How to Get out of an Abusive Relationship

An abusive relationship is possibly the worst kind of situation anyone can get caught in his/her personal life. This is partly because getting out of such a relationship seems so difficult - the victim is often depleted of all self-worth and self-confidence and seems incapable to make a move out. If you find yourself in such a situation, recognize it for what it is and use this brief guide to get out of an abusive relationship.

Identify an abusive relationship

Healthy relationships involve respect, trust, and consideration for the other person. So if your relationship is devoid of all this, it is quite possible you are in an abusive relationship. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. While it is easier to identify physical abuse since it includes any form of violence such as hitting, punching, pulling hair, and kicking, it is often more difficult to spot emotional or sexual abuse. Emotional abuse includes actions like teasing, bullying, and humiliating the victim.  Apart from these threats, intimidation, putdowns and betrayal are all harmful forms of emotional abuse that can really hurt, both when it's happening and in the long term too. Sexual abuse sometimes masquerades as high libido, ‘angry sex’ or supposedly really passionate sex but it actually covers any type of sexual experience that you don't want and are forced into. In order to get out of an abusive relationship, it is necessary to identify it first because many times the abusive partner masks him/herself as a simply jealous lover or one who is extra concerned about the victim. Unfortunately victims in such relationships mistake the abuse for intense feelings of caring or concern and fail to see it for what it really is.

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Stop living in denial

If you consciously realize that your relationship is abusive, it is easier to decide to get out. However many victims do not accept the reality of such a relationship and continue to believe that if they try harder, they might make things work and their partner would be more loving and caring. It is extremely important to stop living in denial since no matter how hard you try, you can never change an abusive partner on your own. It is important to realize that the abuse in the relationship is not about you. Abusive partners are extremely clever and adept at manipulating people and situations to fall in with their wishes. If your partner is one, then most likely you have been brainwashed into believing that you are incapable of thinking or doing anything right on your own and that the only way to do a thing is to do it their way. You may have acceded to your partner’s wishes a few times in the past just to avoid any unpleasantness. But your partner will point this out to you as evidence of your own weakness and continue to bully you to act in accordance with their wishes. However keep in mind that the very fact that you have sensed that something is wrong in the relationship means your faculties and intelligence are fine and not matter how much your partner bullies you into thinking that you are helpless without them, it is not so.
 
Stand up for yourself

The most important step in getting away from an abusive partner is to stand up for yourself. Realize that you have the right to be treated with respect and not be physically or emotionally harmed by another person, no matter how much he/she professes to love you. This may be easier said than done since an abusive partner may have induced such fear and anxiety in you over time that you may no longer believe in your ability to make a difference. However you should realize that no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s wishes and how understanding you try to be, unless you do something to defend your own self-worth and self-respect, no one else will.

Prepare ahead

Unfortunately people trapped in long term relationships with abusive partners usually have had their independence and resources taken away from them early on so that they no longer have the courage to strike out on their own. A woman who may have succumbed to a whirlwind romance and quick marriage to a control freak may find herself a stay-at-home mom, unable to break out from an unhappy marriage due to lack of financial resources. If ever she gets the courage to express her misery, her husband may blackmail her into staying because of the kids or threaten to leave her without any money. Here the best way to go about it is to prepare yourself financially and emotionally to lead an independent life and then face your partner and force him to call his/her bluff.

Don’t isolate yourself

Avoid the tendency to withdraw into a shell by distancing yourself from your friends and family. You might feel like you have nowhere to turn, or you might be embarrassed about what's been going on, but this is when you need support most. People like counselors, doctors, teachers, coaches, and friends are in a position to help you, so let them.

Look for help

A relationship with an abusive partner is one of the most frightening experiences and so don’t rely on yourself alone to get out of the situation. Friends and family who love and care about you can help you break away. Always keep in mind that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. It actually shows that you have a lot of courage – you are not only willing to stand up for yourself but also ready to get out of an abusive relationship. It’s also likely you will need help to break out of a cycle of abuse, especially in terms of practical resources like a place to stay, support network for your kids if you have any, a job as well as emotional resources like counseling. Go through your local phone book or the internet in order to find the contact numbers of crisis centers, teen/women’s help lines and abuse hotlines. These organizations have professionally trained staff to listen, understand, and help. In addition, religious leaders, school nurses, teachers, school counselors, doctors, and other health professionals can be sources of support and information. However if you have are a victim of physical abuse or believe that your partner can endanger your own or your kids’ safety, leave now. If been attacked physically, call 911, the police or medical help. Assault in all its forms is illegal and you should not have to live with the person inflicting it on you.