Walking Out On Abuse

Table of Contents

The hardest part about leaving an abusive partner is making the decision to leave. Don’t stop to think about how you will proceed, the obstacles can be dealt with one at a time. Making the actual decision is the part that takes all the courage you can muster. But once you cross that barrier, you will feel a sense of empowerment. You’ve made a decision that you deserve a better, happier life. The trick now is following through on that first important step.

Now that you’ve left, it’s time to make a plan of action and to work through it a step at a time. The first factor to consider is often finances. You will need money to survive on your own. Start by opening up a checking account in your own name. You need to do this before you leave. Don’t expect he’ll help foot the bill for you and the kids until such time as you reach a settlement on child support. If you’re still in the stages of thinking about leaving, start stashing away money in the account, whenever you can. It’s surprising how much money can accumulate just by adding to your account in $20 increments. You’re going to need that money.

Buck Up

If you don’t have a job at present or not a job that is full-time and with benefits, you’ll want to begin with a job hunt. It’s possible you’ll need to start with just a part-time job for various reasons, including the possibility that you were out of the job market while raising your kids, but buck up: it’s often possible to parlay a part-time job into a full-time position.

See about taking courses or going back to school. There may be scholarships available to help you get the skills you need or brush up on skills you already have but that have turned a bit rusty. Or maybe you’ll decide it’s time to focus on learning a new skill.

Don’t Tell

You also need to think about where you will live. You need to find a place that you can afford, on your own, without help. If you have children, you need to consider whether the schools in the area are good ones. Don’t tell your partner your address until you’ve moved out and things have calmed down a bit. If you can help it, don’t tell him at all. Don’t give advance warning that you are moving out. This minimizes the possibility of an ugly scene. It means you can’t pack in advance to avoid a tip-off to your partner that you intend to leave, but avoiding a scene is a worthwhile trade-off.

The best time to move is midweek when mover’s rates are cheaper and your partner is least expecting your departure. Wait until your partner goes to work or leaves the house, then race to the grocery store to get boxes. Have two friends on call to help you obtain boxes and to meet you at your home just after your abusive partner leaves. Pack as many of your belongings as possible since you may not get a second chance to come back for them. Your friends are there in case he comes back and catches you in the act of moving out.

Have a plan B in place. If you have to leave in a hurry you’ll be glad to have stashed a bag of clothes at a friend’s house with one or two days of clothes for you and your children, if you have kids keep important documents such as social security card, birth certificates, checkbook, and passports in your purse and keep it on you at all times. Figure out a safe haven, such as a battered woman’s shelter. Call a shelter in advance to make sure you know where it is and how to get there. A friend’s house is the first place he’ll look. Be smart and choose the shelter, instead.

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