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Exit: This Way Out! Dig a Tunnel

Ann, not her real name, did our support group for women who have experienced abuse. She wanted to share part of her experience in the hope of helping other women. This is what she would like to share…

So the time has come that you realize you are in abusive relationship.  The counselling, talking, explaining doesn’t stop or change the abuse.  No matter what you do it keeps happening again.  He is nice for awhile and then he yells at you and calls you names or ……….  You notice he sleeps fine but you lie awake terrified.  There are so many ways to abuse a woman and you are tired of it.  But how do you escape?

Exit:  This Way Out!  Dig a Tunnel

I would like to share with you some of my experience. I know how it feels to be in an abusive relationship.  I have actually been in more than one abusive relationship. I know

how scared you are.  You are too scared to stay and too scared to leave.

This is what I found helpful. Every woman has to find her own way out.  There is no one size fits all. There is no one way to leave.  Remember that song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” ?  

It is helpful to think about it as trying to escape from a prison.  You need to dig a tunnel without letting the warden know you are planning your escape.  

It is very helpful to open your own bank account. You can tell him that it upsets you, that when you go to the Big and Tall shop to buy him something, you can’t surprise him.  Since he can see all the purchases on your joint account, how can you ever surprise him?  Make it about him (Because naturally he thinks he is the most important person in the world). Tell him you want to put a bit of money away every week so that when you want to get him something you can.  Remember to occasionally buy him something LOL.

Best way to get a bank account is go to another bank that he does not deal with.  Do not tell him which bank you are going to. Open a checking account.  Get a bank card. Hide it in a special spot in your purse not in your wallet where he can find it. Every time you get some extra money, put it in that account.  Any time there is grocery money left over add it to your account.  If you get a raise, do not tell him.  Put the extra money in your bank account.  Do this quietly and steadily.

Even if you have no way to leave him now.  Even if you are not sure you will leave him.  Start the account.

Next you need a car.  If you have two cars probably both cars have his name on it!  No surprise there.  Tell him you heard about a woman whose husband died and she couldn’t use either car because they both had his name on it.  You are so worried.  How would you get food for the kids?  How would you get to work?  Tell him you know he cares about you and would never want you to to be stranded without a car.  Drop these ideas every once in awhile.  When the car you normally drive comes up for insurance renewal, find out first very quietly at a different insurance office, if this car insurance can be renewed in your name only.  How is that done?

Whatever you do, do NOT ever hint that you are thinking of leaving him!  That is the most dangerous thing you can do.  Do not tell your girlfriends you are thinking about leaving in case one of them tells her husband who “accidentally” tells your husband.

Ladies, this is a covert operation.  Top Secret. You are in grave danger.  He thinks he owns you and you threatening to leave him will not help him be nicer to you.  It will infuriate him.  He will become livid and your life will be in danger.  

Once you feel you have enough money in your account and a car that is legally yours, the next step is to plan where to live.. I will deal with that in the next update on Exit: This Way Out!

By Ann Stirling. (Naturally that is not my real name)

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When Love Hurts