How can I get out of an Abusive Situation?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Abusive situations tend to be complicated. People on the outside of an abusive relationship often think that leaving is a simple process, but that is rarely the case. Often, there are a number of factors that make it difficult both physically and emotionally for the abused person to leave. Once you've realized that you deserve better, you can prepare to get out of an abusive situation by finding all of your essential documents, make sure that you have your own sources of money, find a place to stay, and set up some counseling sessions.

The average abused woman leaves her abuser 7 to 8 times before she leaves him permanently.
The average abused woman leaves her abuser 7 to 8 times before she leaves him permanently.

First, come to an understanding that the abuse is not your fault. Many people put up with abusive situations thinking that if they simply make changes to placate the abuser that things will get better. Do not own the problem. Your first step in leaving your abuser is to realize you are not the cause of the abuse and that you deserve better than being constantly exposed to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.

Abusive situations are often very complicated.
Abusive situations are often very complicated.

Next, begin to assemble essential documents that you will need to start a new life. These include identification documents such as a driver’s license and Social Security card. Also take along any type of documents related to the relationship like birth certificates, marriage certificates or divorce papers. If you have medical records for yourself and any children who will be leaving with you, add them to the list along with proof of insurance coverage.

People in abusive situations often believe they are the one at fault.
People in abusive situations often believe they are the one at fault.

You often need money to get out of an abusive situation. Take cash, credit cards, and documents related to any bank accounts that are shared jointly. Remove your name from existing bank accounts and establish new ones in your name only as soon as possible. Keep in mind that, during the course of the relationship, you contributed to the household and are entitled to using those joint funds.

A person leaving an abusive situation should plan to speak with a counselor.
A person leaving an abusive situation should plan to speak with a counselor.

Take along some items that have sentimental value and predate the abusive situations and incidents you are escaping. These may include photos or similar items that take up little space. Mementos of this type will provide you with a connection to the person you were before the abusive behavior eroded your sense of worth and self-confidence.

The emotional effects of an abusive relationship can last long after separating.
The emotional effects of an abusive relationship can last long after separating.

If taking medications, make sure to have plenty on hand. A month’s supply will allow you to see after your health while arranging your life. Consider it one less detail you will have to address as you enter this new phase of living.

Make preparations for housing. You will need a safe place to live while you take care of all the little details that must be addressed. This may mean staying with friends or relatives, or even spending some time living in a safe house. The point is to have a place where you can feel protected from any further abuse.

Plan for counseling even after you get out since chances are that your emotional state will be fragile at best. Take advantage of services offered at counseling centers or make arrangements to get counseling from a trusted and qualified clergyperson. This is an important step in the road to healing from the abuse.

Above all, get out of an abusive situation as soon as possible. The abuse will not get better, no matter how sorrowful the abuser seems to be after inflicting the pain. Only once you do get out can you begin to heal physically and emotionally, and begin to recapture a joy of living. Once out of the abusive situation, take any legal action necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of any children involved.

Someone who has been in an abusive situation is more likely to seek out similar relationships in the future.
Someone who has been in an abusive situation is more likely to seek out similar relationships in the future.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I have a friend in Arizona who has two babies. She is in that situation. I am trying to help her, but I am disabled so I don't have much money. I have a place for her and will get a place for us to go, but it's so darn expensive to travel. The airlines charge full fare for babies even though they're only 3 and 5. A bus would be a hard trip and still cost as much as a plane ticket. I am calling everywhere down there to find help with the trip. She deserves better than that.


I am also like the other situations, but mine is worse. I fell in love with a married man, but he is so controlling he doesn't want me to see my parents, my relatives or friends. He threatens me that if I leave him, I will lose my job and run mad. A few days back he locked me outside and changed the keys and I left without an item of mine, including clothes. Now he wants me back. Now I am confused. He claims he loves me so much but will never change his behavior.


To all ladies being abused: I can tell you to get out as soon as possible. Don't whine, cry or waste any more time on a uncaring man -- especially time you could use to educate yourself. Go forward and enjoy your life.

If you have children, they learn what they see. I have been in this situation. Now at 58, I know I wasted a lot of time and my children have acted this way.


My life has been worse since leaving my abusive husband of 18 years. It's been three years and I have lost everything.

I'm homeless. I lost my job of nine years because they felt I was a safety hazard due to the fact that i got a pfa for me and my three daughters. No one person or charity had any help to offer. It's not worth it. It was easier being beaten than how we are living now.


I was forced to leave the country to live overseas, taking our daughter who faced escalating threats and humiliation, with me.

