Most of us prefer to love and be loved within an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, our need for affection, companionship, and security can cloud our judgment when choosing a suitable mate. In addition, both men and women are skilful at hiding personal flaws. You would not have associated with this person if you knew he or she was going to eventually abuse you.
The Patterns of Abuse
Violence may have crept slowly into your relationship. As your partner got to know you better, did he or she lose their temper more often? Did your partner strike or throw objects at you, and then seek forgiveness from you claiming such behaviour was “out of character?” Did your partner begin to criticize you for trivial things? Were you accused of trying to irritate him or her? Were your friendships carefully monitored? Would an innocent glance or dance trigger a jealous rage and attempts to restrict your contact with others? Do you feel like a prisoner in your own home? Have you had or considered having an affair?
Physical abuse may
eventually follow verbal abuse, especially if you defend yourself. You
may be confused as to what to do since abusers often apologize for their
behaviour and promise never to hurt you again. Though enjoyable, these
honeymoon-like periods of remorse don’t last long because your partner
is an emotionally disturbed person attempting to act normally.
Help in Planning
Good information is available from counsellors, domestic violence hot-lines, battered women shelters or support groups specifically for spousal abuse. A workable plan will make it easier for you to rise above your fear and act upon your convictions. Keep these plans hidden, as your intent to leave may increase your partner’s need to control you even more and set off a violent incident. You are in greatest danger when leaving your shared residence and also when beginning a new relationship! If necessary, explain your situation to the police and ask them to be present when you move. (Unconvinced? Check here.)
It’s time to think about these questions. Your escape plan will depend upon the answers.
After You Leave
After you have left, don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by
expressions of affection that aren’t accompanied by concrete actions.
Your leaving may persuade your partner to take responsibility for his or
her conduct. If you see consistent change and believe there is hope,
have them arrange individual or marital counselling. Practice
birth-control strictly if you can, as you may surrender to physical
desires and loneliness. Provide him or her with a copy of Have You
Recently Been Separated From Your Partner and Family?
Public Health Agency of Canada