Many people struggle with abusive relationships. If you're stuck in an abusive relationship, you can feel scared and hopeless. Thankfully, even if you feel like you can't escape, there is a way out. Detailed below are three steps for leaving an abusive relationship.
Find the Courage
The first step in leaving an abusive relationship is to find the courage to go. This can be difficult, especially if you're not the only one in danger. Woman’s Divorce cautions that in many domestic violence cases, children are held hostage by the abusive partner. It’s okay to be afraid, but recognize that leaving will improve the lives of everybody involved. If you're having difficulty leaving, form a support network. Therapists, lawyers, friends, family-- anyone who can help you find the courage to break out and will support you in doing so. This will be a long process, but you can do it. Have faith in yourself.
Unfortunately, once you begin taking steps to leave the relationship, things will probably get worse before they get better. Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox points out that many domestic abuse victims find abusive relationships difficult to terminate. When a victim finds the courage to end the relationship or seek help, they can experience even greater abuse in the aftermath of making that decision, and the increase of abuse can often lead many victims to remain in abusive relationships because of their inability to safely terminate the relationship. To counteract the risk of domestic violence, reach out to your support network. Leverage them for protection. Use the resources you have to ensure your safety and the safety of your family, and inquire about finding trained professionals to provide you more protection. You may need them.
Once you’ve ensured the safety of you and your loved ones, it is important to receive aftercare. Studies show that 68.3% of domestic violence victims experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD in domestic violence victims often manifests as depression, anxiety, or chemical dependency. This is why aftercare is so important. To protect your mental health and the mental health of your loved ones, seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist in healing from your abuse.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be a scary and difficult process. In the end, the decision to leave will make life better for everybody involved. You and your family deserve safety and peace of mind. Have faith in yourself and don’t give up. Things can and will get better.