Isolating with an abuser during the COVID pandemic

Kate EmeryPsychotherapyLeave a Comment

If you are worried that your online activity being tracked by your abuser – open an incognito window while browsing online and use safe exits on sites where able. Our site has the safety exit button in the bottom right corner.

I’ve been quietly terrified for the women who are isolated at home with their abuser. I know the isolation that an abuser can create even in a socially connected world. I can only imagine that staying safe right now means even further isolation, even more eggshells, and increased anxiety. This moment in time must be a living hell for those who were already living in terror.

What can be done? Let’s face it – there isn’t much that victims haven’t already tried. If leaving were easy, they would have done it already. If you are confined with an abuser – remember you are doing what you can. You are strong. You are doing everything you can. Do not shame yourself!

If you are needing extra resources or support during this time – this may be a good time to update or create a safety plan.

A safety plan is a practical and personalized plan that helps you stay safe in a relationship, when you are planning to leave, or after leaving. When you are isolated with an abusive partner here are some tips that may help your safety plan.

  • Identify safe areas of the house, where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If an argument starts, try to move to this area.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself small. Curl up into the fetal position, protecting your body, wrapping your arms around your head with your fingers linked.
  • Have a phone in easy reach whenever possible. Know who you can call for help.
  • Keep weapons locked away or as inaccessible as possible.
  • Create plausible reasons for leaving the house – getting groceries, emergent medical appointments.
  • Use video chats to stay connected with the outside world – try to find someone who you can contact daily – even if it is just an emergency distress line. Check in!

The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter has a guide to safety planning: https://www.calgarywomensshelter.com/images/pdf/SafetyPlan_Dec6_2010.pdf.

You can call the Family Violence Helpline at 403 234‐SAFE (7233) or toll free at 1‐800‐606‐7233.

You can reach the Calgary Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP (4357).

Practice good self-care during this time

Do whatever you can to stay grounded and sane. Meditation videos and mindfulness techniques may be a good tool for you during this time. Review some of our blogs on self-care including Self-care for Mothers or Coping with Stress.

Some extra tips that may help you while isolated with an abuser

  • Develop a regular sleep routine
  • Try to eat healthy when possible. Healthy here can be a subjective term – eat food that fills you and makes you grounded.
  • Take the dog for a walk or try to get out yourself (do pay attention to physical distancing of 6 feet between others).
  • If you aren’t able to leave the home because the abuser won’t let you, try to find physical activity to do inside such as yoga, low impact body weight workouts, or just walk around the room a few times. Move your body!
  • Do a puzzle or a low-key activity. It’s okay if you don’t have energy for reading or talking.
  • Watch your favorite tv shows – find a show you and your abuser agree upon if you cannot do this alone.
  • Take a bath or long shower. This is a good space to be alone. Water is grounding and it can feel good to be clean.

Reach out to others

If you don’t have someone you can talk to regularly – reach out to the services available over phone or online. You can call the Family Violence Helpline at 403 234‐SAFE (7233) or toll free at 1‐800‐606‐7233. You can reach the Calgary Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP (4357).

If you know someone in a circumstance of abuse – reach out to them! Let them know they aren’t alone and that you are there to support them during this difficult time. Let them know that they have support during isolation.

Serenity Now Wellness is offering free online and telephone support to those in need while space and capacity is available. Reach out to info@serenitynowwellness.ca for more information or call 403-454-7600 to talk to someone today.

You are not alone.

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