The cops, social workers, city fathers and everyone else running the show were either apathetic or indifferent to her plight. Her mother and the rest of the family all visited in India many times but kept up the abduction campaign in Maryland.

Eventually, after four harrowing years of hollow bickering, accusations were dropped. The financial and emotional costs of maintaining a dozen lawyers in two countries were astounding.

We have been back in the States for five and a half years. Her mother has taken off; we found her 2000 miles away after several years of searching. My daughter's requests for an explanation and honoring a conciliation consent decree have been rebuffed and she has been repeatedly rebuked for things she is not responsible for.

She has been denied access to her sister, my younger daughter. As well all the maternal family members have fled the area.

I have found that this family, retired from a foreign army (Peshawar) who I had sponsored three decades ago had been stealing my funds to settle gambling debts, real estate deals, all with my former wife's help.

I educated her and helped her with building her career, bringing her family from India and resettling them in the US. Then they falsely accused me of intimate partner abuse. I was devastated and my children were stunned. My older daughter fought back, often with tears, but the younger one gave in to blackmail.

My elderly father, who had funded our legal fight, died under strange circumstances while visiting his brother in California. This brother had engaged in elderly abuse and cornered his life savings before letting him die in a decrepit office building. My children are now both in their twenties, their mother and I in our fifties and their remaining three grandparents in their 70's and early 80s.

So many temporal and financial resources have been squandered servicing an arbitrary and capricious process; childhood innocence lost; the vaunted American dream has been extinguished. Both my older daughter and I have been subjected to ongoing ridicule for so long, we have decided to leave the US for good. The trouble is that all our money and virtually all our assets have been stolen. There are lots of unaccounted and unrecovered assets.

I fear these people may be part of some extreme ideology, so I have been very cautious. How does this end? What can be done? Who is out there to help close this and facilitate our repatriation/expatriation efforts?


thanks again for your advice. well I'm trying to be strong and not give in to him at all.

we still live together but i really don't talk to him at all unless it's about the baby and when he does leave i don't call at all to see if he is with a female i am trying to kind of get myself used to really not having him around and if he is acting as if he isn't here, so it can be easier for me when i leave it won't be all a big shock to me and i won't miss him.

now that i ignore him he's coming in earlier and not sleeping out and is out for less time then before. i don't know if he feels that I'm pushing away or what. i just hope this method makes me not love him and not hurt and just be happy with my girls and forget him. and out there somewhere I know Mr. right will come when it's right and I'm not rushing it.

he isn't going to change. any little thing i say he spazzes out like he's crazy so i know we are over


To anon65403: I replied to your post before. Hope all is well.

I understand that you may love him and feel like you just can't leave him because it is going to hurt you a lot. Through much time you will get through that.

No offense, but don't be selfish. Think of your child and the mental damage she may go through if she continues to see the abuse. You should look up the effects that abuse has on a child when they become adults or even through the teen years.

They will have a higher rate of being in an abusive situation themselves. Love doesn't hurt. It is kind and gentle.

I just hope you make the decision to get out. You will get over the hurt and pain and the love you have for him -- trust me. What you won't get over is regret if God forbid anything happens to yourself or your child and if your child grows up thinking that it is acceptable.

Post a reply and I will read it and continue to give you advice. I'm glad to be able to help you. Take care and God bless.


thanks for your advice on my situation. i know i have to leave him but i love him so much. when i do leave i start to miss him and get depressed and thinking of him most the time.

i know he isn't going to change because he doesn't love me enough to do that for me i guess. i pray so much that he can be the man i want him to be but i know what he loved is being in the streets and hanging out all day and being with these girls that lie for him when i do talk to them on the phone.

i know i deserve better but i feel stuck. i love him but i hate him at the same time because of all the hurt he makes me feel in every way possible. i just wish there was some kind of way that i can just fall out of love with him and never want to be with him again. I'm tired of hurting every day. It's a fight and it could be the littlest argument and he makes it to the biggest fight. now he is just used to hitting me every time we argue.


To Anon62867: Why don't you try going to a Women and children's shelter in your area. I know it may not be an ideal place to go but you need to protect yourself and your daughter. You don't want her growing up thinking that it is okay for men to treat her this way. And for the loser boyfriend of yours, please leave him you deserve better and can find better.

When and if you decide to leave, make sure you have someone that you trust know that you are going to a shelter or somewhere safe. Pack a bag of yours and your child's belongings, important documents and ids, money, and any medications. Try changing the number of your cell phone so he can't contact you.

I don't know if you have family members or friends that can help, but try reaching out. I don't know any other info to give because I don't know your whole situation but I guess this is a start.

