For Adults Experiencing Abuse: Your Questions, Answered

Head straight to the bottom of this page for hotline and text resources providing help for all kinds of situations.

The national hotlines listed below are incredibly helpful. But you might want to scope out your options before asking for help.

Being in an abusive situation feels oppressive and hopeless. However, if you’ve made it this far, we know you will fight your way out. 

You can get through this and one day experience the freedom and respect you deserve. Here are some thoughts on how you can push through these trying times.

What Can I Do If I Don’t Have Proof of Emotional Abuse?

Unlike other kinds of abuse, emotional abuse can be hard to track because of its lack of physical evidence – no black eyes or bruises. But there are a few things you can do to make note of, and build a case for, emotional abuse. 

One solution is to keep a journal to document the incidents. Make a note of the date, time, and what the other person said to hurt you. 

You can also save any harmful voicemails and take screenshots of harmful text messages that show the date, time, and events in question.

By recording and logging instances of the abuse, you create credible evidence of the abuse. If the situation escalates to the police or court, or your friends and family don’t believe your story, you can present it to strengthen your case.

What About My Friends and Family?

Sometimes an abuser is so deeply ingrained in your support system, you might be afraid that leaving means abandoning some of your friends and family.

Or, perhaps your family has sided with an abuser. If this happens, stop and assess your options. 

Consider going to each of your loved ones individually to talk about the situation and see if they would be willing to help. If you have proof of abuse, like a journal, pictures and voicemails, or physical marks, see how they respond to that evidence.  

If your friends and family do not show any sign of changing their minds despite proof of what you’ve been through, then you ask yourself; “Even though I care about these people, are they worth standing with when I’m suffering alone?” 

Leaving behind loved ones is hard, but if that’s what it takes to make sure you’re safe, then maybe it’s the right decision.

Remember that even if they won’t stick with you now, you may be able to rekindle your relationship later. While you’re experiencing abuse, YOU should be your own first priority.

What If We Share A Lease, Bank Account, Vehicle, Or Other Assets?

Sharing a lease, bank account, or car seems like an unbreakable chain binding you and an abuser, but there options and fail-safes available to you. 

If you want to break a lease, first talk to your landlord and see what you can do. Most states have laws in place for abuse victims that let them break a lease early for their safety. 

If you share a bank account, consider going to your bank or a different bank, on your own, and speak to a representative about the situation. They may be able to create a solo account for you that you can use for your own needs like food, or to create an emergency fund for when the situation worsens. 

If you share a vehicle, consider what other alternatives you have for transportation. Do you have friends and family that can help, or can you use public transportation? If you have no other option, don’t be afraid to make a spare set of keys if you need to use the car. When both partners are equal owners, you have a legal right to do so.

Remember, abuse is more common than you might think, and while it’s scary to disclose what you’re going through, people usually want to help. Letting a person with authority know that this isn’t a normal circumstance may allow them to go above and beyond on your behalf.

What If I Work With My Abuser?

If you work with someone who abuses you, take a step back and examine what options are available to you. Can you talk to the human resources department about the situation? They are usually bound by confidentiality, and cannot reveal that you spoke.

If you have to tell your boss why you’re meeting with HR, tell them you have questions about your benefits, or vacation time. 

What about confiding in peers you trust? Talking with trusted friends or coworkers can help build a case for you should you decide to come forward. 

But what about if the abuser is your boss? Your first attempt should be talking to HR, or see if you can speak to someone higher in the company about your situation.

Remember that using a journal to document any incidents is a great way to have concrete proof of the abuse. If all else fails, you can file a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity, and they’ll take action in due time. 

Who To Call

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you didn’t try hard enough. You are not broken.

There are understanding people at all of the following places. If you don’t feel good about one support service, there are others to try talking to. Help is out there, as long as you ask and fight for it!

Crisis Text Line – reach out for support via text messaging. Send a text to 741-741

National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1800 799-SAFE (7233) or text TELLNOW to 85944. A 24-hour hotline for any type of domestic abuse, including dating abuse and cyberstalking.

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative – provides counseling and technical advice to victims of nonconsensual pornography (“revenge porn”) through a 24-hour Crisis Helpline”

National Parent Helpline — 1-855-427-2736. Call for support, ideas, and further resources when in a parenting crisis.

And if you’ve already reached out for help, you’re welcome to just come let off steam with us at Supportiv.

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