When Violence Touches You

Common Stresses and Solutions

If you have been the victim of violence, you might be wondering what to do, how to recover and how to regain strength. Some people seem naturally resilient, but we have no way of knowing in advance how we will behave in or feel about a crisis. Your experience is your own.

You might have to deal with a wide range of negative emotions before you are on your way to recovery. You can help your own progress by identifying and acknowledging your feelings about the crime, learning the importance of making your own decisions again, and following suggestions for help.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

You may find yourself wanting to deny that the violence happened. You may be angry at yourself, somehow blaming yourself for the crime. After all, if you accept that you were a victim and that someone was able to hurt you, you have to accept that it could happen to you again. Such feelings are frightening and make us feel inadequate to protect ourselves. In some ways it's easier to pretend that the violence never happened, or to be angry with ourselves for "letting it happen" or blame ourselves, telling ourselves that it's our own fault.

Make Decisions

You might be called upon to make many decisions quickly. These decisions include cooperating with the authorities, hiring an attorney or choosing medical care. Make as many of your own decisions as you can. Try not to let others pressure you. The course of action is yours to take. Sometimes it's very difficult for others to understand your decisions, especially when others are sure they'd do it another way. But, by making as many decisions as you feel you can handle, you'll be regaining self-esteem and control over your own life. The desire to make your own decisions, if you are able, is a step to recovery.

Getting Support

Those around you want to support and care for you at this difficult time. Understand that they, too, might have feelings of vulnerability that are brought on by your experience. Sometimes these feelings interfere with judgment and their ability to provide unconditional support. Take advantage of any positive support that others can give you, but if you feel the need, don't hesitate to talk to a professional counselor or victims' assistance group. Together, the people around you can help you regain self-esteem and control and resume a healthy life.

©1989 PARLAY INTERNATIONAL

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