What happened that made you decide to leave?
It wasn’t any one thing that made me leave. It was a culmination of events. I blamed his alcoholism for his abusiveness and I would fantasize of a future where he was clean and we’d be in love again. If only I could love him enough to get him to stop drinking. As I realized that I already loved him enough and I couldn’t make him stop drinking, I was able to take a clearer look at him and realize that I wasn’t happy and couldn’t be happy with him.
How did you feel about your abuser and/or your relationship in the days before you left?
I told him I was going to leave him about 6 weeks before I did. At first he fought hard to keep me and made all kinds of promises which he quickly broke. Then he got angry and would say things like no one else could love me. I actually believed it at the time. I was able to leave because I thought I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life then with him. As I was preparing to leave, I felt hopeful and resolved for the first time.
What three emotions did you most experience in the days closest to leaving Abuse? How did you deal with them?
I felt hopeful, determined and fearful. I had never been on my own and he had convinced me that I was too weak to live without him, so I was afraid. But I had recently started meditation and had found a group near me who supported me.
What planning did you do before you left? Who knew you were leaving besides you?
I didn’t fear for my physical safety when I left, so everyone knew – even him. He even helped me move my things out and we discussed what I would take. Of course, he was only so agreeable because I mislead him to thinking I just needed time to myself and my moving out was only temporary.
What were the one or two BEST things you did before you left?
I got my own separate checking account and had him write me a fair check to get started. He wanted me to keep using our joint account but I didn’t trust him.
If there was anything you wish you had not done before you left, what was it?
I wish it hadn't taken me so long to decide. But perhaps my going back and forth are what convinced him that I would come back to him. The fact that he so firmly believed that I could never leave him, helped make leaving him safer and easier for me.
How long ago did you leave? How do you feel today?
I left 13 years ago. I feel amazing. I have a whole new life. Luckily we never had children and I haven't seen him in about 11 years. I lost most of my friends and even some family members when I left him because everyone thought he was such a nice guy. It was devastating at the time, but now I know it was worth it.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Whatever you have to do and whatever you have to leave or give up is worth it. I basically started completely over. It was hard and I cried and felt defeated a lot, but I made it through. Anyone can do it.
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