Leaving an Abusive Relationship Safely

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Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things to do. Here are some top tips on how to leave an abusive relationship safely. 

Deciding to leave an abusive partner can be one of the most dangerous and frightful times of an unhealthy relationship. As the victim begins to take control of their situation, an abusive partner will feel they are losing power and most certainly will begin to fight back to regain the power and control they once had. 

Keeping yourself safe and protecting yourself as you plan to leave a dangerous or toxic relationship is really important. 

how to leave an abusive relationship

Leaving an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

A partner may try to isolate the victim, minimise the abuse, blame the victim for everything and make them feel guilty and bad for wanting to leave.

Such behaviour can confuse the victim and create doubts over what they can do. When one is in the cloud of abuse it is so incredibly difficult to make clear decisions.

If you or someone you know is planning on leaving an abuser, the best thing to do is to get support and to make a plan. Often the abuser will say your bad to tell people your business.

It has nothing to do with other people. They will use emotional abuse, guilt tripping and blame to try and stop the victim getting help.

If one is planning on leaving an abusive relationship there is a high chance that the abuser may try to use violence and intimidation to frighten a partner or victim and scare them into staying. Therefore when one wishes to leave they can face tremendous fear and anxiety, confusion, doubt and a feeling of not being safe.

How to Leave an Abusive Relationship

If your wanting to know how to get out of a toxic relationship safely then here are some tips to help you prepare to leave an abusive relationship.

Delete your Internet History 

If your reading this and there is a chance it could put you at risk, delete the history once your done.

Get Support 

One way to successfully leave abuse is to seek out support. This can be in the form of friends or family, telephone help lines, online groups and local abuse advocates.

I began ringing a local abuse phone line and telling them what was happening. It was anonymous and this helped me to clearly see I was being abused. I believe I rang them over and over for many months before I could clearly see what was happening to me. The woman on the end of the helpline assisted me to know my rights and gave good solid advice which really helped me in my time of need.

Although it may not seem like it, there is a lot of support out there. Information on help can be found at a local citizen’s advice, online and at the library. It may be scary and daunting but one can leave an abusive relationship with the right help.

Make A Plan

Unlike many Hollywood movies, such as Enough and Sleeping with the enemy where Jennifer Lopez and Julia Roberts pack a bag and run away, the reality is you cannot just up and leave. Leaving an abuser take careful planning and you will have to  plan safely over time.

Children may be involved, you may not have any money, you will need copies of important documents and you may own      property together. You may want to stay in your home or get a protection order and work out custody of children. Such things    can take a time and may not be sorted in one day.

You could contact your local abuse authority and get help with a temporary protection order or women wishing to leave may need to plan in secret.

As safety plans are plans to leave abuse, they can also be triggers of further abuse and so should be planned in secret. The most important thing is to not let the abuser know of a plan to leave and to act as normal.

How To Leave An  Abusive Relationship Safely

Things to consider and work on are not limited to but may include the following:

  • Finances – Saving as much money as you can without your partner noticing so that you have some money when you choose to leave. This could mean opening your own bank account or saving spare cash in the home.
  • Key Information – Having a diary or secret lists, including phone numbers, addresses, doctors, dentist, ID numbers and bank accounts. In some relationships, it may be normal to have a diary and hence you can have the information as normal, other options might be an online account, secret email address or even a secret diary on a cell phone, I-phone etc.
  • Documents – It is important to have birth certificates, passports, and other important documents in one location so that it can be easily obtained in an emergency situation. Also keeping credit cards, banks cards or a wallet close at hand is a good idea.
  • Medication & Hygiene – Build up a small supply of hygiene supplies and medications for yourself and your children.
  • Keys – Get spare Keys for your home and car if necessary. An abusive partner could take your keys from you to try and keep you in the home so having a spare set without his or her knowledge is a good idea.
  • To do list – If it is possible to safely create a to do list, you can slowly find information and create a plan for things that will need to be done such as protection orders, changing of address, bank accounts, etc.
  • Evidence – Collect evidence of the abuse or know where it can be obtained. Such as pictures or police reports of abuse, a record or diary of abuse and other proof such as medical reports. This can all be used to help keep you and if you have children, keep them protect them also
  • Sentimental items – Items such as family photos, a memory stick with computer documents, family photos, jewellery or other valuable items can be placed in easy to reach places if you decide to leave, even until your partner is removed from the home as they may destroy, sell or damage such items when you leave.

Sometimes is may not be possible to prepare and do all the above. For myself I had 3 hours to collect up my things and pack my car. I had to leave behind many things, my baby’s cot, furniture and some sentimental items but our safety came first and at the end of the day belongings can be replaced.

leaving an abusive relatonship

Lastly an important thing to consider is when you will actually leave your partner:

Leaving Abuse at a Safe Time

It is not good to leave a relationship in the heat of an argument but when things are calm and there is less risk of getting hurt. For myself, I left my partner when he had gone to an away rugby game and I knew I would have three hours before he returned.

It is always difficult, it hurts, it is scary and you will most likely feel a lot of adrenaline, heartache and pain but planning safely and getting out safely is the most important thing.

If you can’t leave in the ideal or preferred moment then do whatever you feel is best and keep as safe as possible.

You may want to read the following posts: 

Healing Wounds After Abuse

Leaving Abuse Worksheet

We Have Come A Long Way Since Leaving Abuse


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  1. My friend did not go about leaving the right way. She left over and over but always went back. I do not fault her she loved having her family together. Her husband and two children. How did she end up leaving? She found another man, her husband found out and shot her in the head in a church parking lot. Finding a replacement is not an answer. Life is worth so much more than that.

  2. I was in an abusive relationship, and had to come up with a safety plan to get away for good, with my kids. I advocate for women who experience abuse. I enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing!

  3. These are some really helpful tips for leaving an abusive relationship. I’m glad you wrote this, I’m sure that there are people out there who need to read this and this is so helpful.

  4. When you are not happy anymore, you should walk away before further damage is done. Your heart and your whole person deserves better treatment. – easyblogthemes.com

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