Leaving Abuse – What to Expect in the Months That Follow

July 17, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

I've come to believe that the abusive relationship I lived within oppressed me to the point of blindness. Without it, I see my own strength and possibility.

The whirling emotions of the day I left continued into the next months. I continued to hold on to the positive feelings and thoughts with the help of my sister, mother and friends. Without them, I wonder if I would have succumbed to begging forgiveness from Will, begging him to come home, knowing I'd only find myself worse off in the long term.

Within A Month of Leaving Abuse

Feelings and thoughts: Fear, grief, injustice. Sureness of path, planning.

The next two were a roller coaster of events and decisions. I feared Will would return home, so I changed the locks and kept a bat by my bed along with the knife under my pillow. I used our credit card to buy pepper spray, locks, three suitcases and new clothes for the boys and me to fill them in case we had to run in an emergency. I bought a laptop that I told no one about because I thought Will would try to take my computer - my connection to the outside world via my blog.

I addressed fearful scenarios in my mind. What would I do if Will showed up while I slept? What would I do if he showed up during the day? Almost everyone told me, "Will won't do that," but how could they know? Were they there, looking on, during the fights, the abuse? They only knew what Will wanted them to know, nothing more. I felt better after designing answers to my questions; at least I had a plan.

After the fear, I grieved, hard. I grieved the death of the marriage, the death of our family as it was. I grieved because Will was gone, I grieved because I was unable to make the relationship work. For two weeks, I grieved, immobile.

Marc ran away from home, then chose to live with his father. Marc emailed me saying that I was manipulative and controlling. He said that I was sick and he couldn't bear to be around me. He said I was overdosing my medication (anti-depressants) and needed serious help. Marc and his father filled Eddie's ears when Eddie visited his dad's RV.

I knew the truth would come out. I knew my children would see, eventually. If I'd known it would take another year for them to see, I don't know if I could have continued. As it was, I simply believed.

Within Four Months of Leaving Abuser

Feelings and thoughts: Sadness, loss, threatened, abandoned. Ambition, hope, promise, oneness, courage.

In court, the judge granted primary custody of both boys to Will after talking to Marc and Eddie. Eddie wanted to be with his brother; Marc refused to live with me. Will smiled, held it over my head, asked me if this was what I'd wanted because it sure as hell was what I deserved; he offered me a financial pittance in hope I'd tuck my tail between my legs and vanish, humiliated.

When I didn't run, Will took another tact. He began emphasizing that "we are both fit parents" but yet wouldn't allow Eddie to visit me as he desired. He told me to negotiate the money with him, and that would allow him to relinquish control over my paltry visitation.

On my own, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself at first. I began classes at the local Small Business Association on how to fill out an application, create a resume, and interview for a position. I took a class on entrepreneurship and a creative writing course at the community college (free under the domestic violence program provisions at the Woman's Center).

I didn't know where I was going, but I was moving, figuratively and literally. I didn't want our house. Everywhere I looked I saw a place we'd argued, a place full of malignancy and fear. I didn't know how I would leave, but seeing that Will had primary custody, he was "entitled" to the house. I didn't know from where the money would come so I could leave it.

But then the tax return came and he split it with me. I had enough for deposit and first three months rent to the little house I'd seen in my dreams. I moved out. Everything improved.

A Year Away From Abuser

Feelings and thoughts: Worry, sadness. Wonder, passion, excitement, capability, retribution, faith, comfort, joy, peace, detachment, strength, gratefulness, challenge.

Once in my own home, free of memories and oppression, I found work. I enjoyed the labor for it offered a zen-like healing. I began to see evidence that it was, in fact, going to be all right.

I missed my children, but it wasn't long before Eddie was with me almost half time. Marc was visiting too although with fewer days than his brother. I thought that, in time, he would come around also.

butterfliesI began practicing detachment from Will and his abusive texts and phone calls. What did I care if he said I was any certain thing or if he saw things differently from me? His words now cemented our demise instead of drawing me close in the cycle of abuse. I couldn't believe I had such joy and peace in my life despite the challenges I faced.

I found a job working with troubled youth, decided to invite a relationship into my life, and experienced butterflies of excitement after so many years of nothingness.

