Ending relationships must be one of the most difficult human undertakings there is. And of all possible questions, how to end an abusive relationship must be the most difficult to answer. There are many elements in an abusive relationship that make ending it more difficult. The controlling, manipulative dynamics, and the psychological battery and co-dependency that a victim typically endures make a breakup that much harder to navigate. To heal and recover from an abusive relationship, sometimes nothing less than professional help will do.
In dealing with the breaking up itself, there are generally two ways people end an abusive relationship. One is when the parties are forced by law when the abuse is discovered and the abuser is arrested, or perhaps a Restraining Order is issued or a crisis occurs that abruptly cuts off the relationship. The second is over a period of time when something happens that triggers the abused partner to realize his/her situation and decide to break up with the abuser.
The first scenario is usually unplanned. But for the second, some preparation is necessary. This second scenario is usually the case with verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse where no physical signs or bruises are manifest. People usually donât know that thereâs anything wrong in the relationship. But itâs still very abusive and still very damaging. Just because the bruises donât show doesnât mean the pain isnât real. This second case needs more preparation. Below are possible ways to end this kind of abusive relationship:
Acknowledge the problem. You need to realize that there is a real problem, that this is not normal, and that you are not at fault. You are doing what is right to take care of yourself. You are right to ensure your sanity and well-being. You are supposed to secure your life. You have to understand that you are not at fault for the abuse. You do not bring it on yourself. You are not to blame. Abusive people do it not because of who you are. Thatâs just the way they are. Of course, people can change. But while people are being abusive, they are being abusive. You do not have to suffer through it. You need help, so go get it.
Confide in someone trustworthy. If youâre in an abusive relationship, you need to find someone you can trust to give you much-needed support and counsel. You can go to a counselor, a church leader, a close confidant. You need someone who will give you objective advice and sustain you through your struggle to finally break free.
Take slow steps towards freedom. Ending any relationship is hard enough let alone an abusive one. There are so many psychological and emotional manipulations and patterns in place that make it difficult to even keep a straight head. So take it little by little. Start by taking steps towards independence. Get used to doing things on your own for and by yourself. Develop interests that make you feel good and help you grow. Learn to be comfortable being alone or, at least, apart from the abusive partner. Breaking up will be much harder if you canât live by yourself. So get used to it.
Find a refuge. This could be a place you can go to recoup every time youâre hurting, or it could actually be a place where you can run and be safe when you have to. Prepare all your documentation and settle your affairs so that when you finally break free, even if you have to do it abruptly, you will not be caught off-guard. Because you know you will have to break free at some point in time. So prepare for it. No matter how small the steps, they are still steps in the right direction.
Cut off contact. Totally and absolutely stop any form of communication with the abuser. No matter how many calls or how desperate he or she seems, even ifÂ Â suicide or self-harm is even mentioned, do not get drawn into that trap. If you think thereâs cause for concern, call someone to check on them. Donât do it yourself. If a child is involved, find help to manage the care of the child without having to compromise your own safety and separation. Determine healthy boundaries and keep them.
Above all, always remember that it takes time to heal. Getting over a relationship will not be easy, and it wonât be quick. You canât hurry it up or suppress the emotional backlash. Allow yourself to grieve. Go through the recovery process. Be kind to yourself and be your own champion. You will get through it, and you will be stronger. These are just some of the most important tips on how to end an abusive relationship.