3 Steps for Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Many people struggle with abusive relationships. If you're stuck in an abusive relationship, you can feel scared and hopeless. Thankfully, even if you feel like you can't escape, there is a way out. Detailed below are three steps for leaving an abusive relationship.

Find the Courage

The first step in leaving an abusive relationship is to find the courage to go. This can be difficult, especially if you're not the only one in danger. Woman’s Divorce cautions that in many domestic violence cases, children are held hostage by the abusive partner. It’s okay to be afraid, but recognize that leaving will improve the lives of everybody involved. If you're having difficulty leaving, form a support network. Therapists, lawyers, friends, family-- anyone who can help you find the courage to break out and will support you in doing so. This will be a long process, but you can do it. Have faith in yourself.

Obtain Protection

Unfortunately, once you begin taking steps to leave the relationship, things will probably get worse before they get better. Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox points out that many domestic abuse victims find abusive relationships difficult to terminate. When a victim finds the courage to end the relationship or seek help, they can experience even greater abuse in the aftermath of making that decision, and the increase of abuse can often lead many victims to remain in abusive relationships because of their inability to safely terminate the relationship. To counteract the risk of domestic violence, reach out to your support network. Leverage them for protection. Use the resources you have to ensure your safety and the safety of your family, and inquire about finding trained professionals to provide you more protection. You may need them.

Receive Aftercare

Once you’ve ensured the safety of you and your loved ones, it is important to receive aftercare. Studies show that 68.3% of domestic violence victims experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD in domestic violence victims often manifests as depression, anxiety, or chemical dependency. This is why aftercare is so important. To protect your mental health and the mental health of your loved ones, seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist in healing from your abuse.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be a scary and difficult process. In the end, the decision to leave will make life better for everybody involved. You and your family deserve safety and peace of mind. Have faith in yourself and don’t give up. Things can and will get better.

3 Ways to Retrain Your Brain to Reduce Stress

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd argue that they want to experience more stress. However, it's often difficult for many people to reduce their stress levels. It can be futile to try to eradicate stress entirely as well as counterintuitive, as stress can be good. However, a brain fixated on stress isn't of much use. If you want to retrain your brain to reduce stress, these three methods will definitely help.

Cognitive Reframing

One way to not get stressed is to avoid stressful situations. However, that's beyond wishful thinking, as stressful situations are inevitable, and the more you try to avoid them, the worse they may become. Sometimes, the stress is not actually coming from the situations themselves. It's usually how we're viewing them. Cognitive reframing involves looking at a stressful situation from a different angle and seeing how you might be exaggerating a problem or avoiding a solution. Instead of just seeing what's bad about the situation, you look on the bright side, no matter how dim it might be.

Neurofeedback Therapy

Have you ever wondered why you think the way you do? Our brains are so fascinating, and we've barely scratched the surface in terms of understanding about its capabilities. Neurofeedback therapy provides insight on how the brain processes information, how decisions are being made, and where breakdowns are happening. In a session, you can get a better sense of your brain and what makes it tick. Should there be any alarming trends, you can work to retrain your brain for better functionality. You might think that you're stuck in a certain mindset for the rest of your life, but that is by no means the case.

Mindfulness

Stress is exacerbated by living in the past and future. This isn't time travel but an unwillingness to accept the present. Mindfulness is the act of keeping the mind fixated on the present moment. This has been shown to dramatically reduce stress and lead to happier and healthier people. It starts with putting your attention on a constant, like the rise and fall of breath. With enough practice, you can instinctually shift into mindfulness whenever stress arises.

The less you identify with stress, the more freedom you can find. You can recognize stress, but you can avoid being controlled by it. Stress isn't inherently bad, but it can be a problem when we let it run amok. Do your best to confront stress and see how much better it makes you feel.

For other ways to retrain your brain and reduce stress, individual counseling can help!

