How to bring myself to end this abusive relationship?
May 24, 2016 10:27 PM   Subscribe

I have to end my relationship of a decade, and there are many feelings involved. As a highly-sensitive person, I feel everything so deeply, and after some terrifying behavior lately, I feel like the strength I had built and my determination to leave have gone flat. I feel emotionally on the floor and mentally exhausted. How do I bring myself to end this relationship for my own sanity and healing?

(Note, not looking for how as in how-to "send him an email and block and cut contact" etc)

I have been planning to leave my abusive relationship for 10 months. I am finally in a position, financially, to do that. He is controlling, demanding, has made me do things, is insensitive, acts narcissistic, and even abuses his own mother in a similar way. This is the guy who would punch a hole in a door and then blame someone for "making" him rage.

The weekend before last, he tried to call me Friday before I got home from work. Still out when he called, I decided to ignore until I could get home and take a nap, which I do most work nights. To make a long story short - he proceeded to call me for hours. I shut off the phones and answering machine and felt like I was being terrorized in my home. I was in an anxious panic when, after more than three hours of calls, the police showed up because he had called them to do a check in on me, which resulted in me telling the cops he is controlling and had been calling for hours. By the next morning, there were over 125 calls that I could count from my phone records.

He showed up at my home on Sunday after I had no contact with him all weekend. When I refused to answer, he went to the front and got my elderly landlord to come by and come in and knock on my door to let me know I had a "guest", after which boyfriend was able to step into the hall and talk to me. I waffled, I felt bad, but mostly I felt exhausted. I had no shield. He had broken every boundary to get there. I talked to him, stunned, anxious, vulnerable, and he read this long apology and vowed to do better, something I know abusers do when they fear loss.

But ever since, he has been clingy, smothering, trying to take up chunks of my limited time, and insistent,, insecure, defensive, and then today he started in with things like "we fought a lot" when no, I didn't fight or do anything. He talks about the past month and the calling incident as in need of forgiven instead og some movie I feel like I've been living in bizarro world because every time he calls me beautiful, I hear him calling me fat and making unfunny cracks for years and years. Or the caring when he otherwise triggered my phobia and PTSD "because it's hilarious", then call me too sensitive and tell me I had no sense of humor.

I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted. I hardly feel like the person who was determined to get out of this relationship and be free, even just last month when I got this new job that would allow me to be safe if I moved on. I am not functioning well. It feels like something kind of broke in me after all of that. I feel strange to myself. I am safe but anxious and unsettled.

Not only am I fielding a lot of guilt feelings over this hurting him (I tend to put myself last a lot, not even deliberately), but also his reaction. I know that with the call records and other saved text conversations, I can document a pattern of abuse and harassment that could probably get me an order of protection if I need one, but I feel vulnerable in my home now, my mental health has suffered, and I am stuck being alone since he's the only one I know in this immediate area and my other friends who know about this live far. I think if I had someone to hug and comfort me, even for just a few hours, maybe press the send button on an email for me, this might be something I would have the strength to do.

How do I gather the strength to take decisive action? I do love him and care a lot, and don't want to hurt him (despite him hurting me for years, I know), but I need to heal.
posted by Fire to Human Relations (29 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
My ex-boyfriend was exactly the same way, down to the call records and the complete and utter lies. The only way I got strength to take decisive action was that I had a dear friend sit with me on google chat while I went through ending the relationship, but my ex was also far away at another university and I was safe at mine, plus his mother calmed him down. I was extremely fortunate.

I am concerned - could you be in another area, so that he can't find you? I feel there needs to be more precautions to be taken, but other MeFites would have more information than me, so I would wait.
posted by yueliang at 10:33 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there any way you could be away from home for awhile? Even if it is just a week or two on a friend's house, with your cell phone off (or change the number entirely, if that isn't an utter nightmare for you) so you can escape the immediate need to constantly be making and remaking the decision to leave him. The less you have to face the consequences over and over again, the easier it will be to stick with your choice.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you realize he's abusive. Have you called your local domestic violence shelter? They should have recommendations for therapists, housing, legal advice, etc. You are not in this alone.

You can do this. Take it one step at a time.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:58 PM on May 24, 2016 [17 favorites]


You haven't got local friends because he engineered it that way. Wow, he's good.

