You canít change your partnerís behavior. You cannot stop your partnerís violence toward you. Your partner is in control of his/her actions, just as you are in control of yours.
You canít stay in an abusive relationship and be safe. Without intervention, family violence becomes more frequent and severe.
You canít ďdo the right thingĒ to please the abuser. Itís not about you. The choice to abuse lies with the abuser.
You canít save the relationship by yourself. You can go to counseling, you can ďbeĒ whatever you think it takes to make things better Ė but it takes two people to make a relationship work.
Donít blame yourself for your own victimization. Itís not your fault.
You canít forgive and forget. It only gives the abuser license to strike again. If the abuser suffers no consequences, he/she has no reason to stop the abuse.
You canít shield your partner from the consequences of abusive behavior. ďMy partner didnít really mean it ... this time, officer!Ē If the abuser doesnít want to change the behavior, it doesnít matter how much he pleads or threatens in order not to face jail. The abuser will promise anything to avoid consequences. Donít risk your life to help someone who is hurting you.
You shouldnít respond to violence with violence. Violence is not an appropriate or helpful response to another personís actions or words. But remember, if you are in extreme fear for your life, you have the right to defend yourself.
Remember: If domestic violence has made you angry, that is good. Your well-directed anger at this mistreatment is an acknowledgment of your self worth. Healthy anger will make you strong Ė and thatís vital aspect of getting yourself out of an abusive relationship and into a safe environment.
*Reprinted with permission from Kaiser Permanente Health Plan Communications Planning for Health, 1994 Issue 2, Women in Focus
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