Are you in the process of preparing to leave an abusive relationship? If you are, you’ve got a lot of things to consider. One of the most important is where do you go from here – as in, where will you live when you leave?
Finding a Safe Place to Live When You Leave an Abusive Relationship
Once you are ready to leave your abusive relationship, and you have the important documents you need in hand, you’ve got a good start. You’ll have your car fueled up and ready to go when you make that final move. Where do you go? Fortunately, there are options. Making that plan before you leave is an absolute must – but when you’re being financially abused (as is often the case in these toxic relationships) or you’re struggling financially for any reason, you might be worried about how you’ll survive. And of course, you’ve got to consider your safety, as well as the safety of your kids, if you have any. Even a “non-violent” abuser can become violent when you leave – so be very careful.
What is Financial Abuse?
Financial Abuse is a manipulation and control tactic used by an abuser in which they use money to control and or manipulate you. This can be done by restricting you from accessing family money or by forcing you to provide all of the money. Financial abuse may involve blatant lying about, theft of, and/or hiding of family money, among other forms of manipulation and control.
This video offers an expanded discussion on financial abuse in toxic relationships.
Places to Live When You Leave an Abusive Relationship
Whether you’re dealing with financial abuse or not, you still might not be sure where to go when you’re getting out of the relationship. Here are some options you can consider for a place to live when you’re leaving an abuser.
Maybe You Don’t Have to Leave
While this is not always an option, in some cases, you might actually be able to keep your home and kick the abuser out. This could be the case when you owned the home prior to the relationship, or when you’ve paid for all or most of the home. It might also be the case when you have children who are school-aged. However, as you’re probably well-aware, getting a toxic person to leave their home can be nearly impossible in some cases. If that is your situation, you might temporarily leave and work with an attorney to legally evict them.* Be sure to check the eviction laws in your area and speak to an expert or attorney who can help.
*This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. Always check your local laws.
Set Yourself Up Ahead of Time
If you’re not being financially abused and you can’t keep your existing home, you could set yourself up in a new home or apartment on the down-low. Don’t let the abuser know what you’re doing. Make sure your phone isn’t being tracked, and if it is, leave it at home and get a backup while you set up the new place so they won’t be able to find the new place if that is a concern. Over the course of a month or so, you could rent a new place and set it up, slowly moving your things a little at a time. Then, you can just be gone one day when your abuser comes home. Alternatively, one survivor I know happened to own an apartment building. She actually moved her abuser into an apartment and taped the key, address, and a goodbye note to her front door the day she changed the locks. Obviously, this option is not going to work for everyone who is in this situation as narcissists and other abusers often DO financially abuse their victims.
Stay With A Trusted Friend Or A Trusted Family Member
You might have the option to crash with a friend or family member for a while while you get back on your feet. Be aware that it’s really important for you to be open and honest about the abuse you endure when you speak to this person about staying with them. Even if this person isn’t able to let you stay forever, it can be a way to get out immediately and plan your next steps.
However, not everyone is so fortunate to have a trusted friend or family member who will gladly take them in after they leave an abusive relationship. Since most abusers end up isolating their victims, you may have no one left who you feel you can trust. Don’t worry – as alone as you feel, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the same position. But what do you do in that case? And what happens to you if you are in that position? Fortunately, there are other options you can consider.
Find A Domestic Violence Shelter
If you cannot go and stay with a trusted friend or family member, you can always stay at a domestic violence shelter. These shelters are also known as women’s shelters, and they are generally a group of apartments or a building where abused women can escape from their abusers. Even better, these shelters will be sensitive to your specific situation, so you never have to worry about the abuser finding out where you are as everything is kept private. You will be given a burner phone or an unlisted landline in the meantime, or you can always change your cell number.
If you have children, the good news is that there is usually enough room for both you and the children. Generally, the shelter will provide everything for your basic needs, including childcare and food. You cannot stay at the shelter for an infinite amount of time, but you won’t need to worry about that. If you don’t have a job, the shelter will help you find one (and even offer you job training in many cases). You’ll also get help with finding a permanent place to live when the time comes for you to do so. The great thing about the shelter is that you can receive access to legal help, support groups, counseling, financial help, health services, and educational opportunities.
In other words, you are not left high and dry if you go to a shelter – you’ll be given help and resources that can save you in so many ways.
Staying Safe at a Domestic Violence Shelter
Often, when you’ve been in an abusive relationship with a toxic narcissist, you might find yourself worried that they will become stalkers (and they often do). The domestic violence shelter option can be your safest bet in these cases if you don’t have a friend or family member who can protect you.
You are usually not required to give your personal information when you go to a shelter, and they may even give you a false name to keep you protected. If you are unsure how to get access to a shelter, you can talk to your therapist and look for organizations in your area about domestic abuse. Reach out to them, and they will be there to help you.
Alternative Option for a Place to Stay When Leaving a Narcissist
If you don’t have a friend or family member you can stay with, and you’re not able to get into a shelter (or prefer not to), you might need an alternative option for a place to go when you leave. So, here’s a quick, easy, and relatively cheap place to live (at least temporarily) when you leave your abuser. This idea came from one of the members of our SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Group chat.
Important to Consider: If you choose to move to a new city or area to get away from your abuser, you will need to become acclimated to the new location. That also means if you have kids, they will need to go to a new school.
Ultimately, remember this: You are never completely stuck. And while leaving might mean that you have to temporarily adjust your lifestyle, it can also mean that you actually get your life back. You deserve that – and you do not need to trap yourself with the abuser. You can break free and stay safe. Here are some additional resources for you.
Find a safe place to stay when leaving an abusive relationship
In the US: visit Womenslaw.org for a state-by-state directory of domestic violence shelters in the U.S.
