We hear about many people experiencing domestic violence, but what do you do when it’s you.
Read on to find out how to make an exit plan and get out safely.
You are in love, on top of the moon of so much happiness.
You’ve been with your boyfriend for a while and you’re convinced he’s the one.
Then suddenly, on a sunny day, when you affectionately mock his unruly beard, he hits you.
You’re shocked, you’re thinking, “My boyfriend hit me!
Maybe it was an accident, maybe it was a one-time thing.”
He would never intentionally hurt you, would he?
But when he hovers over you, you realize that maybe it wasn’t an accident.
Has this ever happened to you? If Yes, You Need To Know A Few Things
- It was never your fault, nothing you did justifies his actions. He is the only person responsible for his own behavior. You may be sitting here telling yourself that what you did was the exception to this rule, which you imagined could happen. Maybe you laughed too hard at someone else’s joke or didn’t listen carefully to what your partner was saying. Anyway, you didn’t expect it. I can never repeat it over and over; you don’t deserve to be treated like that.
- Doing nothing changes nothing. Leaving this problem alone and refusing to address it directly will only make matters worse. You must remember that your relationship was not always like this. His behavior slowly escalated to a point where he started hitting you, and as he slowly developed into this monstrosity, it will continue to escalate to even worse prospects. This problem will not go away on its own.
- If you have children, rest assured that while he may just be hitting you at the moment, and you can live with your own abuse, he will go on to have your children. The longer this relationship continues, the greater the risk to you and your children.
- We have to remember that an abusive relationship can also be between two women, two men, or two friends. Also, remember that women can be abusers too. It can also be a predatory relationship, usually found between teenagers and older men. Where runaway teenagers are found by older men and forced into prostitution.
There’s this term that Leslie Morgan Steiner coined, and it’s called crazy love.
Crazy love is when we love someone so much that we constantly make excuses for them.
We see them deeply troubled and in need of help.
We see ourselves as their only saviors and that we need to remain to help them.
In that regard, I would say helping someone is fine, but you don’t have to be with them to help them.
In fact, if you’re not a therapist, you can’t really help him, he needs professional help.
If you are a therapist, you know that you cannot treat people you already know because of emotional closeness.
There is no reason for you to stay with that person.
There are people out there who can help these abusers.
That’s what they are, abusers.
Recognizing that you are in an abusive relationship can be difficult.
My general rule of thumb is, if you’re not sure if you’re in an abusive relationship, you probably are in one.
Let’s go over a list of possible signs that you are in an abusive relationship, the more points you score, the worse the situation will be.
1. Did he hit you?
This could be pushing or hitting constantly.
It can be frequent, infrequent, or rarely.
Do you find yourself trying to explain his behavior to other people?
Do you find yourself covering up your bruises with makeup or lying to your friends about how you got those bruises?
2. Does it make you fear for your life?
Does he constantly threaten you?
Does he physically hit you or threaten to hit you?
Does he use fear to control you?
Do you constantly feel fear in your own home?
Are you afraid to go home?
3. Does it make you feel constantly tense?
Are you afraid of displeasing him?
Are you constantly worried about what will provoke you?
Are you worried that he might or will attack you at any moment?
Are you uncomfortable with him?
Do you feel like you can’t predict his behavior?
4. Has He Isolated You?
Does he disapprove of his friends?
Is he constantly trying to stop her from hanging out with her friends?
Does he want you to stop seeing your friends?
Does he not like your family and, over time, have you stopped talking to them?
Have you ever noticed that your circle of friends is shrinking?
Or have you noticed that you and your partner now have the same circle of friends and that any secrets you share with them are told to your partner?
Have you suddenly moved and don’t have friends and family where you live now?
Did you have to give up your job?
5. Does It Control What You Wear?
Does it dictate what you should wear or how long your dress should be?
Does he tell you how much makeup to use?
Do you have any freedom of choice about your appearance?
Does it attack when you wear what you feel comfortable with?
6. Does He Bring You Down?
Does he constantly make you feel worthless?
Does he tell you how will you get nowhere?
Does it not support you in the things you want to achieve?
Does he constantly tell you how no one will love you, and how will you always be alone?
7. Does He Emotionally Threaten You?
Does he tell you to do things to show you love him?
Does he tell you he hurts you because he loves you?
When he hits you, does he say it’s for your own good?
Does he constantly make you doubt your own worth?
8. Are You Afraid To Say No To Him?
Do you feel that you cannot express your opinion?
Do you feel like you’re just not being heard?
Do you constantly say yes just to please him?
Is he constantly getting what he wants?
Here are a few more signs that would indicate that you might be in an abusive domestic relationship.
The most important thing to do is to break through the fog that surrounds this relationship.
You should look at this list and honestly see which boxes have been ticked.
If you check multiple boxes and you’re still not convinced you’re in a domestically violent relationship, you’ll need to sit down and say it out loud.
I want you to say, “I am being abused and I need to break up with him”.
I know you don’t believe what you’re saying, but keep saying it until you believe it.
If you are still not convinced that you are experiencing domestic violence, I suggest that you call your local domestic violence hotline or local women’s shelter and see if they think you are experiencing domestic violence.
What if he does all or most of those things, but apologizes and promises he won’t do it again?
Exactly how many times did he apologize?
Is it the first time, the second time, the fourth time, the tenth time, or the twentieth time?
Be honest now, how many times did he apologize?
Say it out loud to yourself.
My advice on this is very simple and can be applied in many ways.
Words mean nothing, I don’t care what people have to say, anyone can say anything.
All I really care about is what people do, the saying “actions speak louder than words” has never been more true, particularly in this situation.
After he apologized, he still makes you feel scared, he still controls you and blames you for his outbursts.
Do you feel safe?
If not, rest assured that your excuses are empty and that the abuse will start again; maybe not today, but tomorrow.
When you’re in an abusive relationship and what’s keeping you from having all the wonderful memories you had with him, I have only one thing to say: don’t focus on the good, just the bad.
If you don’t like or don’t want to deal with the worst this person has to offer, then the good memories aren’t worth it.
I’m Being Internally Abused, How Do I Get Out?
This is a complicated process, as any abused person will know.
The reason many don’t go out, even if they want to, is because they’re afraid and because it’s dangerous.
Here are some steps you should follow.
1. Talk About It
You are not alone, far from it, in fact, 1 in 3 women have been or will be internally assaulted, and here are some more statistics on domestic abuse.
By talking about it, you’re letting people know what’s going on.
Now he cannot hide behind the shroud of secrecy.
But what if I don’t have anyone to tell?
It’s simple, tell your neighbors.
Tell your friends, even if you are no longer friends, call and tell them.
Call your family even if you’re no longer close.
Inform the supermarket cashier or the postman.
When you’re really comfortable, report it to the police.
Ask them for advice; discover the steps you can take to create a peaceful and secure existence.
If you don’t feel comfortable telling the police, call a domestic abuse hotline or a women’s shelter and tell them.
Get their advice and they’ll help you figure out the next steps.
2. Make an Exit Plan
It’s not safe for you to just get up and leave.
You need an exit plan.
After you tell someone, pick a few people you trust and keep them informed about what’s going on.
Use code words that tell you that you need to be evacuated.
If you’re in the process of making an exit plan and he hurts you before you can leave, make sure you keep evidence of what happened, such as pictures of bruises.
Keep your car stocked and unlocked, make sure your car is the last one in the garage, and also hide your spare keys.
This will help in a quick escape.
If you don’t have a car, keep bus or train schedules handy and stash some extra money for bus passes.
Try setting aside some money if you can’t do it on your own and ask family or trusted friends to lend you some money.
Hide a bag full of clothes, medicine, money, and important documents (license, passport, etc.). in a house of trusted friends.
This will ensure that he doesn’t find the bag and get in the way of your plans.
Write down his schedule and when would be the safest time for you to go out.
For example, if you pick kids up from school, use this time to pick them up and leave.
Or, if he works outside the home, use this time to getaway.
If you have children, let them know the basics of your plan.
Don’t say specific details, especially if they are very young, as they may reveal your exit plan.
How to Avoid Potentially Abusive Relationships
The best thing to do is to pay attention to the signs and catch them early so it’s easier to get out as you are still surrounded by your friends and still financially independent.
I often use a red flag system when meeting new people.
It works like this, I constantly watch the person I just met, see if they do something that is a little wrong or matches one of the criteria mentioned, or starts demanding things from you and start making you feel bad about yourself.
The idea is to notice repetitive behavior; there’s nothing wrong if someone says something that hurts your feelings if it only happens once.
The problem is whether they do it constantly.
So you put a red flag on every occasion you feel uncomfortable or you meet the criteria.
I tend to be suspicious after two of the same flags appear and the person has made me feel bad about myself twice in a short period of time.
I’m suspicious if they have three different flags or if they have a single flag against them for three different matches in the criteria.
For example, I used to work as a receptionist, one day when I passed my boss I felt his hand touch my ass, he apologized and I said it was fine but I took note of the event with a flag.
If that happened again, I would leave this job.
Fortunately, I worked there for another 4 years without another incident.
On another occasion, I was dating a guy and I scored 3 separate flags for 3 items in the criteria.
My answer was to get up and leave, better to leave now and have my heart broken than to become a statistic.
I never spoke to him again.
By having such a small limit for these things, I mean don’t wait for the second or fourth flag; you create a safe environment for yourself and quickly get out of a potentially adverse situation.
As I tend to respond to these flags by simply cutting this person out of my life, you also need to be brutal with these things to be safe and happy.
Yes, maybe you’re leaving a good path using this method, but you really don’t want to risk it as this is a dangerous world.
Comment below and tell us your story, and maybe it might even inspire someone who wants to getaway.
You can also offer some of your own advice.