How to Get Out [How to Leave an Abusive Spouse]

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If you’re in an abusive relationship, you may ask yourself how to leave an abusive spouse often. You may feel hopeless, useless, and miserable. Surrounded by well-meaning friends who say foolish things like “Just leave him, he’s never going to change.” you live in a constant state of confusion and self-doubt.

While your friends may mean well and are hoping to motivate you to get out of your circumstances the exact path of how to leave an abusive spouse isn’t straight. In fact, it’s dark, narrow, and frightening. Sometimes even more frightening than the home you live in.

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How to Leave an abusive spouse, How to Get Out Series, Lacy Estelle, Copedency, Gaslighting, Domestic Violence, Financial Abuse, Spousal abuse, signs of abuse.

So why don’t women ‘just leave’?

Well, the answer may surprise you. This article is the first in a 6-Part Series on How to Get Out, How to Leave an abusive spouse. I hope it empowers you to make a decision if you are in an abusive relationship. No choice in the decision of staying or leaving an abusive spouse is right or wrong, but either one will impact your life greatly. 

To first understand why the idea of “just leaving” is so foolish, we need to understand why she, the victim, stays. The following are five reasons, you, your friend, or any woman in a violent relationship may not be able to ‘just leave.”

How to Leave An Abusive Spouse

Reason She Stays:

Financial Burden

How to get out, How to Leave an abusive Spouse.

To fully comprehend the state of crisis a financially burdened abuse victim is in, I need to paint a picture for you:

Imagine, as an adult, you had to ask your parents for money everytime you left to do anything. Like a teenager before their first Job, you are a puppet on their financially stable line. Like most parents, they may ask you to do something in return. Before you can go out with friends Friday night you are to clean your room and wash the dishes. Only then will you get the $40 you asked for and your freedom.

Living with a controlling spouse is similar to this scenario;

Read the Second Post in this Series: How to Hustle for Independent Money In A Hurry [How To Make Money Fast]

except for the list of expectations for the money, you asked to use might be endless. They might ask you to do one thing, only to gaslight you when you come home; pointing out that you failed to notice three other things that you “should’ve done!” He may make you feel guilty about where you want to go and what you want to purchase even if it’s things that are necessary for your family.

Keep in mind, the abusive spouses’ goal is one thing and one thing only: Control.

So, if you think that because a woman wants to leave and she has a job, a vehicle, and somewhere to go makes it a simple process. You haven’t factored in the biggest variable: her submissive mindset to her abuser. In other words: Her fear of him. 
Not to mention the additional cost of daycare and lawyer fees to pursue the divorce or custody if there are children involved.

Watch my Video on How to Co-Parent with A Toxic Ex

If he controls access to the money, and often in abusive relationships the abuser does, how is she to simply take a sum large enough to leave? She may have a family but she’s ashamed.

Women who are abused are taught by their abusers that they deserve their treatment.

So how could she, an undeserving person, ask for help from anyone else?

A shelter you say? Can she go to a shelter? Well, to her the abuse isn’t THAT bad, is it? Is she one of those women?

Victims of abuse are in denial of how bad their situation is. It’s why when you hear of spouses killing their wives, everyone says things like “We had no idea! They seemed so happy!” Victims will suffer in silence, assuming everyone else struggles through similar things in their relationships. They will go on assuming all marriage and relationships are similar to theirs. They shudder at the idea of going to a shelter, shelters are for “abused women” and they aren’t abused. Wait…

This isn’t abused, right?

The fact that abusive men manipulate their victims into believing that they are blameless aids in this confusion as well. 

Perhaps they have a good paying job and manage their own bank account. It’s not unheard of that they simply suffer from abuse when they come home. Then why don’t they ‘just leave’ then? It may be for one of the other reasons below.

Read How To Tell if He’s A Good or Bad Guy Before the Second Date

How to Leave An Abusive Spouse

Reason She Stays:

Religious Obligation

How to get out, How to leave an abusive Spouse, even without money.

When a friend of mine ended her toxic marriage, she knew it had to be done. Although, she had many reservations. She was raised in the Christian church. She was told stories of women whose treatment was similar to hers, who stayed married. Women who may have been being abused, emotionally, even physically by their husbands but never left their marriage. In the thick of trying to make a decision she was told of women who prayed every day for their husband, and eventually “God got a hold of him and he had enlightenment!

Her church community reminded her of passages in the bible that call for women to submit themselves to their husbands.

Instructed by her elders that her husband was like “many men, eventually, he will grow up.” and that “divorce was sinful!” These well-intentioned remarks made her feel such turmoil and torment. She was distraught at the thought by leaving she was failing God. Taking no self-assessment regarding her misery or endangerment. Marriage was a sacred Vow, she made to God.

Just because her husband hadn’t put much effort to live out the words “to cherish and to love” she shouldn’t break her vows too, she thought.

This is truly heartbreaking. I don’t blame the church for theses misplaced good intentions, I blame the lack of education on domestic violence and how it is interpreted by different people. People, well-meaning do not understand the confines of a domestic violent and toxic relationship, including many Christ-following Christians.

