How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship

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How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship

Relationships that include verbal, emotional, or physical abuse occur more often than you think. It is common to not even realize that you are in an abusive relationship and continue to suffer in silence. Others simply believe there is no way out or that they cannot live without their significant other, despite what pain they may inflict on them. 

Staying in an abusive relationship over time can be debilitating. It can lead to mental health problems and even addiction. Thus, it is critical to be able to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship and know what steps to take to get out of one safely. No matter your situation, there is hope, and you can experience freedom. 

Recognizing the Signs of Being in an Abusive Relationship

Physical violence is not the only way abuse can occur within a relationship. A partner can be abusive in many different ways. Some common examples include: 

#1. Name Calling and Belittling: Some abusers try to tear down your self-esteem by calling you degrading names, talking down to you, making fun of your flaws, and trying to make you doubt their own competence. This individual may attack your appearance, work ethic, or even intelligence. They may do this to gain more control over you or instill feelings of never being able to find a better partner. 

#2. Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a way to trick someone into questioning their own feelings and sanity. An abuser may try to minimize your feelings or persuade you to think that your feelings are not valid. During arguments, they may try to manipulate you into believing that you are the cause of your fights and relationship troubles. They may even try to convince you that you are crazy and should not trust your own thoughts. 

#3. Jealousy and a constant need for control: While minor jealousy is normal in a relationship, severe jealousy can become a problem. Some abusers will become enraged if you spend time with other people without them. They may feel this way when you spend time with people of the opposite sex or even your family members. Due to this jealousy, the abuser may try to make you feel guilty for spending time with other people, spy on you when you are away, or try to prevent you from going at all. 

They may also attempt to control you in other ways, like making decisions for you, telling you who you can and cannot talk to, and even monitoring your text messages and social media. 

#4. Isolation: When an abuser keeps you away from your family and friends, you will likely experience a sense of isolation. Thus, you will become more dependent on your partner and have less contact with the outside world. This is a common tactic that abusers use to keep you from leaving. 

Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship

  • Document everything. If you are in an abusive relationship, try to document as much of the abuse as you can. This includes saving threatening or manipulative voicemails and text messages, recording video proof of violent episodes as they occur, and taking pictures of any physical injuries sustained as a result of violence at the hands of your partner. You may need this documentation if you decide to file a restraining order, press charges against the individual, or if you are going through a divorce or custody battle. 
  • Come up with a plan. Before you leave, carefully detail how you are going to go about it. If you live with your abusive partner, plan out where you will be staying, whether with family or friends or at a local shelter. You should also consider gathering your necessities in advance. This can be done over time as not to tip off your partner. Essentials include anything you would not want to leave behind in the event they are damaged or destroyed by your abuser. Some examples could be medication, forms of identification, items with sentimental value, or pets. 
  • Begin saving money. If you are dependent on your abuser financially, begin saving money over time that you can use to support yourself when you leave. This money can go into a secret bank account or be held by a trusted family member or friend. 
  • Cut off contact. When you finally exit the relationship and leave your abuser, be sure to disengage with them completely. Block their phone number and do not tell them where you are staying. If necessary, file a restraining order, change your phone number, and limit who you share your contact information with. 

Abuse can occur in many forms, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental. Many people stay in abusive relationships because they do not recognize what is occurring or are too afraid of their abuser. Some common examples of abuse within a relationship include gaslighting, jealousy, control issues, name-calling, belittling, and intentionally isolating an individual from their friends and family. Before leaving an abusive relationship, it is vital to document the abuse, come up with a plan, and gather up necessities. After leaving, it is even more critical to disengage with the abuser entirely and file a restraining order if necessary. Being in an abusive relationship can take a toll on your mental health and even lead to substance misuse. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, there is hope and resources available. To learn more about the types of services we provide, contact our team at The Kimberly Center today at (855) 452-3683

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