Escaping from a violent and threatening domestic situation is an extremely challenging — and often frightening — thing to do. And once you have removed yourself, knowing how to start a new life after domestic violence can be equally as challenging and intimidating. Although it may seem impossible and hard to believe, you have a great opportunity for a fresh start and the chance to put your hardships behind you. The following provides some tips on how to move on with your life after you have escaped from domestic violence in Raleigh, North Carolina:
Seek a Domestic Violence Protective Order
Even after you have removed yourself physically from a violent situation, the abusive party may still attempt to get in contact with you and may believe there is an opportunity to “win” you back. In truth, abusers are often very persistent, and this can make it very difficult for victims of abuse to move on with their lives and start over.
One thing that can help with this is seeking a domestic violence protective order, often referred to as a DVPO. A DVPO is a civil order, handed down by a court, that provides you with protection from an abusive party. According to WomensLaw.org, a DVPO can order a person to refrain from harassing you, following you, threatening you, and coming within a certain distance of your home or place of employment. It can even order the abusive party to make payments for spousal support or child support.
If you are not sure how to file a domestic violence protective order on your own and are in need of one in order to move on with your life, contact an experienced Raleigh domestic violence attorney for more information.
Protect Yourself Emotionally
It is not just your physical safety that you should be looking out for after removing yourself from a violent situation, but your emotional safety as well. Although a person can remove themselves from a physically violent situation quickly, emotional scarring can take months, years, or even a lifetime to completely heal. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides some tips for moving on emotionally after domestic violence, including:
- Identifying calmers. Identifying things that calm you down can help to soothe your emotions when you are feeling anxious, lonely, scared, or depressed. Some common calming activities that may work for you include taking a bath, writing in a journal, listening to music, exercising, or going for a walk.
- Thinking about why you left in the first place. When you are feeling down, alone, or upset about your decision and your current state of being, think about the journey that got you to where you are today and why you left in the first place. Remind yourself that you deserve more than what you were given. This can help you if you are having second thoughts about your decision.
- Getting professional help. Many people are embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they need help from a counselor or other mental health professional. However, there is nothing to be ashamed about. Seeking help from a mental health professional can provide you with much-needed support, tips for moving on, and advice on how to survive after domestic abuse. A therapy group can also be helpful.
- Giving yourself time and space. Healing from domestic violence takes time, and without giving yourself space from your abuser, the healing process may be stunted. Starting fresh after domestic abuse requires a big focus on yourself. Allow yourself the room to do just that.
Surround Yourself with Friends, Family, and Resources
When you are moving on after domestic violence, one of the best things that you can do is to surround yourself with people whom you can trust. Like many other aspects of domestic violence recovery, this can be challenging to do. Many people are too embarrassed to face their friends or family members after abuse. However, remember that your friends and family love you, support you, and are there for you. Rely on their support when you most need it.
Spending time with friends and family, rather than isolating yourself, can help you to heal emotionally and can provide you with opportunities for spiritual, mental, social, and emotional growth. Friends and family may also be able to point you in other positive directions, such as suggesting a great support group, volunteer opportunity, or even a new job to give you something new in your life on which to focus. Isolating yourself is one of the worst things that you can do after domestic violence happens, and it may increase your risk of developing depression.
You Have an Opportunity to Improve Your Life
When you have left an abusive spouse, partner, or family member, you have taken the first steps toward improving your life. You have an opportunity to maximize your future and get the most out of it as is possible. By seeking a domestic violence protective order, protecting yourself emotionally, and surrounding yourself with loved ones, you will have the time, space, emotional capacity, and resources that you need to start fresh and recover in all aspects of your life. Although doing so takes time and can be extremely challenging, you can turn your life around for the better, and if you have children, you can help turn their lives around as well.
A Raleigh Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, PLLC, we understand that getting out of a violent situation and moving on after domestic violence is often easier said than done. Our law firm strongly advocates against domestic violence of both men and women, and we want you to know that we are on your side if you are a domestic violence victim. If you need any assistance with the legal aspects of domestic violence protection — such as pressing civil charges or getting a domestic violence protective order — our attorneys can help. For resources about domestic violence in North Carolina, answers to your tough legal questions, or legal support during this difficult time, visit our website, fill out our online form, or contact us by phone directly.