Updated June 2020
If you’ve ever been a victim of abuse, you will know how abuse turns your life upside down and eats away at your self-esteem. You feel judged, worthless and feel as if there is no hope.
I know how mentally challenging abuse can be. But PLEASE, if you are reading this and you are going through abuse, please seek help and keep reading.
You may not feel like you are worth anything, but believe me when I say that there are people who love you and care for you. Some people will help you if you allow them to.
Take the first step by reaching out to someone for help. It’s time to stop making excuses for the abuser. Even if you feel like you are powerless now, allow someone to help you.
You are not a burden even though you may feel like it at times. But trust me when I say that you are not a burden.
Usually, when abuse happens, it is more than one type of abuse. Physical abuse is not the only type of abuse, a person does not have to physically harm you for it to be labeled as abuse.
There are different types of abuse such as physical, emotional, mental, sexual, psychological and the list goes on.
Recognizing the signs of abuse
The signs can be obvious or you might not even be aware that you are being abused. Abusers learn their victim’s weaknesses so well that most times (if not physical), the person being abused does not know that it’s happening.
If your partner calls you derogatory names, this is abuse. There is no excuse for poor treatment by the person who was supposed to love you the most.
If someone loves you, they would never do anything to hurt you in any way, and this includes degrading you.
Insults should never be tolerated. Watch how a person speaks to you. Does your partner support you or use your insecurities against you?
If you put on weight, does your partner pick on your weight knowing that it’s your insecurity, or does your partner offer understanding and support to become more comfortable with yourself?
Jealousy and control
Pay attention to jealous behavior. A jealous partner can turn into a controlling partner. Many times, the abuser disguises controlling behavior as caring for the victim.
Constantly checking up on what you are doing, where you are, or who you are with can be called caring but sometimes this goes too far and is a form of control. The abuser wants to know your every move and treats you as if you are incapable of taking care of yourself.
Eventually, you believe that the abuser is overprotective but this type of behavior is not protective, it is controlling.
Jealousy and control lead to isolation from those who care about you. If you stop contacting your friends or family or if they stop contacting you, this might be because they don’t feel comfortable speaking to you when your partner is with you.
You slowly begin to isolate yourself until you have nobody left to speak to. Your options for seeking help or advice become limited or non-existent and soon you are left alone with your own thoughts. You start to believe the negative thoughts you create.
It starts with a nudge or a shove or a slap, soon physical abuse will escalate. Nobody hurts the people they love, no matter how bad the situation may be.
Apologies don’t mean anything if their behavior doesn’t match their words. The stigma that only men abuse women is not true. Women also abuse men but men are seen as the stronger gender, and abuse towards men is often not taken seriously.
Reach out to someone you trust about physical abuse, let at least one person know what you are going through. If you are not strong enough to leave now, start building up the courage to walk away.
Below, I will tell you exactly how to leave an abusive relationship without the abuser tracking you down.
Financial abuse can be on either side of the spectrum. The abuser either prevents you from earning an income to make sure that you are completely dependant on him/ her. OR you might the breadwinner but the abuser takes your income from you.
The abuser uses the first tactic of not allowing you to earn an income so that you don’t have the means to empower yourself or leave. Money is not everything but money is needed to survive.
If you don’t have money, you are not able to survive without your abuser. You are completely dependant on the abuser and stay in the relationship long after the relationship has ended mentally.
The second tactic is when the abuser takes your income earned away from you. You may hand over your income because you are scared or because you love the person and will do anything they ask you to.
You might feel obligated to keep giving your money to the abuser or you might feel that you need to pay your way in life. If the abuser keeps taking your money, then open a secret bank account and ask your employer to transfer a portion of your salary into this secret account.
Those that have never experienced abuse before cannot relate to what you are going through. Abuse can be a lonely road filled with judgment and shame. When you feel this way, you will find yourself making excuses for the abuser. You might try to justify the actions by making up stories and justify the actions by not seeing it as abuse.
If you have difficulty evaluating your situation and if you’re not sure if it is abuse, look at your situation as an outsider.
Imagine that someone you deeply love and care for is living your life. Ask yourself how you would feel if the person you love and care for experiences what you are going through? This will help you gain a different perspective. This also helps when you are isolated or feel like you can’t confide in anyone.
Plan before you leave
When you’ve recognized the signs of abuse and stopped making excuses, you need to see these actions as major wins. Recognizing the signs and seeing the situation for what it is will be heart wrenching and challenging.
You might feel as if your world collapsed and you cannot go on with your partner. Hear me when I say – it will be difficult but you CAN make it on your own. Even without an income, even if you leave with nothing, you will find a way to survive.
Leaving an abuser can be dangerous and you must be steps ahead of your abuser. If your abuser finds out that you are planning to leave, you might find yourself in a life or death situation. This is what you NEED to avoid. Your plans MUST be kept to yourself.
You cannot trust anyone, not even your family or friends. You might think you can confide in friends and family, but if your friends and family don’t believe what you say to them, they may try to ‘help you’ by speaking to your partner or they may try to intervene in any other way. But who will pay the price for this ‘help’?
YOU! When you are left alone with the abuser and there is nobody around to protect you, you will suffer. You have crossed your abuser and your caring friends or family may have unintentionally created a life or death situation for you.
If you are thinking about leaving: don’t do it – just yet
I will say it again, do not just leave without a plan. If you do, the abuser will find ways to get to you in his/her grip again. You will need a solid, fool-proof plan that nobody thinks you are capable of.
People and the abuser underestimating you is your ultimate superpower. Download your FREE action guide here.
I wish you well on your journey, and if there’s anything I want you to take away from this article, it’s that people underestimating you along with your plan to leave are your superpowers.
You CAN walk away from your abuser. It will be scary and you will be filled be anxiety, but even if you have a tiny glimmer of hope left for yourself, let that tiny little light lead you to your new life of freedom.