Leaving can be easier said than done
Once you have realised that you are living in abusive home the only option you may have is to leave. I found that this was easier to say than do.
I’ve heard it said that the hardest relationships to get out of are the ones that are the most dysfunctional. This may be because you have been brain washed into thinking that you could never survive without them or you are too weak to make any decisions of your own. It does take time for the mist of manipulation to lift and it is equally fair to say that your friends or family might be telling you this already. I would also like to say, take your time and read through my blog and see if you can identify with anything I have to say.
So you’ve decided you want to leave
It’s often more comfortable to stay in the broken relationship rather than risk the unknown. There are countless rational excuses that keep us in the status quo. They can range from;
- and so on.
I want to talk about:
– Where to go
– Steps to take: before leaving
– Financial issues
– Steps to take: during/after moving out
Where to go:
By leaving your abusive home is legally not a problem. You are not breaking any laws only breaking the cycle of control and manipulation. This is going to be a new you. For me it has been an opportunity to discover myself and who I am.
The main problem here is usually that you don’t have enough money to just leave, not that you won’t survive or cope without them. You may have a joint bank account with your abusive partner. Apply for a new bank account as soon as you can. You may need a new permanent address, such as the safe place address, to apply for a new bank account. Doing this will cut you off from your ex and make it harder for them to find you.
I found that I was stuck because she took control of my money and constantly monitored my facebook page, checked my emails and scanned my phone. Leaving for me was a now or never approach. However, in reality the police became involved and I was removed from the home (but that’s another story).
Where you can go to:
This list is not exhaustive but it’s some simple suggestions. I’m sure you could either dismiss what I am suggesting or consider your own.
I considered this but I was unable to find a shelter for men that was local so I could still attend work and see my daughter. This is extremely frustrating on many levels. A great deal of advice both online and at police stations is aimed at female victims.
Renting your own apartment
Obviously this is only a realistic option if you have the finances to do this. As stated I had no control over my own money and so therefore, unable to save for a deposit. As stated previously, if you have a joint bank account open one of your own instantly. Furthermore, avoid using debit or credit cards as you can be traced via your transactions.
Flat sharing with other persons
A good option but this can lead to other problems associated with sharing a property. Furthermore, your problems can become theirs if your ex finds out where you are. It may also be problematic if you need to take your children
A friend’s home
I eventually did this. This has worked really well as my friends were aware of what was going on. In effect they also became my counsellors offering me support beyond what I had been offered in a formal way.
Avoid sleeping on the streets.
Though it may be challenging to find a safe place to go, leaving without a safe place can lead to a night or several nights spent sleeping on the streets. Often, the streets can be very dangerous and risky, regardless of age or gender.
Steps to take:
- Make a plan: When do you want to leave? When can you leave? Is there a time frame where you’re alone at home and can pack everything you need and leave? If there isn’t because there’s constantly someone at home (and you have to leave secretly), you’ll have to try to get out everything you need step by step and escape from work or pretending to walk the dog (for example) -so you tell that you’re going to work or walking the dog but instead go to whatever place you’ve opted for.
- Take all the official documents you can like the ID, passport, driving licence, birth certificate, work papers etc. If you can’t take the originals try at least to make a copy.
- Take some cash if you can. Avoid using credit or debit cards as these can be used to locate you.
- Clothes. If you have to leave secretly and can’t leave directly, try putting e.g. two sweaters on and then leave one at work or at a friend’s home. Be aware though that it shouldn’t get obvious that suddenly your clothes are disappearing so only take some. You’ll be able to buy new ones later. I’m not too proud to admit that charity shops have been a fantastic place to restock my lost clothes.
- Mobile phone. Remember you can block any unwanted calls or numbers you may recognise
- Inform some people you trust. I informed my boss where I was staying
- If possible, document the abuse with a diary and photos. You might need that evidence later. SEE POST ON RECORD KEEPING
Steps to take: during/after moving out
You will need time just to ‘sort your head out’. This is perfectly fine. However, you really need to keep yourself busy. I found that in my first week of leaving I contacted the following
- workplace – I kept work upto date with developments etc. Work supported me with paying for counselling etc.
- Doctor – a very important point. I registered with a local doctor on a temporary basis. This new doctor has been massively supportive. They are treating me for depression, PTSD and sleep problems.
- Your bank – if you’ve a bank account change your address as soon as possible. This is easy enough to do. It took about 10 minutes whilst I was on the high street.
Firstly, spend the time recovering. Under no circumstance contact your ex. If you do you are actually playing into their hands and enforcing their view that they control you. Furthermore, you don’t want to test the patience of those of whom are not only supporting you but risking their own safety if your ex is violent.
Secondly, find out who you are. take time to do things you used to enjoy. For me it was reading or listening to music.
It will be a slow process but one you need to take if you’ve decided that you want/need to leave.