A survivor of domestic violence commented that it was a very long and difficult process for her to get out of her abusive relationship. She relied on neighbors and her family but mostly on a women’s shelter – where she went to live three different times during her tumultuous marriage. Finally breaking the cycle of domestic violence for herself, her advice is: “Get help. Leave. Leave in any way you can. Don’t go back. Period.”

If you are afraid of your partner’s anger and how he/she treats you, your children or elders under your care, your first responsibility is to protect yourself and loved ones from harm. Resolve to begin the tough process of freeing yourself. You may feel trapped and so deeply entrenched in the dysfunctional relationship that it seems you will never break away. You can make a start by taking the steps we will be presenting this week:

Insist that your partner participate in individual therapy as well as relationship counseling with you. The individual therapy should focus on areas such as anger management, cognitive behavioral change, insight, skill building, communication, stress reduction and control strategies.

Get help from friends and family members. Talk with them about your concerns and let them know what you need from them. Educate yourself and them about domestic violence. Tell them how to recognize that you or others may be in immediate danger and devise code words to inform them if you need help.

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