Enough is ENOUGH - How to Leave an Abusive Relationship
You are in an abusive relationship. The "just keep on loving him and he'll change" approach isn't working. It will never work. You don't have to take the abuse anymore. God does not want you to take it anymore. You don't know what to do about the abuse. I'm going to tell you exactly what to do about the abuse. It's time to take action to protect yourself and those you love. This book is a specific, detailed, how to leave your abuse manual. I'm going to get you ready to leave and show you, step by step, how to leave.
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IT'S TIME FOR PLAN B
Plan A for your life was to find the right person, fall in love, get married, raise a family, and live in an intimate relationship forever. That's what you always dreamed about and wanted. That plan hasn't worked out. The beautiful dream has dissolved into sadness, disappointment, frustration and pain.
From early on in your relationship, your partner has been abusing you. The person who was supposed to love you and take care of you has been treating you in one or more of these abusive ways:
I Verbally Abuse You
I'm highly critical of you, especially when you don't meet my expectations, and you rarely meet my expectations. I mock you and belittle you for your shortcomings. I attack you personally for your weight, your parenting, your housekeeping, and any area in which you or your actions are unacceptable to me. Sarcasm is my second language.
I Neglect Your Needs
The truth is, I'm aware of my needs only. if you would meet my needs, then I would meet yours. Too bad you never fully meet my needs, so you're on your own. It is all about me, and don't forget it.
I Refuse to Communicate
I don't like to feel vulnerable, so I don't share my feelings or talk on a personal level. And I never will. Feel free to share your feelings and thoughts with me, though I won't be listening. If you rattle on too long or press me to open up and talk, I'll end the "conversation" by snapping at you or walking away.
I Give You the Silent Treatment
When you do or say something that upsets me, I shut down and ignore you. I also use this technique every time you have the nerve to tell me about a hurt that I caused you. I can stay silent for days and weeks. Even months. I'm punishing you and teaching you to never upset me.
I Stay Too Close to My Family
My mommy and daddy and siblings mean the world to me. They are much more important than you are on my priority list. I don't set boundaries for them. i do whatever it takes to please them. I listen to and follow their advice without consulting you. I allow them to mistreat you, and I do nothing to stop it.
I Control You
I control every area of your life: your contact with your family, your friends, where you go and who you spend time with, your activities, how much of my money-and it's all my money-you can spend and what you spend it on, your clothes, the church we attend, how you parent. Since I'm a lot smarter than you are, this control makes sense. if you resist, you're not being submissive.
I'm Financially Irresponsible
I spend too much money. I make bad investments. I don't pay our taxes on time. I'm very secretive about money, and I lie about how I use it. You don't know this, but I'm not saving any money for our retirement.
I'm a Lazy Slacker
I don't like to work, so I avoid it as much as I can. I go from job to job, and have long stretches of unemployment. For some reason, I can't seem to get along with management. I want you to have a career and shoulder the financial burden for our family. One day-you'll see-I may get a steady job and help support you and the kids. But, then again, probably not.
I Have Anger Outbursts
My tolerance for frustration is quite low, and often, unpredictably, I blow up. if I'm having a bad day, you're going to have a bad day. i take my stress out on you. I raise my voice, I use profanity, I throw things, and I do property damage.
I Am Violent
When I get angry, I have to hit someone. Since you are the one who usually gets me angry, I hit you. I slap you, punch you, choke you, pin you down, and whatever else I feel like doing in my rage. The best part is, it's your fault. Just don't provoke me, and I won't hit you.
I Am a Workaholic
I love my career more than I love you. it gets the best part of me every day: my time, my attention, and my passion. I work way too many hours. I tell you it's for you and the kids. it's actually just for me.
I Am an Alcoholic
I love to drink, and I'm not going to stop drinking. It makes me feel good and helps me escape the stresses of life. I hide my drinking, and I lie about it. My drinking ruins just about every party, vacation, and special occasion. And a lot of days and weekends in between. Well, it ruins these days for you. I'm fine with it.
I Am a Drug Addict
Even though I'm an adult, I still smoke pot. I may also use other illegal drugs. They give me a rush. If I don't use illegal drugs, I am addicted to prescription drugs. I'll do the occasional rehab, but I'm not stopping.
I Have Sexual Issues
I need sex. A lot of sex. So, I pressure you for it all the time. I don't want or need an emotional or physical connection with you. I just want sex. Or, I'm on the opposite side of sexual desire, and refuse to be physically intimate with you. You beg and plead and cry, but I reject you.
I Am a Sexual Sinner
I like porn, and I watch it whenever I can. It's so easy to acess, and it's not hurting anyone. Oh, except for you. And i don't care about you. I have emotional affairs with coworkers, neighbors, and Facebook friends. I may also have had physical affairs. Hey, I have sexual needs, and since you won't meet them, what choice do I have?
I Blame You for Everything
It's never my fault. It's always your fault. Whenever there's tension or conflict in our relationship, it's your fault. Whenever I'm upset-and I'm upset a lot-it's your fault. I blame others, too, but eventually I'll get around to blaming you.
