Mornin’ people! Unfortunately abuse/trauma is something too many of us face repeatedly in our lives. Let’s face it. It’s rampant in our families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and so on. In my opinion it’s so common that it’s normalized. Smh. Thankfully some of us take it very seriously. Here are some things we can all do to assist someone who has been abandoned or chosen to walk away from an abusive relationship. Take into account that the person is in a highly vulnerable place and will probably remain so for quite awhile. Take time to recognize that they are in mourning. Don’t take this lightly. SHOW UP. BE GENUINE. DO NOT ABANDON THEM. LISTEN INTENTLY. These are things we can do to truly help when everything is fresh:
- Try your hardest not to judge the person. Show this by saying little and being incredibly mindful of your words when you do speak. People who’ve been abused have been violated not hurt. The latter is the word many use to describe a survivor. That of and by itself can be re-traumatizing.
- Remind the person that they do NOT deserve any of what’s gone/going on.
- Encourage them to keep their peace AND to release whatever (mixed) emotions they are experiencing.
- Go and see them as quickly as you can. HUG (provided a person is open to that/will find this helpful). Deep bear hugs. Be in regular contact with them. NOTE: Some survivors of physical abuse do not want to be touched. If that is the case try your best to be respectful of this.
- Gently ask if the person needs assistance with housing (especially if it’s a mama and child(ren). If possible offer them a room in your home OR find somewhere safe for them to stay for an unlimited amount of time. Rent-free or at a very low cost.
- Support them through their emotional stages ie. depression, anger, grief, regret, shame. Know that the person may not want to leave their home for 2-3 days in order to reflect…
- If the person doesn’t want to leave their house drop off a meal. Leave it on their door step. Hold space for their healing. Energetically send them protective light.
- Bless them with a few precious gifts. If they’re up for it have them over for a meal/tea or take them out for one or both. Give them things that will remind them to nurture themselves to the enth. ie. gift certificates for spas/favourite eateries/groceries, yoga classes, soothing candles, protection and love crystals, palo santo, bath salts, Rescue Remedy products, incense, calming teas, flowers, inspiring cards/magnets, beautiful clothing/jewelry etc.
- Encourage them to smudge their space regularly and to establish clear boundaries for their own protection. At the same time relapses are real so be willing to accept that they may return to the unhealthy relationship. Accept that your relationship with them may change for better or worse and be okay with that.
- Suggest culturally relevant counselling. In many cases this can help immensely. Consider offering to pay for at least 2-3 counselling sessions with a reputable professional who is a good fit for the survivor. If the survivor chooses to get a protection order of some sort find a way to assist them in covering the cost (in part or in full).
- Check in with them regularly for as long as is necessary. For some that will mean a few years. Trust me.
- Be honest with them if they are displaying self-destructive behaviors in response to the abuse.
- If they’re a parent help them get some “me” time by offering to have their children once or twice a month. At the very least 4-5 hours each time is ideal.
- If the person needs new accommodation assist them with finding something suitable.
- Encourage the individual to create a moving on (possibly over a new moon) ritual so that they can comfortably release any feelings associated with the relationship. The same occasion can be used to get rid of any belongings connected to “the ex.” If it’ll help ask if they need assistance with any of this.
P.S.: Remember that abuse comes in many forms. Emotional, sexual, psychological, physical, financial and so on. For those who are unaware cheating is a form of abuse.