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You Can Escape from an Abusive Relationship

Updated on August 2, 2017
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Many women find themselves in abusive situations in this country; Denise was one of them. She writes about her experience and escape.

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No one deserves abuse.

Abusive relationships are becoming commonplace. It just isn’t right the way we allow others to treat us. I know when I was going through it I didn’t really think I deserved better. I also was desperate enough for a relationship, any relationship, that I accepted the on and off abuse he gave me as all I could get. Now that I am many years older and wiser I realize that he wasn’t the end of my chances for relationship. When you are a teenager you just don’t think you will ever be loved.

There is life after abuse. I still remember waking everyday and praying I wouldn’t do anything to upset him today. Tiptoeing to the kitchen to fix his meals and wash his clothes. After a while you feel like there is no way out but inevetable death. Most of the time I was in the depths of a dispair that wished for death. Death felt uplifting compared to the dumps I was in. I’m here to say that is no way to live and there is a door out of there better than death. You just have to take it. Pack up and leave. I remember also I was afraid of being lonely. Trust me; the loneliest day without him was 100 times better than the best day with him.

To be able to tell if you or your friend is in an abusive relationship, I have compiled some questions to ask yourself.

Me shattered.
Me shattered. | Source

Does he or she:

  • Call you abusive and hurtful names
  • Keep track of you every moment of the day
  • Act jealous and controlling
  • Prevent you from interacting with friends and family or even old activities
  • Accuse you of being unfaithful or disloyal
  • Demand the destruction of personal or sentimental mementos
  • Hurt, kick, slap, punch, push, pull hair or bully you
  • Flirt with others in front of you
  • Coerce or force you to have sex against your will or wishes
  • Assure you that he/she is the best thing that every happened to you
  • Emotionally manipulate you by making you feel stupid, sorry or guilty
  • Lie about you to make himself/herself look or feel better
  • Threaten to hurt or kill you (or himself/herself) if you try to end the relationship

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Who's fault is it?

If you checked one or more of these, you are in an abusive relationship. The problem is escalating at an alarming rate. “Research has shown 36 to 50 percent of American women will be abused in their lifetime,” according to Terry Miller Shannon, author of Abusive Relationships: How to Avoid Them. Shannon states, “Battering is the greatest case of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.” “Approximately one in three girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18” according to Prevention & Motivation Program, Inc., Sexual Abuse Facts and Statistics. What is the problem? Why would girls or boys today accept abuse in their relationships? Who is to blame? Parents? Teachers? The media? Ourselves?

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Self esteem problem

For the most part, parents are not at fault. My own parents affirmed me regularly but I still became infatuated and married a physically and emotionally abusive man. Many abused girls come from good homes; in a nuclear family with an attentive father. Teachers are certainly not to blame, since they would usually be the first to council a girl that she doesn’t have to take “less-than” treatment to be loved. Though the media gives us an airbrushed representation of perfection that few of us could ever attain, I don’t think they are entirely at fault either. I think the fault lies in ourselves. Perhaps we girls think if we give our all to him/her, we will get all back. It doesn’t always work that way. I know that I was willing to show my full devotion right away and he was more than willing to take it. The problem was I demanded nothing in return, not even respect or kindness.

No one to save you.

When you think you couldn’t do any better, you are more likely to stay in an unhealthy relationship. I was a sheltered girl with a wonderfully affirming set of Christian parents, but no boyfriends. I began to feel I wasn’t worthy or pretty enough to be loved, so when this charming, dynamic man stepped into my universe I was awed and grateful. He was a little possessive at first but I had no frame of reference to go by. How could I gauge whether that was normal or not? He became jealous of my friends, my family, my church, and even my artwork. My Dad thought the relationship was unhealthy but he couldn’t put his finger on why, so he just nagged me. Since my Dad and I had had several fallings out, I took it as an effort to keep me unhappy.

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Do you know someone in an abusive relationship?

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My story

After three months I was so addicted I could not have escaped even if someone had warned me. That was when he began hitting me. Just a slap at first but that was soon not enough for the abuser. Each time he told me that he was sincerely sorry; that I made him do it and he would never do it again. I truly thought there was something wrong with me and was so happy he still wanted to marry me.

