Abuse is one of the most common things that happen in relationships and marriages these days, and they can take on so many forms.
The most common type of abuse that most people are familiar with is the verbal abuse as well as physical abuse. However, there are other forms of abuse that are found in relationships.
Abuse can occur either in the form of financial abuse, emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, or even mental abuse.
Normally, your partner should be the one whom you trust the most in the entire world. He or she should be someone whom you respect the most as well as respects you as well.
However, if you notice that the kind of love and respect you are getting from that relationship or marriage is the kind that suffers from lack of nurture and care, then it’s time for you to get out as fast as you can.
When that love and respect is no more, when pain and suffering of any form have taken its place, then it is time to quit that relationship.
The problem may, however, lie in you having to leave the relationship. Leaving an abusive partner can be quite stressful as well as dangerous. It feels like you are trying to take away their “possession”, and that can get them very furious and angry.
It is essential to note that before leaving an abusive partner, you must have a solid plan in place. You can’t just run away from the problem because, for most abusive partners, it is always very difficult to run away.
Your plan must include first identifying the type of abuse you are in, how to safely leave your abuser, and also how to be prepared for an after-relationship life; one who doesn’t include your partner. You must learn on how to deal with the fear that comes with having to leave an abusive relationship and also a dangerous partner.
I won’t lie to you by telling you that the best preparation can always guarantee your safety. However, it can help you stay safe and hidden for as long as you can. It can also help your kids if you have them not to live in fear.
There are some basic steps you could take to help you get out of that abusive relationship, and they include:
1. Identify and recognise the kind of abuse you are currently under
The first step is to identify the type of abuse you are under. As simple as it sounds, it can be very hard and exhausting actually to discover the kind of abuse you may be experiencing. There is a saying that goes “Vision blur when we are too close to a problem.”
At times, we may need to step back from the problem in order to identify the issue at hand. When the word “Abuse” is used, one of the first things that come to mind is the physical form of abuse.
However, there is much more to abuse than that. There is the emotional kind of abuse which is much more lethal than that of the physical abuse. Emotional abuse can take the form of physical and mental humiliation, an intimidating and fearful behaviour, controlling behaviour and behaviour.
There can also be sexual abuse even in a sexual relationship. Don’t be shocked. Once you don’t consent to an intimate touch or physical intimacy with your partner, but you are however being forced to engage in the act, then that is sexual abuse.
If the kind of sex that your partner forces you to engage in isn’t the kind of one you aren’t comfortable in or the type that you don’t want at all, but you are being forced into it, then you are also sexually molested and abused.
Another form of abuse you must identify is the financial abuse. This is by far one of the most difficult kinds of abuse to identify. Most times, it occurs when your partner often forces you to give up your financial control.
It could be in the form of he/she taking your paycheck or your monthly salary from you, might forcefully collect all your savings or even part of it, limits your work hours, limits your freedom to the kind of work you are allowed to do, reducing your access to money and your bank accounts or totally asking you to give up your financial accounts totally by collecting your credit card from you.
Your abusive partner might give you the impression that that’s how a relationship is supposed to work and that if you trust him/her, you must give up your financial control to him/her. That is a total lie.
Your abusive partner is very wrong. You should be financially strong even as an individual. You must not depend on the stipends your partner dishes out to you even after collecting your own money from you
If you notice any of the following traits in your partner, then your partner probably has been abusing you. Stop making excuses for your abusive partner. It is time to recognise what it is and call it by its name- Abuse.
Once you are fully aware that you have been abused and you are able to identify the kind of abuse you have been experiencing, then you are free to move unto the next step.
2. Understand that it is not your fault
Experiencing any form of abuse is not your fault. Abuse has never been the fault of the victim nor would it ever be. Once you can understand this, you are on your way to being free.
Most people usually resist change until they know they are becoming very uncomfortable in their present conditions. Most times, all they need is a big push.
Sometimes, that big push that they need is in the form of the realisation and the understanding that what they are going through isn’t exactly their fault. One thing you must stop doing as the victim is giving excuses for the behaviour of your abusive partner.
No matter how much you think low of your self, no matter how much your self-esteem has suffered, you really don’t deserve the kind of treatment that you are getting from your abusive partner.
No matter how much you think you shout, nag, annoy or talk back at your partner when you are angry, that is still no excuse for you to be emotional, physically, or mentally abused.
You don’t deserve to be hit like an animal, controlled by a dictator, or be humiliated by your partner all in the name of revenge or punishment for what you think you may have done.
One of the most effective methods an abuser can use to make you submit under the kind of abuse he or she is subjecting you to is to make you think that you deserve the type of treatment you are getting.