If you want to reply back to me, post a reply and I will be notified. Take care and God Bless.


I have been with the father of my child for the last three years and he is abusive in every way possible. he hits me and calls me all types of names and does it in front of my kid also. I have caught girls' numbers and texts in his phone and when i question it, he flips it on me and goes crazy saying he's not cheating and why do i have to look through his stuff.

He starts breaking things and has even spit on me when he's the one caught. I also found a phone connected in his jeans that i didn't know about and he had said it had it for a calculator i looked in it when he was in the shower and called my phone to see if it was on and it was.

I don't know what to do i love him with all my heart and soul but I'm tired of hurting and crying everyday literally over something new with him. I think i kind of keep trying for our daughter because they are close and make myself believe that he will change to make us work but i see it's getting worse. What do i do? I need help.

When i do leave him he pops up and calls like crazy and texts that he loves me, he's going to change and i always fall for it and we are good for two or three days at the most and then it's back to the routine.


How do you have money for a vacation when you cannot afford to pay your own rent or mortgage? Why do you not have job? Maybe you should quit being a child and get a life!


The abuse is on my job. I work hard, but receive nothing for it. My team is consistently number one in 9 out of ten tasks, but promotions elude me and one person on my staff constantly turns those on the team against me. I have tried, with no avail, to have this person removed, but yet they are still there. The emotional stress that I have had to endure is ridiculous. Maybe it's something to try to make me stronger, I don't know. Truth is, I thought that I was strong already. I hate going to work everyday and would like to quit, go back to school and do something else. Trouble is, I like paying my rent and I don't want to just quit without another job, plus I don't want to leave this situation to go to something worse. This is a vicious cycle and I don't know what to do.


How can a man love one minute then turn hateful the next? This man hurts, takes away my spirits and my self-esteem with his accusing me of being with other men. I try to be there for him, but I still get kicked in the butt. He is very verbally abusive to me.

He has been married before and his wife cheated on him, so he thinks all women are like that. He is so bitter, jealous and angry, he is full of rage. He was not like that until he got sick. Now everything has changed. He is so mean toward me. Please advise what to do?


To anon17430,

I don't know when you posted this but i hope you are still being strong. Here's a suggestion. Can you try going to a shelter in your area or even out of your area? I'm sure while at one they can help you and your daughter get back on your feet. I see that your daughter is 16, perhaps she can get a job if she doesn't already have one to help support herself so it can take somewhat of a load off in providing for her.

While at the shelter I'm sure you can find a job. When settled, maybe you can send your parents a monthly check if you want to still help them. Don't let them do this to you any longer. Continue to stand up and to take a step forward. It's your life and you need to also continue to raise your daughter. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you and God Bless.


I've done all that before. But I'm back where I started. My biggest abusers are my parents. Scary part is everyone thinks they are the best people.

I'm 41 years old. My 16 year old daughter and I moved back in with my parents 7 years ago to help them out. I couldn't take their guilt trips anymore.

I'm stuck and don't know what to do or where to go. I helped save their home. I helped take care of my mom who has 2 debilitating diseases. But what has happened is worse than my divorce. My parents have drained my bank account. ruined 2 cars. And now more controlling then ever. Everyone loves my parents and think they are the nicest people and that I'm just the black sheep. I have always known that.

But I have lost at min. 10 jobs because of them. I have lost my pride. I buy my own food for myself and my 16 year old daughter. They eat it. I put gas in MY car they waste it. I said I'm looking to move out they told me to go and never come back and to leave my car here. They don't put gas in it. It comes back with dents and out of oil. Yes they have put money into it to fix it. But I figured they wrecked it then it's only fair am I right?

They are so controlling. I finally get a date for the first time in 15 years and they take that away from me too. My father drained my gas tank. Took my cell phone and has now hidden my bank card. And keeps giving me guilt trips as they need the car and I can't take it.

I own my car. I've degraded myself to living in a place that has taken so much and everything from me. My daughter and I are both wanting out.

We (my daughter and I went on vacation) all I got when we got back was guilt trips and made to feel sorry for even going. They made me feel that it was the worst thing I could do. And that I should never go again because it was selfish and cost too much money.

They don't answer the phone. They tell lies to friends. I have nothing and no one left. No money and I mean no money. I don't even have 2 dollars to my name right now.

They are chain smokers and my daughter and I are not. We are tired of being controlled and tired of smelling awful. And tired of feeling like I'm nothing and no one but a complainer (when I stand up for myself) and that I am not worth anyones time.

I'm tired and I want out! We need our lives back. But everything has been taken from us. How does one do this? With nothing?

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