Updated: Jan 11, 2021
An abuser thrives off of the ability to isolate their captive. The more an abuser can keep their captive under their control and away from the outside world, the more they feel in control of that individual. In cases like these, the victim might not be “allowed” to hang out with friends, dress in certain ways, see family members without the abuser being there, or socialize with coworkers or colleagues outside business hours. Monetary control is another way an abuser may seek control because their victim relies on them to be there to provide income. There may even be a constant monitoring of the victim’s phone or email to keep them from reaching out to anyone without the abuser’s permission.
These measures of control are all ways that an abuser seeks to isolate and create a dependency with their victim. Such degrees of control are often implemented gradually, creating an excuse for the abuser to become upset if one of their rules for socializing are broken, giving them cause to increase the strictness of these boundaries.
But in today’s age of technology, there are numerous ways that you can get out of abusive isolation and break that cycle. You just have to find one single outlet that your abuser is not monitoring. If they are checking your texts, make a phone call. If they are checking your emails, create a new account that is not connected to your old one. Doing so will give you an outlet; a way of contacting those who may be able to get you out. Computers at public libraries and other resources can help with this. Visual aids such as hand signals can be passed along in video calls to inform others of your situation.
If all these resources are blocked, you can access anonymous online group chat forums, where at the very least you have the opportunity to share your story. We do not suggest taking any advice or confidence from these forums, but it is at least an opportunity for you to break isolation and reach out to others. If all else fails, you can do as much as write a letter to someone you know, all you need is their address. Leave instructions on how they might best help you. We recognize that many situations are extreme and may feel impossible to get out of, but with the right persistence and resources, we believe it is possible.
But if the situation is dire and the abuser is watching all of these outlets, the number one thing you can do is just get out. If you can escape for a certain amount of time, you might be able to reach someone who can help you, such as a shelter or the police, or at the very least you can find someone to hear your story.
Remember, you CAN break isolation. It may seem impossible at times, but there are people out there to help you. If you can take even the first step it may be all you need to begin your journey towards freedom and healing.