14 Pieces of Advice From a Therapist for People Who Have Dealt With Family Violence
The amount of family violence around the world is absolutely crazy. And we are living in the 21st century! This motivated psychologist, Anastasiya Rubtsova, wrote a series of tips for her daughter that every mother should know. Or... any woman for that matter.
The Bright Side team agrees with every single point and encourages you to read all of them very carefully.
Someday, my daughter will step out of her relationship with us, her parents, and into a relationship with someone else. Maybe, she will decide to get married and have 5 children. Or maybe, she won’t have any children. Or she will have a girlfriend. But the most important thing to understand is that in her new relationship, her safety will not depend on me.
And while she is still here, I am making a list of advice for her. I’m hoping this advice will protect her when I’m not around. When she grows up a bit more, I will tell her the following.
- If he hit you, start packing immediately. Act like there was an earthquake: take your important documents and children, you can deal with the rest later. Don’t accept any apologies or excuses and don’t start any negotiations. Any kind of “I’m sorry” will soon turn into, “You made me do it.” It is very easy to fall into this swamp and it’s extremely hard to escape from it. Don’t doubt yourself. Just run.
- Remember that any kind of, “It’s your fault” is a lie. In fact, it means, “I know I can hit you, offend you, insult you, and nothing will happen to me for this, so there is no need for me to control myself.”
- You can always come to me. Always. At any time and in any situation. In tears and barefoot. When you feel that you’ve failed. And I won’t blame you. Even if I really want to say “I told you so.” I’ll lock myself in the toilet and tell this to myself in front of the mirror, in a whisper. These words don’t help, they only hurt us more.
- If I’m gone (parents are mortal), you need to have friends that are so close that you can ask them for help. If you don’t have these people, look for any kind of help, and don’t be ashamed to accept it. Complain, scream, tell everyone who is ready to listen. You need to have witnesses because evil is done in silence.
- A relationship never starts with violence. The first signs are “Wow, you are a fool,” “Stop messing with me,” “Oh, what do you know?,” “I said you’re coming, so you’re coming.” At first, requests become orders. Then, small cases of humiliation become normal. Rudeness is sold as closeness. Do not let anyone humiliate you and hurt you. You should never think “I am smart, this can’t happen to me.” Women smarter than you and I have been down this road.
- Your enemy is the thought, “Everything’s okay, he just made a mistake.” Today, he might be absolutely reasonable, and tomorrow, something happens to him and he turns into an angry sadist. And the day after tomorrow, the sun rises again and everything is so okay that you just think, “Phew, I thought I was in trouble.” This feeling is the main symptom you can base your decisions on. Don’t go too far in a relationship with this type of person and don’t have children or start a business with him.
- You should have your own money and your own sources of income. If you are taking care of children, you should also have your own bank account which is your financial insurance. Discuss the fact that your money in your account is solely yours before even going on maternity leave. This is really important. When children are small, we are extremely dependent on our partners and are really vulnerable.
- Don’t let your relationship be the only important thing you have in your life. This is a very dangerous construction. Friends, work, sports, hobbies — you should have all of these things. Earn money. Study. If your relationship fails, and this happens more often than we’d like it to, it will hurt. But it is better when only a part of a castle breaks down, rather than the entire building.
- Watch your health, take care of yourself in order to have enough strength to live your life.
- Never get into the trap of “everyone lives like this.” This is not true. And I will do everything to let you see the families where there is no rudeness or violence, where people talk to each other in a respectful way, even when they are very angry. And I will try to be a good example for you.
- Never get caught in the trap of “I’m the only person who lives like this, I’m a fool, I’m so ashamed.” This is also not true. You’re not in big trouble if you happen to get into a situation of violence. The real trouble is getting stuck in it for years. You don’t need a family at any cost. You don’t need the perfect family from a magazine cover. You need a place where you can feel great and where someone will support you and take care of you. It may look very different from what you imagine (and it doesn’t have to be a family)."
- People can change. More than that, they do it all the time. Age and experience change us. But what looks like a little trouble in our youth, may turn out to be a psychological disorder with age. Sometimes, people behave in wrong ways once they understand that a person depends on them. If this happens to you, don’t blame yourself for not being able to see that this was coming. There are many things we can’t see when they are hidden. Act. GO back and read the first point again.
- Experiment, try new things. New jobs, new hairstyles, new sports, new dishes, new family rules. New ways of having sex. The more new things you can try in your life, the more confident you will feel in a relationship.
- Share these rules. Tell them to your friends. Don’t be indifferent if someone is offended or hurt right in front of you. Remember: sometimes, it is really hard for people to ask for help. But they still need it. Maybe you will be the one who notices that someone is in pain, and if you are, don’t ignore it.
Do you agree with Anastasiya Rubtsova’s rules? Do you have anything else to add to this list?