Abusers Don't Have Warning Labels
Of course, abusers don't talk this way. If they did, no one would ever date them or marry them. They are all about looking good and saying these things out loud would not make them look good.
But I know abusers, and this is how they think.
Abusers can be incredibly charming. They are wonderful in the dating phase of a relationship. They don't show their abusive traits until you've fallen in love with them. Once they know they have your heart, their abuse begins. And there's about a ninety-five percent chance it will never stop.
You Are In An Abusive Relationship
I know you're in an abusive relationship. That's why you are reading this book. You bought it or someone gave it to you. Your partner is abusing you in one or more of these areas.
You don't know how much more you can take. I'm here to tell you that you don't have to take it anymore. God does not want you to take it anymore.
You don't know what to do about the abuse. I'm going to tell you exactly what to do about the abuse. God does not want you to stay with an abusive partner. It's time to take action.
It's time for Plan B.
What is Plan B?
I'll cut right to the chase. Plan B is you are leaving your abuser. If you have kids, you will be taking them and leaving your abuser. If you are married, you will not necessarily be divorcing. God will guide you in that decision. But you will definitely be physically separating.
This book is a specific, detailed, how to leave your abuser manual. I'm going to get you ready to leave and show you, step by step, how to leave.
My escape plan will take time. You're not leaving tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Depending on your circumstances, it may take some of you up to a year or more to leave. But you are leaving.
It's About You Now
This is no longer about your abuser. This is now about you. And about your kids, if you have kids. It's time for you to get healthy, fight back, and build a new life. Your abuser will have a chance to change and join you in your new life, but only on your terms. When you are ready, and your support team agrees, you will give your abuser an opportunity to make dramatic changes and win you back.
This Book's Target Audience
If you are in an intimate relationship with an abusive person, this book is for you. Though I will write to you as if you are married, you may be dating an abuser or living with an abuser.
You may be a man or a woman. Throughout the book, I refer to the man as the abuser. It may just as easily be the woman who is the abuser. Whether your abusive partner is a man or a woman, my principles remain the same, and they will be effective for you.
Here's My Plan
My plan has five parts.
Part One: The Definition of Abuse
In case you wonder if you are being abused-and I know you do wonder-I make it crystal clear.
Part Two: Why You Can Get Out
I would not recommend any strategy if it were not biblical. The good and reassuring news is, leaving an abusive partner is clearly taught in the Bible. God does not want you to stay and go on living in this environment of harm to you and others, and I'll show you why.
Part Three: How to Get Out
You have to do some hard work in preparation to leave your abuser: You have to: (1) get spiritually healthy, (2) get a solid support team in place, (3) get emotionally healthy, (4) get financially healthy, (5) get your kids ready to leave, and (6) get to a safe place where you will be living away from your abuser. All these steps will be taken in secret. Your abuser will have no idea what you are doing.
Part Four: Give Your Abuser a Chance
When you have left your abuser and are ready, you will use key members of your support team to confront him and deliver a specific plan of repentance and change. If he wants you back, he has a lot of work to do in a number of areas. IF he wants you back.
Part Five: When Your Abuser Does Not Change
it is unlikely-very unlikely-that your abuser will genuinely change. Here, (1) I identify the typical-and very nasty-reactions of the abuser to your departure and your demands of him, and (2) I show you how to respond in a healthy, assertive way and move on with your new life.
Let's Do This
It is my prayer that you are finally sick and tired of the abuse. It's time to get righteously angry. It's time to do something. It's time to take action to save yourself, your children, and your future.
I know the way out. Let's do this.
WHAT IS ABUSE?
Many of you aren’t ready to admit you are in an abusive relationship. It’s not easy to let go of the dream of a happy relationship with a loving husband. You’ve coped for a long time by living in denial. You love this man and choose to believe he loves you.
You cling to the hope that one day he will change, and you will have a healthy, intimate relationship.
I’m going to communicate with you the same way I do with my abused clients in my therapy office. I’m going to push you past denial and into reality. When you finish these next four chapters, you won’t wonder if you have an abusive partner; you’ll know you do.
Here is the brutal truth about your man.
My Definition of Abuse
A pattern of narcissistic, disrespectful, and harmful behavior exhibited by one person in an intimate relationship.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the elements in this definition, as I build a profile of your abuser.
I’m not talking about one or two incidents of abusive behavior. I’m not talking about a decent, loving spouse who is guilty of the occasional insensitive action.
I’m not talking about a man who has seriously sinned, but has confessed, repented, is in recovery, and has helped you heal from what he did to you.
I’m talking about a dirtball who abuses you on a regular basis. He started abusing you early in your relationship, and he has continued to abuse you. He shows no signs of stopping. That’s because he’s not going to stop.
He actually enjoys saying and doing things that make you miserable. It’s who he is.
He’s going to be an abuser the rest of his life. The good news is, you don’t have to live with him and take his abuse the rest of your life.
All abusers are narcissists. A narcissist is a spectacularly selfish individual. Super- selfish, world-class selfish. Everything he thinks, feels, and does focuses on one goal: to protect and please himself.