I couldn't see the end, but I could see the beginning to it. I am glad I left, and I am grateful for the challenges I face because I know they're set before me for a reason. I have no doubt that this life I'm creating is the one I'm meant to live. Free of abuse, I am able to spread my wings without fear of torment.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, July 17). Leaving Abuse – What to Expect in the Months That Follow, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

AllUCanBe (Barb)
July, 17 2011 at 4:33 am

Hi Kellie,
Read both Part 1 and 2 and hope you'll continue on with the story of your progress. I admire your courage for taking a stand for yourself and your children in leaving an abusive relationship not knowing what was in store for you.
Your post gives others hope who are themselves stuck in an abusive relationship that once you get past all the worries of what can go wrong if you leave, that in fact, it's very freeing and allows a better life, one free of abuse and once out from under that, you can begin to create a life you were meant to have. Loved your closing line "Free of abuse, I am able to spread my wings without fear of torment."
Continued healing, growth and happiness!
Take care, Barb

July, 17 2011 at 6:31 am

Your story is very inspirational. I hold out on the possiblity that I can have a good ending just like you. I see abusers will always be abusers. And my situation was the same in how they turn others against you. One can only hope that one day the truth will come out. With that I have to hold on to my sanity that I am not crazy and the abuse was really there. Its a long road to travel. I am glad that you have found peace for yourself. And I applaud you for your transparency so you can help others.

July, 20 2011 at 1:35 am

Awesome story. I liked the fact that the time line away from your abuser ......reflects growth and healing.
I am trying to hold on to the line you wrote, "“Free of abuse, I am able to spread my wings without fear of torment.”
Recently been offered a new job more $$ 65 miles away from my abuser. We (as a couple) had a nice last night.
Regardless, I am scared as heck to move forward. I have no living family. No $$ for the move. Praying that God gives me clarification through these blogs.
Stay strong......people like me need more inspirational stories like yours.

July, 29 2011 at 6:38 am

Hello Kellie,
Thanks for sharing your story. I will remember it often as I proceed with an upcoming plan that is similiar in nature. No physical abuse, just lots of emotional abuse. I'm excited about my new horizon but also worried if I'm making the right decision. My gut tells me I am..but you tend to forget the bad stuff that happens...or at least the intensity of it...leaving you wondering if it really is that bad...but I know that it is...and that I need to move forward with the rest of my life....I'm trying to think forward, visualizing myself confident, happy, successful and perhaps someday a new special someone will come along to share my life with....I look forward to that day because life is to be shared not to be lived in isolation...but I know I've got a rocky road ahead for a short time to survive through...but I can do it...I wish you the best and will pray for you and your sons...

July, 29 2011 at 6:17 pm

Moving into my own apartment after 21 years of verbal, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual abuse. He doesn't see it as abuse but did say 'sorry' for choking me - actually said he wasn't choking me as he 'only had his hands around my neck.' He was very concerned because he 'didn't know he was capable of that'. The sad part is that he was more concerned about how his actions affected him than about how I was affected!
I stayed with him mainly because, since there had been abuse in my past, I came to believe I must somehow have deserved it. I now have come to understand that God did not create me to be abused.
Many have told me it will be much better in a year and I'm believing it.
Thank you for sharing your story - Blessings to you!

July, 31 2011 at 7:48 am

I left two years ago and our divorce was final April 2, 2010. It was verbal abuse, and I can identify with those who keep diminishing the intensity of the abuse. I did that, too. We have a son, now 22 years old, who I kept protecting for years. I thot things would improve, but they only became worse over time. I left in 2001 after 20 years of marriage and we were separated for 2 years, when I went back for the sake of our family. I had had a breakdown. I am still healing from it all, mainly through Al-Anon, for families and friends of alcoholics. My ex abused drugs until 1987 but never healed from their effects. He was functional and a good provider, but he had to contantly demean me, apparently thinking it made him seem better somehow. I grieve for my son because we never did have a happy home.

August, 4 2011 at 9:43 am

what resources are there for men?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
August, 6 2011 at 7:53 am

Which resources are you looking for? Are you being abused or are you abusing someone you love?

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