Sanctuary for the Abused
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
6 Stages of Leaving an Abusive Relationship
(could take years or weeks - no time frame)
1. Managing the Situation
The point at which abuse/violence is first experienced is a crisis for the relationship,and although some women end relationships at this point, the majority do not. They find, or accept, an explanation for the incident which allows for a future. They develop strategies to manage the situation and incidents of abuse.
2. Distortion of Perspective/Reality
Gradually more and more of a woman's daily life and thought processes are affected by abuse/violence. Managing anxiety, trying to make sense of why, takes up her energy and attention. Answering why often involves her taking responsibility. Coping is increasingly focused on trying to do and not do certain things, or defiantly acting certain ways knowing the consequences. Either approach means repeated abuse can be understood "by herself and others" as yet again her responsibility.
3. Defining abuse
It is often only after a number of assaults or abusive incidents, that women define the abuse as abuse/violence. This is not just about using the word abuse/violence, but seeing herself as someone being victimised and the man as someone who is an abuser. For this to occur some level of responsibility has to be placed with the abuser and events understood as a recurring feature. (Abuse can be emotional, sexual, verbal or financial)
4. Re-evaluating the Relationship
Once the relationship is understood as one in which abuse/violence occurs a re-evaluation process begins. Decisions take place in a changed context of meaning. The possibility of leaving temporarily or permanently, of engaging processes to contain violence, becomes easier to contemplate.
5. Ending the Relationship
Most women make many attempts to end abusive/violent relationships and the reasons for returning include believing his promises to change, the absence of acceptable practical alternatives, pressure from others, the absence of effective protection.
6. Ending the Violence
Contrary to popular myth, ending a relationship does not always ensure the violence ends, it may in fact place women at greater risk of serious, and even fatal assault.
INFORMATION ON GETTING OUT