Does your spouse abuse you emotionally and/or physically? Do you spend most days living with fear and shame and self-loathing? If yes, it’s time to set boundaries in an abusive marriage before it kills you.
For many people who are in an abusive marriage, getting out right now just isn’t an option. Whether its financial considerations, concerns for yourself or your children, geographical issues or sheer terror, the need to stay in place is necessary.
If you are in this place, it is essential to set boundaries in an abusive marriage now so that you can survive, and maybe even thrive, as you live through it.
What kind of boundaries? Let me share!
#1 – Take care of yourself.
It essential that, if you are being emotionally or physically abused, you make an effort to take care of yourself.
We all need affection and loving touch and if you aren’t getting love from your spouse, it is important that you love yourself. Loving yourself, and believing that you are worthy, is very hard to do when you are constantly being demeaned so demonstrating to yourself that you are loved is very important.
What makes you feel loved? A hot bath? Time with your girlfriends? A ‘Real Housewives’ binge? A massage?
Take an accounting of what you could do to make yourself feel loved and pampered. If you can do this, you will be able to stay in touch with the fact that you deserve to be loved and cared for, even if the person in your life isn’t making you feel that way.
#2 – Spend time with those who love you.
If you find yourself in the middle of a lot of anger and insults every day, it is important that you make sure that you spend time with people who love you.
Much like the self-love I described before, being surrounded by people who love you just the way you are is an important part of surviving an abusive relationship.
They will remind you that you are a wonderful person, deserving of love and affection. They will remind you that what is happening isn’t your fault. They will remind you that you have strength, strength to survive this and get through it. They will remind you that there is a life worth living out there.
So, make sure that you reach out to friends and family as much as possible. If your partner makes it difficult for you, make it a priority to make it happen whenever you can, even if just for a short period.
Do it! You will be glad you did!
#3 – Don’t blame yourself.
Many of my clients who are in abusive relationships blame themselves for the abuse that is being showered down upon them.
Their abuser is forever telling them that what is happening is all their fault, that if they just did this or that differently their partner wouldn’t be forced to discipline them. They tip toe around, hoping to not get noticed or blamed. And this is not okay.
It is important to understand that the abuse that is happening to you is not your fault. Yes, we are all humans and we make mistakes, but no one deserves to be abused, no matter what they might do or say.
Most abusers have something that has caused them damage in their life and that leads them to abuse others. Some kind of trauma or abuse that has led them to do the same to you.
The reason that it’s essential to set boundaries in an abusive relationship is so that you don’t lose touch with who you are. Learning how to not blame yourself is a key part of keeping in touch with that person and not letting the abuse tear you down completely.
#4 – Believe that this isn’t forever.
I know that right now it feels like you will be in this place forever, that the abuse that is rained down on you daily is something that will always be a part of your life.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Yes, you might be stuck in this relationship now, for whatever reason, but it doesn’t have to be this way forever.
When you are ready, there are ways to get out. When the kids are gone or when the money isn’t so tight or when you have the outside support you need, you will be able to escape this abusive relationship and get on with your life.
Believing that this will be your one and only life will make it very difficult to move forward, to not let yourself sink into feelings of hopelessness and despair.
There is hope and help out there that can enable you lead a happy and fulfilling life, when you are ready and able.
#5 – Get help.
If you are feeling the need to set boundaries in an abusive marriage, I am guessing that things are going from bad to worse and that you know that if you don’t set some kind of boundaries you might die, or worse.
If you are in this place, please try to get help. There are all sorts of people out there who can help you get through, and out of, an abusive relationship.
If you are struggling with depression, reach out to your primary care doctor to give you an anti-depressant. Just being a little bit less depressed might motivate you to get out. Talk to your therapist about where you can seek help to get you through this time. Ask your life coach about coping mechanisms. Look for support groups in your area.
If you are going through an abusive relationship, you are not alone. There are many trained professionals who can help you get through this relationship intact. There are also many people who are in, or were in, abusive relationships. Connecting with them will help you develop relationships with people who have shared experiences, people who can help you with understanding what is happening to you and to teach you coping skills for getting through it.
You don’t have to go this alone, so don’t!
Learning how to set boundaries in an abusive marriage is the key to surviving it.
Perhaps you can’t get out of the relationship now but you can learn how to take care of yourself, to draw the line in the sand so that you can keep yourself as healthy as you can to ride this out.
Take care of yourself, don’t blame yourself, spend with others, look to the future and get some help.
Abusive relationships are devastating and, to survive them, you must take care of yourself. You can do it!
If you have made this far you must really be struggling in an abusive marriage.
Let me help you get there, NOW, before it’s too late!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here, and let’s get started.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.