Figuring out the next step if you are in an abusive relationship can be very difficult. However, it is the future, not the past that you should consider. Will you be happy with them? Will you feel safe? Will you be able to achieve your goals? This article will help you plan for your safety, no matter what you decide.
Staying Together Should you decide to stay, it is unrealistic to believe you can “fix” an abusive relationship. Remember that you can only change YOUR own behavior, not that of your partner. If you cannot safely leave the abusive relationship, try these tips:
- Plan a way home with someone you trust when attending a party or event with your partner.
- Avoid being alone with your partner. Have others around when you are together.
- Make sure someone knows where you are and when you will return if you are alone with your partner.
Breaking Up Ending an unhealthy relationship is more difficult. Your partner may try controlling you with guilt trips, threats or insults. Know that as long as YOU believe in your decision, it is okay if your partner is not.
- Do not break up in person if you do not feel safe. The safest way may be over the phone or by email. It may seem cruel, but better to be safe.
- If you break up in person, do so in a public place, with someone nearby and with a cell phone.
- Nothing you can say will make your ex happy. Only explain your reasons for breaking up once.
- If you think your ex will come to your house or will confront you when you are alone, let your friends and parents know you are ending your relationship.
- Should they come to your home, DO NOT open the door.
- Trust yourself. If you are afraid, you probably have a good reason.
- Ask for help. Talk you a trusted friend or advocate trained to answer questions.
After the Break Up The relationship may be over, but it does not mean the risk of violence is, too. To be safe:
- Talk with your friends and family and ask for their support.
- It’s a good idea to let your parents know.
- Let a school counselor or teacher know. They can help with alerting security, changing class schedule, etc. to make you feel safer.
- Don’t’ walk alone or wear earphones. Avoid isolated areas at school and local hangouts.
- Stay near friends or family when attending parties or events your ex may attend.
- Save threatening or harassing messages your ex sends. Set your profile to private on social networking sites and ask your friends to do the same.
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
So, What’s Next? Remember that everything you put behind you makes room for exciting changes in your life. Get creative and do something new, rather than spending your time stuck in a rut! Remember what made you happy before the relationship. You probably stopped activities you liked because of your partner. Find activities you never had time for.
- Take up yoga. Ride a bike. Go to a movie. Hang out with your family.
- Reconnect with an old friend.
- Get a new pet, you’ll both be glad!
- Try out that recipe you found on Pinterest.
- Take long walks and explore your neighborhood.
Stay strong and remember how you felt when you made this decision. No more “walking on eggshells.” You can be fully in control of your life again. The single life may not be so bad after all!
For information on safety planning, check out loveisrespect.org. Contact the LPSO victim advocate at 318-992-2067 for literature on this subject.