Moving On Phase
It is no easy feat to leave your abusive relationship. I have been there and done it. I understand.
Here is a game plan for you that would have helped me if I had it when I was leaving my ex malignant narcissistic partner.
Unfortunately, abusive relationships happen all the time, leaving women feeling trapped in very difficult situations. I also thought I was trapped initially and saw no way out of my situation.
There have been many celebrities that have come forward over the years including Reese Witherspoon who revealed her abused past and how she finally escaped her relationship which changed the course of her life completely.
Abuse can be found with people of all races, education, and class levels. People who can get caught up in relationships that turn violent, and in most cases it is difficult for all of them to find a way out.
Getting out of an abusive relationship is much harder than “just leaving.” After a person has lied over and over again to you, manipulated you, belittled you, demeaned you, trashed your self-esteem, or threatened physical harm or even death, it doesn’t leave the survivor with many obvious options.
When I was in the position of extracting myself from the narcissistic hell relationship I was in I spoke to therapists, lawyers, domestic abuse support lines, and other women who had been in abusive relationships to find out how I could safely flee my abuser.
No matter how dire a relationship may seem, there’s always an escape route to a better life.
Here are the steps to use to leave with a safe plan:
One of the most important steps for your escape plan is to reconnect with your family and friends. We were lied to about our family and friends and kept isolated from them or gaslighted into thinking we’re crazy. I was told these exact words many times by my narcissistic ex.
” Your family don’t care about you.”
” Your Mother does not love you.”
” You are all alone.”
It may seem difficult since we have often been isolated by our abuser, we were told that these people who we are going to reach out to don’t care, never liked us or a variety of other lies to keep us alone and under their control. But it is less painful to reconnect than stay in this isolation.
Call an old friend or family member and tell them what’s going on. Most likely, even if years have passed, loved ones will be happy to reconnect and give support.
Without a supportive social network, it’s incredibly hard to leave a relationship. But by reaching out to old friends and family, your reliance on your abuser decreases and it gives you places to go once the relationship has ended.
So, if you’re experiencing abuse, reach out. It doesn’t even have to be a best friend or family member. You can tell someone you trust at your work, talk to your doctor, your therapist, or speak to the police.
Get it all on record. The police have victim services available for support and advice. They can advise you about possible charges, and you can always make a report to keep on file for a possible court case. You can also call the National Domestic Support Line and they’ll help you find the resources you need.
Plan things several times
It is not often that a victim of abuse runs out the door when things have finally gone too far. In reality, escaping an abuser is rarely a last-minute decision.
Of course, if you suddenly fear for your life or feel you must leave now, it’s a good idea to escape right away and you can find shelters across the country at Domesticshelters.org
More often, though, the abused partner is planning on leaving long before they go which is a good thing. The more planning that’s done in advance, the more successful the separation will be. The better the plan that is set out by the victim the higher the chances. The person leaving needs to plan it well if at all possible.
Before leaving, know exactly where you’re going to stay. That could mean renting an apartment, arranging to stay with friends, or contacting a shelter. Pack a suitcase and put it in your car or at a friend’s house along with the same for your children. This is a good idea in case you need to leave right suddenly.
The more planning that’s done in advance, the more successful the separation will be.
Next, you’ll need a bank account, preferably with enough money to get by for a month or two. If you can’t save up that much, having a personal checking account or line of credit will help you maintain independence once you leave.
And it’s okay to ask for money from others to help start a new life. It may feel awful to ask for money but you may need to in order to help start a new life for yourself. More often than not, people are happy to help, even if it’s just a $20 donation here and there.
In addition to money and housing plans, it is important to take care of your mental health needs before and after leaving. Don’t wait to see a therapist till after it’s all over. Begin talking to someone you trust. Then, that person will be able to help you through the transition at the end of the relationship and aid you in the aftermath of emotions that come with leaving. Here are some resources to use if you can’t afford a therapist 80 awesome mental health resources.
Remember to go over the plan again as many times as you need to and leave when you won’t likely get confronted. Plan the day, time, pack your clothes, leave a note, change and secure passwords, and keep a close friend or family member copied on your plans.
Try to leave when your partner is out of town or at a time when they’re out of the house. Think about your exit as a covert operation and only a very few trustworthy people know about it.
