How To Break Free From An Abusive Relationship

Photo by Alex Green

Many promising professionals with potential have risen beyond the imagination and expectations of their superiors only to marry and become a caricature of their former selves. While there is nothing wrong with being in a relationship or married, it is expedient that one is careful with such a decision as an adventure into an abusive relationship can flip the narrative of one’s life, especially career.

Aduke experienced an abusive relationship!

As an intern, Aduke Williams was diligent in her work and made viable contributions that solved problems for her employer. Soon, her boss took notice of her diligence and invited her to his office. He acknowledged her growth, encouraged her to do more by embracing the vision of the organisation, and finally assured her that the company would retain her after her internship elapsed. That was a new beginning for Aduke as her career life accelerated before her eyes.


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When things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, and usually, it is the least expected rock that topples our balance for a big fall. Two years later, Aduke became the Project Manager of the company, and that was when she met James Ofure, who did not let the sun set before taking a knee to pop the question, Will you marry me? Their love story started, only that it marked the end of the brightness of the shining star and almost snuffed life out of her.

Fast-forward to five years in their marriage, Aduke not only lost her job but also could not get another as her confidence in her wits left for a long vacation. She continued to grope in the dark until Bidemi, her friend, brought her to the limelight of truth. She had been in a toxic marriage. James started the abuse subtly with his words and when he reached the climax, he ensured she received a beating as breakfast and dinner. The last straw almost took Aduke’s life as she found herself in the hospital. She would later find out how Bidemi had come visiting to see her in the pool of her blood and then rushed her to the hospital.

When Aduke shared her story, she affirmed taking notice of the signs of abuse in James Ofure.

You might ask, why did she still marry him?

The common thing is that people blinded by emotions tend to overlook such signs. Aduke ignored them because she felt James was feeling stressed, not knowing that he was displaying his true character. Some months after their wedding, he isolated her from her friends and family and insisted that she must receive permission from him to visit or attend to any visitor. The next stage was to discredit her. He did this by asking her to resign from her job, that he had enough to care for her needs. She tried to resist the move; however, his threats forced her into her shells.

Whenever she suggested how they could do a thing, James would crush her spirit with derogatory words. Time after time, this continued to the extent that her self-esteem went on a sabbatical. Aduke stopped dressing well! She started eating much more than expected and gained unnecessary weight. She sought her husband’s opinion on everything and gradually lost her voice. When she remembered her achievements in the company where she once worked, she tried fighting to regain her confidence. That was when the physical abuse resumed its duty in her marriage with James.

No one ever longs to be in a toxic relationship or to have an abusive spouse. Unfortunately, that is the reality for many. Most of these people usually see the signs, especially during their days of courtship, but allow their sentiments to blindfold them with the inscription: he will change; she is not like that! Are you in such a situation? Do you know someone who is? Not to worry, your solution is right here!

Let’s look at how to break free from a toxic spouse!

Strategies On How To Break Free From An Abusive Relationship

  • Acknowledge the relationship as abusive

The first step to solving a problem is to identify the presence of one. This realisation is important because people in a toxic relationship never recognise it; instead, they make an excuse for the abusive spouse. They either take the blame or hang it on stress while they continue to suffer the predicament. A doctor cannot commence core treatment without running a diagnosis on a patient to identify the ailment. That is what you should do!

Some of the signs of abuse in a relationship are intimidation, threats, abusive and disparaging words, which attack your image, isolation from family and friends, physical abuse of any kind, etc. When you take your stock of the relationship and identify these signs, do not play them down. Tell yourself the truth that you are in a toxic relationship or marriage. That marks the beginning of your freedom.

  • Seek help

One of the mistakes victims of abusive relationships make is confronting their abuser. The abuser can respond in two ways: he either beats the victim to submission or shows some care, which would allay the victim’s fears and further reinforces the abuser’s leash on her. After confirming that you are in a toxic relationship, the next thing to do is not to confront your abuser but to seek external help from a trusted friend or family member. Schedule a meeting away from your home with your chosen helper. Be wise about it; do not give your abuser any sense of suspicion. They must be in the dark of your moves. Tell that person everything in confidence and ensure she does not confront your abuser; that could endanger your life.

  • Plan your exit

The essence of getting external help is not to encourage you to bear under the predicament but to plan your exit. Ensure your confidant is trustworthy and witty enough to help you with your escape tactics. Remember that your abuser must be oblivious to this plan. Decide when and how it would be and fast-track your move because if your abuser smells a rat, he may threaten your life, which could lead to the abandonment of your escape plan.

Aduke could have lost her life if she had not made any plan to escape. Her only redemption was that she confided in her friend, Bidemi. Unfortunately, she allowed her emotions to control her during an argument and told James she would leave him. That incident incited James to beat her. Keep your emotions under control and avoid spilling your beans. Engage your escape plans with skills and ensure it is squeaky. When you leave, do not look back; else, you turn into a pillar of salt.

  • Grieve, but heal

After leaving your abuser, feel free to grieve. Do not suppress your emotional outburst; else, it would hurt you more than you can imagine. If you need to cry, please do; however, after wailing, get up, dust yourself and live. Do not make the mistake of jumping quickly into any relationship. The tendency to feel lonely will be high; however, you need to heal before you deal; else, you will bleed. Your healing process starts with forgiveness!

Forgive your spouse who inflicted pain on you. Yes, that is what you should do. Forgiveness is first for you; it marks the beginning of your healing process. You cannot recover from your painful past if you do not make room for forgiveness. Let go of the hurt. Forgive yourself too! You are not a failure; you only experienced a failed relationship or marriage, and that is okay. If you hold onto the anger, you will soon become bitter and terminate your healing process. Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness; however, because you have forgiven, when you remember the painful events, you will not feel the pain anymore. You will only appreciate your escape.

  • Reinforce your image

Another mistake people make is that after their healing, they cannot wait to jump into another ship. While some can weather the storms if they meet the right person, it is a risk never to consider. One thing you must not joke about is your value. Victims of toxic relationships come out feeling worthless. That is one last thing you need to fix before you allow another into your life. Build your image back and better than it was before you entered that relationship that left you feeling wretched.

Acquire new skills. Get a job or start a business. Read books. Attend seminars that will motivate and push you to become better, for there is yet more about you. These and more are how you would reinforce your image. Your next relationship should meet you wiser, stronger, better and ready to live your life to the fullest rather than allow another to pin you to the ground. Regain your confidence and fly high above your horizon.

It is possible to break free from a toxic relationship if you imbibe the above strategies. Beyond this, ensure that you watch out for the signs to avoid crossing paths with such a person in the future. Your life is precious, and you need to prioritise it in all your decisions.

Keyword: abusive relationship

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