Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects everyone in one way or another. It affects one directly and even the society as a whole. Domestic violence or relationship abuse is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

If you ever find yourself in an abusive relationship, what you need to do is take a new direction that leads you away from the situation into a safe space. While you might be terrified and your mind overwhelmed about starting over, it’s important to remind yourself that you deserve to be free and happy. Also, leaving an abusive relationship is a sign of power and healthy self-worth. It’s a sign of your desire to move forward and start a new life and that’s what you deserve.

Below are some warning signs of an abusive relationship, what to do if you feel you may be in one, and how to seek support. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Warning signs of domestic violence

Here are some of the many warning signs of an abusive partner:

  • Extreme and constant jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Unpredictability
  • Explosive temper
  • Extremely controlling behaviour
  • Gaslighting
  • Blaming the victim for everything
  • Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
  • Controls all the finances
  • Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
  • Control of what the victim wears and how they act
  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly

Types of domestic violence

A lot of us assume that domestic violence is all about physical abuse, like hitting, slapping or choking someone; but that is just one form of it.

Forms of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse

Domestic violence isn’t gender-based. It can happen to any gender, age, race or economic background.

If something about your relationship does not feel right, it probably is not. Abuse is not an every now and then argument where cruel words are exchanged by both partners. It is constant and deliberate behavior by one partner to obtain power and control over their partner.

Why it’s so hard to leave an abusive relationship

It’s not easy to leave an abusive relationship. In most cases, the person abusing you is someone you love and care about, and at some point, there were many positive aspects of the relationship. Many times, after abusing his or her partner, an abuser comes back begging with gifts, tears, and fake apologies. Many partners end up taking them back believing they were remorseful for their act of violence.

If you’re dealing with a violent partner, do not be carried away by a temporary bait that can lead to a deadly consequence. Make your safety and well-being a priority. It is one life to live; it is imperative to make hay while the sun shines.

How to leave an abusive relationship

If you are thinking of leaving an abusive relationship, it’s important to build a safety plan, whether you are living with your abuser or not.

Leaving is never easy, and often infuriates the abuser. They often promise they will change, and emotionally manipulate their partner into staying. This hardly happens and unfortunately, some people hoping for a change in their partner lost their lives at the hands of their abuser. The “supposed” change ended up being an illusion.

Abusers may also say things like “Nobody will ever want you but me,” or “This is all your fault. You make me act like this.”

Unfortunately, after hearing these abusive remarks over and over again you may have started to believe them. Try to be strong, and remember the abuse is not your fault – you can and will be wanted and loved.

Planning a safe way to leave a relationship will help give you confidence and structure.

Safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship:

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Prioritize your safety as you plan and prepare

It’s important to make sure that your abuser doesn’t know that you’re planning to leave. Be assured – He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sightPsalms 72:14

Start saving money

The act of saving money can help you immensely as you prepare to escape. If possible, think of creative ways to hide and save up money to have on you when you leave, especially if you have to leave in a hurry.

Let a friend or family member know you are ending your relationship

Even if you don’t want to tell your friend or family member about the abuse, let them know you are ending your relationship, and need emotional support. Let them know when and where you are ending the relationship, and ask them to check in on you.

Keep important documents safe

This includes your passport, birth certificate, health insurance card, and those of your children. Keep these in a safe space, preferably out of the home.

Find a safe place to go, even for a few nights

If you don’t have a relative or friend to go to, there are shelters you can go to.

Call the police immediately your partner begins to sound violent

Do not wait to get hurt before attempting to call. Once he or she starts threatening to hurt you or themselves, call for help immediately. A stitch in time saves nine. Rage has ended many lives in an instant.

Memorize a few emergency contact numbers

This will come in handy in case your phone gets taken from you and you get stranded. Do not put anything past a violent partner.

Change passwords on electronic devices and social media

Do this once you are out of the house as your partner may know your passwords and track you down.

Block your partner from calling or texting you in the interim

Until the dust settles and especially if you have children, it is best to do this before the court rules. Although you may need to be in touch again, it is best to stop communication right after leaving.

Prepare emergency funds

This can include emergency money and your bank account or credit cards if possible. Something to help you stand on your feet.

Remind yourself that you do not deserve to be abused. 

Write down in a journal or somewhere safe why you are important and do not deserve to be abused. Read and reread this to give you strength.

Stand on some scriptures as well

Psalm 91 is a great protection scripture to stand on. Imagine the angels of God taking charge of you and keeping you in all your ways.

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