Suggestions To Leave Abuse?

November 27, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Diane wrote as a comment: Now my husband doesn't drink but does all the other stuff! I am planning on leaving after Christmas but am afraid I wont have a place to live with my girls. I am looking at housing/apartments but my wages are low even though I have a college degree. Any advice would help so much.

Diane, you are not alone in your fear. It is important to financially survive after leaving an abusive situation; you may need to make some temporary material sacrifices for your sanity.

Every good decision is part factual underpinning and part hope. The "hope" part can become fact-based with a little research.

Contact State Resources

Call child protective services and find out what is required to provide a safe place for you and your children. You could take the opportunity to downsize your expenditures and stay within the confines of law versus what you now desire for your family. Maybe the kids can double up in a bedroom. Maybe your computer room can become a computer corner. Trust me, your children don't care as much about living as they're accustomed as much as they care about being with you.

After talking to child protective services, ask to transfer to domestic violence services. You may need an appointment for an initial consultation, but once you've done that, the program could open up possibilities to you to which you're currently unaware. Maybe there's a way get on a reduced-income housing list before you actually have a reduced income. Maybe there's a job placement service designed for abused people. You won't know unless you ask.

Look into food stamps. I know many people don't want to take advantage of these programs, but you may be the perfect candidate for them. Initially, the assistance programs were designed to help people who were helping themselves, and you definitely fit that category.

Search For A New Job and Increase Your Chances of New Employment


Everyone knows the job market is tight. However, as an abused person, you are probably undervaluing your education and experience. Begin looking for a new job, one that pays better wages or offers benefits. You never know - something may open up at an opportune time. Tell everyone you know you're a network. Consider doing what you do on your own. Are you interested in building a business off of your professional experience?

Also, check out the small business association in your area. Here in Fayetteville it was housed at the same location as the "displaced homemaker" service - point being, you may be surprised where you find it. Through the SBA or a similar program, you could sign up for classes that will help you rewrite and focus your resume and hone your job search skills. Maybe there are free classes at the community college along this line. One of the great benefits of taking part in a program like this is that you'll meet a new network. People, new people, are key to finding opportunity and opening doors you didn't see a second before.

Remember Spousal Support and Child Support

Remember that at some point your ex will be kicking in for child support or post-separation support or both. Alimony/Post-Separation support may be dubious in your situation since you're already gainfully employed, but you won't know until you take a step in that direction. Don't count on it, but ask for it anyway.

Also, before you go, know how much equity or debt you'll be splitting with your ex. Maybe, since he's staying in the house and you're leaving, there will be some equity there that he'll have to share with you. Or maybe you've got so much debt that the debt will be split.

Be Honest With Yourself About Your Financial Situation

Keep in mind that your divorce will cost you money, too. Maybe he won't put up much of a fight and much of your divorce could be handled via attorneys instead of in the courtroom. However, if you don't feel strong enough to negotiate with him, then the money spent on the attorney is well worth it.

There are a series of hurdles left to overcome. You can do this if you keep your eyes and mind open.

Be honest with yourself about what you're facing and open up to unknown possibilities. You're not in this alone although it sometimes feels you're the only person on the planet making this leap. Please, after talking to the domestic violence counselor, go to the group(s) offered to you. While there may be no one in the group who can offer you a job or hand you a fist full of cash, you will find real people who have made the changes you seek. Their experience is invaluable and will help channel you into the right places and offer peace of mind.

Education Erases Excuses, Finds Solutions

Use this time before Christmas to educate yourself about your options. Don't let the cost of rent in the places you've checked deter you. My boss says, "An excuse is the thin skin of a reason stuffed with a lie." Beware of excuses and fear - they are your worst enemy right now. Instead, face the truth, the reasons to leave and decide there is no excuse that will hold you back.

Now, everyone else whose faced this issue, please offer your advice and comments below.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, November 27). Suggestions To Leave Abuse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 14 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

Kath Gillon
December, 7 2014 at 8:38 am

All I would say is make sure you have a workable plan, you need to know exactly what you are going to do, where you are going and how you are getting there.
Keep as much to yourself as possible, the less people who know the less chance he will find out, because they go to your friends and family and they put pressure on them to tell where you are.
Be careful who you trust.
If you feel he is dangerous to you or your children ensure you have good legal advice regarding you parental rights.
My ex was a drinker and very violent and verbal when drunk, plus he owned guns, so my family were in danger when I left and I had to ensure that his firearms were removed.
Financially it is a nightmare, but you have to think of what you gain in terms of personal safety and freedom to breathe.
The hardest part is the fear, but you can counter that with knowing your situation and having a plan, it's still scary but you have the control. Time passes and things improve you get on your feet and you rebuild, you will be okay and you will survive, life will only be better. Now 2 years later when I look back and see how much my life has changed I thank my lucky stars I made my decision to leave, because somehow I doubt I would be emotionally intact now and possibly be dead.
The thing that did it for me in the end was the realization that actually I was harming my children by not emotionally protecting them, because no matter how much you think they don't know and you are protecting them, they do know and that's not protecting them it's damaging them.
Stay strong and know you are not alone, you can succeed and achieve.
Good luck

November, 28 2011 at 8:53 am

Before Christmas, on Christmas Day or After. Any day would be a good day. I told myself I couldn't leave so many times because it would ruin Christmas, or the kids birthdays were coming or school was about to start. How would I buy school clothes? What I realize now is that none of those things mattered. It's been two years and even though we struggle financially it's better than any holiday I was married. The first year I left I had no money for presents and thank god presents were donated from my daughters teacher who knew our situation. They even donated a little tree and ornaments.
My husband was the provider for our family and had control of all the money. He drank very heavily and I feared for my life when we left. Because I was considered a whore and not to be trusted of course I couldn't get a job while we were married. I had no job history and the years I should have been in school or working on my career were spent on my husbands career and the children. I had no money and had to move into my parents home with my 2 children. 6 months later we had our own place.
I only focused on these things: Do I have a roof over my head that is safe for me and my children? Do we have food to eat? Do I have a good babysitter so I don't have to worry while I'm at work? Keep my job. Be positive every day.
That's it.
Meanwhile I've been able to focus on my own career without being sabotaged.
The best advice I can give is just leave. Don't expect any money from your spouse until you get a court order. Tell any family and friends you have what your doing and enlist there support. Even if they can't help financially it's good to talk to someone. They will give you ideas or know people that can help you. Good Luck!

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