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6 Ways To Cope When Your Partner Goes To Prison

Being A Statistic is A Tragic Thing To Become

The Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report in 2021 showed that 1 of every 20 individuals (5.1%) is bound to serve time in prison within their lifetime. The data furthered that men (9.0%) are 8 times more likely than women (1.1%) to be imprisoned.

Having to do time in prison is something that never crosses our minds. The possibility of loved ones being touched by crime is a thought better left not entertained. It never occurs to us that it can happen.

But when it does, we are left in a stupor. All of a sudden, your family is part of a tragic demographic. Worse, you are on the news with the media gobbling up your story as they wait for the next payout.

The truth is, we can only imagine how it must feel. Crime is always an uninvited visitor that never leaves once it has done its worst. So what will you do if it happens to your partner?

This article is not a pat on the back. Nor is it a cautionary tale. Or a veiled attempt at saying, ‘We know how you feel’ because let’s be honest, there is simply no way for us to know how another human being is feeling. And to claim that you do is spitting on the face of the one who struggles. This article aims at providing the partner of an offender with some ways to cope with the situation.

6 Ways to Cope When Your Partner Goes To Prison

1. Know That It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

You must acknowledge your emotions surrounding your partner’s incarceration. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and general helplessness are possible and valid reactions you might have. Denying them will only worsen the situation and prevent you from moving forward.

If you feel that you must have an outlet you have several options. But of course, choosing one must feel right and aligned with your identity. For example, some would find they are eased by enrolling at their local gym to spend at least an hour a day working out. Some find solace in sports. Some, by creating art.

Sometimes, writing emotions in a journal may also help ease the pain.

2. Join a Support Group or See a Therapist

While developing new hobbies and skills might prove cathartic, seeking help from a professional opens a pathway to genuine resolve. Talking to a therapist or a support group can unravel certain underlying issues you may have that are preventing you from dealing with your situation.

A therapist will walk you through emotions that might prove difficult to decode. Talking to a group allows you to open up to people who are going through similar situations, helping dispel feelings of isolation.

Talking with a professional will ease you into the process of acceptance. It will allow you to deal with your grief with resolve and conviction.

3. Accept The Situation

Accepting that your emotions are valid but cannot do much to change the situation is a powerful step towards releasing them.

Apart from this, you have to be ready to face certain changes in your partner’s behavior. Because you do not have first-hand knowledge of what goes on inside prisons, you will have no way of knowing what exactly goes on in your partner’s mind or what he or she is feeling every time you come to visit. While it sounds like a tall order, the key is to understand that being incarcerated is difficult.

4. Talk To Your Partner Regularly

Despite the possible challenges in dealing with your partner’s modified perception, you must soldier on to engage in regular conversations. It is not enough to give encouraging words to a loved one in jail; you both have to talk about the situation and how it has affected your family.

While these conversations will not always end up the way you want them to, being engaged in them allows you and your partner to unlock and resolve some issues you may have with each other.

5. Talk To People

Talking to family members and friends would be a healthy step to take.

However, selecting what you want to divulge should take precedence. You must know how to choose what you can share with even your closest friends and family.

There are some things they might not completely understand, leaving your loved one ill-prepared to assess what you have said. This might lead to a greater disconnect.

You must also know how to protect yourself by anticipating how the other party would react. If you think what you are about to share might cause misunderstanding, do not share it. Family may be your immediate helpline, but understand they are human too. They are still susceptible to their biases and interests.

6. Focus Your Energies On Family

Yes, since you have to be wary of what to share with them, focusing on caring for your family does not only help you cope—it is something you must do. If you have children with your partner, they need you now more than ever. They need you to process everything.

If you have been traumatized by the event of incarceration, imagine how a child would view the situation.

Always check up on your kids. Ask them about school. News of your partner’s imprisonment may have already reached the ears of the community. The information might cause unpleasant incidents in school. The other kids, unmindful of what they do or say, might mention something their parents talked about leading to bullying or other incidents that might damage your child’s mental health.

Spending time with family helps your child see that you are there for them and allows you to feel that you are not alone.

Know That There Are People Who Care

Opening up about how you feel about your partner’s incarceration is a challenge in itself. Regardless of how the situation treats you, admitting you are not okay is the first step toward liberation.

So if you’re struggling with this issue, know that there are people who care.

Reach out to them; share your plight with them. Do everything in your power to be okay.




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