Emotional Abuse Recovery NOW
"Sometimes, recovery starts
when you realize
what you have been through has a name,
and you're NOT the only one to suffer that way."
It can take an enormous amount of time and energy before you finally make the decision to leave. Unfortunately the problem doesn’t end there.
Emotionally abusive men will come up with every strategy they can think of – from more or less veiled threats to contrition and protestations of undying love and need – in order to change your mind.
Violent men are likely to become more violent when they see their power over you slipping away.
As a general rule women are most at risk once they separate from violent partners. Not that this means that their safety would ever be assured if they stayed. It simply means that when you are ready to leave you need to have strategies and supports already in place. These include:
USA National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE www.ncadv.org
UK National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 www.womensaid.org.uk
These agencies can help you with information and advice, agencies and shelters in your area.
Things you may need to know and do
Join a support group. This will help you overcome your isolation and gain more clarity around what’s really been happening. It will also help you to get over the paralysing syndrome of blame and shame.
Never tell an abuser that you are leaving. He may well become even more violent than before in his attempt to stop you.
Make copies of key documents, like your birth certificate, and marriage licence.
Make a note of bank account numbers and other information you may need.
Get duplicate keys for your home and car.
Store emergency money in a safe place to which he does not have access. Do not leave it anywhere in your home.
If you phone a solicitor, shelter, hotline or support agency, after hanging up immediately dial a number that won’t arouse suspicion if your partner uses 1471 (UK), 69 (USA) or the redial button to check up on you. If you have Caller ID erase all incoming numbers that could alert him to your plans.
Be careful when using the Internet. If possible use a computer that your partner doesn’t have access to. If you can’t do that, then ensure you delete “cookies”. When you are online, go to the Help Box, click on Index and go to Cookies for instructions. Also clear your History list and empty Cache files – click Help to find out how to do this.
Establish ways of letting friends, family and neighbours know that you’re in danger. Don’t just rely on using the phone, whether a land line or a mobile. He may be able to prevent you. Have a simple code, such as keeping a specific curtain half-closed. Make it something you wouldn’t usually do, but not something obvious enough to arouse the abuser’s attention.
Be very, very cautious when he tells you he is a reformed character who loves you and wants you back.
Generally, abusive men take rejection badly. In order to feel powerful and good about themselves, they need someone on whom they can visit their bad feelings (see the
Circle of Violence diagram and listen to the FREE teleclass to find out more). That person has been you – and it worked for them.
They may revert to being the man you first met and promise you the earth in order to get you back. Sadly, that doesn’t mean they’ve seen the error of their ways, it means they need the power they had over you.
The more frightened, vulnerable and desperate you feel, the more tempted you might be to believe them. If you find yourself wanting to trust them again, you would be well advised to:
take things very slowly,
insist on maintaining a safe and separate home for yourself and your children
insist on your abuser going through an appropriate programme and getting the help he needs.
It is not impossible for abused men to change, but they have to really want to – and they have to be willing to do the work. If they tell you that they ‘can’t do it without you’, that is one clear sign that they are not prepared to take responsibility for themselves.
Remember, if it has
been so hard to leave him this time, you may not have the strength
or health to do it again.
© Annie Kaszina 2004
www.EmotionalAbuseRecoveryNow.com © 2006 All Rights Reserved