Staying Alive

Making your home safer

The only sure way survive a manic is to leave, and not look back.  Sometimes, this is not possible.  Depending on your situation, you might find something here that might help you.

We all have patterns and preferences, and violent men (despite all evidence to the contrary) are people too. When there is a lull in the drama, take time to think.  You need to use all of your resources to maximise on managing the things you can control.

Mr X had a thing for holding my head under water repeatedly, and there were a good few times when I was sure I was going to drown.  Wherever possible, I avoided bathing myself or my children when he was st home.  This wasn't easy, given that he was also a sponger and seldom worked so always around, but do what you can in your environment.  I worked out that Mr X was less likely to go wild in the mornings -  He either lacked the energy, or was worried that if I was late for work too many times, he might starve.  He might have wanted to avoid having the authorities asking questions if the children missed school, who knows? Either way, he was less volatile in the mornings, and changing bath/shower routines did help me.

Many violent outbursts build up but seem impulsive at first.  Later, the abused can sometimes see the signs that an event is brewing, even if nobody else recognises it.  There is sometimes one person that the abuser will not perform in front of, or who has a calming effect on him.  If this is the case in your home, them sometimes finding a reason to call that person on the 'phone might diffuse things.  If you can manage, without raising suspicion, to get that person or any other person to come around to the house, that might help too. The main thing is to use what you know about your own abuser to carefully guide him away from an outburst.  Be very careful.  I think I have already mentioned in another post that just because someone is mad, doesn't mean they are idiots.  He knows you well, and if he thinks he is being manipulated then it can trigger sudden rage. 

Take a look around your house and consider what you might do to child proof it.  Make sure any sharp knives are put away, perhaps in a box, in a cupboard.  Scissors, skewers, tenderisers or any other implement that might be used against you or your family needs to be kept out of sight.  Small adjustments like removing these potential weapons from sight might help to avoid them being used against you in the spur of the moment.  Tools belong in toolboxes, so pack them away if you can and store the toolboxes out of sight. Be careful of cables.  When you buy small appliances, choose ones with short power cables.  Store longer ones on reels so they are less likely to end up around your neck.  A personal alarm might help you, but probably only once as it will be taken away.  Weigh up what you know -  You might decide to get one, but to use it as a last resort only.

Make up a code word for your children, and ensure they know where to go if they have to leave the house in a hurry.  You might be able to present this as if it's for fire, or another emergency.  Decide what they need to do and where they need to go.  Use the process to save them if you need to, but that too is only likely to work once.  

If possible, try to have a room in the house where you can lock yourself in very quickly.  This might not be workable for you.  It is easier to find a reason to add a door lock if there are firearms in the house, or if there is have been recent robberies in the area.  If there is a time when the abuser is going to be away from home, then there might be opportunity to fit a lock if you can convince him that you feel unsafe in the house when he is away.  

If you have any friends left, arrange to have them call you at a certain time everyday for a chat, use a pretext if required, like children's homework, news of a frail relative.   If you don't answer at some point there will be someone to follow up.  

Get into the habit of making sure that someone knows where you are any given time.  If you use a mobile, then make sure security settings do not store your passwords.  Set text messages to auto delete, and get into the habit of deleting voice mails and text messages.  If possible, get some super cheap prepaid mobiles and leave them in the main rooms so that you can call for help in an emergency.  You might not be able to get to your own or the home 'phone.

Make sure every room in the house has a working smoke alarm.  Keep a lighter or matches with your cheap mobile 'phone.  In an emergency, if you can lock yourself in a room, then setting off the smoke alarm might attract attention.  If it doesn't, then at least it provides a cover in case you have to call the fire brigade yourself.  Few things turn Mr Maniac into Mr Mellow quicker than an audience, but remember that many of these tactics will work only once.    

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