Financial problems often occur, after we leave our abusive partner. This happens for a variety of reason. If you are struggling to survive, living in a less than ideal place and feeling frustrated, then you are not alone.
When you are living with someone, there is bound to be financial entanglement of some sort. You were both working and sharing the bills, or one of you was working and paying the bills. If you were the one that was not working, then it was an added reason why you stayed longer than you wanted to.
I ended up having to move in with the family of my ex husband. My ex mother and father in law agreed to let me rent the attic floor of their large home. This was very less than ideal for me, in many ways. I could write fifty posts and still not be done explaining the retraumatization I have gone through by moving in here.
But we have to get out when we have to get out. We all have a breaking point. For most of us, the point at which we left the abuser was much later into the abuse than we should have left. It is easy to know that the relationship is terrible, but it is not as easy to figure out how to leave.
You can’t just walk out the door and go sleep in your car for the next year. Well I suppose you could if the weather was not too cold, you had no kids with you and the police did not catch you. But obviously living in the car is not the first thing that women want to do. I have heard stories of women doing this for a month or so and I admire them for their courage.
So, if the car is out, then what? You can go to a shelter. The women’s shelters vary from state to state and county to county. Some of them are pretty decent and will provide counseling to help you to get back on your feet. They can connect you to resources for food, housing and employment. Some of the shelters have people that can help you with legal things, like a restraining order.
You can move in with a friend or a relative. You can try to rent an apartment, but many women from abuse have bad credit due to the abuser damaging her finances and her credit.
You can couch surf from house to house, when people can let you stay for short periods of time. This would be very traumatizing for anyone who needs to feel that they are home. You have lived in abuse for a long time and you had no safe place to call home. The feeling of still not having a home to come to at the end of the day, is very sad and lonely.
It is the same when you have to stay with friends or relatives. It is not your home. You were forced to leave the home you knew and to become like a war orphan, looking for a place to call home. The lack of a home that you feel comfortable coming to, is retraumatizing. Your brain needs peace and safety.
It is so difficult to heal when you are being retraumatized by so many things. The lack of feeling safe and comfortable is one of them. There is the issue of the abuser coming after you. You have to find a safe place where they cannot find you. You can sometimes get a restraining order which can help some, but they are not perfect.
If the abuser is going to know where you are living, then you need to feel that the people you are living with will protect you. I moved in here, because there are three adult men that live in this house. They are all relatives or ex in law type relatives. My brother in law would protect me, if he was here when anything happened.
I felt that the fact that the guys cars were in the driveway, it was obvious that guys lived here, would deter any problems from my ex. This turned out to be correct in my case, but each case is unique. Some people have to move out of state to feel safe.
Then you have the issue of how to make a living. I did not feel comfortable working at the same job that my ex used to pick me up from work. he knew my days of work and my shift schedule like the back of his hand. He even had found out the code to get onto the door that locks down after dark.
By the end of the relationship, he had been causing me problems at work. His behavior was inappropriate when he was in the parking lot and also when he came inside to wait for me. Some nights when he was feeling rage, he would slam his body into the signs and things in the parking lot. I asked him to stop, because I did not want security coming. To that he would reply something about being able to beat up the security guard. This was embarrassing and it also endangered my job.
When he came inside, he would sometimes start an arguement with me, in the front area where my coworkers and supervisors could hear him. This would involve cuss words and demeaning treatment of me. It was embarrassing and also could have costed me my job, because they did not want unsafe behavior in the facility or any behavior that might upset the patients.
After we broke, up he used to stalk me at work. He would show up and wait for me in the parking lot, when I was walking to my car in the dark, at midnight. This was really annoying and a bit scary. He also used to leave things in my car. This used to frighten me the most, because I felt like he was making it clear to me that he knew where my car was and could open the door at any time. I had nightmares about him waiting in the car for me, but that never happened.
I changed jobs and had to take what I could get. Many victims of domestic abuse end up having to take low paying jobs and living way under the socio-economic level they are used to.
This again, is retraumatizing. We are in the process of trying to heal from the abuse, and we are being traumatized by living in poverty. We now have to choose between food , prescriptions, and doctor appts. We cannot afford therapists, unless we find something at a free clinic or a charity care.
The other thing which occurs after leaving a domestic abuse situation, is the onslaught of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). If you have PTSD from the abuse, this may affect your behavior and ability to function at work. Depending on your job and how well you manage your symptoms, PTSD can cause you to have trouble moving up in a company, getting a new job, or even getting to work on time.
Our transportation may also be adversely affected. In my case, my ex was the one who drove me to work and picked me up from work. He was not working during the last several months of our relationship and I did not have a car.
His ride to work and home was basically his contribution to the rent. Even though the girls at work used to tell me how he was such a wonderful guy, because he always picked me up from work. Those women would scold me when I worked over time by a half an hour, just to get money for the rent.
They told me it was so rude of me to force him to wait. What they did not know was that I had told him how late I was working and he chose to come early (after I asked him not to) just to give them his sob story about being so tired and having to wait for me.
They also did not know that he had not been working all day, like they assumed and I was the one working the extra hours , so that we could have food on the table. It is amazing how people think that “the facts speak for themselves.”
It is terrible to live in a domestic abuse situation, The mental torment that the abuser does to your poor brain is soul stealing and self esteem crushing. It causes us to question our own value and worth. There is no way we can stay with them, without endangering ourselves, in a physical way, a financial way or a mental way.
But the problem is that, it can be terrible when you get out too! Many of us are financially devastated, struggling to survive and being retraumatized while we are trying to heal our brains. It is a hard road for many of us.
I do not want to deter anyone from leaving a domestic abuse situation. My only words to you would be to get as much help as you can. Contact the women’s shelter , even if you do not want to stay there. Just let them know who you are and what your situation is. There may be things they can assist you with, other than just living there.
Let your friends know and any relatives you trust. Let the pastor of the church know, if they are someone you feel you can trust. The more of a support network you have, the better for you when you leave. You cannot anticipate all the things you will need help with or who might be able to help you.
Connect with people here on wordpress. Get into a facebook closed group or some other internet help group to talk to. Let your primary care doctor know and try to have some kind of counselor or therapist on hand, even if you do not think you will need one.
Have as many resources ready to be there for you, as you possibly can. There are so many obstacles to overcome and you cannot do it alone. I tried to go through my exit plan and rebuilding with no support from anyone. it has caused me more trauma and mental injury than needed to be.
If I could go back in time, I would have rallied more people to my aide. There are friends that I have not talked to very much in the last few years, that I recently told about my struggle to get out of domestic abuse. They were sorry that I had not told them about what I was going through.
I was wrong that they were too busy to help me. Many people told me that they would have been there for me and could have provided support in various ways. I should have reached out for help. I was too scared and I felt unworthy of help from others.
You are worthy of help and there is help available from multiple places. It is difficult to get back on your feet, but you can do it. You matter !