Tag Archives: tips

Self-Care Guide for Survivors

16 May

We wrote this brief self-care guide for people who have experienced trauma, especially rape and sexual assault. It suggests a number of practical ways to cope with the day-to-day stresses of being a survivor. Please take it, share it, and tailor it to your own needs. We hope it is helpful to you on your journey towards healing. 

Reminder: Take Care of Myself

1.    Clear your space of the things that will trigger you. Toss their stuff out, Febreze rooms of their smell, delete pictures and emails and messages in your phone. Your trauma is real, and you don’t need external reminders of it.

2.    Exercise. Walk, run, stretch, swim, move. Do whatever you need to get your body to breathe. Massage tight places to release tension. Energy can get stuck there and you may not notice it for years. Moving your body allows it to talk to you, tell you what it needs. Be sure to listen.

Eat right. Raw fruits and vegetables are your friends. Even if you don’t feel like eating, stay hydrated. Keeping physically healthy helps you hold on. You are precious, like water; the world cannot afford to lose even a single drop.

3.    Get familiar with your coping mechanisms. Make connections between your experiences of stress and drinking, or stress and drugs, or smoking, shopping, eating or not eating. Rate your coping mechanisms from good-for-you! to “bad” and “worst”. Aim to do more of the good, less of the bad, and eliminate those in the “worst” by substituting in better things. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall off, but have a plan in place for how to get back on.

4.    Stop blaming yourself. The story of your transition from victim to survivor is your vehicle to this. It will take some work but remember you are the protagonist, whoever hurt you is a bad person, and now you are writing how the story will end. If this method seems to wear thin, watch Staceyann Chin videos as often as you like to remind yourself that what happened to you was not your fault.

5.    You have already been through the war, but as in battle, it is good to know the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Strategies are long-range plans to reach an intended goal. First comes the goal. Make it a positive one in the present tense, for example, I love myself, so I take care of my body. The strategy might then be to practice loving yourself from one moment to the next.

Tactics are the baby steps you take to make your strategy happen. A variety is needed for the many roads you’ll encounter. For example: when I feel like throwing up, I will leave the bathroom, take 5 deep breaths, sip peppermint tea. Or: when I want to self-harm, I will put on my jacket and go for a walk. Or: when I can’t stop crying, I will write in my journal. I will do yoga. I will call a friend. Use your tactics to support the hard work of day-to-day survival.

6.    Listen to yourself. You know more than you give yourself credit for: when to stop, when to seek help, when to steel yourself and push through the pain. Turn off the TV when the show starts to trigger you; leave the theatre when the film twists your insides into a knot. Speak your truth when a. you feel safe enough to do so, or b. when silence poses the greater danger. Force yourself to unplug from all digital devices when it is 3AM and you need to be up in the morning. Quiet the mind and open yourself to the sound of your inner voice. It is there to protect you, to keep you free, safe and out of harm’s way.

7.    When you meet anyone who doesn’t believe you, won’t listen to you, or reminds you of what happened, walk away. Don’t look back. Boundaries exist for a reason – use them. Don’t feel guilty for deleting their texts, not answering their calls, or responding to their mail. You owe them nothing. The future is a gift you should give to yourself. The occasion is imminent, and the best time is now.

What are some of your top self-care tips, strategies and tactics?

Put them in the comments below.

12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him

26 May

Under patriarchy, expectations of monogamy and compulsory heterosexuality mean women are conditioned from childhood to be on the lookout (or compulsively searching) for “the one,” her “soulmate,” or Mr. Right.  This is a fantasy induced by a combination of Disney princesses, white dresses and storybook weddings, as well as social and cultural influences, public discourse, mass media and celebrity culture.  What this means is that many of us are so eager to get married, and so conditioned to be the damsel in distress or unconditionally self-sacrificing for “love,” we often overlook some basic things that illustrate how, far from being a prince or knight come to rescue you, your intimate partner may be in fact dangerous to your sense of self, your individual identity and your independent thought.  You do not need rescuing, and no one should make you feel that you do.  If any man in your life exhibits the below behaviours, he is at worst an abuser or at best an emotional/financial drain; you are better off without him.  In particular, don’t marry him. He is so not worth it.  See also: How to Leave a Bad Relationship.

