Leaving Domestic Abuse Tips for Your Safety and Health

Leaving domestic abuse behind will be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. I promise. The years since I left my abusive husband prove to me that I am valuable, lovable, courageous, and capable of handling my affairs. It took time to relearn those things that I once knew, but not as long as you might think. My days of freedom now number 2 years, 7 months, and 28 days and I feel vastly different from the day I left him.

Physically Leaving Domestic Abuse

Leaving Abuse TipsMy abuser aided my clean break from domestic abuse. He did not stalk me and showed up unannounced at my new home very infrequently. His phone calls were a beast to deal with, so I put an end to them almost immediately by refusing to answer when he called. I told him to only text or email me (but only because we have children together). When he did call, I didn’t answer the phone. When he showed up at my house, I didn’t let him inside – I met him outside, on the porch, where neighbors could see us.

Some people are not so lucky. When you leave, you may suffer stalking, harassment at home and work, nuisance court appearances, and worse. It is important that you protect yourself physically even if your abuser never laid a hand on you during your relationship.

Breaking up can cause abusers to break apart and commit acts you never thought they would do. Buying and carrying some form of pepper spray is a relatively safe way to protect yourself from surprise attacks. Change your locks, vary your routine, and tell your co-workers, family and friends what’s going on if you haven’t already.

“Do things differently” is your new motto! Your safety plan is still an important ally. Make sure you revise it after you leave your abuser (or create a plan if you didn’t do it before you left!).

Leaving Domestic Abuse Mentally & Emotionally

It is probably going to be tough to completely mentally and emotionally separate from your abuser. You may be plagued with uncontrollable, recurring memories or nightmares (Is PTSD from Domestic Abuse Causing Your Distress?). Your mind, seeking its comfort zone, may tell you to go back to the relationship for any number of reasons. Your heart may break because the relationship you hoped for will never come to be. If your abuser fights to get you back, they will apologize, admit their mistakes, tell you they can’t live without you, and sing all the wonderful tunes you hoped for during the relationship.

Do not fall for your mind, heart, or abuser’s tricks. Your thoughts will un-knot themselves. The feelings will pass in time. Your abuser will move on to fresh victims. You and everything you’ve come to know will change for the better – except for your abuser. If you do things differently – think, feel, believe, and behave differently – you will succeed in overcoming the remnants of the abuse.

It is important to accept that your abuser will probably never change. If they change after you leave, then that is great! But let them work out their issues without you. The damage from the past is too great to overcome. Even if your abuser turns into a genuinely loving person, you would always wonder when they were going to snap and revert to their old selves. You can’t recover from PTSD until you’ve left the war zone, and you can’t recover from the effects of domestic abuse until after getting away from your abuser.

Leaving Domestic Abuse And Taking Care of Yourself

We hear the advice “Take care of you” everywhere. Most abuse victims think they have taken care of themselves, but it’s not until leaving that we realize that we really don’t know how to do it. I once thought taking care of myself meant analyzing my issues and being a better person because relaxing, listening to music, reading books and the like didn’t give my mind a rest. Whenever I “took care of myself” back then, I felt guilty.

Something wonderful happened when I wasn’t under the constant pressure of abuse. When I no longer felt stuck in a waiting period or in defense mode or wondering how long my abuser’s good mood would last, I found a lot of time on my hands that was guilt free! I found myself singing in the car, dancing in front of the mirror, laughing at silly jokes, and enjoying my time with my children. Truly enjoying and living my life with no guilt.

After you leave your abuser, you will enjoy finding out how you like to relax. If you try to chill and find that you cannot, listen to Erin Chavez’s hypnosis mp3, Hypnosis for Abuse Victims, to help you diminish the memories and pain.

Leaving abuse is the very best thing you can do for yourself! The time and energy you gain will propel you toward a new life full of peace, love, and success. The changes will take time – a different amount of time for each of us – but they will happen. Others have left abuse and you can too! Continue to use your support group, therapist, friends, and your mind during the transition.

