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Leaving an abusive relationship
by TeenHelp March 1st 2017, 02:31 PM

Leaving an abusive relationship
By Sammi (Metanoia.)

Making the decision to leave a relationship that has become abusive or toxic can be a daunting thing to face. It inevitably raises many questions about how you will be able to end things with your partner and what will come next. While every situation is different, there are a few basic things that you need to be aware of when planning to leave, regardless of your exact circumstances.

Reach out to those around you
While it can be difficult to open up to friends and family about the abuse you have faced, establishing a support system will make the process of leaving the relationship easier to handle. Knowing that you have people on your side who are willing to help out in any way that they can will take some of the pressure off of your shoulders and inevitably help you feel less alone during a very difficult time.

It isn't always easy to do, but being honest about what you have gone through is the best approach to take when reaching out. Let the people that you choose know about your current safety, what has been done in the past, and any concerns that you have about what your partner may do. You can choose to sit down with people individually or, if it's easier for you, to address your chosen support system as a group. If saying things out loud seems too difficult regardless of the number of people, you can also write a letter and simply provide clarification on anything that they might be curious about.

If you do not have an accessible support system, you can also try reaching out to members of an online support group or calling a hotline dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse. If talking to someone in any capacity is not an option for you, it is extremely important that you find a way to release your feelings in a healthy manner, rather than keeping them pent up. Journaling about your experience and your feelings is a great, private way to work through the different things going on in your life. You can also use hobbies such as writing, drawing/painting, or exercising to release some of your frustrations during this difficult time.

Have everything planned out in advance
Breaking up with an abusive individual can often prove more difficult than a regular breakup, as an abusive partner may put up more of a fight or try to guilt you into staying with them by attempting to make you feel that you are out of line. Because of this, planning things out as much as possible beforehand can be extremely beneficial. This can include scripting what you are going to say ahead of time and anticipating the responses that the other person will have, allowing you to have your answers prepared.

Safety first
If safety is a concern in your situation, consider taking someone with you when you break up with your partner. While they don't have to be present in the room (for example waiting in the car or in another room), having someone there may serve as a deterrent to the abusive individual acting out. If you are currently living with your partner, make sure that you have a safe place to go following the breakup. Such places could include the house of a close friend or family member or a local shelter dedicated to housing abuse victims. If you do feel threatened in any way, don't hesitate to contact your local authorities.

Resist the urge to go back
Following the breakup, it's natural to consider going back to your abuser. After all, accepting that the person you thought you knew doesn't exist is never an easy thing to do. This is where your support system becomes key. Let them know how you're feeling when you're feeling it, as they will be able to talk through things with you and help you find solutions. Resist the urge to contact your ex or accept any forms of communication from them. Blocking their phone number and removing and blocking them from your social media accounts is a good first step to take here.

If you are tempted to go back due to feelings of regret, you can also try making a list of reasons that your ex was not a healthy person to be with. Because of how fragile the situation may feel at the time, it's okay to be vague rather than including specific things that they did if that may be more upsetting to you. If you do find yourself faced with the urge to go back and see if things could change, look over your list as a reminder of how toxic the person was. You can even share your list with someone so they can help remind you of the negativity and of how much better off you are without your ex.

What comes next?
Unfortunately, recovering from an abusive relationship can be a long road. That being said, it is entirely doable. Take this time to focus on yourself and the person that you want to become now that you are out of a toxic situation. Spend time with your friends and family, pick up a new hobby, and surround yourself with things that make you happy. You can even seek out a therapist or a support group in your area to help you process all of the feelings that come post-breakup and interact with others who have been in similar situations.

While leaving an abusive partner is difficult and can be extremely painful, doing what is in your best interest is ultimately the best decision that you can make. It might not seem like it immediately, but there truly will come a day that what you faced can be seen as a testament to your strength and can be used as a learning experience for future relationships.

Last edited by TeenHelp; March 1st 2017 at 02:51 PM.
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