If you're reading this, then there's a good chance you're involved in a violent relationship and are looking for some answers. Women who feel trapped in violent relationships often stay because they think they have nowhere else to go or are concerned about things like sitters and school for their children. While these are valid concerns, they simply aren't reason enough to keep your kids in a dangerous situation. Take a look at your kids right now. As you read these tips, think about whether you want your children to have a reason to grow up knowing that there really is a reason to be afraid of the things that go bump in the night.
Think of you and your children. The first thing you have to do is stop thinking about how your abuser feels and think of you and your children instead. Abusers are often very charming people-until they get angry or don't get their way. Too many women get lost in thinking about the potential good points of the abuser or how the relationship used to be. But, the reality is that it will never be like that again. Toss that guilt out and if your self-esteem has been hammered so much that you don't value yourself, place your focus on your children. Even if he isn't touching them, they are sustaining damage from the violence they see and hear.
Use a mantra. If you've never used a mantra before, this might seem kind of odd to you, but the reality is that you have been programmed to think that you are somehow to blame for the abuse. It's time to get that thought and the feelings of guilt and low self-worth out of your system. In short, you need to reprogram your mind. Come up with a saying that reminds you every day that you are worth more than what you're getting out of life. Something like "I have a right to be safe and happy" works if you mean it when you say it. Again, focus on your children if you have lost the ability to care about yourself. In that case, use a mantra like "My children have the right to live without fear".
Plan for emergencies. If you don't have the ability to leave right this minute, plan for it. Pack a small bag with outfits and shoes for you and your kids as well as whatever amount of cash you can afford to put in the bag. The next time there's a problem, you can leave before it gets violent. Grab your pre-packed bag and your kids and leave.
Gather your resources. Remember all those friends you had before you got into this situation? Get in contact with them again to see how they can help. Some of them may have avoided you because they couldn't stand to see you in a violent situation that you wouldn't leave, while others may have been chased off by you or the one abusing you. Keep in mind that abuser are very clever when it comes to getting rid of any people who might influence you. In fact, it's usually the ones who could help the most that he has been the most forceful and creative about getting rid of.
Contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. Though you can contact the Domestic Violence Hotline through the Internet, this isn't always safe as browsing history is easy for your abuser to look up. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for information on resources in your area or the area you want to go to.
Prevent financial harassment. When you know you're leaving, close out any joint accounts and cancel any credit cards that you both hold together. Have utility accounts in your name closed or transferred. Stop worrying about how this action is going to impact him. This is about you and your kids.
Use public resources. It may be time to swallow your pride. You're leaving. You're taking care of your kids by whatever means you have to. You should be proud of the fact that you have the guts to do it. If that means signing up on public assistance or going to a shelter for a short time, consider these options a means to an end and no reflection on you personally. Safety is the first priority. Many battered women's shelters offer transitional programs to help you get on your feet. If not, know that those with children in shelters go to the top of the list for assisted living programs.
I speak from personal experience when I say that this may be the scariest step you've taken, but you and your kids are worth it. Get ready for a better life!
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Refernces: Personal Experience