Emotional Safety Planning

Photograph of a sunny windowsill looking out into a backyard with a potted plant in the foreground

Emotional Safety Planning

This post was written by Diane, an advocate

A safety plan can help you stay safe while in an abusive relationship, while preparing to leave an abusive relationship or after leaving. Often, people focus on planning around physical safety, but it’s important to consider your emotional safety as well.

Emotional safety can look different for different people. Ultimately, it’s about developing a personalized plan that helps you feel accepting of your emotions and decisions when dealing with abuse. Below are some ideas for how to create and maintain an emotional safety plan that works for you.

Seek Out Supportive People

You deserve to feel safe while expressing yourself and your opinions, and having supportive people around you can help create a safe space. A caring person such as a trusted friend or family member can help create a calm space to think through difficult situations and allow for you to talk about your options.

Identify and Work Towards Achievable Goals

Dealing with abusive situations can be very overwhelming and stressful. Taking one step at a time can be very helpful in overcoming larger tasks later. An achievable goal might be calling a local resource and seeing what services are available in your area, or talking to one of our advocates at loveisrespect. Remember that you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with right now, but taking small steps can help options feel possible when you are ready. Reading this page and looking for strategies to be emotionally safe is already an amazing step that you have taken!

Create a Peaceful Space for Yourself

Designating a physical place where your mind can relax and feel safe can be a good option when working through difficult emotions. This can be a room in your house, a spot under your favorite tree, a comfy chair by a window or in a room with low lights. Whatever space works for you personally! Adding other elements such as calming music, plants or tools to journal is an option to explore (just be sure that your abusive partner does not have access to your personal journals). This is your safe space, so whatever brings you peace is a great choice.

Remind Yourself of Your Great Value

You are important and special, and recognizing and reminding yourself of this reality is so good for your emotional health. It is never your fault when someone chooses to be abusive to you, and it has no reflection on the great value you have as a person. You deserve to remind yourself of this! Writing messages to yourself about things you like about yourself or saying these things out loud every day can be good ways to start. Even if you don’t feel comfortable with this, just thinking “I matter and how I feel matters” can be validating. It is the truth, and you deserve to hear it.

Remember That You Deserve to Be Kind to Yourself

It’s easy to fall into a pattern where we put extreme pressure on ourselves to make the right decisions right away. This isn’t always possible, and it’s completely okay to take whatever time you need to make whatever choices are right for you. You deserve support from other people, but you also have a right to be kind to yourself, and remember that you are going through a very difficult time. Taking time to practice self-care every day, even if only for a few minutes, really creates space for peace and emotional safety. It’s healthy to give yourself emotional breaks and step back from your situation sometimes. In the end, this can help you make the decisions that are best for you.

If you need to talk to someone about your situation, or if you need help creating a personal safety plan, our advocates are here for you. Call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on the website or text loveis to 22522!

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