When you've slightly recuperated it will be wonderful therapy to look in to all sorts of ways to make new, local friends.

Mefi meetups are great for that. Although I doubt you're feeling ready for doing people yet.
I send you cyber hugs, if you want them.
posted by taff at 11:21 PM on May 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure the reason why my hometown friends no longer exist, is because my ex probably went to them and started telling stories about how I abused him. No matter, they weren't real friends anyway. That is a thing. Sending hugs <3
posted by yueliang at 1:01 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think if I was your faraway friend and you told me this I might be prepared to literally fly over and stay with you for a while in order to have your back while you got this sorted out.
posted by emilyw at 3:44 AM on May 25, 2016 [21 favorites]


You are doing all the right things. Second-guessing yourself is normal, but it sounds like you are really quite secure in knowing what needs to be done. And you will get there.

Maybe part of the problem is that you feel like everything must be solved/done right now, this moment? But you just can't, because you're exhausted? And no wonder, he sounds like enough to wear out anyone!

So maybe hit pause for a second and realize that there's not actually a deadline on any of these things. Maybe if you take some of that 'pressure to perform' off yourself, you'll find it all comes easier.

Break it down into smaller and more manageable pieces. To start out, my suggestions would be:

1. Go have something to eat and drink. When I'm upset, I forget to drink enough and I get dehydrated and then feel sick on top of everything else. This is something you can do right now.

2. Take some Tylenol, too. You probably have a headache or muscle tension aches and don't even realize it.

3. Think about how you're going to ensure you get enough sleep. Maybe grab some OTC meds for tonight and consider a visit to the Dr next week?

4. Think about having a 'vacation'. What would be the harm in just checking into a local motel for tonight? Maybe you could stay there for a few more nights. He won't find you there. You'll be surprised how quickly your thinking sharpens up, once you've gotten just a day or two of peace.

See? The first steps are to meet your physical needs. Then, you'll be in a place to easily see what your next set of priorities are, and you can make plans for the next steps.

You will be OK. You have to go through the shit right now, but be tenacious. Making it out is so worth it.
posted by oceanmorning at 3:49 AM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


To add, I do sort of need to do it now or soon, since he is being so clingy and wanting to "talk about the future" and "make plans" and insists on spending time together. I have an opportunity in front of me to potentially start a new, amazing job soon if I can get it together and pass some exams and prepare, and he doesn't know about this yet. Since I have to pay for exams, I really don't have a budget for anything besides rent and expenses. When I get home from work, I am so tired, but part of this might also be feeling exhausted on multiple levels. Then he wants to have phone calls and keps wanting me to come over after work, to "talk" and stuff that sounds mostly about how I can be more available to him.

So my options are to tell him about it in some way, tell him he's being too clingy and I need to be left alone to study and prepare, and hope he leaves me be, or try to end this ASAP. I don't feel like I am functioning anywhere near normal, and normally I am good at focusing, test prep, studying, but he demands my attention and I am drained and can't and I want this opportunity to work out, badly. But time is limited. I have just a couple of weeks left until the exams and am wildly unprepared.
posted by Fire at 3:55 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


the first thing is to realize that you don't owe this guy anything. He's been a total jerk to you, and you no longer have to look after his feelings, you don't have to go out of your way to make this easy on him, you don't have to do any more work for him. 125 phone calls says and calling the cops that he has lost his being-treated-like-a-normal-person privileges. You think he was looking out for your feelings when he did that? nope. you are absolved, you are free. All you need to do is say "I don't want to have anything to do with you anymore, if you contact me again I will get a restraining order" and then block everything. Which I know is hard, but look at it like passing a big deadline - if you can just get through that last big work push, after that you will be done, and your time will be your own again. Think ahead to how nice it's going to be when you don't have to put up with that crap anymore.

It is a real bummer that you don't have friends nearby, because having a buddy around for the weekend would be a great distraction, and would help you be able to laugh at all the dumb things that captain batshit tries to get your attention. Do you have any friends or family you could visit, or have visit you? Ideally you'd tell him to leave you alone on friday, and then bug out for the weekend. I hope you can get the peace you need, I have total sympathy for your predicament.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:01 AM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


Do you have a therapist? Get one. This is of utmost importance. Call the Domestic Violence Hotline if nothing else and speak to someone there. Take your phone into an authorized dealer, explain that you have an abusive ex and ask them to check your phone for GPS programs or any other spy programs he may have downloaded to your phone. Have a mechanic check your car for a GPS device.

