Valentine’s Day involves many grand displays of love through gift-giving and dates that are often heavily documented on social media. For survivors of domestic violence, it’s often tough to see these displays of love and affection when they haven’t experienced the tenderness and respect they deserve in a romantic relationship.
If a loved one has experienced domestic violence, you may notice that they are not looking forward to the upcoming holiday. At Bridges Domestic Violence Center, we believe in supporting survivors through all of the difficult memories and stress that holidays may trigger. Here are some tips for helping your loved one through this potentially upsetting holiday.
How Can I Show Up For Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day?
- Be Aware of Potential Triggers: For many survivors, the typical treats like chocolate or flowers of Valentine’s Day might be more triggering than helpful, as love bombing and gift giving are often manipulation tactics that abusers use to convince survivors to stay or to “make up” for their violent behavior.
- Be Present: Extravagant gestures do not have to be the order of the day. Simply being present with your loved one can mean the world. If you spend time with a loved one on Valentine’s Day, casual plans such as cooking dinner and watching a movie at home can be a great way to show up and normalize the holiday.
- Reach Out Year-Round: However difficult it is, Valentine’s Day is one day out of the year. Different holidays, anniversaries, and settings can bring their potential triggers for survivors, so it’s important to show up for your loved ones and express care year-round. It’s also helpful to point survivors toward resources they may not know are available, such as support groups and therapy, to work through their trauma and build confidence along the way.
How Do Domestic Violence Centers Support Survivors Emotionally?
- Support Groups: Our domestic violence support groups provide a safe and considerate environment for victims and survivors of abusive relationships. These groups provide an encouraging space for healing and personal growth so no one has to face their trauma alone.
- Crisis Intervention: Our 24-hour crisis hotline provides a judgment-free space to assess and assist in emergencies. Our Crisis Intervention team responds upon request, alongside our local law enforcement at the scene. The victim will receive immediate intervention and potential next steps to move forward.
- Community Awareness & Resources: Part of our mission at Bridges Domestic Violence Center is to raise awareness about domestic abuse in our community. Through strategic efforts, we strive to inform and educate our neighbors on the ways they can help support victims and survivors, as well as receive support if they are experiencing violence. These relationships allow us to refer survivors to reputable organizations in our community that can assist with needs outside our area of expertise.
At Bridges Domestic Violence Center, we acknowledge the incredible strength of survivors while also letting them know that expressing vulnerability is part of what makes us human. We understand that days like Valentine’s Day can be tremendously difficult, and we want to uplift survivors so that they know they are worthy of love and affection. We can be contacted via our website or at (615) 599-5777.
We are a member agency of United Way of Greater Nashville.