Thursday, March 19, 2015

10 Survival Tips For Those Who Have Left Abusive Relationships

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By Michael James

When already out of an abusive relationship, you cannot let your guard down even when you are no longer living with or interacting with your abuser. Your abuser will likely try to come back to your life, and it is very important that you put up strong barriers to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Consider relocating away from your abuser. A great way to restart anew is to put great distance between you and your abuser. This lessens the likelihood of contact, and lets you break away from the old habits that enabled your erratic relationship. You may choose to relocate to a new neighborhood, city, state or even country. You might think twice about relocating due to the hassles such as your children having to transfer schools, and having to find a new job and home, but relocating can be worth all that so you can have a fresh start.

2. Keep your new residence a secret. Your abuser might try to track you down and pull you back into the relationship by using manipulation or violent threats. This is why you should not divulge your new residence to anyone who might reveal your location. Make sure to get an unlisted phone number and a post office box for mail rather than your home address. You should also look into applying to your state’s address confidentiality program, which forwards mail to your home without divulging your address. Your ex-partner might try to find you through your old service providers like your bank and credit card, so cancel them and subscribe to new ones, preferably to a different provider.

3. Change up your routine. It is critical that you change up your routine, especially if you choose to stay in the same area as your abuser. Your abuser can try to re-establish contact by stalking you in your favorite coffee shop, gym or mall. Simple things like choosing a new route going home and doing errand runs on different days will help decrease the chances that you will encounter your abuser.

4. Consider getting a restraining order – but do not be complacent. A restraining order or protective order is designed to punish your abusers should they try to approach you or stalk you, but will not prevent your abuser from finding you in the first place. Restraining orders can be an invaluable tool to deter abusers, but you should not think of it as a bodyguard that will keep you absolutely out of harm’s way. If you choose to get a restraining order, learn everything you can on how the restraining order is enforced in your area. Some areas are lax with restraining orders so that the police will only give a citation to a stalker-abuser. US residents can get more information on restraining orders by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or their state’s Domestic Violence Coalition.

5. Use a corded phone whenever possible. Phone conversations can be tapped, so try to always use a corded phone -- it offers superior privacy and is harder to tap compared to your cordless or mobile phone. Given your vulnerable state, it is very important to protect your plans and conversations.

6. Replace your old mobile number and purchase a prepaid one. If you cannot afford to change numbers or buy a new mobile phone, your local domestic violence shelter or support group might be able to provide you one.

7. Make sure your phone settings and apps do not divulge personal information. Check your phone settings or any apps that might reveal your current location, residential or work address and contact details. Turn off any settings that might divulge personal information that an abuser might use to find you.

8. Create a new email. Your abuser will likely know your old email address and may try to get – if not already have – the password to it. A new email is safer to use, in general. Safeguard this new email address and reveal it to only the people you trust. Create dummy email accounts for registration purposes, and keep one real email for your personal contacts, emergency correspondence, and conversations with friends and local help groups.

9. Memorize all your computer and device passwords. Do not write them down and create ones that are very hard to guess – avoid using birthdays, nicknames and other publicly known facts about you.

10. Be careful about public computers and devices. Avoid opening your email in a public computer or someone else’s devices. Also, make sure to delete the history or use a browser that does not record your session such as Google Chrome’s Incognito setting.

Read more - Essential Survival Guide For Victims of Domestic Abuse

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