They mostly tell their victims that they deserve the kind of treatment they are getting. They also say to their victims that no one would be able to put up with them or their attitude, so there is no point of them leaving the relationship.
They also make their partners feel worthless, and that they are doing their partners a favour by staying with them. They often cut their victims off from both family and friends and eventually use that against them saying no one ever wants to associate with them.
They do this because they know that once you are allowed to associate with friends and families, they will break you out of the strong mental hold that that abusive partner has you under.
I want you to realise something today. None of this is your fault. You don’t deserve the kind of treatment and humiliation you are forced to undergo. If you begin to notice signs such as this from your partner, I need you to understand that it is them that have the problem and not you.
Also, you must realise that you must not stay in order to help them. If you must help, you must do it from a far distance in order to protect yourself.
3. You must document everything
If you are in an abusive relationship or marriage and you probably have had kids, then it is essential you document every transaction, every pain, every hospital visit and so on in order to have adequate protection from authorities.
You will need all those documents as pieces of evidence to show how much you and your kids may have suffered under the abusive partner. Even if you don’t have kids, it is still essential you document everything as this will earn you a hearing from the appropriate authorities.
One of the tricks most abusers use is the fact that they almost always look gentle souls to the outside world; however, they are “monsters” in the home. Once you can make the world see them for exactly who they are on the inside, once you can dispel the illusion they give to the outside world then you would be able to protect yourself adequately.
Documentations of these events doesn’t have to be extraordinary. It can always be as simple as keeping a few journal entries that adequately describes the incident of the abuse as well as the date(s) when the abuse, keeping receipts of drugs bought to treat yourself and maybe the kids and so on. Of you can, you can decide to even go further by creating videos and audios that were recorded discreetly while the abuse was going on.
If you have bruises and cuts, and other bodily harms, you can always ask for pictures of the area to be taken before you seek for medical attention. You can as well use the medical records as a form of evidence later on.
Ensure that you keep these pieces of evidence in a safe place and if possible, never let the abuser know that you have something against them. Keep the records in a safe, and when you realise that there is a threat on your life and possibly that of the kids, you can always report to the police and other authorities in order to ensure your safety and that of your kids.
If you ever have to go to the court of law, with all your records and pieces of evidence, you would surely have enough that will enable you to have the custody of your kids and also have a restraining order against the abuser or possible put the abuser behind bars.
4. Always have an emergency bag
If you realise that you are in an abusive relationship, you need to ensure that you are ready to leave at any time. You can always ensure this by an emergency bag that will contain all that you need to survive for a few weeks or maybe months.
It doesn’t have to contain much but make sure that it includes the necessities such as toiletries, a few changes of clothes, enough money, any medications that you or your kids may be on, copies of keys that you may need as well as those records that you have kept securely.
You may also need to keep a valid identity card for identification, your birth certificate, and any other relevant document that you feel you must take along with you. Ensure that you hide this bag in a place that you quickly grab it while running away.
If you have kids, ensure that you pack the same thing for your kids and take them along with you. Remember, you are doing this because an abuser can be unpredictable and the abusive situation can quickly spiral into a life-threatening condition.
Having this emergency bag will ensure that you don’t need to start looking for the things you need to take along most especially when the situation has become a life-threatening one.
5. Always set aside Money
This particular point is critical most especially when you are in a financially abusive relationship and if you don’t have a lot of work experiences.
All abusive relationships mostly come to an end, but it may be disastrous for you and your kids if there is no money for you all to fall back on. You honestly want to be left alone having nothing in you in the middle of the night after you have decided to go the relationship.
If you under a tight leash financially by a partner who abuses you and your finances, then you probably may need to save something small every week. Ensure that all your saving, either huge or small is kept in your emergency bag.
If you possibly have very little job experiences or you haven’t worked a day in your life, it will be wise for you to start learning a few legal job skills which you will need when you finally decided to leave the relationship.
6. Find a way to contact both your family and friends
Ensure that you find ways by which to alert your families as well as your friends know what you are passing through. If you are in an abusive relationship, then you need people to support, encourage and strengthen you and no one does it better than your parents, family as well as friends.
Each and every time you were abused by your partner, the most appropriate people to let know are your family and friends. They are the ones who will always support you in almost everything.
However, one of the most dangerous tactics used by an abuser is to cut off communications between the victim and the victim’s family in order to make sure that what they say is key in the life of an abused victim.
Ensure you don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you keep communicating with friends and family even if you must do so secretly. You will always need their support and help at one point or the other.