The marriage only made it possible for him to hurt me worst and more often. He began punching me until I was whimpering and bleeding in a heap on the floor. Many times after a beating I couldn’t get out of bed for days. After only a few months of hitting me with just his fists, he graduated to kicking me and whipping me with anything handy, like electrical cords and the buckle-end of his belts. I often couldn’t leave the house because of the black eyes and whelts everywhere. When I was pregnant he didn’t really stop hitting me; he only hid it better by not hitting me around the baby area. My face, legs and back were fair game. Each time he would tell me it was all my fault, that I made him do it and if only I was a better woman, a better wife, a better mother, that he wouldn’t hit me.

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I ran away.

After 4 years, 2 months, and 28 days, I took my baby girls and ran away home. My Dad was mad that I hadn’t told him what was going on, but I was ashamed and afraid it was all my fault. For a long time I thought I was helping my husband by staying with him. Later I could see that HE needed help and by staying with him and helping him cover up his problem, he only got worse. Leaving him was the best, most loving thing I could have done for him. He finally sought the help he needed to overcome his violence. He didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, wasn’t on drugs. He was just mean on pure air.

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Statistically, you'll pick another abuser?

Later, I was told that statistically, if a person dates and/or marries an abuser, he/she will likely choose another to take that abusers place. He or she will become the perpetual victim and attract abusers. I was determined that this would not happen to me; it does not have to happen if you are careful. Learn to see the warning signs. Learn to see what a healthy relationship looks like.

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In a Healthy Relationship he or she:

  • Wants what’s best for you
  • Thinks of you over self
  • Is willing to wait for intimacy until you are both ready
  • Would not think of flirting or being unfaithful to you
  • Does not make jokes at your expense
  • Values your opinion
  • Admits and apologizes when he/she is wrong

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Refuse to accept it.

Abuse is never deserved. It is never your fault that someone chooses violence. You cannot MAKE a person hurt you; he chooses to do that. And assault is illegal. You never have to accept it even from your husband or wife. Not in the United States, anyway.

There are places you can call for help:

National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline, (800) 799-SAFE

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, www.rainn.org, (800) 656-HOPE

State Coalitions and Information on Domestic Violence have numbers for each state in the US

Also there are Teen Help lines and Crisis Centers in each state and many cities list them in the phone book.


Work on your Self-Worth

You were wonderfully made!

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalms 139:13-14a NKJV

You are no accident of nature. God created you just as you are and He is pleased with you and how you look. He wants what is best for you. He had a plan for you from the beginning. He thinks good things about you.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

He will help if you call on Him. He wants what is best not what is harmful for you.

“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man…” Psalms 140:1 KJV

You are worth better treatment. Do something for yourself this week because you deserve it. Go for a walk. Shop. Dance or sing in the privacy of your own room. Wear yellow or orange just to give yourself a “pick up”. Smile. Commit a random act of kindness. Go to a movie, preferably a comedy; no need to buy more tears. Just sit in the sunlight or hang out with friends.

Maintain your own identity and friends.

Love is wonderful and intense but you should never loose who you are. Say to yourself, “I was a complete person before we met and will be after.” Take your time to get to know a guy. You should never have to vow undying love after one week or even one month. The “getting to know you” part is the most fun, so take time to enjoy it.

With all this in mind, we need to remember who and what we are. Girls and boys, you are not ugly misfits. You are awesome and wanted, special and sought after by God. You are worth better than abuse. Even your new friend thinks you are worthy or he/she would not be with you. Many people aren’t sure what a healthy relationship looks like so they are willing to accept any relationship. A healthy relationship expects respect from both people. Be sure you demand respect; it’s the least you deserve.

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You have the solution.

The solution to the abuse problem is you. The only person you can change is yourself. One person at a time, we can change the statistics in this country. Pray and help the person next to you see that he/she is worth better too.

If your friend needs help, be there for her or him, be understanding and a patient, a concerned listener, but also encourage him or her to get help, to demand respect, to love self.

