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by Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

We are living in intense, stressful times. “Social distancing” and staying cooped up in our homes takes its toll on all of us; however, we know it’s an important responsibility to ensure the health of our communities. Feeling annoyed with the people we live with is inevitable, and just part of being human. As an emotional abuse specialist, I have more concern for people who are quarantined in their homes with a toxic person. This is above and beyond typical stress and irritation – this is abusive behavior. There are some of you out there who are stuck at home with an emotionally abusive spouse, parent, or other family member.

Abuse of any type is all about power and control. Unfortunately, our circumstances create more opportunity for toxic people to attempt to exert more control. The abuser might try to further isolate the person by not allowing contact with friends and other family members, prevent the person from seeking medical help if needed, or even withholding certain items like soap or sanitizer.

I know if feels like the world came to a screeching halt, but the truth is you are not alone. If you are hunkered down at home with an emotionally abusive person, there is hope. You absolutely need to keep your sanity and safety as the priority.

5 Ways to Stay Safe When Quarantined with A Toxic Person

  • Make a safety plan. Hopefully you already had one, but if not, now is the time! Choose a trusted friend or family member and ask them if you can come over at any time. Keep a bag packed in the trunk of your car, and have your keys with you at all times. If you have children, pack a bag for them as well. If you feel unsafe, it’s time to go. This is one of those “essential” moments when it’s okay to leave your house.
  • Regularly connect with others. FaceTime is your friend. Everyday you need to chat with at least 1-2 friends or family. You don’t even need to talk about anything deep, just touch base, say hi, ask what they did that day. Just simply connecting to other people who care about you will help you feel more supported, and less alone.
  • Take care of YOU. Sleep well, get outside and exercise, shower, eat healthy foods – you get the idea. Do at least one thing per day that is just fun, like reading a book, doing yoga, or savoring your morning coffee.
  • Stick to your boundaries. You don’t have to do things that make you uncomfortable. Most often I hear stories of husbands forcing or manipulating wives to have sex. Don’t have sex just because you think it will keep the peace. It might for a moment, but it won’t last. And you are worth SO MUCH MORE than that. Sleep in another room or on the couch if you have to, but don’t agree to things you don’t want just to appease him.
  • Ask for support. Resources are still available to you. If a situation at home escalates, always call 911. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is still up and running at 1-800-799-7233. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522 if you are unable to speak without being overheard.

Start Counseling for Emotional Abuse in Pennsylvania

You are not alone. Our team specializes in trauma recovery, and we understand that emotional abuse is real. It might not leave bruises, but the pain can be even more significant. You don’t have to live this way. Our therapists are here to help you set a new path for yourself – to find true healing and freedom. Pleasrefunde contact us today to get started, don’t wait another minute.

Online Counseling Sessions

During the COVID-19 crisis, we are offering all our sessions online via our secure HIPAA compliant platform. We can offer services to any resident in PA. Our team is thankful to be able to continue serving our clients at this time with online therapy. We are here for you!