What Is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse, also known as domestic violence, occurs when a family member or partner harms or threatens to harm another. Abusers may promise that the abuse will never happen again, but once domestic violence starts, it usually does not stop without some type of professional help for the abuser. Leaving can seem impossible, especially if you are married or have children together. But with planning, professional counseling, and relying on your support network, you can escape the abuse and live a happy life in a healthy relationship.
Most people find it difficult to escape abuse because:
- The abuser may try to manipulate you or isolate you from people who can help.
- You are in love with the abuser and don’t want to be alone.
- The abuser may try to control you emotionally or financially.
- You fear of more violence.
- You suffer from low self-esteem and don’t value yourself because of the abuse.
- You fear that people will not believe you or will not help you.
The Truth About Abuse
If you have been in an abusive relationship for a long time, you may have trouble seeing the truth of the situation. Victims of abuse often lie to themselves and others about the abusive relationship for so long that the lies become internalized and may start to seem like the truth. You may actually begin to believe that your injury was an accident or your partner did not mean to attack you.
As a victim of abuse, you also may notice an internal voice in your head telling you very negative things about yourself, including that you are not deserving of better and that the abuse is your fault. If you are having trouble seeing the truth of your situation or if you are experiencing negative self-talk, you should immediately reach out to a trusted friend or family member and seek professional help.
The first step in escaping from abuse is to try to see the truth of the situation. True love never involves violence toward each other. Someone who truly loves you wants you to be happy, even if it means leaving the relationship. Loving relationships are built on mutual trust and respect, not on fear or threats
Make Your Plan to Leave
Once you start getting help from your support network, you need to make your plan to leave. Because abusers may turn violent as you try to leave, you should share your plan only with your most trusted inner circle, or a professional counselor. Never, ever give any clues to your abuser. Plan quickly and make a promise to yourself to follow through with your plan.
Important steps in planning your escape include:
- Plan for how you will support yourself until you get back on your feet.
- Make sure you have a safe place to stay until you can get your own housing, even if this means staying with family or in a shelter temporarily.
- Call the police any time you do not feel safe. Under domestic violence laws, the police are required to respond and protect you.
- Do not give the abuser any information about where you are going.
- Immediately get a restraining order, also called an injunction, that prevents your abuser from contacting you or coming near you. Call your local police for information on how to do this.
- If your abuser tries to contact you, do not respond, and report every incident to police.
- Inform your friends, family members, and co-workers about what has happened and ask them not to give out any personal information about you.
- Always keep your fully charged cell phone with you. Any time if you feel unsafe, call the police.
- If you have children, explain to them what is happening, and make sure that once you are safe, you get them the help they need to understand this experience.
The professional therapists and family law attorneys at Cuppls understand the difficulty of escaping abuse and are ready to help you make plans to leave an abusive relationship.