How To Leave An Abusive Relationship: A 7-Step Action Plan

How To Leave An Abusive Relationship: A 7-Step Action Plan

Ever felt stuck in a relationship that just doesn’t feel right? Have you ever hidden your tears because you were afraid to speak up? If you’re going through the pain of an abusive relationship, know that it’s real, and you’re not alone. 

Leaving an abusive relationship takes a lot of courage. If you or someone you care about is trying to break free from an abusive partner, this article provides a step-by-step plan on how to leave an abusive relationship. It gives simple steps to help you take charge of your life and finally create the future you deserve.

What Is ‘Abuse’ In A Relationship? 

According to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, abuse in a relationship means the use of control and power by one partner over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can take various forms – emotional, financial, sexual or physical. It might also involve threats, isolating you, or trying to make you scared, hence creating a toxic environment for you.

  • Physical violence is a clear sign of an abusive relationship. It involves hurting or hitting you physically to exercise control over you.
  • Emotional abuse may involve insults, humiliation, or making you feel guilty for no fault of yours.
  • Sexual abuse is when your partner controls intimate moments in your relationship without your consent.
  • Financial or economic abuse happens when your abusive partner uses their power to control your money and financial situation. 

How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Why Do People Stay In Abusive Relationships?

When we hear about someone in an abusive relationship, our first thought might be, “Why don’t they just leave?” But leaving is not as simple as it may seem to those outside the situation due to various factors. 

  • Fear 

Most people stay in an abusive relationship because they’re scared the person causing harm might do something even worse if they try to leave. The fear of getting hurt or someone they care about getting hurt makes it difficult for them to think about leaving safely. 

  • Strong Feelings

Having a strong feeling of love and care for one’s partner makes them stay in the relationship. Even when things get worse, the love or the sense of being a family can stop them from walking away. 

  • Normalizing Abuse

The victims who stay in an abusive relationship consider abuse to be normal. They might have grown up in an environment where abuse was common. They often fail to recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship. 

  • Blaming Oneself

Some victims feel that it’s their fault which is causing their partner to hurt them. They often blame themselves, “If only I had done things differently, this wouldn’t be happening,” and this belief keeps them stuck in an abusive relationship. 

  • Isolation

The abusive partner tends to control the victim’s life and isolate them from friends and family. It makes the situation harder for the victim to seek support from anyone. Sometimes, the form of isolation can be physical, like being trapped in a certain place or emotional, where the victim is separated from friends or family members.

How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

  • Manipulation

Manipulation is a common tactic used by the abuser, making the victim believe that leaving is not an option for them. This mental game can take various forms like convincing the victim that nobody would be willing to help or that they are not capable of surviving on their own, ultimately lowering their self-esteem.

  • Embarrassment

It’s difficult for a victim to acknowledge that they are abused. The feeling of shame and embarrassment often arises from being concerned about how others will judge them. The fear of being misunderstood or blamed stops the victim from sharing their struggle with friends and family. 

  • Dependency

Relying on the abuser emotionally or financially makes leaving hard.  They might not have another place to go, and sometimes, they prioritize their children’s happiness over their well-being. This emotional and financial dependence often creates a situation where it becomes impossible to leave the relationship. 

  • Hoping Things Get Better

Some innocent minds are not ready to leave the relationship hoping that things might improve between them and their abusive partner. This hope comes from the belief that the person causing them harm might change for the better.

  • Societal Pressure 

Societal expectations and cultural norms can create obstacles when it comes to leaving an abusive relationship. People fear judgment, criticism and stigma from their neighbours, friends or family. What others will say or think is one of the significant barriers stopping individuals from seeking help or leaving a toxic relationship.

How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Also Read: Signs To Know When To Walk Away From A Relationship

7 Steps to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Kudos to you if you’ve made the brave decision to leave your abusive partner. Your courage is the initial step before these 7 steps guide you on how to leave an abusive relationship.

Step 1: Recognize the Signs of Abuse

Recognizing the signs of abuse can be challenging, especially when it’s emotional. Abuse can take different forms, and not all abuse takes the form of physical violence. Once you recognize the signs, it’s important to stay alert. 

Step 2: Document the Abuse

Keep a record of incidents, including dates, descriptions, and any evidence. This documentation may prove valuable for a restraining order, in legal proceedings or when seeking professional help.

Step 3: Build a Support System

Surround yourself with supportive friends, family or loved ones. Stay in constant touch with them or try reconnecting with them if you were kept isolated by your abusive partner. 

Step 4: Develop a Safety Exit Plan

Creating a safety exit plan is crucial as an emergency may arise anytime the situation goes out of your hands. Keep spare cash, clothing, important phone numbers, bank account details and other necessities. 

Step 5: Have a Ready-to-Leave Bag

Prepare a bag with essential items like important documents (originals of birth certificates, medical records, credit cards, social security cards, passports, etc.) and personal belongings. Remember to hide an extra car key in your bag to leave in an emergency. 

Step 6: Seek Professional Help

Reach out to your local domestic violence hotline or organizations such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline for guidance and support. They can help you talk through the steps of leaving an abusive relationship and guide you in safety planning. 

Step 7: Find Secure Spots

Find a safe spot where you can take shelter when things go out of control. These can be the homes of trusted friends or family members, shelters, or any other safe locations where you feel protected. Stay connected to your near and dear ones wherever you are.

Free Beautiful Girl Run Away photo and picture

Final Words 

If you are thinking about how to leave an abusive relationship, it would be the best decision of your life. Remember, it’s not your fault, and you deserve better.

Recognizing the signs is the first step. Document the abuse, build a support system, and develop a safety plan. Keep a ready-to-leave bag, seek professional help, and find secure spots. If you’ve made the courageous decision to leave, people are waiting to help.

You deserve to be respected. You deserve a happy, safe life, and so do your children. You’re not alone—there are people ready to help. Reach out because everyone has the right to live a life without abuse, where they’re treated well and feel safe.

You May Also Need to Learn: How to Heal from an Abusive Relationship

Mousumi Chatterjee
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Mousumi Chatterjee

Meet Mousumi Chatterjee, a content writer driven by a genuine passion to make a meaningful impact through her writing. With a profound dedication to storytelling and a strong commitment to quality, she brings a unique voice and perspective to every piece she writes.

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