Dear Seeking Freedom:
A Question Only You Can Answer
I will do my best to answer your question (What should I do now?) but ultimately, that is only an answer that you can provide yourself. I could easily tell you what I think you should do, but I'm not sure that would be helpful, because I do not sit in your shoes nor do I feel what's in your heart and soul. So the only thing I can offer here is some input on how to move yourself to the next step: getting your life back.
Non-Physical Abuse Is Sometimes More Effective
Have you recognized that you are in an abusive relationship? Often times, when abusive does not take the form of hitting or sexual rape, people deny the idea that they are in an abusive relationship. You did not say if your husband had hit you or take physically abusive steps with you, but you are afraid of him. He has used words and demeanor to control you this is just as effective, sometimes more effective, than physical abuse.
Abuse is a Continuous Cycle
Abuse is a cycle, and usually one that never ends until one of you step out of the continuous circle you are in. The only way to stop this cycle is to walk out of it. You have to be able to consciously make the choice that you deserve better than what you are getting.
Abuse is about control. It's about power. Often times, an abuser is one who's been abused themselves and they look for that control and power that they themselves lost to someone else. By subjugating you to their power, by controlling you, they feel in control of themselves. One of the most effective ways of controlling someone else is to eliminate any sense of worth they have in themselves. An abuser will alienate you from those who love and believe in you, so all you have left to listen to are their words of hate, of belittlement, of control.
YOU have the power. YOU have the control.
The next thing I'm going to tell you is probably one of the most difficult ideas to adjust to. You are in this relationship because you CHOOSE to be. You have allowed him to abuse you. YOU have the power to leave, to walk away, to stop letting him control you. He can only take the control away from you when you let him. I know you are afraid, I know it's terrifying. I've been there... this is probably the most important belief that you can instill in yourself.
It's Harder To Stay Away
Walking away from an abusive partner is probably one of the hardest things you will ever do. The only thing harder is staying away. I won't say I've been in your shoes, because I haven't. But I have been in an abusive relationship. I allowed myself to be abused for a year. And I do mean I allowed myself, because ultimately I made the decision to give my power and control to another person. I allowed him to control my fears, to control my emotions.
You Are Not a Victim
The most important day of my life was the day that I realized I did not have to be a victim, that I wasn't a victim. You are not a victim. Repeat after me. "I am not a victim." Repeat that as often as you need to in order to believe it. Because it is the truth. Victims are not born, they are MADE. Once you stop allowing yourself to be someone else's victim, you will take your life back.
Your Safety Is Most Important
You want to leave, and yet you are afraid of what your husband will do to you. Whether you choose to take legal actions for his abuse towards you is truly your choice. His actions will not change, whether it's you or another woman. He will continue to be the person he is today.
But if you are going to leave, you need to do it in a safe manner. Your safety is more important than anything. Leaving without planning ahead is not going to help you. Abusers are characterized by an intense fear of abandonment he will fight the idea of you leaving, and it will enrage him. So to take that step to leave, do it in as quiet and safe a manner as possible.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
There are people that can help you, that will help you achieve safety and help you build a new life of your own. One such place is the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:
There are a few things to consider if you are planning to leave. Planning ahead will help give you some sense of control over your future, and also prepare you.
1. An Emergency Plan
First of all, you have to have an emergency plan. Just because you plan to leave, does not mean you can or will leave right now. So while you are planning your "escape" from your abuser, always keep in mind an emergency plan in case you do need to leave immediately.
Hide Your Getaway Bag
Have anything you need easily accessible to you:
- a spare key to your car,
- numbers of local taxi companies,
- a place you can go where you will be safe (a friend or relative he doesn't know, or contact the Domestic Violence hotline for a list of shelters in your area)
- a small bag together with a change of clothes,
- important phone numbers, and
- important documents, such as social security, birth certificate. Put this somewhere he will not find it, preferably out of the house and somewhere safe. A locker at YMCA, at work somewhere he does not go.
You are entitled to information and counseling. You can contact your local Women's Center, or the Domestic Violence Hotline, and request information. More often than not, it's someone who's been there, and who can help you deal with your emotions and your needs.
3. Plan ahead when you will Leave.
Walking away is not the best of options, unless it's the only one. Here is a great website that helps you think of the considerations before leaving:
Be sure and consider your every step. Your safety is most important.
I hope that you are safe, and that you find a way to build your life on your own terms.
Just always remember that you have the control, whenever you decide to take it back.