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Escape

 Coping Strategies Women Use

Women and children who survive domestic violence have talked about the various ways they have developed to cope until they could find safety.  The coping strategies they worked out enabled them to survive.  Some of the coping strategies are:

DENIAL
The survivor tells herself, in effect, that the abuse isn’t really happening.  A survivor in denial will say “This bruise? Oh, it’s nothing” or “He doesn’t really hurt me.”  Denial helps the survivor avoid feelings of terror and humiliation.

MINIMIZATION
This is a form of denial.  The survivor minimizes when she says, “This isn’t really abuse.  Abuse is more serious” or  “Well, he only hit me once with his fist.”

NIGHTMARES
These help the survivor experience some strong feelings such as, fear, anger, panic and shame, which she cannot safely share with anyone at the time.

SHOCK AND DISSOCIATION
These two reactions can numb the survivor’s mind and body while the assault takes place and for a time afterward.  The reactions help her avoid dealing with immediate feelings until she has found safety.

Even after the survivor finds safety and supportive people, she may continue to use these coping strategies until she realizes they are neither necessary nor helpful anymore.  At that point, the survivor may be interested in receiving counseling or other support services.

 

 


 

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