The statistics regarding abusive relationships are staggering. No matter how you look at it, too many people are the victims of domestic violence and abusive relationships. Abuse involves excessive control of one person over another. It is usually quite difficult for an abused person to escape this type of relationship, for fear of worse consequences, being alone or other reasons. Abusers can potentially become very dangerous as part of the control, whether they are physically, verbally or emotionally abusive to their victims. Here are five things that you can do (or help a friend or family member do) to escape an abusive relationship:
- Most people who are the victims in abusive relationships have extreme difficulty leaving the relationship, and may “think about it” or try several times before being actually ready and able to do so. If you are being abused, try to find a trusted friend, family member or professional that can help you take the necessary steps. Many victims will return multiple times to the abusive relationship because the abuser apologizes and tells them they will change. Few abusers will ever change, and accepting this fact is the first step in escaping an abusive relationship.
- The abused person is often told that they are under the control of the abuser because the abuser loves them so much. This is a dangerous connection to make. Love does not equal abuse. To escape an abusive relationship, the victim must make a complete break from the abuser. This means that they need to move out, move away, hide or take whatever precautions they can to get away and have no contact whatsoever.
- Women seeking to escape abusive relationships should contact their local women’s shelter or domestic violence hotline for assistance. Often there are programs to help women and children find safe housing, jobs, clothing and household goods to get them started on their new life.
- When leaving an abusive relationship, never hesitate to contact the local police department and seek a restraining order if there is any chance that your abuser will continue to seek you out and potentially continue to abuse you. Stalking is definitely abuse as well.
- Women escaping an abusive relationship should enter counseling. A trained counselor can help you through the process of removing yourself from the situation, as well as help you to understand how you may have become a victim in the first place. This can help you avoid getting involved with another abusive relationship in the future.
Many abuse victims continue to make excuses for their abusers and may even feel that they have come to somehow “deserve” the abuse, because of what they have been repeatedly told. Most victims suffer from very low self esteem and easily believe that they are less worthy of having a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship. Everyone deserves to be treated well, and nobody deserves to be physically, emotionally, verbally or sexually abused. If you or someone you care about is involved in an abusive relationship, know that there are ways to free yourself from these situations.