By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
If I had a dollar for all of the times that I heard a survivor of domestic violence or narcissistic abuse tell me that if they knew then what they know now about post-separation abuse, they would have done things differently, I would be rich.
Victims are told to escape and that things would get better and safer. But is this really the case?
In my experience and those of my clients, this could not be any more false.
And this is especially true if you share children with your abusive partner.
You will experience abuse in another form, post-separation abuse.
So, what is post-separation abuse?
Abusive relationships are all about one partner gaining and maintaining power and control over their victim. When an abusive relationship ends, the abuser’s need for power and control doesn’t. In fact, because there is a significant decrease in the amount of control they have over their victim, very often the abuse increases.
The year after a victim leaves their abuser is one of the most dangerous times for them. So, it is truly important for a thorough and ongoing assessment of risk during this time.
For those whom there is a lower risk of physical violence and risk of lethality, they are not in the clear. They are facing another form of abuse that can seem never ending and does not seem to be taken as seriously as other forms of abuse.
Post-separation abuse includes but is not limited to the following behaviors:
For a closer look at post-separation abuse, use this resource to see what types you are experiencing. You may realize that you are experiencing more types than you first thought. When you understand what you are experiencing, we can work together to find ways to fight it.
What can I do?
The positive side to this...(did you just think, "Sybil, really...you're going to find a positive to this bullsh*t?)...is that there are things you can do to mitigate the post-separation abuse if you just know what to do and have safe people around you to do it. Some of these things are:
It is our goal in The Rising Beyond Community to support and empower women survivors to mitigate each form of post-separation abuse that is currently happening and to help prevent the effects of ones that start later on in the process. Remember that when your ex feels like they are losing control, they may switch to another strategy. Let’s get ahead of it so you can continue to move forward in your healing and the rest of your life.
Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse.