Monday, October 13, 2014

How To Get Out of an Abusive Relationship - Establishing Your New Life

Congratulations. You are about to embark on a very rewarding journey to a beautiful life. By this point you've walked away from a dangerous situation. You've found the strength inside of you to face your fears and do what you know you needed to do all along. That was the hardest part and you made it through. You're going to become a new and whole person again.

There are going to be bumps in the road ahead but don't let them discourage you. Find your way through each one and watch yourself grow into the wonderful being you were meant to be.

Use the resources that are provided to you. These come from the shelters and domestic violence services, local community organizations, friends, family, etc. Don't feel ashamed or unworthy. These people dedicate their lives to helping you and they care enough to tell you where you can go for any help you need. I'm not promising it will be easy, but you'll be glad you took the help. These resources are there to help take the stress off of you and increase your chances for staying strong, healthy and safe.

Regardless of your financial condition when you leave, you will need help in this part of your journey. Don't hesitate to use any of the following services that you feel could make this journey feel a little less frightening or overwhelming. Many can be found free.
  • Domestic violence counselors
  • Support groups
  • Housing assistance (if you don't need financial help, let them find you a safe place where police can get to quickly and easily)
  • Financial planners (may be offered free by your employer)
  • Food banks - many offer food without questions on your first trip there
  • Lawyers (Use your local legal aid office if you qualify)
  • Social services - you paid for these resources with your taxes, so did your parents, so don't look down on these services, they are there when you need them
  • Stress management classes
  • Therapy or Psychiatry - this is imperative! Check your insurance plan to see if they offer free sessions, many do
Meet your new neighbors. I know this is fast becoming an archaic tradition in may U.S. cities but it is extremely valuable to you and your future. If your neighbors know you, they're more inclined to check on you from time to time, keep an eye on your home and your belongings and report suspicious activity. As they get to know you, they'll know who is and isn't around your home and when you're not home, etc. You need them as part of your support and security system.

Once you are comfortable enough with them and you know who you can trust in the neighborhood, don't be afraid to share a picture of your abuser and let that person know to call the police immediately if they ever see them anywhere in the neighborhood. Let them know you are not safe if your abuser is around.

Find somewhere to volunteer. This not only gives you experience toward your future career but gives you ample chance to socialize and network with new people. You can make new friends, people who don't know your past if you don't want them to. They can teach you new skills and give you an opportunity to learn who you are without an abuser in your life.

Make a realistic plan for your future. You may not feel like it at first but you can keep saving money, you can find work and you can obtain the life you want. Even if you only put away all of your pennies in a jar as your savings, you are helping yourself and building toward your future. Where do you want to work (geographic location or company)? Will you go back to college? How are you going to make that happen?

Once you have the plan mapped out, write a note at the bottom to be flexible with it. Then go back and re-evaluate your plan every 1-3 months. Since you don't yet know exactly how your new life is going to unfold, it only makes sense that you'll need to tweak this plan a few times in the first year (maybe the first 2 years). You may find that you can do more than you thought and make things happen sooner. You may find that your wants and needs change as you grow into your new life.

Remind yourself daily that you made a good decision and that you are going to be okay. Don't skip this step! Your life is going to change and it may be a bit scary but it is going to be good. Maybe not today or tomorrow but it will be. Give it time and keep encouraging yourself. You deserve it. If you can't say it, write it on several post-it notes and stick them to your mirror, your wallet, etc. Anywhere you will have to look at them and see them. Leave them up until you're able to say it to yourself. You'll begin to feel it soon and that positive attitude will benefit you and your health in many ways.

On the days you feel like you just can't keep going, go out and visit someone. Don't sit there alone. It's the times when you feel low that you need social interaction the most. Visit with a close friend or family member, someone you can talk to who will encourage you. If you can't find someone to visit, go to a support group meeting (it doesn't have to be a domestic violence meeting) or call your domestic violence counselor. 

Start an exercise routine. I know you probably don't want to but it's important. Exercise makes you feel good. It activates chemicals in your brain that keep you feeling good and a healthy body is important for your journey. Try to squeeze in 60 minutes, 3 times a week. You can break that up in 10 minute increments if you need to. Use the exercise routine as a way to vent your frustrations or just escape life for a little while.

Are you a survivor?
What other tips would you share?


  1. Sounds like very good and well thought out advice!

  2. This is a very informative post. I hope your post helps those who need it.

  3. Wow, this is really excellent and informative. Some of these things had never even occurred to me before! Really excellent list.

  4. So scary to think this post relates to someone :( But this is a great and detailed list of things to do. I'm sure someone is going to really appreciate this

  5. Thank you! I learned from both my resources and my mistakes. :)