Opening up to a counselor about the decision to leave an abuser can be extraordinarily difficult. Indeed, many people find the process of discussing this issue with a therapist or counselor to be traumatic in its own way. Doing so may prompt feelings of fear and anxiety and even emotional burnout.
At the same time, discussing the decision to leave an abuser within the safe and confidential environment of a therapist’s office can be incredibly helpful for victims of domestic violence. Moreover, this process can also be an important step in creating a plan for leaving an abuser.
There are a few things to consider before opening up a dialogue with your therapist about this topic.
- Creating a Plan for Your Partner’s Response to Your Leaving
Abusers can respond in a wide variety of different ways when a partner decides to leave them. Abusers thrive on control; a leaving partner or spouse is the ultimate threat to their sense of authority in a domestic situation. They may attempt to emotionally manipulate you into staying or even use threats to coerce you into reversing your decision. A therapist can help you plan for and mitigate these outcomes.
- Create a Plan for Your Next Step in Life
Whatever you plan to do next in life, be sure that you run your ideas past your therapist first. Your therapist can help you formulate a plan for leaving an abusive situation; they can also suggest social service organizations that will aid you in the process of restructuring your life. Your therapist can also help you put a plan in place that will help you stay safe.
- Create a Plan to Deal With Feelings of Guilt
Despite the fact that our abusers treat us horribly, most of us will feel a strong sense of guilt or shame when cutting our abusers out of our lives. Unfortunately, many people continue to live in an abusive situation rather than face this sense of shame; abusers also tend to know how to use these feelings against the people that they abuse. Your therapist will help you cope with these difficult emotions and move forward with your life.
At the end of the day, leaving an abusive situation is never easy. With the right approach, however, you may discover a sense of joy in life that you did not think was attainable. By embracing a new life free of abuse, you may be surprised to learn that happiness can be found and that you are deserving of such happiness. That alone can make such a big change worth the challenge.