No one wants to admit that they are in an abusive relationship, but acknowledging the toxicity of a pairing can sometimes be even more difficult in the absence of physical violence. When you start to realize that your partner leaves you feeling dejected more often than happy, however, it is time to find a way to break free.
Recognize the Abuse
Emotional abusers aim to tear down your self-esteem and force you to feel reliant upon them in the process, according to the non-profit abuse relief organization, Helpguide.org. Pay attention to the way your partner talks to you and times when you may feel your partner is manipulating you. If you find yourself consistently demoralized in your partner's presence, stop blaming yourself and start acknowledging the true problem. The sooner you allow yourself to recognize the abuse, the sooner you can begin to find a way out.
When you feel isolated, it can be harder to break free of a controlling relationship. Turning to those who care about you and asking for help is the first step to building up the support system you need, according to psychiatrist and bestselling author Gail Saltz. Reach out to friends and family and begin talking about what you have been experiencing. Share your current feelings with those you trust, and allow them to help you in building your self-confidence as you search for the strength to leave.
Seek a Clean Break
Once you make the decision to walk away, do so without creating any loose ends. Leaving the door open on the relationship will only allow your coercive partner to continue manipulating you and bringing you down, explains Saltz. If you share pets or property, come to an agreement over who will retain ownership. Get all of your belongings at once, and bring a friend or family member with you if you need help making a move. Make a point of cutting all ties so that your former partner will have no excuse for wiggling back into your life in the future.
Build a New You
Once you have ended the relationship, strive to rebuild your life the way you want it. By focusing on surrounding yourself with positive people and experiences, you can begin the path to healing and regaining your power, according to therapist Julie Orlov. Allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity will only make it easier for your ex to find a way back into your life. Instead, make an effort to do something you want to do every day. Join a co-ed sports team or start taking those art classes you have always dreamed about. Find activities that help you remember how great it is to have freedom in your life once more.
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Living in Alaska, Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. She recently released her first book, and holds a psychology degree (with an emphasis in child development and abnormal child psychology) from San Diego State University.
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