Leaving an Abusive Relationship -
What You Must Know to Leave an Abusive Relationship Safely
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Often times we hear that leaving an abuser, can be deadly. According to FBI reports 75% of all homicides by intimate male partners occurred after the victim left.
Battered women are far more vulnerable to physical attack as well as attacks to their personal privacy, their civil liberties and their parental rights after they leave. Now you might ask why.
Why are battered women at greater danger when they leave?
When a victim leaves an abusive relationship and moves out, the mere physical separation as well as the emotional separation increases the perpetrators need to control his victim.
Abuse is fundamentally about control. Violence may be a manifestation of domestic abuse, but domestic abuse if really about control.
And the perpetrator can’t bear to be out of control. When the perpetrator feels he’s losing his grip, violence will escalate so as to re-engage control.
Pregnancy and Intimate Partner Violence
This is why we see an increase in intimate partner violence during pregnancy. When that life is felt by the expectant mother, that is the battered one, from her perpetrator's perspective, she’s left.
She has taken energy previously dedicated to the perpetrator and invested it in their unborn fetus. And from where he stands, that’s no different then leaving. Violence will escalate so as to re-engage control.
Scott Peterson said, “I lost my wife. You don’t understand my loss.” he said. “My wife is gone.” Amber Fry said, “How could she be gone before she went missing?”
My sense is as that pregnancy progressed, Scott needed something for himself…someone for himself. That’s why he had the affair. He was dealing with his loss. What did he lose? He lost control! Laci left before she went missing.
The Importance of How You Leave an Abusive Relationship
So when you hear people say the danger will escalate when you leave, the message is NOT don’t leave. The message is be mindful that there is a right way to leave and a wrong way to leave.
When you decide to leave, leave quickly and quietly. Do not go to your partner and tell him why you’re leaving. If you are thinking of doing this, you may not be ready to leave.
Rather you may unconsciously be hoping that if your partner knows he will loss you that he will change. And this may be so. And it may not be so.
Find out how to leave to insure your safety, rather than compromise it, as part of your preparation to leave an abusive relationship.
For more information about the breaking the cycle of abuse, see Domestic Abuse Dynamics: Breaking the Cycle. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
©2008 Jeanne King, Ph.D. www.PreventAbusiveRelationships.com
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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.