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Having a Solid Support System

By Jenn Rockefeller

Having a solid support system following an abusive relationship is vital to a survivor’s healing and recovery journey. After an abusive situation, life is chaotic. Very often, survivors don’t know where to turn or what to do.  Many are just going through the motions of barely surviving.

That’s why it’s incredibly helpful to have a support system. A support system like Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence is a great place to seek not just support, but advice, assistance, and friendship.

“BTS provides a national support network for men and women struggling to recover after an abusive relationship. We’re here for life,” said BTS founder Kristen Paruginog.

What is a support system?

A support system is a group or network of people who survivors can rely on to provide emotional support in times of great need. This support system can lift survivors up when they are down, provide survivors with a shoulder to cry on, laugh with survivors when they need it, and listen when survivors need a willing ear. A support system can also provide sensible options and advice that survivors can consider when deciding their next steps.

Why is having a support system important?

It’s human nature to want a sense of belonging in this world, to want to fit in. As we grow up, we make friends with those who are like-minded to join forces with to help us through those tough times, whether it is struggling with schoolwork or navigating a broken heart.

And that’s exactly why it’s vital to have a support system. After unorthodox breakups, like ones in an abusive relationship, it’s uplifting to know that survivors can rely on their support system to help lift them up in their darkest hour. Survivors learn who they can depend upon in times of trouble. Survivors vent their frustrations and, in turn, the support system will provide feedback. Sometimes, it may not be what they want to hear; rather, it may be what they need to hear.

“Having a support system is life changing because in that moment you know you’re not alone,” said Paruginog.

Benefits of having a solid support system

There are many added benefits to having a support system, too. By lifting a survivor up, the support system can provide a higher level of mental well-being. After an abusive situation, survivors typically feel low. That’s how the abuser wants it – to make their victims feel as low as they can and to take away their self-esteem, their self-worth, and their self-confidence. But having a support system can give survivors back that sense of wellness. It can rebuild a person’s inner strength and give that person a feeling of being heard and understood.

Having a support system can also provide a survivor with better coping skills. Having the additional pillars to lean on can give survivors additional ways to better manage their stress and emotions following an abusive relationship. Perhaps the survivor will learn how to more effectively handle different stressors that come his or her way. Coping skills can range from keeping a journal, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and even yoga.

Why having a solid support system is important for healing

In addition to the reasons listed above, it’s also important to have a solid support system following an abusive relationship because survivors need to break out of that role of feeling isolated. The abusers aim to isolate and take their victims away from all that they know and love. So when survivors break free of their abusers, they look to reconnect with those they may have kept at arm’s length.

The need to feel connected with important people in their lives is ever-present following an abusive relationship. It is vital to a survivor’s healing journey to make connections again with those around them. An abuser’s power lies within taking away a victim’s strength and autonomy. For a survivor, reconnecting with their support systems will not only give them strength but will simultaneously take away some of their abuser’s power.

Having a multitude of resources survivors can rely on is beneficial in the healing journey. From friends and family to peers and colleagues, and from in-person support groups to online support groups, many survivors display a need to use whatever resources are available to them in order to heal and regain their freedom. And these resources can be a lifelong support system for many survivors.

“A lifelong support system means never having to walk this journey alone,” said Paruginog.

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