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This is all very good advice, Kellen. I was married to an abusive man for six years and when things started getting dangerous, the first thing I did was get a separate (and secret) bank account. I kept the passbook locked in my desk drawer at the office. Then I went out there and sold every single piece of real estate I could get my hands on. I worked every lead and I had deals stacked up on top of each other and worked night and day to close them all. Sometimes I started at 6 AM and didn't get home until after 10:00 at night. (This was okay with him because he wanted the money.) Then, when I got all the commission checks - I took my little boy and I left. Just like that. I was afraid to leave, but I had to. He was starting to get physical again and I just couldn't stand the situation anymore and was fresh out of illusions that it would get any better. I was safe in leaving abruptly like that because friends and co-workers had witnessed his anger and threatening demeanor toward me, and also because the child was only mine and I never did let him adopt, so he could not bring a legal action. Also, I made sure he knew that I had witnesses and would call the police if he harrassed me.

(And Kellen - I can't thank you enough for the lovely comment you left on my blog. It really means a lot to me coming from you and it felt really good to read it.)

Wow, that must have taken a lot of courage. Simply making a change is tough for most people. Breaking completely out of a very emotionally dangerous relationship is especially tricky. But it sounds like you really used your head (and your hard work) and made it happen. You bring up twovery, very important points. You didnt allow him to adopt your child, which left you free to walk away. I see so many people get together as a couple and have the children calling the new boyfriend Daddy and working toward an adoption with someone they have known for only a year. Children can really complicate an already difficult situation and should be taken into careful consideration when making decisions. It was smart to wait on that.

You also point out how important it is to have family and friends around you for support and as witnesses. That is one of the first things many abusers try to do, cut you off from family and friends. Im glad you kept yours around you.

I so happy to hear you are free.Thank you for the first person feedback. (And youre very welcome for the post.)

Thanks for the advice! I have been with my guy for 9 years and never knew he was emotionally abusing me until a dear friend pointed it out a few weeks ago. I am secretly planning to leave and am very scared. I have 3 children that will go with me and I just dont feel like I have the courage to do so. For some many years, I feel worthless. I have been isolated from the outside world that I only go out once a week. I sometimes feel if its the right decision to leave. I am truly afraid. Is it normal to think that its okay to stay and suffer at least until the children grow up? I dont want to piss him off. Thank for the tips. I will keep in mind.

Hi Anon,

Finding the courage to change a pattern of 9 years is extremely hard for most people. Being in a relationship which has beaten you down emotionally and mentally makes it even harder. Emotional abuse causes you to doubt your own feelings, thoughts and emotions. You don't trust your own judgement any longer.

The isolation you mention is also one of the first steps in abusing someone. An abuser often moves to remove a victim's supports by cutting them off from family and friends who would point out what is happening (like your friend did) and help them leave or stand up to it. Putting your supports back into place will help counteract that isolation.

You ask if is normal to think it's OK to stay and suffer until the children grow up. I see a lot of people justify staying for that reason. But what are you teaching your children? By staying and allowing yourself to be abused you are teaching your children that it is OK to treat a woman this way. Odds are, your daughters will grow up to be abused and your sons will grow up to be abusers. It may be reversed, but this is the pattern they will inherit from you and your abuser.

Does that sound like it is best for the children?

One of the main problems of being emotionally abused is that you learn not to trust your own thoughts, feelings or beliefs. You become totally attuned to what the abuser wants and what makes the abuser happy (or prevents him or her from getting angry). Stop. Listen to your gut. What is it telling you? Your instincts (what I call your gut) don't lie to you. You can trust them. You just have to learn to listen to them and believe in them again.

It might also help to think of situations you have overcome before. What have you had the courage to do in the past? You might find that you have had the courage to endure must worse situations in the past, you just lost your faith in yourself (because of the emotional abuse). I believe you have the courage. You just have to remember what you are capable of accomplishing.

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