Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
“Why does she/he stay if they are being abused?” Is a question often asked by frustrated loved ones when someone is being abused. But I think the most frustrating is “Why does she/he GO BACK?” I was asked that very question when I left my abuser and took him back twice! So why do we go back?
The first time I took my abuser back I had found out I was pregnant. I did love him (my abuser) and thought that now that I was pregnant the baby would change him, we would be a happy little family and live happily ever after. Boy, was I wrong! The abuse got worse and worse as I was pregnant. My beautiful son was 19 months old when I left the second time. Six months later, I find I am pregnant again and scared. How am I going to raise 2 kids on my own? Again the delusion of another baby may make him happy, we will be a happy little family, and live the fairy tale life. Wrong again! The same cycle hit but I was terrified to leave. But with a little help from people who cared for me, I got out. I made a long term plan.
Many statistics show that a victim will return to their abusive relationship five to seven times before finally leaving for good. Many victims see no other future but with their abuser due to verbal and emotional abuse. I don’t know how many times my abuser would say “no one else wants you because you have kids, you can’t live with out me, you need me, I will kill myself if you leave,” etc. etc. There was even the threat of him killing me if I left. Not only was I terrified to leave but I had no clue what I would do if I did leave. Not only do you need an emergency escape plan but you need to think about where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, even 5 years.
I have written a few articles about an immediate action plan. These include “Getting Out of a Domestic Violence Relationship” and “Obataining a Restraining Order”. Take a piece of paper and pen when you can have a few moments to yourself and think about what you would do with your life away from your abuser. Don’t let his negative put downs enter your mind. Do you want to go to college? Do you want to buy your own home? Will you need to live with a friend or family member for a short period of time to save up money? How much money do you wish to have in the bank before your move? Write down your goals and begin to research how to reach them.
I knew I needed a better job then McDonald’s to support my children and myself when we got away. I started college while I was still with him. I went to a 2 year college and was eligible for student loans. Part of the money remaining at the end of the term from my loans I put away to save for moving. After 3 terms and my income tax return, I had enough to move. Unfortunately I let him come with us but we were living in a homeless shelter at the time. I got my restraining order three months later and he was put out. I wanted to live in a good neighborhood with a good school system for the kids. With some encouragement from friends and family and A LOT of hard work on my part over the past 4 ˝ years, I have reached and gone beyond all of my goals I set for myself.
Sometimes all you need is encouragement from others especially those who have been there were you have been. My mailbox is always open to anyone who needs an ear to listen. I also have an online support group set up for victims and survivors. If you are interested, just mail me!