If you’re in a physically abusive relationship get help immediately. If you can’t involve friends or family consider calling a number from this list of globally recognized helplines.
Is the thought of leaving a physically abusive relationship overwhelming, anxiety-inducing and terrifying?
Getting out of an abusive relationship can be a terrifying prospect that freezes you from taking action. When is the right time to bring it up? What will you say? How will they react? It can be traumatizing to think about how to begin this process for women and men that suffer from assault and battery.
When you have been alienated from your family and friends, mentally beaten down, financially manipulated and physically threatened, it is much harder to get started.
In this article we will break down the process step by step so that you can get an idea of how it can work for others suffering like you.
Stay and suffer or leave the abusive relationship?
The first challenge that can paralyze you is the thought of “how” to leave. You may feel unsure, scared and torn if you’re trying to decide whether to stay or to leave.
Perhaps there’s still hope that things will improve, or that the abuser may retaliate if they discover you want out.
Perhaps you even blame yourself for the violence or feel vulnerable and ashamed because in spite of it, you have stuck around.
Your mood may change from wanting to desperately get away to wanting to hold on to the relationship. This is particularly true when that person has disorders such as narcissism or sociopathy.
Uncertainty, shame and self-blame can leave you feeling hopeless. Your safety and wellbeing are the only things that truly matter.
- For being battered or mistreated, you are not to blame.
- The abusive actions of your partner are their responsibility.
- Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, including you.
- You deserve a safe and happy life.
- Your children need to live in a safe environment.
- You are not alone in your suffering.
- There are many people ready and willing to help.
Keep the following points in mind when deciding whether or not you should end your physically abusive relationship:
If you expect that your abusive partner will improve…
…the violence will likely continue to happen. Abusers have profound psychological and emotional issues.
Although change is possible, it’s not simple nor quick. Only when your abuser takes responsibility, receives clinical care and stops blaming you, their childhood or any number of other things, can real change be possible.
If you think you can help your abuser…
It’s normal to want to help your partner. You may think that you are the only person that understands them, or that it is your job to solve their problems. But when you ignore repeated violence you perpetuate the situation instead of helping them break the cycle.
If your partner has promised to stop the violence…
Abusers often ask for another chance when they sense you may leave. They are masters of manipulation and will convincingly promise to behave or improve.
Once you forgive them they learn that you are compassionate, and that you will endure their behavior, so they return to previous patterns. You are training them to stay the same.
Although they may believe what their apologies, they will not change until they get help.
If you’re worried about what’s going to happen if you leave your physically abusive relationship…
You may be worried whether your abusive partner will do something extreme and hurt you even more. Where you’re going to go, or how you’re going to support yourself and your children might be the questions on your mind.
You’ve made the decision to leave. What are your next steps?
Why? Because with documentation you have evidence and proof for later.
Documentation is as easy as making a note and timestamp of instances of violence. You might also want to take photos, videos and screenshots of abusive events. Get creative, get smart and protect yourself.
Alert Family and Friends
Keep in touch with important people in your life, and when and if a problem happens, call on them to help you.
If you don’t have this luxury, then consider contacting any number of domestic violence organizations such as the ones here.
Making a plan
Research and planning are critical when leaving. Until you get a solid footing, go somewhere safe and take enough money to support yourself. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Leave and Disengage
To keep the abuser away from you, do whatever you have to, including banning them on social media, changing your phone number, or even getting a restraining order.
It is time to stop when this person has hurt you over and over. They have purposely hurt you and they will likely not stop. Although they need help, you are not the person for that. They need professional help and the longer you stay, the worse the situation will get.
Moving on from a physically abusive relationship
Physically abusive relationships can leave large psychological marks but they do not need to become scars.
If you have recently left a physically abusive relationship, seek support. See a therapist, counselor or confidant and keep your loved ones close. Focus less on the past and more on the present moment and the future to work through your challenges and rebuild the life that you want.
Remember that you are lovable, important and powerful. You can make these changes and succeed like many have before you.
Check out our podcast episode with Ria Gamboa on Trauma, Narcissism and Abuse.
You can check the book “How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship: An Essential Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying the Signs of an Abusive Relationship, and Leaving It for a Brighter Future” in both paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon.