The Way Out To Freedom
The Way Out To Freedom
This is not an easy decision to make and will effect many if not all areas of your life. It may never feel like "the right time" but it's never a good time to remain in abuse.
Leaving a physically abusive relationship can be very dangerous.
Please seek the help and support of your local Domestic Abuse Support group BEFORE you leave. If you are not sure who to talk to you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline
Below are some suggestions if you are considering leaving a toxic or abusive relationship, church or workplace. There are likely many other details to consider, this is simply a place to start.
Spend time in prayer and grounding yourself in God. Self-doubt and the questions of others can be hard to manage. Being able to remind yourself of God's truths and what HE says about abuse, injustice and oppression can help to guard against gaslighting, questioning, aggression and confusion. HE is the God of Love, Comfort, Peace and Justice.
You do not have to do this alone. You may be apprehensive of trusting others. Seeking a local counselor, Domestic Violence Group, HR department, Self-Help group can provide support, empower and educate you. More often then not, once you share your story or ask for help you will find that you are not alone.
So often we don't realize until after the fact that our identity, for far too long, has been wrapped up in our marriage, status as a parent, grandparent, church involvement or job status. These names and positions although are valuable and special in many ways... they do NOT ultimately, intimately soulfully define us. No one, no title or number of children, grandchildren, friendships, or volume of responsibility will ever change that fact that WE ARE a child of God! That is what defines us and that is ENOUGH, and it is the best place to begin rebuilding your life!
You have been taking care of others, suppressing your own needs, health and wellness for a long time. When you get out from under the abuse, control and manipulation your body will need and want to rest and heal. Don't jump into "the next thing" You may be exhausted, weepy, feel sick. This is all very normal. Your mind and body have been in a state of tension for a long time. Extend grace to yourself. Allow yourself time to rest, grieve, cry, be quiet - healing is GOOD - NOT selfish.
Simple things like taking a walk, drinking water, talking with a trusted friend, slowing down are all very good steps to take. Do them often, without shame or guilt.
It's best not to share your plans with your current community of friends, worshipers or coworkers. Finding someone who is not emotionally involved would be the most prudent person to share your plans with. They can provide rational objectives and suggestions for you in this process.
As the saying goes, "You only have one chance to make a first impression." Your departure will only happen one time. You may want to exercise this opportunity to have a voice, or you may want to leave quietly. Keep in mind that because you are leaving a toxic/abusive environment; most who may want to ask you why you left will be gaslit themselves, shamed or fearmongered into NOT talking to you or even ask you about your reasons for leaving.
You may be surprised that the people who you thought you were close to are actually loyal to the institution, family or business you were mutually associated with rather than loyal or devoted to you.
Making new friendships, business connections or even finding a new church prior to the ending of the relationship, social or religious affiliation can soften the blow when you are cutoff unexpectedly by people your thought were genuine followers of Christ, sincere friends or business professionals.
Be responsible for your own obligations and responsibilities. If you know you are the only one with all the knowledge and tasks for particular tasks at work, leave behind a basic instructions or how to's. If you have outstanding debts have a plan in advance for paying back what you owe. However, financial debt or feeling as though, "you are the only one who knows what to do" should NEVER be a reason to stay in a toxic environment.
Anytime a person feels duped or taken advantage of we have a tendency to beat ourselves up, shame ourselves or just feel dumb. Bob Hamp so perfectly states: when we are abused it is not because of what is wrong with you, it's because of what is RIGHT with you. You are forgiving, you consider others, you are responsible for yourself and those around you, trustworthy, honest, introspective, generous, kind, empathetic among many other wonderful God given attributes that are targeted and taken advantage of by abusers.
Onlookers, co-workers or fellow church attenders can also be victims of the manipulation by abusers and those controlling what people believe. They are trapped in the narrative in which they are surrounded. Unless a person begins to ask questions as well, they are caught up in the cycle of blindly believing what they are told.