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Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Posted: 10/16/2013 | Relationships Comments
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October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and according to domesticviolencestatistics.org, a woman is assaulted in the U.S. every 9 seconds. We continually strive to raise awareness around this sensitive and important issue, yet so many women and men stay in abusive relationships. Why?

There are many possible reasons,
some of which include fear of the unknown, fear of retribution, concern for the children, guilt, social conditioning, lack of self-esteem, skewed definition of love, acceptance of violence, religious or cultural beliefs, and many more. One of the biggest concerns for many woman in an abusive relationship is money–how will they survive outside this relationship, especially with children?

Women’s income has risen significantly in the last 20 years, but it still lags well behind the income of men. Even if a woman has had a good job and valuable training, so many choose to stay home to raise children, putting their career and personal income aside. If a woman is in a difficult relationship with a controlling partner, she can feel trapped by her inability to provide for herself and her kids.

To manage in the outside world in difficult, even life threatening circumstances, she needs to gain understanding of her finances and ascertain her marital assets as well as begin to explore job possibilities. The good news is she’s really not alone. There are great local agencies and organizations armed with experts, information and resources to help a victim of abuse sort out her/his practical needs.

More importantly, she’ll need to do the personal,
internal work to see how she ended up in this situation to begin with. As she grows in personal awareness and knowledge, she’ll also grow stronger. She can reclaim herself, building courage and creating more autonomy. This can be tricky, but finding the help to explore and understand why she chose this person will help her muster the courage to leave.

For women in an abusive relationship, it takes great courage and compassion to explore how and why she’s allowed herself to be backed into a corner like this. Did she come from an abusive or controlling family? Was she raised with a certain narrow view of relationships and gender roles? Was she raised or married into a certain religious background that doesn’t allow women certain privileges? Or, did childhood events keep her young too long or push her to grow up too fast? Sometimes a hidden desire to be taken care of accompanies the wish to stay young, so the partner can take care of everything.

After some inner exploration, she’ll need to consider how to get out. Extreme poverty creates complications, and yet there are many women in relationships with successful men who have no idea where their money is or how to claim it. She suffers the same anxiety trying to figure out how to find a job or rely on family or go to a shelter. What’s the first step, and then the second? She’ll need a concrete, step-by-step plan to build a new life, as well as look at her own psychology.

Leaving an abusive relationship is not only an outer journey,
but an inner one, too. None of this is easy, but it’s so worth the journey.

How do you know if you’re in an abusive relationship?
Here are some of the classic signs:

Your partner is...

  • Excessively possessive or jealous.
  • Unable to see or admit when they’ve done something wrong.
  • Won’t take no for an answer.
  • Rages or manipulates others.
  • Criticizes or makes fun of you in front of others.
  • Hits you or exhibits threatening behavior.
  • Pressures you for sex.
  • Threatens to hurt themselves if you don’t comply with their wishes.
  • Makes excuses for their behavior.

You experience...

  • Isolatation from friends and family.
  • That you can’t win an argument; it never ends as win-win
  • Like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner.
  • Alcohol and/or drugs are exacerbating the problem.

What steps did you take to leave an abusive relationship? Please share your comments; they make a real difference for all of us!

For further information on accessing your wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last."


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