How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship
Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy, but you deserve to live free of fear. Here’s how to find help for abused and battered women.
If you’re in an abusive relationship
- You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated.
- You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.
- You deserve to be treated with respect.
- You deserve a safe and happy life.
- Your children deserve a safe and happy life.
- You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.
Making the decision to leave an abusive relationship
Signs that your abuser is NOT changing:
- He minimizes the abuse or denies how serious it really was.
- He continues to blame others for his behavior.
- He claims that you’re the one who is abusive.
- He pressures you to go to couple’s counseling.
- He tells you that you owe him another chance.
- You have to push him to stay in treatment.
- He says that he can’t change unless you stay with him and support him.
- He tries to get sympathy from you, your children, or your family and friends.
- He expects something from you in exchange for getting help.
- He pressures you to make decisions about the relationship.
Safety planning for abused women
Make an escape plan
If you stay
- Contact a domestic violence or sexual assault program in your area. They can provide emotional support, peer counseling, safe emergency housing, information, and other services whether you decide to stay or leave the relationship.
- Build as strong a support system as your partner will allow. Whenever possible, get involved with people and activities outside your home and encourage your children to do so.
- Be kind to yourself! Develop a positive way of looking at and talking to yourself. Use affirmations to counter the negative comments you get from the abuser. Carve out time for activities you enjoy.
Protecting your privacy
Protecting yourself from surveillance and recording devices
Domestic violence shelters
- Legal help
- Support groups
- Services for your children
- Employment programs
- Health-related services
- Educational opportunities
- Financial assistance
Protecting yourself after you’ve left
To keep your new location a secret:
- Get an unlisted phone number
- Use a post office box rather than your home address
- In the U.S., apply to your state’s address confidentiality program, a service that confidentially forwards your mail to your home
- Cancel your old bank accounts and credit cards, especially if you shared them with your abuser. When you open new accounts, be sure to use a different bank