In choosing your Support Team there are some issues to consider :-
If you’re in a serious relationship you may need to weigh up how supportive your partner is? Clearly an understanding partner could provide vital support in a crisis. Does she or he have the qualities mentioned previously?
Have you told them about the abuse and what you’re going through? Did they react with understanding and support? If you haven’t told them yet, how do you think they would react if you did? How have they reacted when you’ve shared personal things in the past?
If you’ve told your partner already and they are supportive you could consider the following options
- Tell them you’re in a crisis and need their support.
- Ask your partner for what you need. Remember that they will have their own needs too and will probably not be available 24 hours a day. Try to arrange with them a level of support they think they’ll be able to give. Hopefully, you’ll be getting support elsewhere as well.
- Be clear with them about anything you’re not prepared to negotiate. If sex is out of the question for you at the moment, tell them that. If there are some places you can’t go, or things you can’t do – because it’s too painful – let them know.
If you haven’t told your partner yet but you think they have the qualities to make a good supporter :-
- Seriously consider telling them.
- Ask them for some practical support.
If you’ve told your partner and they are not supportive, or, if you do not think they have the qualities that would make a good supporter, you have some difficult decisions to make. Some options are:-
- You could end the relationship. It’s very hard to recover if people around you are not treating you with respect. The extra stress of a ‘bad’ relationship may not be what you need, particularly if you’re going through a crisis.
- Ending it may not be acceptable to you. You may not want the stress of a break up on top of everything else. You could try to put some space between your partner and you. This will at least reduce the number of times you’re belittled or undermined, and give you time to think through what you want to do next. Use the space to build and get support from other aspects of your support system.
There may be times when your partner is not only not supportive but engages in the following behaviours :-
- Physically hurts or assaults you
- Does sexual things to you that you don’t want.
- Verbally abuses you.