Even though you have committed to staying away from this person there will be times when you want to break your commitment. You may get the urge to make contact because you felt a twinge of sorrow or loneliness or lost interest in an activity. Maybe you have a flashback of a pleasant memory; or something you or someone else did or said, reminds you of your ex-partner. Think about whatever idea comes to mind for a couple of minutes then let it go. Continue with what you’re doing in the present.
When you feel the impulse to make contact:
- Go for a walk
- Read the paper, a magazine, a book
- Play with your kids
- Soak in the tub
- Turn on the TV
- Turn on the radio
- Work on a jigsaw or crossword puzzle
- Call a friend – however avoid talking about your ex
- Brush your teeth
- Sing a silly song
- Play with your pet
The objective is to stay in the moment. Concentrate on getting through the next five minutes then the next five after that. Be gentle with yourself but consistently move forward with your healing.
Carry a Cell Phone
If you can’t afford a cell phone contact a community women’s agency. Some agencies will supply them for free. You shouldn’t have to pay for a cell phone plan if you have the phone for emergencies only. You should also be able to call 911 from any cell phone at no cost. Make sure your phone is charged so it always has power and keep it within reach at all times.
Keep Yourself and Your Residence Safe
For many months there were various signs of trespassing outside my home. There were also more than a few nights when my children and I were awakened by the sounds of banging on the exterior of the house and then a car driving away. I kept a log of these occurrences and also made contact with the local police. Eventually, I installed a security system. After installing the system the problems I was having were eliminated.
You may want to consider the following safety measures in order to keep yourself safe if your ex-partner is exhibiting threatening behaviors.
- Consider moving – it may save your life.
- Inform family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, yours and/or your children’s schools, and describe the threatening person and the vehicle they drive.
- Avoid going out alone especially at night and park in well-lit areas.
- Always carry a cell phone.
- Install deadbolt locks on your outside doors and make sure the doors can’t be kicked in.
- Install motion detector lights outside your home especially in dark areas.
- Trim shrubs near doors and consider planting thorny shrubs under windows.
- Keep your windows doors garage and fence gates locked.
- Install curtains or blinds that make it impossible to see inside your house.
- Install a peephole in your door to identify visitors.
- Invest in a security system. There are excellent plans out there that are reasonably priced.
This article has been edited and excerpted from the book No Contact: Ending a Destructive Relationship with permission by Outskirt Press, Inc, copyright © 2008, Penny L. Haider. Penny L. Haider is a survivor of domestic abuse and grateful to have had the opportunity to change her life. She is a strong advocate for women, wanting to help others move forward in their lives by leaving destructive relationships behind. Penny is a licensed teacher with a Bachelor of Science in Community Service and Public Affairs from the University of Oregon. For more information visit www.nocontactbook.com
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