Staying Strong After Leaving an Abuser
Even in the best divorce or separation, it’s often hard for people to get back on their feet. To leave an abusive relationship, you have the same difficulties, coupled with the strength it takes to walk out the door. It’s not easy, especially after your partner has likely pained not just the body but poisoned the mind into believing a lesser version of yourself. At the Women’s Center, we believe in you – not as a victim but as the empowered individual that you are. If you’re having trouble staying strong in your decision to leave an abuser, here are some reminders of how amazing you are. Remember, too, that it takes more courage to leave than to wait for someone to change.
You Are Courageous
People describe others as being brave when they face challenges, but the most brave people are the ones who have lived in fear and overcome that fear. When you decide to walk away from an abusive relationship, you are overcoming fears many people have never had to face – and that takes courage.
You Are Loving
To believe the good of a person who hurts you – long enough to stay in a relationship – is evidence that your heart is loving. Unfortunately, the message from the media, friends, and even family tells those who’ve lived in abusive relationships that they made a mistake by loving someone. Loving someone is not a mistake, though you should never stay with someone who hurts you. What’s crucial to remember is that the abuser is the one who did something wrong, not you.
You Are Empowered
Just by reading this blog, right now, you are arming yourself with the strength you need by finding answers to tough questions. That simple act is helping you discover the next step to take. Those who suffer abuse don’t have to think of themselves as victims; walking out the door to a new life – though terrifying – is empowering.
You Are in Control
Living in an abusive relationship often means giving up control, but if you’ve given it up, know that it’s in your power to take it back. No one has power over you unless you give it to them. Whether you are leaving an abusive partner today or planning to in the future, know that you are in control of you. Whatever power this person thinks they have over you is only temporary and dissolves when you say so.
You Are Ready
A million reasons may pop into your head about why you should stay, but if you’re here, you’re ready to make a change – a change that means no longer living in fear or anxiety. Don’t let those million reasons stop you from acknowledging the most important reason to go – your safety.
For help with the next steps of leaving an abusive relationship or what to do after you’ve already gone, find help from the Women’s Center of Marquette. We believe in empowering victims and survivors. We believe in empowering you.
How to Prep for a Dangerous Days
Despite previous abuse, the day your spouse goes one step too far and puts you or your children in danger, you likely won’t have time to pack up what’s most necessary before walking out the door. If you are worried that your spouse may become too violent for your safety but aren’t ready to leave, consider some small preparations. Just in case an episode gets out of control, these small measures can be a lifeline.
Stay Safe by Planning Ahead
Don’t assume one incident will be the only time a spouse loses control. If your spouse has made you afraid once and you fear another such eventuality, take these precautions ahead of time.
- Keep a digital record. You may not have time or access to your home to retrieve social security cards, birth certificates, or bank statements. Take photos of these important documents to keep stored on a device. You will eventually need the originals, but, in the meantime, having evidence of these documents as well as their information may be crucial to your next steps.
- Leave a bag with a friend. Some situations mean you should immediately walk out the door – even the time to snatch a pre-packed bag may be scarce. To avoid the fear of needing to walk out with nothing but the shoes on your feet, prepare a bag with an extra set of car keys, some clothes, cash (if available – but don’t let lack of money keep you in a dangerous relationship), medications, and a prepaid phone. Leave the bag with a trusted friend in case you need to get out fast.
- Memorize phone numbers. An abusive partner might take your phone, or you may need to leave before you can grab it. Even if you are able to leave with your phone in hand, many smartphones are easily tracible. If you share a phone plan with your partner, access to that technology may be easy for your partner to get. Instead of revealing your location by using your phone, have the phone numbers of at least one friend and the Women’s Center in your head. Our number is 906-226-6611.
If you are actively planning to leave an abusive situation, you may consider further measures to ensure you and your possessions are safe. Slowly packing, stashing away funds, and planning for your next living situation are a few things to consider. Creating a safety plan is a great first step. If you need a computer, consider using the library’s or a friend’s. The personal computer in your home may expose information to your spouse about your plans or your future living arrangements.
Call for Help If You Are Scared of Your Spouse
No one should live in fear. If you are in an abusive relationship, it’s best to get help immediately. However, if danger is a possibility and you haven’t been able to leave, prepare ahead. Take these steps if you have reason to believe your partner might become unexpectedly violent. For more help on next steps when you are ready to leave, contact Marquette’s Women’s Center. Find shelter, counseling, career help, and more when you need it most.