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Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2011

The best relationships are truly wonderful – committed, intimate, secure, supportive and trusting. But some are simply dreadful.

Cold, controlling, abusive, neglectful – the possibilities are endless. And it’s not a gender issue, because both men and women are equally likely to be the victims.

But regardless of who starts things, if your relationship’s bad, why not just leave?

People stay

Some people stay because they need the relationship too much. Or feel dependent. Or guilty about leaving. Or fear social stigma. But much more often it’s because leaving isn’t a single event, it’s a process.

So if you don’t start the process, then you’ll never leave. Just like people rarely resign from a job on impulse. More likely they’ve been planning to go for some time.

So if your relationship’s violent, don’t pretend it isn’t. Prepare a small emergency bag containing your ID, documents, keys, cash and a few essentials.

Hide it somewhere accessible – and think seriously about where you could go at short notice. Friends, relatives – or a cheap hotel. And trust your instincts.

If you suddenly feel things might be going pear-shaped, then get out. Pretend you’re going to the bathroom, but instead pick up your bag and the baby, and slip out through the front door!

More often though, violent relationships get into a deceptive cycle of abuse. After an incident, you make up and there’s lots of remorse and promises, and so you think everything’s going to be alright.

But it never is. Tension between you gradually rises, and before long you’re walking on eggshells again, watching your partner for signs of anger. Sooner or later, the inevitable argument becomes a fight, and the whole cycle starts again.

Other relationships aren’t actually violent but are just as horrible. Many fade into nothingness. No violence, but no joy either. Add some emotional abuse and life becomes miserable. And no one should stay in a relationship that doesn’t add something good to each and every day.

So if life with your partner’s becoming unbearable, what should you do? The best approach is to follow a dual strategy. On the one hand, secretly start the process of leaving.

Quietly discuss things with a lawyer, start organising your finances, finding a better job, looking for somewhere to live, saving up some cash, making new friends, networking …

But even while you’re preparing to leave, do all you can to improve things with your partner. That’s because preparing to leave and working on the relationship at the same time creates a win-win.

You feel more confident, so the balance of power between you shifts in your favour, problems start getting resolved, and there’s hope for the future. But people don’t change easily.

So if personality issues, for example, are at the root of your unhappiness, then you either have to figure out how to work around them, or leave.

But at least you’ll be ready to go.

Source: Daily Nation


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