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Helpful Comments Welcomed

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Maybe that's my problem. It takes a lot for me to get angry at people and so I often let people get away with things when I really should call them on it. Even now, my sweet second husband will take advantage from time to time. But I'm not like I used to be. I will only take so much before I say ENOUGH. Too bad because he deserves so much more than the first guy. Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 

      2 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Your article is so touching, Denise. Sorry for what you have experienced. Thank God, I have never had an abusive relationship but maybe it is due to my character. It is too easy for a man to get me angry for almost nothing so it is impossible for me to endure even one bad word or sarcastic comment from the opposite sex. :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      I know you do, social thoughts, as a young person today I bet you see a lot of this. Fortunately you don't have to put up with as much nonsense as I did back in the 70's and 80's. We felt we had no way out, even in America where that isn't supposed to be legal. It's the whole subservient thing we are taught as young women. I too, hope I have inspired women to take action. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for sharing your story, Denise. Your advice is very strong. I hope it inspires those who need help as I know how common these situations are.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      teaches12345,

      I know what you are saying. I was so ashamed that I hid it from my parents and siblings for years. They were so angry with me when they found out what I had been hiding and for how long. I'm glad I finally found the courage to leave too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 years ago

      So glad you made it out of this relationship. A dear friend of mine was in an abusive relationship for nearly five years. I didn't even know of the abuse because she hid it well. She too stayed because she thought she was helping him. Your article is so informative and I many will find courage to face tomorrow from reading it.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Perspycacious,

      Thank you, I appreciate that. Good advice. I should be finishing my masters degree with the illustration of 3 children's books (that's my thesis project) It will be a lot of work but I'm about halfway there. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Denise, You are as deft with words as you are with your paint brushes!

      Make the link to this hub available to your local churches and counselors so they can use it in their advice to persons in abusive relationships.

      Wishing you well with your masters degree studies and projects.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      FlourishAnyway,

      Thank you, I agree. Later when the girls were teens they wanted to get to know their dad. I was against the idea but he took me to court (mostly so he wouldn't have to pay anymore child support) and got custody. That's when he started hurting them. But there was nothing I could do about it then. At least he didn't have access to them when they were little. It was a very hard time. We had nothing but a house full of furniture and bank full of money isn't worth peace of mind and being able to sleep easy at night! Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      I'm glad you got out for the safety of your children and for your own well being.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Say Yes To Life,

      Your friends are right about the violent words leading to violent actions. Sooner or later they act on it. But to jump out of the frying pan into the fire can't have been better. I'm so sorry you experienced that. I don't think men have a clue how terrifying it is to be a woman. The vulnerability around traitorous people is the worst. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      My ex never hit me, but he had a hairtrigger violent temper. I have often wondered if I had done the right thing by breaking up with him. What makes me wonder is, I broke up with him to join a cult, and one result of that is I was physically assaulted by a professional criminal and the minister turned his back on me. If it wasn't for my brother rescuing me, I may have wound up homeless or even dead. I have often wondered if I would have been better off staying with my ex, but several people have told me violent words usually lead to violent actions.

      I do find it highly significant that he went on to marry a woman who can barely speak English...

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      I don't know how he sleeps at night thinking of all the lives he's injured and all the hate vibes that must be coming his way. All I know is that I had to forgive him or I would be a basket case for sure. The hate is too much to live with. My hands still shake and I get a horrible knot in the pit of my stomach when I see him or hear his voice but I don't have to see him that often anymore, thank God, so I'm okay. Thanks for your encouragement and compassion.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      OMG, that is horrible. How can anyone condone this and still consider themselves human? I just cannot comprehend this. :(

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      I think the really scary thing that I haven't mentioned is that this same abuser didn't stop with me. Today he has ruined the lives of 4 women besides me. My two children are only the first two in a long line of shattered children. He now has 11 children. And I actually helped the wife #2 and her 3 children escape many years ago. It seems one abusive man can endanger and abuse more lives than you can imagine.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      Well, I have to agree that it's wrong anywhere, but there are some places where it is legal. It's not right but it's legal. Why anyone would allow and condone such treatment of another human being is monstrous but it happens. I'm only glad I live in a country where they allow me to run away from an abuser and not force me to go back. I've read things about certain countries that would make your skin crawl. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      First off, I want to say what a brave woman you are for getting out of such an unhealthy relationship. You not only saved yourself but set a good example to your children. You demonstrated that abuse is not acceptable and you don't have to stay and but up with it. Well done, you.

      My only criticism is the line ' You never have to accept it even from your husband or wife. Not in the United States, anyway.' No one should tolerate abuse from their spouse regardless of where they come from. I'm aware there are some countries where abuse may be the norm, but that doesn't make it any less wrong.

