I agree with Gary:
1. Set boundaries and stick to them. Don’t slip back into child or victim mode. Set guidelines for yourself – and if necessary – speak them aloud or write them to hosts or family members. Practice in advance. Write it out if you need to.
2. Limit time and proximity. Stay in a danger zone as short a time as possible. Have your own space.
3. Have an exit plan for time out or an emergency departure. Go for a walk. Run to the store for that one item you forgot. Get out for a coffee or smoke or… Have your own transportation – don’t be dependent on someone else for a ride.
4. Buddy system – enlist an ally to be on-call. One year in college, I took an international student home with me to be a chaperone and body-guard. Everyone was on their best behavior because there was an outsider observing everything. Once I was married, there were two of us to have each other’s backs. If you are on your own, try to find a friend that you can call for support.
5. Don’t be surprised. Most perps and insensitive enablers are quite predictable. You can foresee what they are likely to say and do. Think through the possible scenarios and plan tactics you can use to avoid or escape if you need to.
6. Stay sober. Don’t rely on substance use to anesthetize or give false courage to get you through – that is likely to make things worse.
7. Just say no – if worse comes to worst – don’t put yourself in a vulnerable spot. Make excuses and don’t go.
I know that all of this may be overwhelming. But the trauma of being re-victimized – even if “only” verbally or emotionally is worse than trying to keep “peace” in the family. don't give in to emotional manipulation. stay out of reach if you have to - #7!!!
(For the record - amd for those who don't know my story - the first and longest duration perp in my life was a step-father - my ages 6-18. once i was married and had kids, we visited the parental home very seldom. he died when our kids were pre-school - huge relief!)
Edited by traveler (12/02/12 07:37 PM)
Edit Reason: added parenthetical comment at end
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself... And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity." - Paulo Coelho