*While the behaviours and the impact may be the same for same sex relationships, I am using the language of a heterosexual relationship.
We know from research that isolation is a tactic that men, who abuse, use to gain more power and control over their partner. Though not all men who are abusive try to isolate their partner, many do. While we have come a long way from the Elizabethan era, some men still think they ‘OWN’ their wife. This belief leads men to believe that their wife should not need anyone else in their life except them. They feed their ego by exerting the assumption that their way is the only way, and anything else is wrong. They tell you they are the only one that has your best interest at heart – no one cares for you the way they do. They need to keep ‘their woman’ totally dependent on them. Any form of outside support, encouragement, accolades is a threat to the man who is abusive.
The current Coronavirus Pandemic, that the world is facing right now, also has side effects. When the forced isolation falls into the hands of a man who uses this tactic, it is an ideal breeding ground for more abuse to flourish. While the advisable isolation is necessary at this time for our physical health, for some, it can be a danger to their health.
Now what do you do? You are stuck in the house all day and all night with someone who is trying to control and manipulate you. You may begin to think that you are safer outside in a pandemic than you are in your own home. There are safety measures you can take to try to contradict the messages you are experiencing from your abuser. Social media – listen to therapeutic podcasts; Face Time; even old fashioned phone conversations with friends. Of course, there are the obvious ones which really do work, like deep breathing; relaxation techniques; yoga; bubble baths; going for a walk outside even if it’s just going around and around your own home. The crisis line is there – you don’t need to be in a life and death situation to call them, they are there to talk about whatever you need (1-888-353-2273). You can’t go wrong with journaling (just have a safe place to keep it). Remember to keep up the positive self-talk. Listening to your favourite music works as well. If it is safe to do so, call a counsellor – many have adapted their sessions to phone or video sessions.
Of course not all these ideas will work if your abuser is active and escalating in his abuse. You may need to be more creative and put in a bit of preparation towards a safety plan. For instance, it may be necessary to have a code word or text to a trusted friend that knows when it is time to call and distract you or call 9-1-1 for help. You could also check out Robin McGraw’s Aspire News App.
Essentially, you need to nurture yourself through this struggling time and reach out safely when you can. It is obvious to me that you are a very strong person to have survived an abusive relationship this long. A sign of strength is knowing when to reach out for help and acting upon it. Stay safe.
Kelowna Women’s Shelter 24/7 counselling support ~ 250-763-1040
Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society ~ 250-763-4613 M-F
Connect Counselling ~ 250-860-3181 M-F
Written by: Dolores, Gooliaff, Registered Social Worker.
Tel: 250 718 9291
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