It is hard to go through this but you are being true to yourself. You are worth it friend.
Stay safe — mentally and physically
Leaving an abuser is something you should be incredibly proud of. It’s hard, scary, and preys upon every insecurity. So think of your escape as a victory, even when it gets hard. Every step no matter how small even if it is not responding to an email your ex-partner sent you is cause for celebration. Everything counts.
You may feel emotionally all over the place after leaving, so it is important to find the little positives and treat yourself well. After leaving, it’s smart to do little things you enjoy, even if that’s just binge-watching a show you like in your pajamas.
Now’s the time to quiet any negative self-talk. ( see my article here on Negative Self-Talk). Survivors need to treat themselves with extreme kindness. Don’t become an abuser to yourself.
Along with mental health, survivors need to think about their physical well-being. You may need to get a restraining order immediately after leaving. Many victims are reluctant to take this legal step because they don’t want to anger their abuser, but a restraining order gives you the legal protection you could urgently need if things escalate. Even if the abuser never comes near you, the restraining order provides you with a sense of safety that can help your recovery.
Talk to a professional
The scars of an abusive relationship don’t disappear the moment you leave. It is very common to suffer from PTSD. It is helpful to learn tools to cope with past abuse and deal with the issues that arise after they leave their abuser.
Ideally, an abuse survivor will seek help from a professional. Though a family member or friend will certainly help you through turbulent emotional times, they aren’t trained to deal with the complexities of abuse. A licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist knows exactly how to help. I went to a therapist for a year before I left my ex narcissistic partner and this helped me to see things clearly and provided me with direction and support I needed.
Your partner may refuse to leave, which is often the case due to the sense of entitlement they have, and this was the case with my ex-partner. He refused to leave the house until he was made to because we sold it and the only reason he did leave was that he received a lot of money from the sale of the house.
You will have moments of doubt and blame, a professional will be able to guide you through the trauma and onto your life of freedom.
Unfortunately, therapy is expensive and not within everyone’s budget. Finances are often tight after leaving a controlling relationship. But there are options. Send a message to the Crisis Text Line. It’s completely free and their trained counselors will be able to help through hard times and give references to people in the area for further assistance, including sliding scale clinics.
If you live near a large hospital or university, you can often see a psychologist-in-training for free. Psychology residents need patients, but everything they do is highly monitored by a practicing psychologist. The Association of Psychology Training Clinics has very low-cost or free options all around the world. You can find these free options usually in most countries. Research online and most libraries offer free internet or find resources through Domestic Violence hotlines.
I know it’s tempting to avoid seeing a therapist. Maybe you don’t feel like talking, it’s too time-consuming, or too expensive. These are all valid thoughts, but the truth is, you will need some help to heal. Talking to a professional will help you heal and find your strength again. It’s an investment of time, money, and emotion. But it’s worth it.
But how I truly healed was doing deeper Inner Work. This is what changed my life.
End the cycle
After you have left and sought help, it doesn’t mean the cycle of abuse is over. This is a time when you are especially vulnerable which makes it’ easy to get sucked into another abusive relationship. I’m not saying this to blame you in any way. We can get trapped in certain patterns and cycles by the beliefs we had no doubt, since childhood. And once you’ve been torn down by someone, it’s easy to think you’ll never deserve to be treated any differently so another abuser can sometimes seek out that vulnerability and take advantage of it.
No matter how any partner in your life made you feel, you deserve love
But this pattern can stop with some Inner Work. The work I do with people just like you can help you heal. Your wounds can be healed. You’re worthy of love, you’re worthy of respect, and when you heal these wounds you will only attract a person who loves and admires you without strings attached.
Some people think this sounds strange but you have to love yourself. And once you believe that, deep down, you won’t be a victim to the manipulative ways of future abusers. This type of work is incredibly powerful and will help women stop the domestic abuse cycle.
If you’ve decided to leave an abusive relationship, you’ve already won.
Yes, it will be hard and it will be scary. But you’ll be free. No one deserves to be abused.
It’s not your fault and the fact that you’re leaving shows what a brave, strong, and intelligent person you are. With planning and support, you can leave safely.
So if this applies to you, start making your plan today. Take your time and check all your details.
You can do it. You are not alone. And you are loved.
Go here to here to read the final phase Phase Eight