27th June 2020 at 3:07 pm #107797Wants To HelpParticipant
I am reading new posts quite frequently where considering material possessions are barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. I have copied and pasted a reply I put on to a thread some weeks ago to create it as a new topic. Hopefully it will help some ladies re-assess their situation to show that material things really don’t matter in life when life itself is at risk.
Some years ago, I went on an Equality and Diversity training course. I learned something very valuable that day that I would like to try and share here and explain it as well as I can without the visuals that were used. It went like this:
All of us hold dear our thoughts, values and beliefs. They are all individual to each of us, and we hold them in a particular order of what is most important. These may be things like our health, our family, our children, our friends, our job, our wealth, our status, our home, our security. We do not want to give them up, we will fight for them and defend them until our very last breath.
The course trainer had a number of cards in front of her with one word on each.
We were handed a set each and asked to prioritise them with the most important one to us at the top of the pile and work our way down. When we’d done that, we were to hold them close to our chest. This order of the cards was now what was most important to us in our lives.
And then something happens in life. A Significant Emotional Event. Something that makes us SEE things differently. The trainer threw her cards up in to the air and let them all come crashing down to the floor. This Significant Emotional Event had rocked her world, suddenly meaning everything important to her had dramatically changed.
Her immediate response to the change was to quickly gather the cards up off the floor and put them together again. Only now, the priorities were out of order. What once seemed so important was no longer AS important, something else had now taken priority.
To help explain this, the example she gave was as followed:
There was a family of mum, dad and two children. Mum and dad both worked and had well paid jobs. They both had new cars. Finances were good. The children had music lessons, went to dance classes, enjoyed sports. The family home was large, it was in a wealthy area. They gave off a good status of being well off. This was all very important to them, they had no wish to change anything.
Then one day, one of the children was diagnosed with a very rare cancer and was told they may not survive. The cards of this family were thrown up in to the air. This was their Significant Emotional Event and now in their lives they had to SEE things differently.
The mum, who worked full time in a job she loved that paid her a very good income, handed in her notice to care full time for her child. The job was no longer a bigger priority than the health of her child.
They both sold their cars for a cheaper ones so that they could use the money to pay for medication that was not funded by the NHS. A new, top of the range car was no longer of importance to them, this status did not matter any more.
They researched and sought treatment in other countries and found a source of treatment available in the US that the NHS did not offer in the UK. They fund raised for this, and sold their house and rented somewhere else in order to release the equity from their home to take their child to the US.
They adapted their lives, they managed differently, they all survived.
The above is a true story.
The point of this is to prove that ALL of us are capable of changing the way we live, but we will only do that when something happens that makes us SEE things differently.
I have talked before about boundaries, and every woman having her own personal boundary of what is acceptable. The day that boundary is breached may be the day of your Significant Emotional Event, and that may be the day that you finally admit to yourself that the man you love is an abuser, and your set of cards will get thrown up in to the air. What was once important to you is no longer the case. You will then do whatever you have to do to get out of that relationship. The fact you may have to downsize from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom flat is no longer a problem. The fact you may have to stop working full time and work part time to raise the children will no longer be an obstacle to stop you leaving. The fact that you want to live a life free from abuse and to protect your children from seeing it too will be the driving force that will make you do whatever it takes to leave that life behind.
If you are not yet ready to admit to yourself that the man you love is an abuser, how about asking yourself this?
Does this relationship make me happy?
If you’re not happy, it’s also okay to leave a relationship that does not make you happy.
If you are living in fear of leaving, be honest with yourself which ‘fear’ it is? Some fear is real, some fear is a state of mind. If your abuser has threatened you with violence, violence to family members, damage to property if you leave, then this fear is real. Leaving a relationship with this level of violence and threat is unlikely to be achieved without involving the Police.
If your fear is that “I won’t be able to live without him” / “I can’t live by myself” / “I don’t know how to manage finances” / “The children will never forgive me for taking them away from their (abusive) father” then this fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s an invisible barrier to leaving. It is a barrier that has been created, maybe by him filling you with doubt, to stop you from leaving.
Sometimes, the things that are holding us back in life are all in our head. When we really put our minds to something, we can achieve it.
27th June 2020 at 7:35 pm #107844BeautifuldayParticipant
Thank you so much for this! I feel you have really given me strength and opened my eyes
I have a big problem with being attached to things i was never like this before. I think having the house together is the only barrier stopping me going. I worry too much about the what ifs. If I could I would pack a case and move to my mother’s which she said I can no problem but then I think what happens with the home then? He has such a bad credit rating that the bank advised me not to have a joint account with him but open a separate savings account in my name which he transfers half to each month, if i upped and left I would just want no contact but that wouldn’t happen as I still need to make sure he’s paying the money I yo the account etc and if there were missed payments everything is in my name:(
I would walk out the door in a shot if I could but feel tied because of the house. I couldn’t bare the thought of living with him while waiting to sell the house , the option I would like most is to just buy him out and get rid but even then I’m scared stiff of bringing up the subject of divorce or separation as I feel immense guilt i just feel confused, lost, empty, not knowing what to do. The saving grace is i dont have any children with him so I don’t lnow why I feel so trapped 🙁
27th June 2020 at 8:00 pm #107846Wants To HelpParticipant
So glad this has helped you. Sometimes it helps to put things in to perspective in different ways.
I fully get all your worries and concerns, I had them too. When the abuse wasn’t too bad my abuser put all these obstacles in my way that made me think that getting away from him was virtually impossible. I hadn’t got the emotional strength to fight his ideas, and I was so mentally exhausted I didn’t even know where to start if I had. It all seemed to be so much of an uphill struggle.
What we try to do is look at the whole picture and figure it all out, but what we need to do is just do a bit of this jigsaw at a time. As soon as we put one bit of the plan in motion other things start to slip in to place. Once we get away from the relentless presence of our abuser we start to think more clearly, see things more rationally, plan things more effectively. It really is a case of dealing with one thing at a time, and that first ‘one thing’ is leaving. We plan how to leave, and then we leave.
After that, we have to start to look at the child contact arrangements and/or the financial issues; the buying out / selling the house / dividing the assets / getting him out and moving back in. And it’s not going to be plain sailing, we know that. Abusers will not compromise. They have to win at all costs, even if that means they take themselves down with us, so sometimes that means we both lose in some ways. In my case my abuser told me he would financially destroy me – and he did. But in order to do that he financially put himself in to a huge amount of debt too, something he could have avoided if he’d have just compromised. But to compromise would have allowed me a ‘win’.
My advice is not to plan too far ahead. Concentrate on the main thing first, which is our physical and emotional health and well being. I had tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt in order to free myself and my son from abuse – and it was worth every penny. Well over a decade later I am financially secure again and living a good life. I no longer have a ‘show home’ house or a sports car, but I realise those things were superficial anyway. What I do have is a life to live as I choose, peace and harmony. Oh, and I’ve learned never to combine finances with anyone ever again!
28th June 2020 at 10:50 am #107913BraelynnParticipant
I love this! Thanks for posting it again. It’s spot on!!
30th June 2020 at 1:36 pm #108259iliketeaParticipant
Bumping for the new women on the forum.xx
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