12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him

  1. He interrupts what you are doing to demand his dinner. He demands his dinner. He seems to think his dinner is your priority/responsibility.
  2. He interrupts what you are doing to demand anything.
  3. He expects things from you he wouldn’t do for you, and doesn’t do himself – e.g. washing his clothes, caring for his children, paying for or “helping” him with his large bills/expenses.  He does not share equally in what would be the tasks of a marriage.
  4. His “affection” is always aggressive and only manifests when he wants something.  He withholds attention, and if he does give it, he expects/requires you to respond positively to his advances. Sisters of Resistance place coercion on the spectrum of sexual harassment, assault and rape. In our experience coercion is common and we call it when we see it. (In the case of rape, help is available. International Resources)
  5. He cuts you off from your friends and family. Tactics may include: judging your friends and relatives, telling you who he likes and doesn’t like, or who you are allowed to see and when, if at all. (See:  Narcissist Abuser).
  6. He has cheated on you.  Or when you got together, he was cheating on someone else.
  7. He doesn’t have a life. (See: Peter Pan Man)
  8. He puts you down, ridicules, or degrades you.  This wears away at your self-confidence while keeping you trying harder to win his love.  He may say he is just joking, but that shit ain’t funny. (Men have sayings that relate directly to this one: “Treat her mean, keep her keen” UK /  “You treat a girl like dirt, she’ll stick to you like mud “ USA) (See:  Narcissist Abuser).
  9. He is always negative/moaning/feeling sorry for himself.  He expects you to carry this emotional burden.
  10. He only speaks badly of his exes and past relationships, painting them always as being in the wrong.  He accepts no responsibility for the ending of past relationships and breakups.  (He probably doesn’t accept much responsibility anyway.)
  11. If he already has kids, and he has not raised them well, why would you (possibly) want to make more with him?
  12. If things have only gotten worse since you moved in together, why get married and make that shit permanent? Continue reading

How to Respond to Unwanted Cherpsing (Pick-Up Attempts)

22 Jul

Because single women out in the town or city defy patriarchal norms that aim to put us back in the kitchen and/or bedroom, we receive unwanted attention from some men who assume our unattached presence is an invitation. We reject this attention with decisive, declarative responses similar to the below and, if possible, quickly continue on our way.

This content has been added to the Sisters of Resistance Terminology Toolkit.

CHERPS/PICK-UP LINE: Hey! (or other shouting, yelling, hooting, calling over. Often done on the street or from a passing car.)
RESPONSE:  None required.

CHERPS: Did you hear me?
RESPONSE: Yes, I did, and I’m choosing to ignore you.

CHERPS: Where are you going?
RESPONSE: Not where you’re going.

CHERPS: Are you single?
RESPONSE: None of your business.

CHERPS: What’s your name?
RESPONSE: I will not be providing you with that information today. (This was developed in response to police officers’ attempts to gather intelligence at protests but is applicable in a variety of other situations.)

CHERPS: I want to get to know you.
RESPONSE: I don’t want to get to know you.

CHERPS: I can’t be your friend?
RESPONSE: I’ve got enough friends.

CHERPS: Can I get your number?
RESPONSE: No. (Repeat as necessary.)

CHERPS: Any other question or attempt to carry on the conversation.
SOME POTENTIAL RESPONSES:
I’m in a rush.  Bye!
I’ve got to be somewhere. Bye!
I’m on my way out. Bye!
(Repeat “Bye!” as necessary and walk away.)

How to Leave a Bad Relationship Part 3: Moving On

17 Jul

Humans are creatures of habit, especially with behaviour caused by systems of oppression (patriarchy, sexism, hetero-normativity, etc.). This is why it can be so difficult to pull yourself away from a bad relationship, and why it can seem easier to stay with or go back to someone who is bad for you. However, freeing yourself from the grip of an unhealthy partner is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future.