The truth is your husband doesn’t love you. He has feelings for you, particularly when you are meeting his needs. But he is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
He will not meet your needs. Your needs don’t even register on his radar screen. When he does something nice for you, it is for the purpose of getting something from you. He believes all others – especially you – exist to serve him and meet his needs.
It is always and forever about him.
He is always the smartest and best-looking person in the room. He craves attention and approval and has to be in the limelight. He is convinced that you should spend every waking minute being unbelievably grateful that you are married to him.
He is condescending, because he believes he is better than everyone. He has to bear the burden of never being wrong, which means, of course, that you are always wrong.
Every decision he makes is based on what will make him look good, what will make him happy, and what is best for him.
He makes money and spends it the way he wants to spend it. You, however, must get his permission to spend money on things you want.
He lives in a universe of one: I want. I need. I desire. I think. I. I. I. I.
Your abuser has zero respect for you as a person. He doesn’t notice or acknowledge boundaries in your relationship. He consistently crosses the line to mistreat you.
His lack of a conscience is what drives his disrespectful behavior. He doesn’t feel guilt or shame when he hurts you. He may say he’s sorry, but it is only words. He usually gets angry with you if you have the nerve to bring up one of his hurtful actions.
He has no empathy. He has no capacity for compassion. He could care less about your feelings. When he says or does something that deeply hurts you, he won’t allow you to vent your pain on him. He’ll say, “I said I was sorry. Let it go. You need to forgive me so we can move on.”
He focuses on your lack of “forgiveness,” not his damaging behavior that caused the problem in the first place. If he admits his negative behavior, he will often inform you it was your fault anyway.
Nothing is ever his fault. It is always someone else’s fault. Perfect persons don’t make mistakes, and he believes he’s perfect. The very idea of his changing is ludicrous to him, because one doesn’t need to change when one is perfect.
You are the one who is wrong. You are the one who needs to change. He expects you to keep trying to be the best wife you can be, and he will try to tolerate your shortcomings.
In his eyes, you’ll never be good enough. That’s how the game is played.
He intensely rejects any criticism of him, because he cannot allow his vision of personal superiority to be tarnished in the slightest way. If you are critical, he’ll be angry and he will whine, “You’re beating me up.”
He is intensely critical of you in just about every area. He criticizes you in order to help you become a better person. If you don’t meekly accept his criticism, he’ll criticize you for that, too.
He makes decisions without consulting you. Since he is never wrong, and he wants to do what he wants to do without interference, your input is unnecessary. He will graciously inform you of his decisions and expect your unconditional approval.
He manipulates you and others to get his way. Getting his way is all that counts. How he gets his way isn’t important. If he has to lie to get what he wants, he’ll lie. He is a very, very good liar. What’s worse, he believes his own lies.
He thinks his many sarcastic comments are “funny,” but they hurt you. If you complain, he’ll say, “I wasn’t being serious.” “Lighten up.” “Can’t you take a joke?”
Your abuser’s behavior is doing you harm. Serious, debilitating harm. You’ve learned to live with it, but his abuse is not only blocking any joy in your life. It is destroying you. It’s a form of never-ending torture.
You are being broken down day by day, month by month, year by year: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You will reach the point, if you haven’t already, where you don’t even recognize yourself anymore.
You’re allowing him to take your self-worth. Your identity. Your sense of value as a person. Your feelings of dignity. Pretty soon there will be nothing left of you.
You’re not living. You’re surviving. Barely surviving.
An Intimate Relationship
Abuse does the greatest damage in a romantic relationship: in a marriage, in living together, or in dating seriously. When you love someone and consider him to be the most important person in your life, he can hurt you as no one else can.
Because you desperately want your relationship to work, and you are the only one trying to make it work, you are wide open and vulnerable. Your weaknesses and soft spots are completely exposed to him. He knows exactly how to make you hurt, and that is what he does–- over and over.
Typically, your abuser does not show his narcissism, disrespect, and harmful behavior in public. He’s too smart for that. It’s important to him to look like an awesome person to others.
He is charming and charismatic and caring in social environments. Your church leaders, your church friends, your family and friends, and your neighbors all think he’s the greatest guy in the world.
He can be very generous with his time and energy and money with others. He won’t do squat for you, but he’ll drop everything and run out and help someone else.
The world at large admires him. Behind closed doors in your home, he’s a very different person. When you’re ready to begin telling others the truth about him, many won’t believe you. They’ll think you’re a liar, or crazy, or both. You will be the complaining one, the bad guy.
They’ll believe him and his lies and the image he has projected.
When you leave him, you’ll lose the popularity contest. But you will win back your life.
Am I Close?
Every trait I’ve covered in this chapter may not fit your abuser. But I’ll bet my profile is pretty close to what you’re dealing with in your relationship. Even if he has some good qualities and treats you well some of the time, he’s still an abuser.
So, have I convinced you that your man is an abuser? It’s a hard and painful truth, but the sooner you believe it, the sooner you can start the process of getting away from him.
Now, I’m going to show you the Biblical support for getting away from your abuser.