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What Will He Do If I Decide to Leave?

Excerpted from Beverly Engel's The Emotionally Abused Woman

The abuser will probably try to hang on to you when he senses you are trying
to get away. He is used to having you around to take his frustrations out on
and to blame when things go wrong in his life.

A typical abuser will try any
or all of the following tactics to get you to stay:

1. He will use his best weapons, threats and promises. He may promise he
won't ever hurt you again. He may tell you that he has totally changed. But
it is important for you to realize that if he were in control of himself in
the first place, he would not have been abusive. No matter what he tells you,
he can't stop on his own; he needs help. If he tells you he is in control of himself, ask yourself this: If he was in control of his behavior all along,then why did he choose to treat me abusively?

2. He may try to destroy your self-esteem and make you believe you can't
survive without him. He may tell you that you are so fat (or dumb, or ugly)
that he is the only one who would put up with you. He might try to convince
you that you could never get another man. These are all lies, and he does not
even believe them himself or he wouldn't feel so threatened.

3. A typical abuser will try to separate his victim from outside support: family, friends, coworkers. If he senses you are going to leave him, he will try even harder to isolate you. You need to break out of your
isolation. Join a support group, go back to school, or make new friends so
that you can begin to get feedback from people other than the abusive person.

The best reason to leave a relationship is that you have decided that this person or situation is not good for you. And the only time you should stay is if you truly believe that you can now take care of yourself, with this person.

**There is no virtue in staying in an impossible, destructive relationship or situation. Making a clean break can be the most courageous act of all.**

Whatever decision you make, your focus needs to be on you, not on the abuser. You need to continually work on increasing your assertiveness and your
self-esteem and on completing your unfinished business from the past.

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