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You need to have an escape plan to get away from domestic violence or abuse. Here are things that worked for me.You need to have an escape plan to get away from domestic violence or abuse, in case things get really, really bad. Here are some tips that worked for me. Some of them may sound funny, but they worked for me.

One thing I would like to note: I hear from women all the time who say they can't get away, they can't accomplish these simple tasks, because he has such strict control over their lives. STOP! Take a minute to evaluate: do you work? Use your lunch hour! Do you go to the grocery store alone? Stop along the way! Do you have a friend or family member you trust? ASK FOR HER HELP!!

If he goes to work everyday, you have eight hours to plan. In this case, it really is true, where there's a will, there's a way. But it's up to you to realize that you DO have some control, a little bit.

The first, most important thing I suggest is to have somewhere, setup ahead of time, to go in case it gets to the point where you feel that your life (or the lives of your children) is in danger. Call a battered women's shelter beforehand, visit it, find out where it is. Or have a friend THAT HE DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT, and find out if you can go there for a couple of days. Keep a small bag packed with necessities, and keep it at work or at that friend's house. Be ready to just walk away from everything that you have collected over the years...it may come to that.

Another must-have is a code phrase, something that sounds perfectly innocent to him while he's listening to your half of the conversation. Mine was "that stupid dog down the street got into the trash again." When my girlfriend heard that, she would come over to "visit," because he would behave when she was there.

You need to start putting some money in a secret place. I literally kept my "stash" in the mattress, where it was torn a bit. He never thought to look there.

There are a couple of ways to put money away. This first one won't work if he monitors your weekly check, but if not, well then.... each payday, save $5 or $10 and put it in the "kitty." It will add up quickly. A more "fun" way (for me) was this: I bought a more expensive brand of shampoo and kept the empty bottle. Thereafter, when I'd go to the store, I'd buy the more expensive brand again, take it home and let him check the receipt against what was in the bag (yes, he actually did that!). The next day, I'd take it back, swap it for the cheaper one, fill up the expensive bottle, and put the dollar or so in the "kitty." You can do this with a number of items. Cereal is a good one--buy the box ($2.87), then refill it with the bag ($1.87). Coffee, creamer, shampoo, conditioner, use your imagination!

Once you have some money put away, open a private mailbox and a separate bank account with the statements sent to the mailbox. Again, this will give you a sense of "I've done this on my own." You will be amazed at how good THAT feels!

These are some ideas that worked for me. They might not work for you. Maybe he does tag along EVERYWHERE YOU GO but chances are, at some point, you go somewhere by yourself. Use that time to accomplish these goals. You will begin to feel in control of at least a little piece of your life. And when that happens, you will begin to BREAK FREE.


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