I found the “How” part was more frightful than actually being in my relationship.
There are just so many unknowns in that equation, unlike when inside the abusive relationship we have learnt to navigate and “live” with it for x amount of time, I really didn’t know what my life would look like out of it.
I’ve since learnt this is the stumbling block that most women don’t find a way over to overcome. And that is nothing to be ashamed of EVER, only “we” who have experienced abuse can truly know what it is like to be paralysed and unable to make a decision …let alone action it. I had exhausted all my options trying to stay in my DV relationship, surely leaving had to be better.
At this stage I am being given moral and financial support by local services, advice and options I had never even thought of. At the same time I am also crippled by fear, which despite trying medication, escalates over the remaining months with my abuser. Presenting as panic attacks, blackouts and short term memory loss, he wasn’t concerned once at my welfare just became more angry at me. I always felt afraid of what I said, what I did or even what I thought , my own thoughts didn’t even feel safe from him some days. That was when I was still with him.
How the hell was I going to leave, what would he do then?
It was suggested I go to visit the Police DV Unit and warn them of my intentions to leave and what had transpired up until then, so they had a record of events leading up to (what was going to be the riskiest decision I was about to make) leaving my abusive partner.
As well as giving me support, services always asked if I felt safe enough to talk or come to an appointment ,they never contacted me without an anonymous warning. I was never given any written material to take home, because they warned me that he would already be looking through my belongings. I didn’t believe he would do that until I caught him one day, a part of me was still in denial about what he was capable of.
The fact is you don’t really know someone’s tipping point.
The threats could just stay a threat, the promises might not be kept or they could follow through, my belief has always been “anyone is capable of anything given the right circumstances”.
So I opted for the hope for the best and plan for the worst approach.
They said I needed an emergency plan to flee, because as careful as they were and I had been , he would find out somehow – they always do. They really are thorough in their support plan and prepared me as best they could, but not everything goes to plan.
I ended up making the error in the end, and had 2 hours to pack the car and leave before he returned. Definitely not the plan, but I left safely with all the kids in the car to a friend’s property.
NB: This was written pre-pandemic and I feel the need address and update this post because of the current circumstances we are all facing. I didn’t want to continue to encourage women to leave while we are facing unprecedented events and challenges.
Fighting the Fear post just became a whole new meaning for many; what was a DV situation has now become infinitely more dangerous and debilitating with the restrictions that have been mandated.
I want to say that recognise and honour how much MORE you are coping with, and mentally reward yourself for getting through another hour or day or night holed up with the last person you want to be with.
I only wanted to leave once and do it right, it wasn’t easy but I waited and bided my time.
Keep that tiny secret place inside of you alight, a flame that refuses to die because your time will come – I promise.
You are the stuff of Sheroes; never to be underestimated by anyone , you can do this.
This is yet another hurdle to overcome it’s bloody unfair and so much more difficult, just know there are still services operating and obviously in any emergency dial 000.
We are here to help guide you YOU ARE NOT ALONE.