When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to see the way out. However, you do NOT have to be trapped in a relationship with an abusive partner.
Discover how to separate yourself from them in a safe way by using these strategies:
- Understand why you stay. You can’t gain the courage to leave until you understand why you’re staying. Are these reasons preventing you from leaving?
- Perhaps you’re staying out of fear: fear for your safety, fear for your children’s safety, fear of leaving your beloved pet(s), fear of having no where to go and nothing (once you get there), fear of no money, etc.
- In other cases, you may feel stuck in the relationship because it’s the only thing you have right now. Despite the issues, it’s a familiar place. You may even feel secure in the familiarity. Better the devil you know, that the one that you don’t, right?
- You may have children in the situation, specifically children “together” and you’re unsure of how uprooting them may affect them mental, physically, and financially. You do not want them to be from a “broken home,” but if there is abuse going on toward you, they already know it’s broken and not normal.
- You might even stay because you feel that you deserve to be punished or that you’re “not worthy.” You’re worried that you won’t be able to find someone else who is better. And, because of the abuse, you may feel responsible for the situation.
- In addition, perhaps you believe that you can fix the issues. You may think that if you love your partner enough, then they will stop being abusive. You eventually stop trying to fix them and start trying to fix yourself, when, in fact, nothing is wrong with you.
- Strengthen your self-esteem. Low self-esteem is at the root of many abusive relationships. Increasing your confidence and self-esteem will help you gain the courage to leave the abuser. You can start by acknowledging that your self-esteem needs work.
- Look for causes for your low self-esteem. Were your parents perfectionists who expected too much from you? Did you feel inadequate when growing up? Are you constantly being chastised or scrutinized currently at work? Once you have the answers, you can work to resolve your feelings about your past. You can put the past in the past and ensure that these negative feelings don’t affect who you are today.
- To raise your self-esteem, do a nice thing for yourself each day. Pay attention to what others say about you that is positive. Journal about it or take notes, so you always have a reminder of your positive aspects. Gratitude journals work wonders, but only write in it what went right for you and/or what specifically you are thankful for!
- Get outside help. It may benefit you to get help from friends, family, or others. You may need to turn to therapy or a doctor. In some cases, outside help is needed to leave an abusive relationship.
- Your friends, family, coworkers, or others may be able to assist you so you won’t be alone and can develop the courage to leave.
- There may also be community resources, nonprofits, and organizations that can help. Domestic violence advocates are worth their weight in gold!
- Figure out your finances. Are you scared to leave your partner because you depend on them financially? If you know that you’re financially secure, then it’s easier to leave.
- When you have a job, set money aside that your abuser can’t access. You can also ask friends or family to contribute to your savings.
- When you don’t have a job, you have to be more creative. You may be able to save money from the stipends you receive. You may be able to sell some items.
- Even if you’re not certain about your finances, you can make plans for the future. Prepare for a job that can support you after this relationship ends.
These are things that you need to keep in mind that could happen, once you do leave. You have to be be committed to your safety and peace, otherwise you could decide to return to the familiarity of the abusive relationship. The majority of the time, the abuse becomes worse and people are less likely to assist you, should you want/need to leave again. You have to be able to rely on yourself and keep your thinking logical.
You don’t have to stay with an abusive partner out of fear. Relationships can be difficult to end, but it’s not impossible. Figure out a way to escape and leave them, even if you need someone to help you do it. There are resources and people who can help you get out of your abusive situation and get started in a healthier life. This may include more work AFTER you leave your relationship, such as emergency protective orders and filing police reports of threats and stalking/trespassing.
Be vigilant! Freedom is worth it and you should never be made to feel unsafe in your relationships and in your own home!