The simple truth is that you’re not crazy, you’re not stupid, and most importantly, you’re not alone. Now is the time to gather your strength, seek support from your family and friends, and get out. Hopefully these tips will help you make the decision to save yourself.
1. Acknowledge the abuse
You may be blaming your spouse’s behavior on stress — or even on yourself. Take a moment to consider: Is he controlling all the household money? The way you dress? The amount of time you spend with friends? Does he hit you or your children? Hurt pets? Destroy things you love? Force you to do things you don’t want to do? All these are examples of domestic abuse. If this sounds like your life, please acknowledge that you’re in an abusive relationship, and get help.
2. Find a support system
Believe this: you have friends and family who love you, and who are willing — perhaps even waiting anxiously — to help you. And every city has organizations that offer help and guidance to women in your situation. You don’t have to suffer in silence, and you don’t have to go it alone.
3. Make your decision
Understand that you have have the right to control your body, to make your own decisions, and live a life free of emotional and physical pain. Then make the choice to take back your power. Please don’t talk about any plans you’re making to leave with your spouse — this can cause a bad situation to escalate.
4. Collect and create important documents
This is vital. First, make sure you have copies of all your important records — taxes, insurance, and birth certificates for you and your children. Then, keep a careful record of any abuse. Save text messages and emails; call the police if there are problems; start keeping a dated diary; if you’re injured, take photos and seek medical attention.
5. Keep a secret stash of money
While this won’t be easy, it’s not impossible. You may want to open a bank account, along with a post office box that bank statements will go to. Set up some small amount of money to be directly deposited to your account from your paycheck. If this isn’t possible, ask a close friend to hold money for you.
6. Pack an emergency bag
Keep a bag hidden in your house for emergencies. In the bag, make sure you’ve got a small amount of cash, your car keys, a no-contract cell phone, and a few clothes for you and your children. If you feel that you’re in real danger, this could save your life.
7. Establish a “safe word” and a safe place to go
Set up a system with your children and your support network so they’ll know if you’re safe or in trouble. Ask a trusted friend or family member for a spare key to their house so you’ll have a safe place to go — especially if you have to leave in a hurry.
8. Get police backup
Before returning to your home for your possessions, ask for a police escort. Do this even if your spouse appears to offer no resistance to your move.
9. File for a restraining order
The most dangerous time for you and your children will be after you leave your abusive spouse. This is the time to get a restraining order. It will keep you separated from him, whether he’s planning violence or reconciliation.
10. Allow yourself to heal
Find a good counselor, and stick with your therapy for at least six months. The scars left by abusive relationships aren’t just physical scars. You need time to heal your emotional wounds and learn how to keep from falling into another abusive situation.
It’s not easy to leave an abusive relationship. You may feel helpless and alone. But know this: You deserve better. You can find the strength and the support to change your life.
Robert Moment is a life coach, speaker and author of several life-transforming books, Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence Help for Abused Women and Domestic Violence Survivors, Verbal Abuse: How Women Can Successfully Recognize, Respond to and Overcome Verbally Abusive Relationships and Abusive People, and How Do You Find Happiness . Robert specializes in maximizing human potential for happiness , purpose and success. Visit http://www.DomesticAbuseandDomesticViolence.com and sign-up for the FREE Life-Transforming e-courses on Overcoming Domestic Abuse and Verbal Abuse