      Again, well done for you saving your family.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Say Yes To Life,

      That is such a common story, I hate to say I felt that way too. My church also backed me up because some things are just not right. I did find a scripture that helped immensely with my conflicting mindset. "Indeed, the LORD God of Israel says that he hates divorce, along with the one who conceals his violence by outward appearances," says the LORD of the Heavenly Armies. Malachi 2:16. To me it says that God may hate divorce but also the man who is violent to his wife... equally. It isn't justification but it gave me hope that I wasn't wrong in leaving.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      A woman in my childhood church became a battered wife because she fell victim to the "old maid" mentality. She was 25, which was considered old to be unmarried in 1970. She met a man who made a big production of getting baptized, but as soon as they married, he never set foot in church again. What followed was 8 hellish years. Churchwise, she could not divorce him, because the only thing he did not do was cheat on her. She aged, and her skin took on a grayish tint.

      Finally she couldn't take it anymore, and filed for divorce anyway. Lo and behold, the church backed her up!

      Last I heard, she had remarried and was living happily ever after. So you're never too old after all.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      I think you may have hit on something there, Larry. I just seemed more real than life without abuse. Plus there is a brainwashing going on that you deserve what you are getting and you don't deserve better. When you stop believing the lie, you are half-way out of there. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Important article.

      I think sometimes we get so caught up in a reality, we forget that we can just leave it.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      NatNat34,

      Thank you so much. That is sweet of you to say. I hope I do inspire those in the same or similar situation to take action. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks, MsDora, you are such an encouraging lady. I appreciate your kindness and affirmation. I hope all is well with you today.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • NatNat34 profile image

      Natalie Flores-Henley 

      3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I am sorry you experienced this. I think you are brilliant for sharing your experience and helping others who may be in the same predicament to see the signs and take action. This is priceless information!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      The message is very clear, and stories like yours cannot be told too often, since this kind of abuse is till happening. I like your honesty in telling your story, and from experience you give solid advice. Thanks for sharing!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      denise.w.anderson,

      I agree. If I did or said nothing to help others, it is as if I went through all that for nothing. I believe we have a purpose and everything happens for a purpose. If I had to endure all that for nothing it would be such a waste. I'm glad if I can help just one person realize she doesn't have to go through that kind of nonsense. That she deserves better.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rachel L Alba,

      I'll be praying for your daughter. I know it must be hard for a mom to watch that. We had some hard times after we left but living on a tight budget is 100 times better than that kind of abuse. I know what you mean about the controlling, reading emails etc. because my ex did that too. He constantly told me I was worthless and was lucky to have him and I mostly believed it. Just getting out of there was a feat. Thanks for the kind comments.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for sharing your story. It means a lot when people who have been there are able to help those who are currently struggling!

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Denise. That was very courageous for to tell that story. My youngest daughter was going through that. Her husband wasn't physically abusive but emotionally he almost drove her crazy. She was depressed all the time and cried all the time because of the things he would do. Even her little daughter who was about 5 at the time, said to let daddy go, we can be good without him. My husband and I would have to go over there and try to get her to come home, but for some reason she would leave him. Then one night he had her on a chair all night long and questioned her and screamed at her all night and wouldn't let her leave. She was the one working and paid for everything. He read all her e-mails and her checked her phone constantly. He refused to go to work and was on drugs and alcohol. That night when she wasn't allowed to leave the chair and had to go to work the next morning, was the last straw. A lot of other things happened before that which involved the police, but they wouldn't do anything unless she ended up in the hospital. She had to get a Protection From Abuse out on him and my granddaughter and that was how she finally got him out of the house. I won't go on any further but I know how you must feel. I am going to warn her about the fact that abusive women tend to get into another abusive relationship. Thank you so much for this hub and for sharing your story. I voted up.

      Blessings to you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks, Mel. I appreciate your encouragement. It was a hard time for me because I spent years thinking all men were scum and then realized there were some things that are just "male" things to do and other things that only my ex and other cruel people like him, would do. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      It's great you had the courage to escape. Only a person who has been through it can really counsel others on how to get out of it. Great hub!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      RTalloni,

      Thank you. I agree. If I have learned anything and can help those who are struggling with the same situation, I want to pass on what I know. That there is a way out short of suicide. Thanks so much for commenting and visiting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Indeed, Billy, I hate that I was there for nearly 5 years myself. I just couldn't see myself as deserving anything better until he started hitting my daughters. And they were babies at the time. I too, hope that those who need it see it. Or family and friends like you!

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      3 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you for reaching out to others with some of what you have learned in your experience. Highlighting abuse with helpful information is important work.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Let's hope that those who need this article are the ones who read this article. I watched my sister in an abusive relationship for decades. It is a very sad thing to see.

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