3 Ways to Handle Negative Emotions After Your Divorce

Going through a divorce could be one of the most difficult things you can ever experience. Even if you initiated it, there's still likely to be all kinds of negative emotions running through you. These are some strategies for handling these tough feelings.

Find an Outlet

Negative emotions can't just be destroyed. Instead, they need to be redirected in a positive way. The Second Principle recommends using negative energy to fuel your creative ventures. All the time you spend feeling bad is time that could be spent on productive activities like working out, meditating, or spending time with friends. These outlets won't just make you feel better on their own. They'll require your full engagement in order for you to realize their benefits. It can take effort to feel better, but wallowing in your misery is no solution. When you have outlets for your negative emotions, you can be far less afraid of them.

Aromatherapy

Have you ever smelt something so wonderful that it immediately made you feel better? doTERRA explains how an aroma can hit the receptors in our noses and immediately go into the brain, changing our thought process and immediately changing our moods. Sometimes we tag a certain emotion, like feeling good, with a smell. When we are feeling bad and we reach for that smell again it brings us right back to feeling better because of that association and the immediate response our brain has to that smell. Essential oils can change our moods in a healthy and reliable fashion. Stock up on your favorite scents and have them available for when you're feeling upset or tense. Your negativity can be reduced, one smell at a time.

Self Love

The negative emotions you feel after a divorce might be directed at both your former spouse and yourself. Feeling angry towards yourself is understandable, but it doesn't have to be that way. When you find yourself criticizing yourself for anything, ask yourself if what you're thinking about or calling yourself is actually valid. Anderson and Associates recommends taking time to rediscover yourself. Marriage, children, divorce, and more have powerful effects on your self, and so finding who you are again is necessary. Then, find how you can bring self-love into your life. This could be reading a favorite book, calling a friend, or taking a bubble bath. Whatever you have in mind that's healthy is a worthwhile pursuit.

Negative feelings might feel bad, but that doesn't mean they are bad. Often, you need to express your feelings in a healthy way to be able to move on. Your divorce can be a struggle to get through, but you can persevere. When you look back, you will be able to do so with pride.

How to Partner with Your Coparent

Divorce and separation can have a negative impact on your child, especially when the conflict continues after the breakup. But there several ways you can parent with your ex in a positive and constructive way.

Plan with Purpose

One of the most important things to do with a coparent is to plan with purpose. Because you have a child together, you will have to plan how to parent as well as how you share custody.

Children generally do better with consistent environments and rules, so it’s important to decide early on a shared set of rules, including when bedtime is, what punishments will be, what is off-limits, and so on. Setting a schedule can also help make things easier for all involved. Try to agree on a custody situation that benefits everyone, even though that may be difficult. In the long run, your child will benefit from knowing which parent they will be with at what time.

Communicate with Care

How and when you communicate with your former spouse matters, especially when it comes to raising your children. The one thing that you never want to do is use your child as a messenger. For one, that puts your child in a stressful, awkward situation. Instead, it’s important to communicate one-on-one with your ex about your child and their needs.

Try adapting a business-like tone, imagining your ex as a work colleague. That gives you a bit of distance while also keeping your interactions positive and respectful. You should try and keep your communications focused solely on your child, so that you don’t bring up any hurt feelings or contentious subjects.

Heal Your Own Emotional Wounds

One of the best ways to develop a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse so that you can parent as a team is by healing your own emotional wounds. No matter the reason you are separated or divorced from your ex, the breakup of a relationship can have a negative impact on your mental health. Stress, depression, anxiety, or anger are all normal things that come out of the breakup of one of most important relationships in your life. But the last thing you want to do is take out those negative emotions on your child or use your child as a way to vent your emotions about your ex.

Talking with friends can help to sort out your feelings, or you might seek professional help in the form of a therapist or therapy group for solo parents so you can work on healing yourself in a positive way. One result of your healing is you will be better equipped to interact and coparent with your ex.

By employing these strategies, you will be able to partner with your coparent in way that is positive and constructive, which will make you and your child happier in the end.