Dr. Phil and his wife Robin have had an APP developed that allows you to automatically record/video altercations. It's called Aspire News and it's free. Download it.

As for ending it, I'd send a short email.

I do not want to be in a relationship with you anymore. I am not happy. You are not a good fit for me and I need to take care of my health and myself. Do not contact me in any way.

Then block him.

Ask a friend to come stay with you for a couple of days. Go visit your family. Tell everyone you know, your job, your landlord, your neighbors that you're being harassed by your ex-boyfriend. If there's any funny business, take yourself down to the police station and make a report. In fact, go now with your phone records and show them the 125 attempts he made that one night and reference the fact that he actually called them out on a welfare check. It's not easy to get an Order of Protection, but get the wheels turning so that you CAN get one.

Doing these things will energize you.

Take an Uber to a nice, local motel. Live there, study, sleep. Hang out at the pool. Take a staycation. Study. Read novels. Decompress.

You deserve to never deal with this guy again. You owe him NOTHING. So give him his due.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:24 AM on May 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


If you're in Atlanta, I can help.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:25 AM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wow, that sounds like a nightmare.

Are you familiar with the writings of Lundy Bancroft? Really good books about angry and controlling men, as this man clearly is. His books are really good for giving insight into what's going on when they act the way they do, and the common difficulties that women face when coping with those behaviors while hoping for a healthy and loving relationship. They also have really good advice for how to safely disentangle and move on, and self-care during and after that transition. Strong recommend.
posted by Sublimity at 4:50 AM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


You have your plan. Now you have to tell him. This is the next step. Abusive (or even healthy) relationships aren't going to spontaneously end by just thinking about it. I get the impression from the tone of your email that you might tend towards avoidant. Your partner clearly escalates when this happens.

Be clear and use words. Make it crystal clear there is no future. Don't discuss your future plans. Be kind (not because you owe them anything, but so you feel like you did the right thing.) Then cut off contact. Perhaps get a new phone number. It isn't going to be easy, and you'll have to be hyper-vigilant these next months. But you will survive this. One day at a time.
posted by KMoney at 4:56 AM on May 25, 2016


Three small steps you can take:

1. Talk to your landlady and tell her that she shouldn't open the door to him no matter what he says, because you don't want to talk to him anymore.

2. Write to your far-away friends and tell them what is going on. Even if they are too far away to give you immediate hugs, a phone conversation with someone you care about and who cares about you and is on your side can help.

3. Being in a bad relationship can make you feel cramped, because you end up sacrificing all sorts of things that are important to you but that don't meet his standards, or that he mocks you for. Doing some of those things again deliberately can help you get back to yourself a bit. So: is there a type of food that you love but haven't been able to eat in a long time because he doesn't like it or makes fun of you for eating it? Are there tv shows or books or magazines that you have been longing to watch or read that would get you mocked if you did it while he is around? Are there places in your city that you like to go to that he thinks are boring or dumb, etc? Take an afternoon or a day and do some of those things.
posted by colfax at 5:09 AM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel strange to myself. I am safe but anxious and unsettled.

Are you safe? I'm not trying to alarm you, but just because you've been with this man for 10 years and don't live with him does not mean you know how he'll behave when you try to end this relationship. That's a whole different ballgame, and the situation already seems to be escalating, from what you've shared here. Anyone who has controlled your social life, obsessively called/pestered you, manipulated you, and blamed you for his own problems is unpredictable. He may act out in new, unexpected ways as he becomes desperate to maintain control over you and the situation. That's why he wants to make plans and settle everything now.

If there's any moment where you fear for your physical safety, hold on to that fear and use it to get yourself to a safer situation ASAP. Trust your gut.

How do I gather the strength to take decisive action? I do love him and care a lot, and don't want to hurt him (despite him hurting me for years, I know), but I need to heal.

Sounds like you need to recognize emotionally what your head already knows: this has been an abusive situation.

It's hard, but try not to worry too much about hurting him. That's not me saying, "Feel free to be an asshole." That's me saying, "You're not responsible for his feelings when he's been the one hurting and scaring you." Anyone who can't respect that you need to find a way to be healthier and happier, even if he doesn't understand it, doesn't need to be in your life—not as a friend, and certainly not as a lover. If he's hurt by that? Oh, well. If he's angry? So long as you're at a safe distance, oh, well. No need to worry about his troubles. You have enough on your plate.