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  1. I want to thank you so much for sharing your pain and experience. I am at a friend’s house right now because I needed to get away from the incredibly horrible things that my boyfriend has been saying to me for days. In my face screaming swearing cutting me down making me feel shaky and scared in my own home. We moved into my house a few months ago, he said let’s go to your house and make it ours. We had been out together for a little over 2 months looking at property for sale in another state, in his camper, him, me and a little child. I have been thru so many abusive guys, I can’t believe it! I was shocked at the great lengths my boyfriend has gone to, just to get his way. So demoralizing, humiliating, mocking me, fierce, mean, saying things that just are’t true an being mad at me because in his head they are true. I was so grateful to read all that you wrote about Will.

    My daughter is also with a tyrant. She has been with him for 13 yrs. the words on your face book page hit the nail on. How wonderful to find comfort and understanding in the privacy of your own home. The support is priceless!

    My boyfriend is having his renters leave his place on pretty soon, then his son and him can go back to their house. I am going to the doctor this month. I had surgery on recently [and the doctor says I can’t do certain things]. My boyfriend says he doesn’t want to help me in the house, splitting wood, bending over backwards for me. He wants to do what ever he wants to do, without having anyone in his way.

    The super hard part is his little boy. The little one doesn’t have a mom and has gotten so close to me. I have always said- Who will make the commitment for these kids who have meth head crack whores for moms and dads? I feel like I am being selfish but I can’t stay with someone like that. It took me a long time to see clear of the abuse from the past and here I am again with some creep. Another heartache to bear, more unhealthy words to work out of my head.

    I am going to tell the boy that his dad will be a lot happier with his garage to work in again and I want him to be happy. I will see him again so don’t worry. He has been in foster care three times already, his dad hasn’t been emotionally there for him. When I first met him and rubbed his back, he said what are you doing? Now he just loves- LOVE! Hugs me all the time kisses me holds my hand and said we are good friends and we will never leave each other. That is the part that is tearing me apart! I can and will get over his dad, but leaving him puts me in a place where I feel I am forced to be cold and turn my back on a child and that’s just not me. Where is the o.k. in that? how do I live with that. He’s not my kid, I can’t save them all? What. If you could respond to this message, I would be so thankful. Thank you for the words of wisdom,I will practice them when I go home on Friday. It helps a lot. Sincerely yours, Denise.

  2. I know trying to find things on making sense of my present situation, is hard. I am guy , but most of what is described she does to me. The name calling, prevent leaving, unless with her, im not good enough, i go to church but that wont help you. Many more. Its hard to not start beliveing all those things, bc i feel invisable around other ppl, i feel alone. I try to get away but end up still going back, idk how to break free.

  3. I got counseling. My therapist helped me realize I was a worthwhile person. And that if I want you to be happy it was up to me to make things different.

    I am now extremely happy I wake up every morning with a smile. And I feel so much lighter my life has turned around.

    I was in a relationship 45 years. If I could finally get out of it so can you. You have to do it for you.

  4. thank you for this information. i have no way to get this information to her. He has control over her social media also. not sure what to do without him doing something rash. he has already threatened to burn her home down that he lives in also if she left him. he has choked her at least once i know of. she is frightened of him because of threats he has made. i dont know what to do. She isnt allowed to visit her mother or anything on her own. help!!!

    • Hi, My name is Janet and I work here at Verbal Abuse Journals. Abusive relationships are about one person wanting power and control over another and the abuser achieves that through fear and intimidation (the threats are a perfect example). Also isolating her from her family and friends and is another control tactic; it is hard to stand up for yourself when you do not have a support system around you. Now many Survivors do create secret email addresses and fake social media profiles in order to stay safe, but still be able to seek support. If she does do that advise her not to connect any of those profiles or email accounts to her devices as he could then easily see them. If you can encourage her to create a Safety Plan. We have a great one here at Verbal Abuse Journals that was created by Kellie Jo Holly. You can download it for free at http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-to-stop-abuse/safety-planning/ , just scroll to the bottom of the page that pops up to download it for free. A Safety Plan is like creating a fire drill plan for escaping a fire, but this is about escaping an abusive plan safely. I say safely because a victims risk of danger actually increases at the time of leaving or when they are planning to leave. This is because the abuser sees that they are losing control over their victim and they will often escalate the abuse. Take care

  5. I am victim but still disturbed in some how , my children are one reminde me other him hunting me even after year he never give up I am gone

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