Despite the injuries caused by domestic violence, there are cases where both of you are willing to do whatever it takes to begin to heal the relationship. This article is a good first step in that direction.
Living in the midst of violence is going through life with trauma. However, there are some cases in which healing this trauma is not only possible on an individual level, but also as a couple. I want to make it clear that this only happens when the aggressor is aware that he has a problem, is in search of professional help and is willing to do whatever is necessary to heal the wounds he has caused in his partner and in his children – to have them -. I am not talking about false promises, such as those made during the guilt phase of the cycle (see article “Domestic violence: Description of the cycle”), but about a permanent commitment not to fall into violence regardless of how the aggressor feels .
It is important to mention that healing a relationship that has experienced violence requires a lot of time and professional help, since you are dealing with a trauma and not with ordinary pain. Still, this will help you begin to heal the relationship and, more importantly, help you feel safe in your own home. Some suggestions presented here have been adapted from the advice given by the therapist Larson (2010).
Sign a “non-violence allowed” contract
In order to regain a feeling of security and begin to create an intimate relationship, it is necessary for the victim to have a contract in which she lists what she expects of her partner and the consequences if the agreement is broken. This contract must have the following points:
The contract has to be in writing; that is, it cannot be verbal.
b. The aggressor makes compromises
The aggressor has to commit to ending all acts of violence, to developing other forms of communication, to learning to control his anger and to seek professional help to deal with his own personal problems, which have led him to such a level of aggressiveness.
The contract must explain the consequences in case the previously specified commitments are broken. These consequences have to be explained and well understood by the aggressor, all this in order to avoid misunderstandings in the event of violence re-emerging. For example, a reasonable consequence is that if an episode of violence is repeated, the aggressor implies that he has decided to terminate the contract and, therefore, attempts to heal the relationship (see article “Domestic violence: What to do when the couple does not want to change ”). It is of utmost importance
that whatever the consequences they have decided to impose, the victim must comply with them, otherwise the aggressor will internalize that he does not really have to change his behavior, since the consequences are never carried out.
d. Signed and with witnesses
It is important that this contract is signed by both of you, and by one or two trusted witnesses who can validate the commitment and the consequences. This is done so that the abuser feels the seriousness of the commitments he has just made, and so that he knows that he has an obligation not only to his partner, but also to the witnesses to the agreement.
and. Bring this contract to therapy sessions
If you have professional help, it is important to bring this document to the sessions so that your therapist can review it and can help you achieve the goals stipulated there.
This contract will be of great help to you to begin to feel safe, and to check if your partner’s intentions are sincere. You deserve to know if he is really willing to change, and this contract will help you determine this. You have many reasons to distrust him, and wanting to see a test of his sincerity before offering him your heart again does not have to make you feel guilty, because remember that the pain you have lived is acute and very difficult. Your safety is worth that and much more – especially if you have children. Give time to time and allow yourself the satisfaction of beginning to heal, especially if your partner keeps his commitments.
If you know someone who needs to prepare and sign this contract, do not hesitate to communicate this article, because when the contract is followed to the letter, you have the possibility of starting to heal many years of pain.