Women stay, oftentimes against their better judgment to appease their perception of God’s wants for their life. I’m not going to debate whether that is wrong or right on here, that’s not the message I’d like to send. Just understand that many women will stay in violent, toxic, sometimes dangerous relationships if they feel they are failing God by leaving.

People, simply do not understand the confines of domestic violence and toxic relationships, including many Christ-following Christians. 

– Lacy Estelle

How to Leave An Abusive Spouse

Reason She Stays:

Broken Family Guilt:

Not all women who are in domestic violent, toxic or emotionally abusive relationships have children but the ones who do will struggle to leave from the guilt of breaking up the family. Abusers will taunt them saying that by seeking their freedom from their control they are breaking their family apart! Blaming them for the divorce or separation rather than to take responsibility for the role they are playing.

While staying for kids might be a probable solution in a loveless marriage, that’s not the same as a toxic marriage.

Children raised in homes by a single parent, who experience, love, support, and security likely grow up to be contributing members of society. Make no mistake though, a victim may feel that they can simply handle the abuse to keep the family together. They may also fear that by leaving they will have to share parenting time with their ex and the children will no longer have them as a shield in his or her care. Feeling like they have more control over the emotional or physical abuse their children experience will keep a protective parent around long after the abuse has escalated to high. Risking them taking more abuse than they can handle mentally, physically or emotionally. Never underestimate the pressure of needing to stay for the kids.

Read How I Know You’re Worth it. 

How to Leave An Abusive Spouse

Reason She Stays: 

Confusion from Gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a term used to describe the manipulative tactics abusers use to distort their victim’s perception of reality. Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie huh? Unfortunately, it’s easier to do than you probably think.

Ever noticed something, pointed it out to someone else and they simply tell you that’s not true or you’re imagining that it didn’t happen that way? That is one simple form of gaslighting. Sometimes, your memory really is deceiving you. Toxic relationship victims, however, are treated with this tactic by the abuser to deny fault.

Let’s say the victim notices that the abuser hasn’t been coming home until 2 hours past the time they leave for work. Late at night she also notices text messages on his phone that are inappropriate for a married man. She also notes that the abuser seems disinterested in her lately.

Unsure if what you are experiencing is Abuse? Read the book that helped me understand the abuser’s mindset. 

The victim might stand up for themselves and ask “Who is that on your phone?!

Instead of answering the question truthfully [that they may be having an affair, considering one, or flirt with a girl from the office etc.] they will say:

“It’s no one. Geez! You’re always so paranoid and freak out over stupid stuff!”

Leaving the victim only one way to start responding: Defending her actions. But the more the abuser denies, the more the victim starts to question: Is he right? Is she overreacting and just being insecure?

Before the end of the night, she will be the one asking for forgiveness for even saying anything at all.

Sounds ridiculous right?! But it happens, every day in toxic relationships.

Imagine someone, whose thoughts, and even factual evidence she places in front of her spouse is denied, vehemently. Now ask that same woman to not doubt herself, and find the courage to leave her abuser? Think she could do it? With the snap of your fingers? No. She can’t. She doesn’t even trust herself anymore. She’s been conditioned this way, by the man who is suppose to love her.

How to Leave An Abusive Spouse

Reason She Stays:


How to get out, how to leave an abusive spouse, Alcoholism, CoDependency

Often times in abusive relationships there is codependency from both parties present. One, the abuser, trying to control the victim. And the Victim, being abused trying to control the abuser. If there is alcohol or any sort of addiction involved the victim can mistake the addiction for the “reason” the abuser lashes out. Convincing themselves that “If he would just get sober, he would be better…” Sometimes making themselves sick with anxiety over their spouse’s addiction.

Feeling like they simply should stay to help their abuser get better is their way of trying to take control of the situation. Perhaps if they just throw out the alcohol, drugs etc. Maybe if they tell them they MUST go to AA, Rehab etc. or they will leave them (ultimatums)? What if the victim makes it easier for him, and just stops nagging? Or the scariest one, perhaps they just join them in their addiction.

Codependency is a two way street in toxic relationships and the only way to overcome it is for one party to detach. It’s easier for the victim to do than the abuser. But still extremely difficult. Usually, the only way a victim can detach is to remove themselves from the home, temporarily or long-term until the addicted abuser gets the help they need. 

So what is a Woman to do when faced with the difficult decision of how to leave an abusive spouse?

In this series, I will be diving deep into each one of these reasons a woman stays, how to make a decision that will be life altering, and how to leave if she so chooses. It’s not easy though, and it will require friends. I will be interviewing experts on the subject, as well as talking to other women who found hope. 

Most importantly, we will discuss life after an abusive relationship. That it’s possible to find love after an abusive relationship and happiness. 

Be sure to subscribe to receive the latest in this series below. If you have questions until then, you can always e-mail me at [email protected]

Sending all my love and good fortune to you and yours through this screen.

Read Next Post in this Series

LacyEstelle with Empowered Mom Life and Blogger Lacy estelle naturally combatting ADHD

This is the First Part of a 6 Part In-Depth Series to help people better understand the circumstances surrounding victims of domestic violence, their mindset, and the obstacles they face. It is meant to aid in their quest for freedom but not to be taken as legal, health or distinct advice. Please visit our full disclaimer at the link at the top of the page.

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