I’m not talking about when you’re driving in 5:00 traffic and the universe has it out for you because each time you change lanes, the lane you ease into slows down to a crawl. Or when you’ve put all your weeks’ worth of groceries on the belt, there are two people behind you, and the sweet older person in front of you has 92 coupons, and then you hear “price check” and the cashier starts flipping through the weekend flyer. No, not that kind of trapped.
I’m talking about the kind of soul-sucking, blood-coagulating entrapment of realizing your spouse is abusing you. He has gained all the power in the relationship and you’ve felt for a long time pretty miserable. You’ve worked so hard to make things work, but it dawned on you at some point that there’s no joy in this anymore, and you want out.
Before you leave all on your own, I highly recommend that you tell someone about the abuse. Talk about what has been happening to you and your children. This is important for several reasons. First, you may need a witness on your behalf that you in fact told someone about the abuse. Second, this person can help you develop a plan to safely get out, and third, telling someone empowers you; it affirms your truth, that you’re not crazy, which is what your husband has most likely been telling you for quite some time.
Keep records of all abusive incidents. Write down the dates, times, any threats he’s made. If you’re injured, visit your doctor or the emergency room and inform the doctor about what happened and who gave you these injuries. I understand how difficult this part is. It feels embarrassing and you may even feel a sense of shame for how your husband or boyfriend has been treating you. But remember this is not your fault. You did not cause him to do this to you and you deserve love and respect in all your relationships.
Visit http://www.thehotline.org for more information about how to safely leave an abusive relationship. Or you can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).