Bonchay is also a survivor, so when she realized that very few people knew about narcissistic abuse, she felt moved to take action to raise awareness.
Her book, “I Am Free,” is a groundbreaking compilation that uses real-life stories to illustrate how survivors can escape unhealthy relationship dynamics.Meet Bree Bonchay, the founder, and discover why this day matters.
Talking World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day with Founder Bree Bonchay
Why is World Narcissistic Awareness Day so important?
“Narcissistic abuse is such an under-recognized public health issue because describing what you can’t see or prove presents a huge challenge, and narcissists can easily present themselves as loving guardians and partners,” Bonchay said in a press release, noting that this is why she had chosen to use the hashtag #IfMyWoundsWereVisible.
“That’s more people than are affected by depression,” she said. “Yet there is a lack of public education and awareness campaigns about it.”
Think about how profound this is: If this were any other physical or mental health issue, it could qualify as a pandemic — underscoring the need for greater awareness.
“It’s important we raise awareness about narcissistic abuse not only to protect the individual victim but because ultimately it impacts us all,” she said. And this, my friends, is one of the many reasons we are here at QueenBeeing, doing what we do to serve our fellow survivors.
What does the #IfMyWoundsWereVisible hashtag mean?
“We came up with the hashtag, #IfMyWoundsWereVisible, because, unlike physical abuse where a single strike or blow, narcissistic abue often leaves marks or bruises and qualifies an act of domestic violence, narcissistic abuse is invisible,” Bonchay said. “Narcissistic abuse is the sum of many unseen injuries.
World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day is an occasion to remember that abuse has no boundaries and that everyone should be informed about narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and narcissistic abuse recovery.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
SPANily members have asked for a private coaching & connection forum that would be away from Facebook. And, if you ask me? With good reason.
Their abusers had access to their accounts or could see their activity
Their families and friends were asking questions about their groups
They didn’t want to share anything on Facebook
They had left Facebook to hide from their abusers
Plus, as many people noted, they sometimes felt triggered by those who were in different levels of recovery.
For example, one survivor who was still in the discovery phase (she had just recognized the abuse) was upset by another survivor who was in the evolution phase because it made her feel hopeless about her own situation.
And several survivors who were early in the overcoming phase or early in their efforts to go and stay no contact found themselves triggered by people who were still in the relationships and still posting about what they were going through with their abusers.
That caused people to ask for a way to only see the posts that were relevant to certain stages of recovery.
Facebook didn’t give us a simple way to do that, so when we found a way to both create recovery level groups AND a way to make a completely private and secure home for the SPANily, we jumped at it!
Since this setup isn’t free, we are asking the SPANily to help us out with a very small investment of just $3.99 a month. This covers both the cost of the platform as well as our coaches to support you and staff to help keep everything in order.
Still, a lot of SPANily members said they didn’t want to pay for something they couldn’t try out – and I totally get that! So, I talked it over with my team, and we decided to give you a free one-week membership trial so you can get a feel for the platform and how it works.
If you decide that you don’t want to continue, you can just let us know and you won’t be charged. Sound good?
Have you ever been told that you’re too hard on yourself? What about toward others? No one appreciates negative criticism, even if you believe you’re being helpful. Believe it or not, your inner self doesn’t appreciate it when you criticize yourself, either.
Luckily, you can learn to have a more positive attitude toward yourself and others, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. With a simple action here and altering a habit there, you’ll soon find your outlook changing.
Try these strategies:
Give compliments. When you feel compelled to criticize or judge someone, use your willpower to say something nice instead.
You could even keep your compliment to yourself and simply think it. However, you’ll be surprised how much your relationships improve if you’re willing to speak your kindness aloud.
Think about your positive attributes for a few minutes each day. Catch yourself when you start to speak negatively to yourself. Say something positive instead.
Consider the difference between giving advice and being critical. Advice is helpful and has a positive intention. Criticism has a negative intent and isn’t helpful.
Think carefully – what are your true intentions? What are you honestly trying to accomplish?
Do you criticize yourself? Why? Imagine someone you cared about was in the same situation. What advice would you give them?
Start your day with a positive attitude. By getting your day off to a positive start, you’ll be less likely to be critical of yourself or others.
Consider what makes you feel Is it music? Reading inspirational quotes? Remembering your favorite vacation? Making a list of things that fill you with gratitude?
Start your day with positive thoughts and energy. Carry that feeling for as long as you can each day.
Spend more time thinking about what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Thinking about what you don’t want is addressing life from a negative perspective. Keep your thoughts focused on what you do want. Your mood will be lighter and you’ll treat yourself and others more kindly too.
Allow situations and people to be as they are. One of the easiest ways to make yourself unhappy is to believe that everything is supposed to be a certain way. You might believe that others should thank you for a compliment or offer you their seat on the bus, but they might not feel that way.
In reality, everyone views the world differently, and your views aren’t any more correct than anyone else’s. If you think that everyone else should automatically see things through your perspective, you’re likely to be critical and miserable.
Understand the situation. Ensure that you have a complete and accurate understanding before jumping to conclusions. The most critical people in the world are often operating with insufficient information. Before you say something negative, make an effort to get the whole story.
Perhaps the most important issue is self-esteem. Those that are critical of others often do so to make themselves feel more important, superior, or dominant.
It’s also possible you’re using criticism as a way of preventing others from getting too close to you.
Consider why you’re critical of others and yourself. The solution becomes more apparent if you correctly identify the cause.
If you have a tendency to be critical, you can enjoy your life more by making a positive change. Learn to be kind and patient. It just takes practice. Be kind to everyone you meet. Be kind and patient with yourself, too.
Before you know it, this behavior will become a habit and you’ll discover that you’ve acquired a new, positive outlook regarding yourself, others, and life itself.