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How to End an Abusive Relationship; All Types of Abuse

Updated on March 31, 2014

If you are the victim of an abusive relationship there are ways to end it. Although you may feel trapped you can get out. First, you will have to learn about the nature of abuse, build a support network, begin to change your own behavior and improve your self-esteem. It is common to feel hopeless as a victim of abuse, but there is a healthy glowing light at the end of the tunnel.

Here are the steps to break free from an abusive relationship:


Educating yourself. The first step out of an abusive relationship is information. The more information you have the more powerful you will be in getting out of the painful place that you live in now. Read articles online, find books at the library, and build up an understanding of abuse. Learn about where abuse stems from and how it is harmful to all involved.

Identifying the abuse. What form does the abuse take in your life? There is verbal abuse as well as physical abuse. There is also neglect, the silent treatment and abandonment as well as many other forms of abuse. With a clear understanding of the dynamics by which you have been abused, you can begin the steps towards healing.

Accept that you have a tolerance for abuse. This may be because you grew up in an abusive environment or you may have developed tolerance overtime through a relationship that became abusive. In order to end the abuse you must now end the tolerance and learn about boundaries.

Establishing healthy emotional boundaries is one  step towards ending abuse.
Establishing healthy emotional boundaries is one step towards ending abuse. | Source

Set healthy boundaries by learning about self- respect and self-love. Boundaries involve understanding where your space ends and another person’s begins. Abusers and victims of abuse don’t understand or respect boundaries, and notoriously ignore these boundaries. Disrespecting boundaries can range from something as seemingly innocuous as entering a room without knocking, to something as horrific and traumatizing as rape.

Seek help in the form of self-help books and professional guidance, such as therapy. Consider all methods of healing, including 12 step groups, therapy, reading and supportive family and friends. Some people are trustworthy while others are not, be careful who you trust when trying to exit an abusive relationship.

Changing your own behavior, while you may be the victim of abuse you are also part of the dynamic the abuse requires in order to continue. The dynamic can’t change unless you change. As the adage goes “you can’t change others, you can only change yourself.”

Build up your self-esteem, even if no one ever loved you in the way you deserved, that doesn’t mean that you can’t love yourself and one day feel that love from another person or a higher power. Every person on this planet is worthy of love, each human being was created with the same wondrous ingredients. You are awesome! Write “You are awesome” on your bathroom mirror and you will begin to believe it regardless of how you have been treated. This may seem impossible to believe, yet because you have been brainwashed by your abuser, you accept the belief that you are worthless.

Just at the catepillar turns into a butterfly, many women manage to heal from being a victim of abuse.
Just at the catepillar turns into a butterfly, many women manage to heal from being a victim of abuse. | Source

Realizing that life changes and people change, what you have now won’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Life is about change, this is inherently true for everyone. There is hope for you and healing is possible. While it may happen in baby steps, it can happen. Many people have escaped from abusive relationships and live relatively peaceful lives, free of abuse. Remember, you are not alone.

Understand the dangers of some abusive relationships. Physically abusive relationships are difficult to escape. If you are a woman, you should seek the support and guidance of a woman’s center. If on your first attempt you don't get the help you need call again or try a different center. Since women’s centers are often run by volunteers, it may take a number of attempts to get the help you need, but don't give up, there is help for you out there. Take care to be sure that your actions don’t trigger your abuser’s anger, be discreet.

Accept that actually leaving the relationship might take time or never happen. Leaving an abusive relationship can take time to figure out, there are logistics that get in the way which often involve finances and children. Therapy may help to make staying a conceivable possibility.

Abusers can change their behavior but it takes time, and not all abusers can make the needed improvements. There are courses in anger management that can help abusers as well as individual therapy and counseling. Family Systems therapy is especially helpful for understanding the origin of both the abuser’s as well as the victim’s behavior, as it was most likely modeled by the family of origin. Looking for a therapist who utilizes family systems therapy can be extremely beneficial in cases of abuse.

Although there have been many advancements in psychology and improvements in equality between men and woman, abuse still occurs far too often in many relationships. Sometimes it is a subtle undercurrent, while at other times it is overtly physical. Women as victims of abuse can feel trapped and don’t know how to escape. There is a way out! Although it may be incremental it CAN be successful. There is a big bright light at the end of the tunnel waiting for victims of abuse.

You are precious and you can be free!

© 2014 Tracy Lynn Conway


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    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA


      Knowledge is power,

      "When we know better we do better." -Maya Angelou

      -We can't ask for more than that. Learning to treat others with dignity and respect can be modeled in childhood or learned later in life, it is never too late. Thank you for your votes and candid comment.

      Best, Tracy

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA


      Yes, men and women can be victims of abuse and it is an awful way to live. Victims miss out on so much of what life has to offer, even a fundamental level. Sadly, many never escape its painful and powerful grip. Thank you!

      Best, Tracy

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I voted up and more. I am having trouble with the fact that I am an SOB and my part in the trouble is huge. I am a big powerful man, so I need not only to look out for myself but for others. In fact this hub helped me much and thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Tracy, this was good information for all those who need out of an abusive cycle. It's no way to live. It can be startling how both men and women can be victims of abuse.