When a marriage relationship begins to crumble, emotional turmoil builds and an overriding gloom pushes positive thoughts aside. Frustration and anger can become overpowering forces. In most cases, consulting an experienced attorney and/or counselor is the route to take. However, in extreme cases verbal abuse can escalate into physical violence.
So, that brings us to the question: What should I do if things get really bad?
The answer is:
- Step 1 – Before things get really bad, make a personal safety plan.
- Step 2 – If things get really bad, follow your personal safety plan.
Every situation is different so every plan needs to be tailored to fit the situation. However, the advice from the experts in the field consistently includes the following –
Remember – Leaving a controlling person is the most dangerous time.
Safety Plan – Confrontation Situation
- If an argument is unavoidable, try to move to an area near an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, garage, kitchen and any place where weapons might be available.
- Remember the ways to get out of your home safely – which doors, windows or stairs are the best to use in an emergency.
- Use your judgment. If the situation is dangerous, consider complying with the abuser’s demands to defuse the situation.
Remember – You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
Safety Plan – Preparing To Leave
- Open a bank account and get a credit card in your name.
- Open a post office box – so you can receive mail and checks.
- Leave money, extra keys, important papers, extra medicine and clothes with someone you trust – so you can leave quickly.
- Know ahead of time who you can stay with if you need to leave your home.
- Devise a code word or phrase to use with your children, friends, and family to let them know when to call the police.
- Keep emergency numbers in your cell phone – so you can quickly place a call.
Safety – Emotional Health
- Before you consider going back to your abusive partner, talk with an experienced counselor about your alternatives.
- If you have a protective order, do not agree for your partner to violate any of its terms – abide by the separation and communication prohibitions.
- Communicate with your partner through a monitoring service – Family Wizard, etc.
- Consider your safety and needs as priority issues.
- Hire an experienced lawyer to discuss your legal alternatives.