Men are often the victims in abusive relationships. Jordan Kozey explains what to do when you get out.
This article is a follow up to my previous piece, dubbed Men Are Victims Too: Recognizing and Dealing with Abuse. If you feel as though you may be exposed to various kinds of abuse in your relationship, but aren’t sure, please take some time to read the previous article. It may shine some clarity on your situation. Many readers were left feeling validated in their position as an abused male, but questions arose as to what to do after the fact. Well, my friends, it is time to clean up what has become quite messy.
The first stage that accompanies the knowledge of abuse is self-doubt. We think things like:
“All relationships have difficulties.” “I’m over reacting.”
(No, you’re not).
“There are some really good times, though.”
(Yes, because you are doing what they want and these good times, more often than not, come at a price. Good times are also much easier to remember).
“We have kids, I can’t leave.”
(Can you leave if you realize that you are contributing to your kids being okay with having an abusive partner when they grow up?)
“Maybe I’m the problem here.”
(Well, you’ve definitely been made into the problem if your partner is abusive. This is a corrosive vat to swim in. If you have not gotten to the point of realizing that relationships must be a two way effort, you are enabling your own abuse).
“I will never find a good relationship.”
(This means that you will secretly keep yourself engaged with terrible treatment in order to avoid being alone. This type of thought is quite revealing of the abuse you are putting yourself through. Your partner is, in some ways, a mirror of this abuse. It also means that you probably grew up in a home where you were invalidated, cut down, or manipulated. Oh, and yes, you can find a health partner in life.)
“If I give up, that means I’m a quitter and an abandoner. I don’t quit or abandon.”
(Firstly you cannot abandon an adult. Only children can be abandoned, and if you have children you will fight to be in there life anyway, so you are not abandoning them. Quitting is surefire health if your life, energy, vitality, health, is compromised in any way. We’re not coal miners at the turn of the century. We have a choice, and quitting is something really damn awesome. Some call it letting go of that which does not serve)
Emphatically, it is without doubt that good relationships exist, and that you can have one in your life (see here).
So here are six things to do when abuse has found you.
Reach out to as many people in your life as you can who, and this is a big who, you know, with certainty, will validate your experience and not doubt you. Sometimes family members will love you, but not understand, because it would require to look at themselves, and the way they treated you when you were a child. Read as many articles online about narcissistic and co-dependent relationships as you can. Let them feed your psyche. Watch videos on it. Read Codependent No More. Allow yourself, for a while, to accept that you have been a victim (before you take your power back).
- If you are married, call a lawyer, or friend who has been through an abusive situation, and get to know all the ins and outs of what divorce will cost you, what will most likely happen with the kids and the property, knowing full well that your abusive partner will do everything they can to tear you apart if you try to break away. If your children are in danger, it is best to leave with them and get to safe place as soon as possible.
- Begin a healthy a diet and fitness regime as you possible can. You will need the extra strength and endurance. Call your naturopathic doctor, or get one if you don’t have one, and ask them what you can do to enhance your energy levels and mood. Grass-fed, free-range Bone broth is a lifesaver. So are multi-vitamins that target your adrenal gland and garner it with support. Buttress your brain with fish oils, green tea, blueberries, and turmeric. Your body has and will go through a lot.
- Record anything, either by written word, tape, or video that might be constituted as abuse. Whenever something really bothers you, twists you to your core, write it down so you do not forget. One of the most important aspects of breaking abuse is standing up for your own well being while refraining from apologizing for things you should not. You should not apologize for having an emotion. You should not apologize for sharing that emotion. Start doing this, and notice what happens. Start taking more care of yourself and give attention to your abusive partners reactions. A healthy partner encourages health—remember this at all costs.
- If at all possible, by any stretch of time or imagination, book a week away for yourself, or pray that a slot of time becomes available to you. Even if it’s only a night or two away where you can be with yourself, and out of the fire. In extreme situations you may need to check yourself in to the hospital and say you think you’re going crazy. If you stay in an abusive situation, you are somewhat crazy anyway.
- Lay down and feel yourself, your body, the space around you, and imagine the space between your ears filled with things you love to do, activities that illuminate your heart, and pretend as if you do not have to interact with your partner. How does it feel? Do you feel any relief—one of the surest signs that you have been under an abusive roof? In close second to relief comes excitement for your own life. Close third comes a spring of energy that may bring clarity about your situation. None of these will last long, as old patterns die hard, but if they spring up, know you need more of you.
Find a psychologist or psychotherapist (I am one, and you can contact me at [email protected]), as well as some type of body worker. Start with at least weekly or bi-weekly visits to untangle some of the misconceptions, amnesia, and cloud that you are emerging from. A therapist can help you see why you might have gotten into this type of relationship in the first place, can help you see a way out, and formulate effective solutions to deter it from happening again. A body worker will help you get the trauma out of your cells, creating space for new love and relationship.
It is important to take all of this slowly. Remember that as you start to break away, the abusive behavior can become worse. This is both a good sign that you are doing what you need to do, for you, and one to take extreme caution because you are putting a steel pipe in spinning cogs or horrendous force. I wish you all the strength and support you need! Be well.
This post is republished on Medium.
Photo credit: iStock