Today, I want to offer my advice on getting out of an abusive and unhealthy relationship.
After "coming out" about the decision to end my marriage almost two years ago, I received messages from women who went through similar relationships and marriages and found the strength to leave and I also had women reach out to me, looking for help and advice on how to get out.
Let me just start off by saying that abuse of any kind [verbal, mental, emotional, or physical] is not okay. Don't let yourself be swayed to think otherwise just because you don't have a cut or scrape or bruise on your skin. Abuse bruises your heart and your mind too. It causes you to start thinking and reacting differently than you normally would have. You start losing yourself. You start making excuses for him. You start telling yourself, "It will get better. It has to. One day."
Stop "waiting" for it to get better. Stop making excuses. Stop justifying the abuse just because he justifies it. It is not okay. It is not normal. And it is not safe.
Don't isolate yourself. It's a difficult thing to admit that the person you live with, love, and in some cases like mine, are married to, is abusive. You want to have a healthy, happy relationship. You want to believe you can have the fairytale you dreamt of. But you must be honest with yourself and you must let someone know what is going on. Whether it's a parent, a friend, a counselor, etc. let someone know what you are dealing with behind closed doors. Have somewhere to go when he gets violent. [For me, it was my car or my mother-in-law's apartment. I learned the hard way that I wasn't even safe in my own bathroom.]
Another reason you should let someone know about it is because you need a voice of reason. You read about abusive relationships, you see stories on the news, but you never expect you'd find yourself in that situation. We imagine this big, scary monster of a man but many abusers are the sweet, charming and once-gentle men we fell in love with. There were so many times that I tried telling myself the abuse would stop one day. My own voice of reason became so skewed at one point that it didn't even phase me that he laughed when I showed him the bruise he gave me. But my mom was my rock. She opened my eyes and helped me get out, even from over 2,000 miles away.
You are strong enough to leave. As important as marriage was to me, I knew deep down in my heart that abuse was never okay. It is never too late to leave. Or too early for that matter. You are strong. You are beautiful. You deserve so much more.
Through the process I went through, I learned to love myself again. I am a single woman and I have never, ever been happier. And I will never, ever let another guy like him anywhere near my precious life again.
There is hope. There is love. There is happiness. There are brighter, much brighter, days ahead of you. I promise you that.
If you are questioning whether or not you're in an abusive relationship, here is a helpful link of an excerpt from Lundy Bancroft's book "Why Does He Do That?" I am just an email away if you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to.
UPDATED: AND, if you are ready to start making some big changes in your life and want to be supported, be lifted, and work one-on-one together through these radical shifts in your beautiful life with someone who's been there before, head on over to my life coaching site chelseadinen.com where you can learn more about me, my coaching approach, and how to hire me so we can get started! Know that you are strong. Just by being here reading this today. Sending love! xo