Why You Should Leave An Abuser
Basically, your physical and emotional health depends on you getting away from the toxicity that is your relationship. You do not have to, need to, or should want to stay in this type of situation no matter the circumstances. You cannot heal inside of a toxic and abusive relationship. God has an amazing plan for your life, and the devil wants to keep you trapped in this deep dark hole thinking you cannot leave. That is the wrong kind of thinking Satan wants to keep instilled in your mind.
God can and will free you from this prison if you allow Him to. But the decision is always yours to make. The reason why you should leave is simply that you should not stay. No one should feel unsafe. You don’t need a reason to leave. You already have a reason to leave.
How to Safely Leave an Abusive Relationship
Don’t overthink this. Once the decision to leave has been made, you just have to do so. But it is important to do so safely and get to a safe, supportive place. Even more importantly, you cannot go back. It will only escalate to more abuse and more severe abuse, and especially in the circumstance of physical abuse, it may escalate to death. Do not take the situation or the decision to leave lightly.
Find a safe person. This can be a friend or family member you know without a shadow of a doubt you can trust. If there is any question of that friend or family member will talk to your abuser about any of this, do not trust them with it. In this case, reach out to the resources designed to help abused women. We are one of them! Visit our contact page or the get help page.
Find a safe place. If trusted family and friends are an option and they are prepared to keep you safe, make arrangements to stay with them while you heal and transition. Seek counseling either through us or a therapist. Utilize the resources on this site. This is why we are here. If family and friends are not an option, and you feel like you have no place to go, that is not true. There are organizations like ours and safe houses and battered women shelters that help people leave an abusive home and transition their lives to be free of abuse.
If you have children, this is even more of a reason to leave as soon as possible. Abusive people and narcissists cannot be negotiated or reasoned with. Find the opportunity you need and go. If anything, go to a hotel on the other side of town or a nearby town. Pay cash and request not to register your name or register a fake name. If necessary tell the hotel clerk you just fled an abusive relationship. Pull cash out of the ATM at your bank if possible. Do not use debit or credit cards. In the best case scenario get to a safe place with a safe person so you are not alone.
Go NO CONTACT with your abuser and do not let them know where you are staying. Block them on social media, spam block them in your e-mail, and either block them from your phone number or even change it if necessary. It can be tempting to contact them or go back – if necessary have a safe person help keep you accountable here.
If you have joint financial resources go open an account in your name only. If you are working and have direct deposit get this changed immediately. If any of your funds are in a joint account go move them to your individual account and then remove yourself from the joint account. If you share a phone plan, go to the carrier and have them move your line to a new account in your name only. Shut off any utilities in your name. Cut off as many ties as you can that can affect your personal finances & credit. However, do so in a way that doesn’t raise suspicion of your abuser. This can wait until after you have made it to safety if you believe the abuser will become restrictive or violent at your decision to leave. Otherwise, stick to your boundaries and decision to leave if confronted by an abuser who is not as relentless and dangerous before you leave. Use your own gut feelings to decide on your best approach.
File a Family Violence Protective Order. You do not need a lawyer and this should cost nothing to file. Google “family violence protective order -YOUR STATE-” and you should find government links to the forms you need to fill out. We can assist you with this! Feel free to contact us for assistance. You will have to have the form notarized (most banks where you have an account have free notary services or UPS notarizes documents for only a few dollars. There is also a notary at the courthouse.)
Take the forms to the clerk’s office at the courthouse in your county. We can assist with finding the location you should take this if you are struggling with finding the information. Be prepared to speak to the judge (either same day or by appointment within a few days) about the circumstances surrounding your petition for a protective order. Just be honest and truthful and explain why you need the order. They just need your personal testimony under oath. If needed, take a safe person with you for personal support.
The Dreaded “D” Word
If you are married to your abuser, it is time to start thinking about filing for divorce. If you are ready: Interview a few lawyers who are experienced with domestic violence and take advantage of a free consultation. You are not required to have a lawyer to file a divorce. However in this situation, especially if children are involved and you believe the divorce will be contested, hiring a lawyer would be in your best interests.
If you are not ready: Seek out domestic violence recovery, counseling, and/or coaching, and seek a legal consultation once you are ready. Just because you seek a legal consultation, it doesn’t mean you have to file for divorce right then. Getting legal advice might help you with your decision.
You cannot save your marriage alone. If your spouse is abusive and unwilling to seek individual help for their problems, you need to ensure you are safe. While this doesn’t always have to end in divorce, a separation is a good place to start. Abuse is not a marriage problem, it’s an individual problem. Traditional marriage counseling does not work in destructive marriages or abusive relationships. In order for any program to work, both parties need to be willing to change.