Surviving Abuse

Living with abuse is anything but easy.

Survivors of violence and trauma develop coping mechanisms that allow them to make it through another day and keep themselves as safe as possible--despite a volatile and dangerous environment. It's hard for people outside of this abusive and isolating situation to understand how these coping mechanisms function and they ways in which they work to keep you safe (if you are a friend or family member, check out Being Supportive). 

Surviving on a day-to-day (or minute-to-minute) basis causes trauma. Trauma causes stress, and coping mechanisms help to alleviate that stress so you can function.

Survivors of physical, sexual, financial or verbal abuse often experience several of the following:

  • Minimization
  • Depression
  • Denial
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Self-medication (drinking, drug use)
  • Emotional numbness
  • Overwhelming emotions (panic, rage, depression, grief, shock)
  • Sleeping and/or eating much more or much less
  • Trying to be "perfect"
  • Choking sensation
  • Confusion and/or memory loss
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm behaviors
  • Intellectualization or rationalization (explaining or trying to understand the behavior or situation)