Steps to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship

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Leaving an abusive partner is difficult. Many victims of domestic abuse feel trapped and helpless, scared to leave in case their partner comes after them. Some still love the abuser, despite his behavior, and cling to the hope that he will change his ways. It's common for the victim to blame herself for the abuse due to manipulation from her partner. Help and support is out there; you just need to find the courage to take the first step. Remember, you deserve to feel happy and safe.

Decide that you are going to end the abusive relationship. Even if you still love your partner and believe he can change (which is not entirely out of the question), you need to break free from him. Remind yourself of the excuses he has made and how many times he has apologized and promised not to hurt you again. Someone who inflicts violence on his partner has serious psychological issues and needs professional help, says You cannot change him. Look at it this way: if you stay with him, you are enabling his behavior.

Get in touch with the domestic violence program in your area, which can give you emotional support, counseling and safe emergency housing if necessary. Contact them from someone else's phone or computer, or get hold of a new cell phone if you think your partner might be monitoring your calls and Internet use. Some domestic violence shelters provide abused women with free cell phones.

Change your online user names and passwords on a safe computer (such as at a friend's house, the local library or community center) if you suspect your partner has obtained your personal information through spyware. If he can access your bank accounts and social media profiles, he can keep track of your movements, warns

Get away from your abusive partner. If you feel strong enough to tell him you are leaving him, ask a friend or relative to be there to support you. If there is even the slightest chance that he will react to your decision with violence, avoid a confrontation with him. If you live together, wait until he is away from home before packing your bags and moving out. Make sure you have somewhere safe to go, such as a friend's house or a women's shelter. Visit for a list of domestic violence shelters in every state.

Consider counseling or therapy to aid in your recovery from the violent relationship, suggests Join a support group for survivors of domestic abuse to help you deal with your emotions and traumatic memories, build up your self-confidence, and learn how to trust again.