How to Break Free of an Abusive Relationship
I am so proud of you. Yes, you..the person reading this. Just the fact that you have begun pondering breaking free from the heavyweight that has, far too long, dragged you down is a step in the right direction. Breaking free of an abusive relationship is difficult, but when you finally do, the liberation you’ll feel is indescribable. I’d like to help you access that “liberated, free of dead weight” feeling.
To break free of an abusive relationship, you first have to gather the mental/emotional strength to actually leave. This won’t be easy, but as stated earlier, it will be worth it. Below are a few tips to know that will help you muster the courage to leave.
It Is Not Your Fault
Many people that are in abusive relationships over time begin to blame themselves. Please remember, however: abuse isn’t based on anything you do or say. Blaming yourself will only make you stay longer, believing that you deserve what you’re receiving. You do not deserve abuse. You deserve someone who won’t harm you… even if you upset them. You deserve love and peace, not sometimes, but all of the time.
Don’t Stick Around, Awaiting Change
One thing that makes leaving an abusive relationship challenging is when hope is held out that the abuser will change. At the point that someone begins to abuse you, you should no longer be concerned about whether they will change or not. Your duty is you. You are now obligated to look out for your emotional, physical, & mental needs…not the needs of your abuser. Holding out hope will only lead to more disappointment.
Don’t Pity Your Abuser
There are so many emotional cycles that you may be experiencing. Sympathy may be one. Perhaps the sympathy derives from viewing them as a victim, displaying the abuse that they suffered as a child. Or perhaps the sympathy derives from the constant apologies they give, claiming to have no control of their behavior. Regardless of why you are sympathetic, don’t feel guilty for sympathizing. But don’t allow the sympathy to keep you in the relationship. You can feel sorry for someone and still do what’s best for you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are in a relationship with an adult, not a child. Therefore, adults should take full responsibility for their current actions.
It is Never Too Late To Leave
Some of you reading this may have been in an abusive relationship for a year. Some of you may have been in one for 30 years. Regardless of the length of time, you can always leave. Leaving isn’t always easy, especially if so much of your life is tied to that person (such as emotional & financial ties..or even having children together). Perhaps you feel insecure and fearful about your ability to support you or your children if you leave. It’s understandable that if you’ve built so much of your life around this person. This is why you must strategize an exit plan for yourself and your children (yes, your children must leave also. They should not be raised in a toxic environment). In the case of having no money to live on your own, call a loved one for help.
Don’t Let The Good Times Make You Stay
Maybe today was a good day. Maybe your abuser has not made you cry for an entire week. Maybe they’ve engulfed you with an overwhelming amount of apologies, accompanied by all of your favorite gifts. The abuser’s apologies can be part of the manipulation cycle. A cycle that you will continue to be a part of until you decide not to. No amount of gifts or apologies should make your stay in an unhealthy relationship. You can not be bought.
Admitting abuse can feel embarrassing, however, with the admittance can come help from others. You are not a punching bag and you deserve more out of life. You are strong, you will survive this chapter of your life, and very soon, this chapter will be over.
If you need a little (or a lot) of conflict resolution advice for your family, here are my favorite strategies for surviving the holiday season, drama-free.
At CWC Coaching, our team consists of licensed therapists, life coaches, and counselors. We assist clients with self-improvement, career development, negative self-talk, psychological pain, self-sabotaging behavior, past hurts and finding your purpose. If you are ready to increase your self-awareness and happiness, breakthrough limiting behavior and understand your purpose in life, we’d love to help guide you on this journey.