If your spouse has anger issues, then they have to deal with those issues on their own. You can help support them in finding a therapist or anger management group, but ultimately they have to go in alone and do their own work. What you can do is get your own therapy to learn ways of protecting yourself from their anger. If the anger turns to abuse (physical, sexual or emotional abuse), get outside help as soon as possible. It is important to feel safe and a therapist can walk you through steps in making a safety plan.
Tips For Staying Safe If Anger Turns To Violence:
- Leave a bag of supplies with a friend of neighbor. In it should include: an extra pair of clothes, money, phone numbers for family or friends (in case your abuser takes your phone or phone book), a copy of the house key, copy of the car key, copies of your (and your kids) birth certificate, and a copy of your driver’s license. Also, keep your car with ¼ tank of gas in it so you can always leave at any time. So many times, I hear that someone successfully leaves the house and forgets something they feel is so vital and they go back and get “caught” leaving. Whether you have a bag prepared or not, there is nothing more important than your life.
- You can call 9-1-1 from any cell phone, even if it doesn’t have a service. As long as the battery works, you can call 9-1-1.
- You can plug in a phone to any phone jack (even if there is no landline service) and call 9-1-1. As long as the line hasn’t been removed from the outside telephone poll, it will reach the police. One way to test this is to call 6-1-1 (which is usually your local operator) and just tell them you were testing the line. If you can call 6-1-1 then you can call 9-1-1.
- If you are calling around for shelters or help while living with your abuser, call from a payphone (you can call the numbers collect) so that they numbers don’t show up on your phone bill.
- Tell people you trust what is going on so you can get support and have a place to go if you need to.
- Be aware that you can go to a domestic violence shelter, where you will be provided housing, food and access to support. They will usually send a cab to come pick you up and take you to the shelter. Due to budget cuts, sometimes it is hard to find a shelter with openings. Be persistent, there are MANY shelters and one of them will have space or have an option for you to stay at a hotel for free until they have space.
- If you have a police report or a restraining order, you should qualify for free counseling. If you are interested, you can call me and I will walk you through the process of how to access this. Or you can simply call 800-380-3811. The state will pay any therapist of your choosing to provide you with therapy (at no cost to you).
If you are looking for an individual therapist or couples therapist in Long Beach, please give me a call to ask me a question or to set up an appointment.