create.
Basics 2: Your Natural Feelings

Sadness, Anger, Fear, Excitement, and Joy - how to recognize them and what to do about them
Basics 3: Your Unnatural Feelings

Guilt, Shame, Imagined Fear - what real feelings do they cover? And how do we get in touch with what's under the surface? And what do we do about it?
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.
Self-help Books

books on various self-help topics.
Practical Life (6)
Things you can do to improve your quality of life: cleaning, cooking, sleeping, arts & crafts, etc
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.
Tips for Better Sleep

reasons why people suffer from insomnia and suggestions that will help you establish better sleeping patterns.
Easy Cookbook

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.
Navigating Relationships (8)
Healthy vs unhealthy relationships, how to communicate with people, how to set boundaries, how to avoid drama, how to not abuse others, etc.
Relationships Chess

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.
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.
Problem Solving 1: Roadblocks

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?
Problem Solving 2: Defining The Problem

arguments about everything, arguments that go nowhere, and the power of the moment - the real problem solving
Problem Solving 3: Six Aspects Of A Problem

Does the problem exist? Is it significant? Is it solvable? What's my part in it? What's your part in it? What's the role of the situation?
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.
Supporting A Survivor (7)
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.
Speaking Up (4)
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.
Our Art

various artworks posted by Fort Refuge members, from abstract patterns to self-portraits; not extra gory.
Our Poetry

Poems and creative writings by Fort Refuge members, talking of what abuse and its aftermath feel like.
Memorial Wall

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.

Mental Health:

Therapy (5)
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.
Therapeutic Modalities

list of the most common therapy approaches explaining what each is all about, it's pros and cons. Plenty of links for further reading.
Psych Hospitals

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
PTSD and Anxiety (5)
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.
Living With Agoraphobia

Excerpts from a journal of an abuse survivor who struggles with agoraphobia, but is making progress
Depression (9)
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
Managing Depression

how to challenge your negative thinking, get out of bed, focus on the task at hand, use positive affirmations, and reach out for support
Self Inflictions (12)
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
SI Distractions

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.
DID Facts

what is dissociation, what causes it, what's a flashback, multiplicity, alter, co-consciousness, and integration.
Dissociative Spectrum

an overview of diagnosis and treatment.
Persecutory Alters

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!

Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This page was last updated on April 26th, 2016
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