Keep the breakup short. Keep it simple. Don't get bogged down in lengthy conversations. I'd go with the email approach Ruthless Bunny recommends. You're not obligated to give him lots of reasons for why you want to do this.

I wonder if you're maybe caught up in the "he's this way because he's broken" mentality. I mean, it's probably true. Most people who are aggressive, manipulative, and obsessive are that way because they've got some demons and don't know how to communicate in a healthy way. But it's also 100% true that it's not your responsibility to fix any of that just because you love them. Hard to remember that when so many of the narratives we know and love reinforce the idea that abusive people can and should be fixed by loving partners, rather than through personal efforts.

You need to go on your own journey, regardless of how he feels about it, regardless of what he says. And he needs to go on a journey, too. It's okay to hope you'll both find health and peace. Just remember your well-being comes first, especially in a toxic relationship.
posted by iamfantastikate at 5:35 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hey. Sending good thoughts your way. Wow, I know this nightmare. I was taking my qualifying exams for my PhD when I left my abuser and it was hell. I had so much riding on those tests and he was actively trying to sabotage me. He called me a record low of eight times the morning of my first exam. His usual M.O. was to call dozens upon dozens of times. Sounds familiar, I'm sure.

What you are doing - leaving an abuser during an important time in your work life - can be done. I know because I did it and here I am on the other side.

The very best thing I did for myself was I got myself to a women's shelter. I was not convinced that I belonged: it wasn't that bad, and he had only physically assaulted me a handful of times. And some of those times maybe didn't count as assault because I was asking for it, maybe, like when I told him I felt like he was sabatoging my career and he threw coffee on me in the middle of Starbucks (and later claimed it never happened). Was that assault? No one else at the store did or said anything, so I thought maybe it wasn't.

Now with clear eyes I see that holy shit yes that is assault and shame on those people for bystandering me.

In a few years you will look and say holy shit, why did I try reason and logic with that person? Why did I try to appeal to his humanity?

The only way I got mine to stop was I moved - which was terrible, but necessary - and I blocked his calls, talked to the shelter about a DVPO (I did not do this and regret it), had his email automatically sent to a folder that I checked periodically so I could monitor threats, and I made friends at my domestic violence support group. The women's shelter saved my life. I didn't think my situation was bad enough to warrant their help but it was. That was just his voice in my head trying to convince me that I did not have it that bad and that I did not deserve anything more from my life than his abuse.

Leaving is a dangerous time. Call the domestic violence hotline. Get the women's shelter in your area on the phone. Get help from the experts. Have them help you work out what we call a safety plan.

It may not feel this way now but you owe this man nothing.

Take care of yourself.
posted by sockermom at 5:48 AM on May 25, 2016 [22 favorites]


DO NOT TELL HIM ABOUT NEW JOB OR EXAMS.

I can't believe everyone missed this. Holy shit. Don't.

Um, you need a domestic abuse shelter ASAP. I think you need a restraint order. I think you need some help understanding it's GOOD to cut this guy off, to protect yourself. Hurting him is not your problem, or even something you will be doing because that's not the dynamic here. Everything keeping you hooked into this danger is a false construct, and yet you'll never be in more danger than when you first walk away.

You need somewhere to stay where he can't find you. Sort that out. Your life is none of his business anymore, don't tell him anything. Call a domestic violence hotline and get support.
posted by jbenben at 6:42 AM on May 25, 2016 [35 favorites]


If you are still in NYC, Safe Horizon comes highly recommended by a friend of mine as a local resource.

