When your abusive partner doesn’t understand that what they are saying is wrong or what they are doing is hurtful, it is reasonable to look for tools on how to communicate with them so that they can comprehend the effects of their actions.

If you are the survivor of or are currently in an abusive relationship, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline suggests “setting up emotional “defenses” that can help protect you and help you combat the negative effects of the relationship–things like positive affirmations, self-care, building a support system with friends or family, or getting ongoing help through therapy or support groups.”

Domestic violence is much more than just physical violence. It is a pattern of manipulative behaviors meant to control and maintain power over an individual, and can happen in any type of relationship. These behaviors include sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse.

Below are some examples of how to stand up to an abuser without confronting them with words.

  • Accept that the abuse is not your responsibility: Do not try to reason with your abuser. This pattern of behavior is their responsibility.
  • Disengage and set personal boundaries: Decide that you will not respond to abuse and limit exposure to the abuser as much as possible.
  • Exit the relationship or situation: Cut all ties. Remove yourself from the person or situation. You might also want to see a therapist who will show you healthy ways to move forward.
  • Give yourself time to heal: Reach out to supportive friends and family members. If you are in school, talk to a teacher or guidance counselor who will help you along your way to recovery.

These attempts may result in an escalation of abusive behaviors. If you feel unsafe, call 911 to contact authorities. For iPhone users, in settings under “Emergency SOS” is a feature that calls 911 when the side button is pressed 5 times in a row. Make sure this is enabled.

If you would like to discuss some options for safety or make a plan on action to leave the relationship, please reach out to 1-800-799-7233 or visit the National Domestic Abuse Hotline website. They are there for you 24/7.

Break the Cycle is a group who supports people between the ages of 12 and 24 to help build healthy relationships and create an abuse-free culture.

DomeseticShelters.org is an educational hotline database of services in your area.

Love Is Respect (National Dating Abuse Hotline) gives teens and young adults a chance to chat online, call, or text with advocates.

If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse and need assistance, self-help resources are available via www.texaslawhelp.org.  If you or a loved one are in need of an attorney or would like to explore other resources, you can utilize if they are being abused, you can visit the Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org.