Abusive relationships are incredibly intense experiences where all parties involved feel powerful emotions that can be confusing and can override rational thought. While a victim of abuse in a relationship might be overwhelmingly afraid of their partner then, they can also be overwhelmingly in love with them, and can feel lost or worthless without them as a result of years of having their self confidence erased. For this reason, leaving an abusive partner can be incredibly difficult, even though the victims know it is what’s best for them, and it can almost become a form of psychological addiction and dependence. If you are or have been the victim of abuse in a relationship then, how can you make sure you stay strong and keep yourself away from them when so many of your emotions are telling you to take them back. Remaining strong then and staying away from your abusive partner is very important for your safety and health, at least until they can get help to improve their behaviour and preferably permanently.
The first thing you’ll need in order to do this is outside help and support which can give you the strength and reassurance you need to stay apart and stop yourself running back into the firing line. This will be particularly important if you lived with the abusive partner as you will need somewhere else to live, and this will normally mean parents, siblings or close friends. If your partner was physically abusive and dangerous this can also be a good idea as a way to protect yourself from them as they’ll be unlikely to harass you if you have witnesses and other people who can protect you (in such scenarios you would do well to have a big man around the house who can help protect you physically and act as a deterrent – most people who abuse women are cowards so this should work easily).
Even if you didn’t live with the abusive partner it can still be a good idea to ask if you can stay with friends or family for a while for these reasons. At the same time, being surrounded by people who love you can help you emotionally and show you that you don’t need to be with that person to feel happy and wanted. In most abusive relationships the abusive partner will do all they can to damage the self esteem of the victim and so that will also need to be repaired to give the victim back their sense of ‘self’.
To make things easier you should also cut off all contact with the abusive partner once you have moved out and taken care of all your belongings and finances. This means deleting them from Facebook (and blocking them and requesting everyone else to do the same), deleting their number from your phone, changing your home phone if necessary and destroying any post etc you might get from them. All of these provide ways for them to get in contact with you and ways for you to get in contact with them if you have a weak moment. You can expect a scorned abusive partner to become incredibly desperate once you have called things off and resort to threatening messages, or messages begging for forgiveness. A lot of this is again a method to try and win back control; even if you don’t call them back or believe their lies, they still get satisfaction from the concern that such a message causes. Alternatively they might have such an inflated ego as to believe that they can get you back with apologies, and if you are as confused as they may have been able to make you then this may also be true. By eliminating any possible form of contact you can not only prevent this from happening, but also give yourself a form of closure, which will enable you to move on and forget about your abusive partner – without this they will always be controlling you in a way.
Obviously in some cases the situation may be more severe and you may be at danger if your partner is violent or highly volatile. In these instances you should consider changing your address then and going ex directory, and probably in involving the police. If you can get a restraining order placed on your ex partner this can make staying away from them much easier – and far safer for you.
At the same time you need to work on repairing your damaged self esteem and faith in men. Abusive partners do a lot of damage to their victims psychologically and purposefully leave them feeling unable to cope without them. It’s important then to make sure you start going out again, seeing other people, dating, and remember how you used to be before you met them. If you feel lasting psychological damage has been done then consider getting counselling or therapy to help you through those difficult emotions.