• Robin Parry

Dangerous Men: Escaping safely

You made it out of an abusive relationship but once the initial euphoria passes fear may become your companion once again. Fear is a warning to remain vigilant. If your ex-partner is making threats pay attention to his language. If he uses language such as ‘If you don’t’ or ‘Unless you do’ he is intimidating you by offering you a way out; but if he uses definitive language such as ‘I will kill you,’ or ‘You are going to die’ the intent is clear and your fear well founded.

No one is better equipped than you yourself to know whether he is frustrated and angry or seriously homicidal. What you decide about his capability and intent will determine what action to take. If you decide that he is capable of murder you must take this seriously and never let down your guard. This is certainly the case if he has ever choked, suffocated, punched, drowned, kicked or threatened you with weapons. Be afraid - be very afraid and never be alone with him while activating as much emotional and practical support as you can. Make safety your priority. This also means that if you are in his company have an exit strategy planned. Think ahead. If you have to run, where is the nearest, safe place? Don’t lock yourself in a room where there is only one exit and where no one would hear you.

On the other hand, if it is more about worry on your part where you are reacting to his usual intimidatory techniques you have options because holding you into the relationship is no longer the situation. Dealing with intimidatory behaviours requires a shift from appeasement to giving him no oxygen at all. Accept no messages, take no calls, ignore provocations. Live your life as if he no longer exists. If you have children together follow the law but avoid unnecessary personal contact with him. Don’t say ‘never’ or ‘no’ to him unless you mean it and you can stick to it. ‘No’ is non-negotiable. If you explain your reasons or argue with him you are stepping back into the relationship and he will continue to manipulate you. Seek support from family, friends and domestic violence services and create a life without him.

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