I agree with others that you should not tell him about the new job or exams. I also think you should get an order of protection. If there is any way for you to stay elsewhere for a while, I think you should. Safe Horizon will be able to guide you through all of this.
posted by bedhead at 7:45 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


You DON'T live with him, and he's still calling you hundreds of times a day? Restraining order, ASAP. If you can't get away from him in your OWN SAFE SPACE, then the reinforcements must be brought in.
posted by Melismata at 8:04 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just coming in to second, third, and fourth

- telling landlady, work colleagues, and others that this person should not be allowed in your home or workplace.
- go speak to an officer at your local precinct (you can generally dial 311 to get information on city services and phone numbers) to alert them and start the process of getting a restraining order.
- This is the time to break out the credit cards. Go away for a long weekend, somewhere where you can be in nature, restore, think, and prepare.
- Do call a domestic violence resource center so they can help you make sure that you have everything in place that needs to be in place for when you officially end the relationship.
- I bet one of your far off friends would come to you. I know that if one of my far off friends called me and said they needed me to help them stay strong in leaving an abusive relationship, I would pack my bags and get going.
posted by brookeb at 8:31 AM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


After that barrage, it makes sense you'd be exhausted, and daunted by the prospect of an even more exhausting barrage when you deliver the news. On top of that, you saw him use various people to get to you, which might have left you feeling vulnerable.

I think shoring up your defenses might help. Can you leave town when you break up with him and study from a family member's house? If you can't get out of town completely, maybe work on telling people (like your landlord, maybe your neighbors, your employer, etc.) what will happen and that they aren't to give him access under any circumstances.

It sounds like this test is your way out. Do whatever you need to to get through it. But I wouldn't tell him about it. Good luck!
posted by salvia at 8:36 AM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you are still in NYC, Safe Horizon (linked above) can provide not only advice but also assistance in applying for a TOP. A lot of people think they don't need a TOP...until they do. Here are some resources for safety planning.

I bet your friends, even if distant, are more willing to help than he's subtly persuaded you to believe. Don't be afraid or ashamed to reach out. Likely several of them have been longing to help you get out but have been reluctant to say anything for fear of driving you away.
posted by praemunire at 8:57 AM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


don't want to hurt him

Look, you just have to take this out of your equation. First off, breakups hurt. Even hugely amicable breakups sting because disappointment just hurts. Second, his feelings about the breakup are none of your business. As a human being, he has a right to be hurt, angry, relieved, philosophical, and whatever else he feels. Not your business, not your obligation to manage, not a thing you could control even if you wanted to because you are not magic. Those feelings belong 100% to him. Don't run over him with your car or rig a building to fall on him, and your full responsibility with regard to his pain has been upheld.

But also, if you need to think about it this way: do it for his own good. Clearly being with you is not a productive life situation for him. And one day your landlady is going to call the police on him, or a neighbor, or one of his neighbors, or your workplace is going to do it, or you are going to have no choice before he hurts himself or you (or your landlady, neighbors, coworkers etc). An arrest rarely makes anyone's life better.

I think if I had someone to hug and comfort me, even for just a few hours, maybe press the send button on an email for me, this might be something I would have the strength to do.

I honestly think it would be safest for everyone involved plus bystanders if you did this from the safety of a shelter. Find one in your area to talk to, let them help you formulate your escape plan, and see if you can stay there for a long weekend or even a week. Send the email from there, and spend your free time volunteering yourself to exhaustion so you're not sitting around fretting.

And that email? Three sentences will suffice, and don't say anything you don't want to show to a judge: 1) relationship is over 2) do not contact or legal consequences 3) and also I will not respond. You don't have to explain, in part because you don't have to have a "sufficient" reason to end a relationship any more than you're required to give an employer a "good enough" reason to quit, and also because he fucking knows why. But don't try to use the breakup to get him to acknowledge it. There's no point, one day he'll get his life right or he won't, and it's nothing to do with you.

Tell your friends. Tell your landlady (and if you get an Order of Protection, you need to tell her that and possibly you may need to give her a copy, the shelter can advise you on this). Ask for help. The asking may be a little painful, but the help makes all the rest of it so much less difficult (and less confusing, and less complicated) that it is worth it.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on May 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


I would echo Lyn Never...take his emotions out of the equation. Sometimes pain is a natural result of change, such as when a relationship needs to end.

Abusers set up emotional relationships so that when things don't go their way, the loss of control sparks anger, confusion, indignance, violence, sadness. He is harming you, and using his emotions to remain in control. Making his emotions above yours. I'm sure you recognize that this is unfair and you need to leave.

But perhaps the breakup will help him change for the sake of himself or others. Many abusers don't change; some do, but I think it's clear based on your dynamic that he will not change by the force of anyone's love; that he has a pattern of unhealthy communication and emotional relationships; that he has considered his emotions above yours. You shouldn't stick around to see if he will change. It's okay to love him, but loving him will not better either of your situations.

