Safely leaving an abusive relationship requires self-control and a lot of planning.
Abusers are skilled manipulators and will do everything in their power to maintain control over their victims. They verbally and physically beat down their victim’s self-esteem until they feel like they deserve the abuse.
If they suspect their victim is even considering leaving, their manipulative games will become more aggressive and dangerous.
The majority of victims decide they should leave the relationship at least a dozen times before they ever set one foot out the door. Sadly, there are many who never make it out of the house. Either their abuser convinces them to stay or uses force to stop them from leaving.
Many domestic violence murders occur when the victim is actively trying to escape the relationship.
Don’t Be Forced Into Staying!
A victim of abuse is just as likely to be seriously hurt or killed if they stay. Abusive relationships are a ticking time bomb that can cause complete destruction at any time.
A well-thought out escape plan, a secure, safe haven and legal recourse are necessary to stop the violence from continuing.
Four Steps Towards the Door
The first step is privately seeking outside guidance.
Make sure your abuser is out of the house before searching for local shelters or support services. Abuse is disgustingly common, which means there are experienced survivors everywhere.
Find someone who has been through the same experience and ask for their advice. Always remember to delete any online search history before your partner returns.
The second step is strengthening your personal support group.
Confide what’s going on with either a family member or close friend that you can trust. If you don’t have anyone (which is common since abusers try to isolate their victims), you’ll need to involve law enforcement once you’re ready to physically move out.
The third step is preparing for your future.
Find a friend, relative or shelter you can stay with temporarily. If your abuser has financial control over you as well, you’ll need to start a secret squirrel fund. Put aside any money you can and make mental notes of valuable items you can safely take with you.
Having a job of your own or the ability to get a job will make it significantly easier.
The last step is picking a time and date to leave.
Make sure your support system is available and that your abuser will not be home. If you don’t have a physically strong person who can be there, find a police officer who can.
It’s critical that there is at least one other person with you when you move out, just in case your abusive partner returns home unexpected.
If there are children involved, you will definitely need to work them into your plan. Make arrangements for them to go somewhere safe and don’t let them know your plans until moving day. You can’t risk a child letting it slip that you’re leaving before you’re ready.
No matter how much you prepare, I can’t guarantee it will be easy. Fortunately, it’s always worth it in the end. Once you’re out of the reach of the abuser, you can rebuild your self-esteem and create a life free from fear and torment. If you’re in a toxic relationship and considering leaving, start with step one as soon as possible.
If you’re not sure who to contact, you can start with me. As a thriving survivor, I’m always willing to offer guidance and support to those still trapped.
Domestic Violence ~ Resources for Victims and Survivors
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By Jenn Sadai