Very few things can be more traumatic for you and your children than when your partner is in prison. In this article we are going to address some emotional challenges you will be going through and give you some useful links for support groups where you can talk or even meet with women who are in the same situation.
Support of others is the key to coping with almost any emotional problem and you absolutely should take advantage of large Internet communities built with purpose to help you cope with this change.
How it feels to have your partner in prison?
Needless to say, different people in different situations will feel very differently. There are so many things to consider!
How you will feel will depend on accusation and whether or not you believe your partner has actually done whatever he is accused of. Not all accusations will have same effect on you. Quite obviously, if your partner was arrested for not paying taxes will feel very differently than if he was arrested for murdering or raping someone.
Another factor that will significantly affect your reaction is your relationship with your partner. Do you love him? Or were you just tolerating him because you didn’t know any better and now you have to deal with this also?
Whatever it is, you probably can’t change anything and it will be whatever it’s going to be. What you absolutely have to do is to take a good care of yourself and your children.
Support communities for wives of prisoners
Not many people can understand your situation. You may find yourself lying about what happened, like telling everyone your partner traveled to work abroad for a while. This may include your closest friends and family, and even your children. The issue with lies is that by giving false explanations of your partner’s absence you also eliminate all support, bottling up your emotions and making yourself feel even worse.
Fortunately, there are communities on the Internet where you can receive support from people who are going through similar challenges. Here are some useful links:
- Wives of Inmates – Facebook page – please keep in mind when you are liking a Facebook page people with who you are connected on Facebook can see that. If it’s something that feels uncomfortable open a separate FaceBook profile using different email address to like this page and communicate with its members.
- PrisonTalk is a website, forum and blog founded by donations of families of inmates. You can join their forum where you can share your feelings and fears without being judged, because everyone there understands what you are going through. You can also offer your own support to other members, which can be surprisingly therapeutic. You can read their forums here.
- Offenders’ Families Helpline contains useful information from arrest to court, prison and release.
- Prisoners’ Wives, Girlfriends, Partners (PWGP) is a community site that organizes free and confidential monthly meetings.
- Action for Prisoners’ Families is a UK oriented site, but contains a lot of information that would be useful for anyone outside the U.K. too.
No matter how much support you receive life is not going to be easy for a while. You need to take a really good care of yourself, not just for yourself but for your children too. Here are some tips that will help you manage your stress and avoid nervous breakdown:
- Eat well. You might have no appetite but you can’t survive without food. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, eat as healthy as you possibly can. This time it’s not about losing weight, it’s about helping your body reach optimal state and function properly.
- Exercise. Exercise, especially cardio exercise, is an awesome stress reliever. Exercising in groups, like attending a class at your gym is best. When you follow a cardio class, you can’t think of anything other than what you are doing right now. You are here in the moment and your mind takes an opportunity to rest and restore. In addition, exercise makes us feel physically and mentally stronger. Even if you never exercised before, go and give it a try. You will be amazed at what it can do.
- Use self-hypnosis to relax. This audio download will help you release stress and function better.
- Preserve your routine. Insist on preserving same routine as before the arrest for yourself and your children. Routine is incredibly calming and relaxing, it makes us feel safe by sending message that everything is okay, everything is as usual. Don’t underestimate the power of routine and insist on preserving it especially when it comes to your children.
- Continue living. There is no other option. No matter how you feel, you just have to put one step in front of the other. Time heals and this too shall pass.