In order to move on, there are a few steps you will need to take. As the process of unlearning is continuous, you will need to revisit these steps more than once, but each time you do, you will have new knowledge and understanding that will make moving on easier and help you to form healthier relationships.

Part 1: Cutting Communication

Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts

Continue reading

How to Leave a Bad Relationship, Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts

21 Jun

Disentangling two lives is not an easy process, nor can we expect it to be instant.  This “Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts” provides some recommendations for the period of time it takes you, whether suddenly or gradually, to remove your ex from your life.

Do’s

DO articulate, clearly and honestly, the reasons why you are splitting up. You can be somewhat general (e.g. This relationship isn’t working/healthy/satisfying my needs; I don’t feel loved/respected in this relationship) but also be direct and specific enough for them to know you have made up your mind.

DO delete their number from your phone. See Part I: Cutting Communication.

If you have a smartphone, DO install an application (e.g. Mr. Number Call Blocker) to prevent them from reaching you.

DO take all their stuff (clothes, shoes, records, skateboards, etc.) out of your space (room, house, car, office). Stuff holds memories and easily invokes emotions that can interfere with the splitting-up process. It can also be used as an excuse for them to come back (see also: Alpha Male). If they don’t come back for it, inform them where you will be leaving it should they wish to pick it up (à la Fe-mail #2: Property).

DO start planning and carrying out your day-to-day activities free from them and their influence. Remember how good it feels to make decisions that make you happy, without worrying about what someone else wants to do.

DO take them off the pedestal. You might be tempted to reminisce about the way they look, smell, dress, or do certain things, but ultimately this is time wasted. And who wants to waste any more time on a bad relationship?

DO replace contacting them with an alternative. You have to learn to kick the habit. While some may use the rubber band-on-the-wrist tactic, we prefer positive reinforcement. Even deep breathing can be a positive exercise, if you consider with each breath how much better oxygen is for you than the toxic relationship you have now left.

DO acknowledge that it’s going to take you some time to extract yourself from your relationship. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself cry, then, as best you can, get some fresh air, exercise, stretch, breathe and allow yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally relax. Tell yourself that you will find happiness again. And that true happiness really does come from self-love.

DO put yourself first, and remember, this is for the best.

Don’ts

DON’T be vague as to your reasons why you are ending the relationship. DON’T give them false hope for getting back together in the future when this is not your intent.

DON’T let them persuade you once you have made up your mind to make the split. This may be very difficult, especially when you are dealing with sweet-talkers or other manipulative people. But trust the instincts that told you that this was not working, and be firm.

DON’T let them make you feel guilty or bad for splitting up with them. They do not deserve more of your time, attention or care. They are not worth it.

DON’T blame yourself. As much as you may be tempted to reminisce on your ex’s good qualities during this time, you may also be inclined to forget your own. Resist this temptation as much as you can. If anything, reflect on the ways they made you feel low, inadequate, or unloved. Then tell yourself why you deserve better next time. And there will be a next time.

DON’T overdo it on the coping mechanisms. Whether it’s running, shopping, food, alcohol, ganja or another substance, some things can make us feel good temporarily but are shit when overdone or in the long run. If you know or suspect you have a problem, help is available.

DON’T contact them, or respond to them reaching out to you. Use the strategies we have outlined, like the Par List, to keep yourself from speaking to them. We understand you may slip up. But adherence to the guidelines ensures the greatest chance of success.

DON’T meet up with them and don’t make plans together. This may be extremely difficult, especially if you have friends, groups, and children in common. But the more you see your ex on a romantic basis (no make-up sex!), the harder it will be for them to stay your ex and the longer it will take for you to get over them.

DON’T tie your sense of self-worth to this one relationship. Just because you are not with your ex anymore doesn’t mean you are not desirable and/or lovable. You are lovable. You are so lovable, in fact, that you should show yourself some love by ending this bad relationship once and for all.

Read on – Part 3: Moving On

Back to Part I: Cutting Communication