It’s not always possible to leave an unhealthy environment, but creating a detailed safety plan can help minimize risk and help you navigate difficult living situations. Safety plans look different for everyone, and you decide what pieces are useful to you and your situation.
Living in an unhealthy environment is stressful and predicting when conflict or potential danger might erupt is difficult. In moments of tension, it’s hard to think clearly and know how to respond. Developing a safety plan helps you think through and plan for scenarios before they happen.
An exit plan can be critical for situations that might become dangerous. It can be helpful to think through belongings you would need to quickly leave, what door is easiest to access, who you will contact after leaving, and where you can go for safety.
Safe spaces could include the homes of nearby friends or family, a public space that is well populated and where you feel safe, or a housing shelter.
Safety plans can also be used to meet psychological and emotional needs. If it’s not possible or necessary to physically exit your environment, finding a safe and private space within your living space or nearby can be of equal importance for your mental wellbeing.
You don’t need to have a physical copy of your plan, especially if it would be a risk if found. Mentally planning is just as valid and useful. If you do write it out, try to keep it in a private place or in a password protected note, where it’s less likely to be found by others.
Safety planning is a tool that can help minimize risk, but remember that you are never responsible for someone else’s violent or abusive actions.
When you are unable to leave an unhealthy living situation, it can feel like you’re responsible for managing the emotions and behaviors of those around you. It’s easy to lose sight of your own needs and worth when your environment does not reflect back how important you truly are.
Your thoughts and feelings matter. You matter. You are never responsible for the hurtful actions of those around you. You are worthy of feeling safe and loved. https://ncadv.org/get-help