If you are still being abused and you want the abuse to stop, that is the most important first step. To want something to stop means you do not accept it and are looking for change. Change however will not happen by itself and is something you will have to think about, plan and fight for. Freedom from abuse is worth fighting for though it may be difficult. Getting out of any abuse situation is a process, not a single event.
TipsRemember, other survivors have managed to get out, stay out and get the abuse to stop. If these survivors can do it, that means it is possible. If it is possible for some, then it is possible for you too.
Don’t give up even if you fail at first. You can lose many battles and still win the war in the end, so keep going.
Try to get the support of someone you can trust. Two heads are better than one. Other people may think of things you haven’t.
Try to make plans rather than reacting to crisis. i.e. if you intend to run, try to prepare in advance with money stashed, clothes, phone numbers and an idea of where to go. Running blind makes you easier to find.
Know your enemy. Study them and learn all you can about them. The more you know, the easier it is to beat them.
Remember, if you are running, hiding or evading, the more public you are able to be, the less likely they will be to get you. The abusers are the ones who must hide what they are doing and will avoid doing anything to you in front of witnesses. Stay as visible as you can.
Silence can be your enemy. They use this to control you. The real truth is that adult survivors come to have more power than abusers. By telling someone, you expose them to the judgement of the world and they fear exposure. Otherwise why do they hide? If you speak out and are accounted for, you will have some degree of safety.
Safety is a state of mind as much as it is a place. Use whatever means you have available to increase your peace of mind and sense of safety. Find a safe place inside yourself as well as on the outside.
If they are getting you back into abusive situations by using triggers, try to find out what the trigger is and find a way of blocking it. If need be, get someone you trust to help you stay safe and accounted for during difficult times.
If they are frightening you or making threats, remember that these are designed to control you. Check out the reality, i.e. have they actually harmed you or are they using your own fears against you. Threats can be frightening but they alone cannot hurt you.
If they are threatening to hurt a child or loved one if you do not return, know that they will do this anyway if they choose to. You going back will safeguard no one and will only give them more of a hold over you.
Know that you can do it. Believe in yourself and in your ability to survive. You’ve made it this far against all the odds so you do have skills and coping mechanisms to continue to survive and heal.