Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On Leaving an Abusive Relationship

I've written a lot lately about following your dreams, about never taking life for granted, and about finding the positive in each day. I could write about those things every day, giving my advice on on how to do each. But there is one topic that I don't mention on here very often that I have some real life experience with. And I know somewhere out there is another woman who's dealing with some of the same moments and pain I once did.

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.

chelsea.lifeisasunset@gmail.com


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

31 comments:

Kristina said...

You are so right when you say there is hope! About 10 years ago I was also involved in an abusive relationship, physical and emotional. It got terribly violent when I decided to leave. Looking back to the months and years that followed I felt broken and unwanted. But there is hope. There is always hope. You just have to let yourself feel good enough and wanted!

Life's Tails said...

What a great post. I think it happens more then people want to admit. I was in one for years and just got back to being ok being alone. I am happier now and don't have to listen to someone tell me how stupid I am everyday!

Jenn said...

You continue to amaze me with your strength. Thank you for sharing this. I know it will help someone :)

The Pink Growl said...

you are so strong and inspirational!

Cassie Marshall said...

Gosh, this is great. You are so strong. I was in a pretty bad abusive relationship for 2 years, and although I never married him, it almost came to that, and it was still really hard to leave. Luckily, he was put in prison making things a lot easier. I truly believe not taking it there saved my life. It's also interesting because people wonder how I could have gotten into that situation, but like you said, they are charmers.

Cassie said...

i love this! yes ANY form is abuse is NOT ok. and once you leave you are STILL going to be scared. you will think you were in the wrong for leaving but NO - stay strong. this too shall pass. this world's an amazing place, get out of the bad stuff and enjoy it!

KRISTIN said...

This is incredible Chelsea. You are so strong and beautiful on the inside and out! I am so happy that you are able to share your story and reach out to those who don't have the strength you have right now.

Chelsea said...

I can't fathom being in your shoes, that is terrible. Abuse is a terrible thing to do to anyone, male or female. You honestly are one of the strongest people I know of! I'm so happy you decided to share this story with everyone.

Vicki said...

You already know that I think your amazing, but this post solidifies that fact in my mind. You are so strong and inspirational. Every woman should read this post (so should every man, honestly) xoxo

Jenn @ West Sac Honey said...

Goodness I didn't know any of that happened to you. So glad you made the smart choice to get out. I guess I'm still in denial to believe that I was in a similar relationship but I was I'm glad that I came to my senses and chose the right type of happiness.

Kenzie Ashcraft said...

Good for you!!! I was in a dating relationship like that at one point in my life. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I have a lot of sweet women in my life that could use this story of yours.

Blessings!

Kristine said...

I'm so glad you shared this experience with everyone! You are such a strong woman and an inspiration to all. I've been in my fair share of abusive relationships (both mentally and physically) and I stuck both of them out for quite a while before getting the nerve to walk (or should I say run?) away.

Jenna said...

Thank you for speaking out on this topic! So many young women that I work with make excuse after excuse for why their significant other treats them they way they do, but there is no excuse! This post is proof that life after an abusive relationship can happen and is so beautiful! Thank you for being such a strong woman :)

A Country Girls World said...

I have been fortunate enough to have never been in a relationship like this but I am so glad to see that you are able to speak on the subject and offer your help to other women. The longer they stay the harder it is to leave because those men work so hard to make women feel like they are inadequate and no one else will want them. The psychology behind abused women is definitely a hard thing to deal with because the men have broken them down so far. Anyways, I think it is great to hear from someone who got out and is leading a great life! :)

Tori G said...

You are so strong and beautiful! I am sure that this has touched a few women and has helped them more than you prob. even know!

Brittanie said...

This was amazing and I know you will be the change for so many to change their lives!

Hopefully our paths cross someday!

Gwen said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a friend/coworker who is in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage but she won't admit it, and she won't consider leaving because of her son (which seems backward to me). I hope someday she's ready and when she is I'll show her this post.

Brianna said...

my heart just aches that someone as amazing as you had to go through this. seriously, your strength impresses me every single day. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!
I grew up watching an abusive relationship and it has haunted me ever since. There were times that the abuse turned to my siblings and I and it was NOT okay. But I also know that as hard as those moments were, they have built the person that I am today- that I won't EVER take that in my life. I refuse to allow it and hope that I am never put in that position or if I am- that I have the same strength you did to get out.
love you girly!!
xoxo

Katie said...

My friend was in an abusive relationship. She never told anyone about the physical abuse until years after she had left him

I've never been in an abusive relationship, but I can't imagine falling in love with someone and them eventually turn abusive towards the person they 'love'. So strong of you to leave!!

Kristen said...

amen sister! so happy you were able to breakaway and see how much your life has changed on the journey since!

Cara-Mia said...

I am so glad you were able to get away! That is just horrible. I love how you said it's never too late or too early to leave. I'm sure lots of women in the beginning stages of an abusive relationship find it more difficult to leave since it's all so new. You are such a brave woman and I'm glad you're free and following your dreams.

Holly said...

You, my dear, are so brave. Many women cannot do what you did. I can't imagine how difficult a decision that was for you to end your marriage, to leave the man you once loved. You're one of the strong, lucky ones. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps someone "get out." You are an inspiration and worthy of so much love. Don't settle for less - and I know I'm preaching to the choir on that one ;)

Sarah at Midwest Pillowtalk said...

bless your heart.
thank you for sharing pretty lady.
xxo

Muhammad Khalid said...
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brittany said...

i absolutely loved your post. i just wrote something along the same lines a few days ago... it's incredible how many of us are in similar situations, and we somehow get stuck in them, all the while knowing it's unhealthy. i'm glad to hear you got out, and i'm so thankful i did the same. thanks for sharing this!

xx brittany @ gypsythatiam.blogspot.com

Amanda said...

Chelsea, you are amazing! You are so brave to write about these difficult things, and I am positive that you are helping so many people out there who don't know where to turn.

Anwar Fazil said...
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Robin said...

Very good post...I hope that one day you find a great man who will be the husband you deserve!

Anwar Fazil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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