My mother did not choose to leave my abusive father, and for many years she suffered. When she did truly assert herself for the sake of her own well being -- and there were many factors that finally made that possible for her, and to see change in him -- it did trigger a realization in my father about the way he treated her and others. It wasn't her love for him that did that -- it was his realization that when he treated people badly, they turned their back on him. He realized he wasn't happy when he was in control either - he just had a real fucked up idea about the value of control. He still has many abusive behaviors, but his impulses have softened. But you should not stick around and wait for that to happen, and that will not happen for many abusers. I am happy that my mother feels better about her situation and has more control, but she is still deprived of the joys of a healthy, nourishing relationship. She grew up in a different country and culture, and is only realizing in her fifties that she is able to and will be supported by her children to do what is best for herself. She often wonders what she would have done with her life or how happy she would be if she had not married him. I think we are all glad my dad is a somewhat happier person -- abusers are not happy people -- but it came at a great, painful and unjustified cost to my mother.

Continuing in this relationship only enables him to hurt you more, and pursue relationships that will never help him, either. You deserve to be nourished by your relationships; uplifted and built up by them.
posted by mmmleaf at 10:19 AM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


So my options are to tell him about it in some way, tell him he's being too clingy and I need to be left alone to study and prepare,

I would do my best to mollify him and claim work stress and swear that we will totally work things out just as soon as I get through this work stress. Try to buy yourself some time and space to get the new job and leave. Do not whisper one word about your plans to leave. Claim you have the flu. Claim you have the period from hell. Claim you aren't sleeping well for some reason unrelated to him. Apologize for "taking it out on him" then get moved and cut him off.

Say whatever you need to say to get some maneuvering room. Then get that job, pack your shit and disappear.

You are not obligated to try to "play fair" with this man. It is fine to do whatever works to get you free, including lying.
posted by Michele in California at 12:13 PM on May 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


Try and do for yourself, what you would do for a dear friend in the same situation. You must take steps to protect and care for yourself - can you talk to friends or family and arrange an "emergency" to take you there for a little while so you can gain some actual space from this horrible man and just breathe in peace for a bit? Of course you can't think straight with the constant selfish barrage of noise you're getting now. I also think you should absolutely not tell him your plans, because he will correctly interpret them as your escape plan and will undermine them completely. You have to be like Katie Holmes as she prepared to leave Tom Cruise :) Get in touch with allies, cover your tracks, and confront him only from a place of safety.
posted by glitter at 4:34 PM on May 25, 2016


There's a thing I was reading (and relating to) about "sick systems" and one of the control methods is that every time you start pulling away a little, he'll keep you constantly dealing with crises and drama, making sure you're too exhausted to think straight. When you get though this, what you'll remember about him is all the effed up emotional stress.

Glitter's comment just came up and I'm basically backing that up. Even though he's made you feel like he's your only emotional support, reach out to a social agency. Call a crisis line and explain the situation. They'll be able to direct you to some of the support you need. Make no mistake, you ARE in an emergency and deserve help. The protective order doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:39 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you are leaving it. And it can be lethal to try to leave. I would be reluctant to file for a protective order at this time as it can signal your serious intent to leave, it can provoke him and they are often poorly enforced.

So, since you are in the process of lining up a job elsewhere, I would basically: Lie, lie, lie, and then leave.

I have kind of second hand experience with this as I know someone who left an abuser and was horribly assaulted and I was supportive during and after. He had not been physically violent prior to her leaving.

Please, treat this as a serious threat to your welfare and get whatever assistance you can. And try to NOT tell him anything useful. Abusive people are basically crazy.
posted by Michele in California at 5:27 PM on May 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think that you are ABSOLUTELY right to want to leave and you should. I also, want you to think about safety. Leaving is very dangerous, if he went through all that trouble to get you when you ignored him, it'll be more difficult when you leave. But don't let that
the stop you, instead letc it prepare you. Like someone said now is the time to break out those cards. Go visit family, and break up whole you're away. Consider getting a security system with a camera in case you need police footage, get a dash cam for the car. Have all your bases covered. Teach out a domestic help group and make some friends close by. Lastly, this may sound odd but consider taking martial arts or self defense classes. I don'the exactly expect you to flip him on his ass after just a few classes but it can do wonders for self esteem and help to boost security.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 7:58 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


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