How can I plan ahead?
It may be difficult to plan for the future. Part of the struggle may be that your partner’s abuse leaves you exhausted and off-balance. Because of this, it may be difficult to do more than just get through the day. For some women, the physical, financial or social threats their partner throws at them keep them from making plans for the future. We recognize all of these barriers and understand what a paralyzing effect they may have on you.
We would, however, encourage you to do as much thinking about the future as you are able. It may be difficult right now to contemplate needing to leave your home, but this need may arise at some point. It is much more difficult to think about what you should do when you are in the middle of the crisis than if you have a plan in place ahead of time. Remind yourself that just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you have to use it. For example, you can say to yourself, “If I had to leave, this is where I would go.”
You may also be thinking about separating from your partner permanently. Often this seems completely overwhelming. Working on a long-term plan for leaving can break a seemingly overwhelming problem into smaller, attainable steps. Start by gathering resources and information for yourself.
For example, going to a lawyer and seeking advice about protecting your children and your financial security can be an important step. It would be wise not to tell your partner if you see a lawyer. Even though it may seem deceptive to keep this information from him, remember that your partner’s belief structure permits him to put his needs and desires before yours or your children’s (see chapter 7). In the event of a separation, his main concern will be his own well-being. Unfortunately, that leaves only you to be concerned about yourself and your children. Consulting a lawyer is an important step in protecting yourself and them.
Every woman is in a unique situation and has different things to consider as she thinks about her future. For this reason we have included some concrete ideas about planning in different situations. Please look at these ideas and decide what fits your experience.
You can download a longer excerpt of Planning For Safety from When Love Hurts here.