If you’re one of the millions of women or men who feel trapped in an abusive relationship, know that you don’t have to live this way. It’s possible to exit the relationship and stop the abuse for good.
Making a Safe Exit
Your first priority is to plan a safe escape from your abuser. The National Domestic Violence Hotline explains that you must first evaluate your partner’s level of abuse and assess possible dangers to you and your children. Keep any and all evidence of abuse and identify places where you can go for help, such as with a friend, family member or law enforcement agency.
Don’t Fall Victim to False Promises
The average abuse victim returns to their abuser seven times before making a clean break. Abusers often falsely claim they will change, but proof isn’t in words – it’s in actions. And the actions rarely come. Your abuser will likely continue his or her negative behaviors no matter how many times you accept them back into your life. Remember, you deserve more, and there is a life waiting on the other side of the brick wall that is abuse.
Address the Trauma, Even if It Hurts
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that intimate partner violence is one of the top causes of emotional trauma in the United States. Traumatic events – or in the case of abuse, a series of traumatic events – can lead to chronic physical health problems, depression and substance use. When you want to truly heal, you must face your abuse head on. Consider speaking with a counselor or local clergy leader. Trusted individuals, along with group therapy sessions, may help you work through the emotions associated with the abuse. The sooner you begin treatment, the better. Once you let go of your history, you will be ready to face your future.
Rebuild One Day at a Time
Your abuse likely did not start all at once. More often than not, patterns of abuse emerge over time. Likewise, you cannot expect to heal the moment you shut your abuser out of your life. You can begin the process by paying attention to your physical and mental health and taking some time to enjoy life on your terms. Even when you’re in the midst of trying to rebuild yourself financially, socially and professionally, you should do something just for you, such as participating in a favorite hobby or even moving and making a career change.
Face Your Finances
Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things for abuse survivors to do is reclaim their financial freedom. It’s difficult, but financial freedom, including buying a home, isn’t out of reach. MarketWatch explains there are numerous down payment assistance programs, many of which require no down payment at all. You may need to learn – or relearn – how to balance a family budget. Depending on your overall lifestyle, you may also need to learn how to live with less money and change your habits to best fit your new income.
Get Ready, Get Set, Go
If you decide to change your scenery, use your moving day as a turning point in your life. Consider hiring a moving company that can handle the heavy lifting. This is even more useful when you must retrieve personal belongings, such as furniture and electronics, from the home that you shared with your abuser. When the truck is on the road, it’s time to leave that life behind.
All the time you spent in an abusive relationship can’t be erased, but today and every day hereafter is a blank page. You are in control and have the power to write your story and give yourself the happy ending you deserve.
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