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    • #134100

      Not posted for a while and still in a hole with the N********t- he ‘got ill’ can’t say what it was but he softened a bit but now back to his old tricks – on my 5th week of complete silence from him – I am trained now in this behaviour and it stops him taking out he’s day to day frustrations out on me with his vile mouth .. however my mental health is suffering more than ever – and I’m almost institutionalised as I’ve been in this house and in this relationship for many years .. I think I’ve seen other women mention like a Stockholm syndrome thing that happens – my head is my worse enemy or my thoughts should I say … I’m looking at going into a refuge but I’ve no idea what to expect – can someone tell me ? I’m seeing 4 walls in a small room – Alone with my head – what is the day to day – is it regimented? I need to find a job but right now I’m so in throws of thinking I have no chance of anything – confidence/ self worth / self belief and self loathing all seem to be kicking me in the guts … iM iN between (detail removed by moderator) and I’m scared to death … but my life quality is zilch x

    • #134105
      Wants To Help

      Hi there,

      For me, my refuge experience was really positive.

      I really didn’t want to go to one. I thought they were places for women who were badly abused, down and out and really desperate and/or homeless, until it was kindly pointed out to me that I was all of these things!

      My solicitor put me in touch with a DA support worker. The support worker picked me up and took me to the refuge to have a look round before I made my decision to go there or not. I was pleasantly surprised with the accommodation available and would get my own self contained unit within a secure complex with gated entry and security intercom. On site were counselling rooms (big ones for group counselling and smaller ones for one-to-one counselling.) There was also a creche that provided childcare for a few hours each morning for ladies who had court or legal appointments or counselling. There was a large kitchen where some of the ladies could work with support workers to gain some cooking skills to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

      I accepted the refuge place and arrived the next day. My support worker picked me and my son up with just one suitcase of clothes between us.

      Upon arrival in my unit I had a food parcel with some items to see me through a few days without having to leave; fresh bread, cereal, UHT milk, tea bags, coffee, sugar, tinned soup, tinned tuna, tinned beans, bag of pasta, biscuits. That was an unexpected surprise as I wasn’t expecting this. There was a separate bag of cleaning materials such as washing up liquid, spray bleach, new dish cloths and tea towels, washing powder. In my bedroom there was a beautiful gift box donated by a local charity that contained shampoo, deodorant, soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste, sanitary towels and tampons, a comb. On my bed was brand new bedding that was all packaged up for me to open and make my own bed up. In the room for my son there were new colouring books and crayons and new bedding with animals on the duvet cover. A local lady knitted teddy bears and donated them and my son was given a lovely bear.

      The next day I was given some food vouchers to spend at the local supermarket to get myself some food of my choice. I found out there was also a clothing store on site that had donations of clothes and handbags, jewellery and accessories etc. I remember choosing a small black handbag that would be suitable for me to take to court (I still have it to this day and will not part with it as it is of great sentimental value to me.) During my stay I was given vouchers for a local hair salon to get a free wash and blow dry as a treat to myself, and also free vouchers for the local cinema and other local attractions so I could take my son out to places. These were all donated by local businesses, the aim of which was to give a lady and her child/ren some normality and nice things to do. I had no money coming in at all and was totally reliant on charity and food banks.

      I was at the refuge on the run up to Christmas. They put on a Christmas party and had a local volunteer dress up as Father Christmas. Every lady and child were given a present. My present was a bottle of perfume from Avon and my sons was a train set. These had been donated by different members of the public who had put them under Christmas trees in shopping malls to be distributed to various charities. I also got a food hamper of Christmas foods; cheese biscuits, mince pies, custard, box of fancy biscuits, tins of ham, box of Christmas crackers etc. I was overwhelmed with all of the help and kindness.

      The group counselling and individual counselling was brilliant. I was at the refuge for quite a while and did a weekly group counselling session similar to the Freedom Programme. A local gym gave us all free membership for a period of weeks and on a weekly basis we would all go to the gym for exercise followed by a buffet lunch and an hour input in a private meeting room on helpful subjects such as financial advice, healthy eating, personal care and well being. We would be visited by some ladies who did beauty treatments and could choose a hand massage, an Indian head massage, a neck and shoulder massage for example.

      The support workers were on site Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm with an out of hours contact number should we need them. Every weekend one of the support workers came in on a Saturday and Sunday for a few hours should we need them.

      I could come and go as I pleased. The only rules were that I had no visitors and I was not allowed to reveal its location to ANYONE (not my solicitor, the court or my family.) I had to provide a PO Box address if I wanted anything sent to me in the post.

      The refuge experience for me was definitely the road to my recovery. Without it I don’t know where my life would be right now. The guidance and support I received was fantastic.

      • #134124

        Hi Wantstohelp

        Thank you for taking the time to give me your response – that without a doubt is an amazing positive experience! I’m thinking you got back on your feet and things have improved?

        It’s really hard to find info online about the procedures and what I am allowed to do – I know you don’t tell anyone where you are – my kids are grown up ish! My youngest no matter what sees her dad as a saint and her attitude is very much like his and as much as I have been there since the day she was born she would never leave him .

        I’ve lost so much confidence and I don’t feel like talking most of the time these days I’ve just lost my ‘will’ to be part of anything.

        It’s like , I don’t want to be alone but I don’t want to chat that much either – my head has been cabbaged …

    • #134127
      Wants To Help

      Your feelings will be recognised by many ladies on here, and they are down to living in an abusive relationship for a long time.

      I have been living in Recovery for a very long time now and live an abuse free life, but the scars are still there and always will be. I guess that’s why the final stage is called ‘Recovery’ and not ‘Recovered’.

      Refuge accommodation can be used to seek refuge from your situation for a temporary period, thus allowing you time to seek support, advice and help whilst safe and abuse free. Not all ladies who go to refuge leave for good, sometimes they do not feel ready to leave for good, but the experience has given them some respite and allowed them time to make decisions. Clearly, the ideal situation is to leave for good, but some do go back to their abuser, although they are armed with a bit more knowledge about domestic abuse.

      As a lady seeking refuge without children it should be easier to find accommodation for you if you were to think about this as an option. The only usual stipulation with refuge is that they won’t house you in the refuge in the town that you live in. This is for your own safety on the basis it would not be easy for your abuser to track you down. The flip side of this is that it does disrupt your life in that it is not easy to travel to work or see family members or friends or continue to socialise locally.

      From my experience, I would certainly recommend it. You may not feel like speaking to anyone straight away, but once you’ve had a few days to sleep safely and get used to new surroundings it is easier to open up to the right people who are trained to support and help you. You won’t always feel like you do now, but in order to change our life we need to change our life. I think it’s worth picking up the phone and calling Women’s Aid, Refuge, or your local Domestic Abuse support service (Google them for your area) and having that conversation. 🙂

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