What happened that made you decide to leave?
My therapist asked me why I stayed. I said it was because my daughters needed their father (I didn’t know he was abusing them at the time). He told me they’d end up with someone just like him, I told him they wouldn’t, they’d know better.
He said to me “OK, let’s just say they do end up marrying someone like him. When the abuse starts they’ll think ‘Mom stayed, I suppose that’s the right thing to do.’ That’s when I realized that I was setting a frightening example.
How did you feel about your abuser and/or your relationship in the days before you left?
I hated him, had enough of the marriage and the abuse (it had been 15 years).
What three emotions did you most experience in the days closest to leaving Abuse? How did you deal with them?
Hatred, fear, elation. I don’t remember how dealt with them other than trying to tell myself everything would be ok.
What planning did you do before you left? Who knew you were leaving besides you?
It was a bit of a different kind of situation. My ex had threatened me with a .357 Magnum handgun, and the police were called. There was a court date set for that August, and I told him that if I went to visit my friend in another state and didn’t show up for the court appearance that they would have to drop the charges.
He agreed that would be a good idea, but then I told him I wouldn’t go without the girls. He said I couldn’t take them, I said then I wouldn’t go. He finally agreed.
I called my out-of-state friend and she helped me find a place to live. I told my dad, and he sent me some money. I packed one suitcase with with their most beloved toys and blankets, and two suitcases with mostly their clothes and a few things for me.
What were the one or two BEST things you did before you left?
Called my friend and hid a few of my important things in with the girls’ clothes.
If there was anything you wish you had not done before you left, what was it?
There were a few things I wish I hadn’t left behind, but other than that I can’t think of anything.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
- Don’t cave in to their threats.
- Get a restraining order and surround yourself with loving supportive people.
- Don’t listen to the negative things your abuser is going to say about you, they are not true.
- You are an amazing human being and have the right to a safe and happy life.
- Try to get the best attorney you can afford if you’re ending a marriage.
- Get counseling for you and any children.
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