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Have you ever felt unwanted, unsafe, or unloved in your relationship? You shouldn't. Domestic abuse can be hard to recognize, and even harder to get away from. People don't tell you what to do when your significant other lashes out at you emotionally, or makes you feel bad about yourself. As someone who went through domestic abuse for almost four years, I feel the need now to be an advocate for those still caught in it. Domestic abuse does NOT have to be physical abuse. Just because they don't harm your body, doesn't mean they aren't harming your psyche. The first step in getting out of an unhealthy relationship, is to recognize that you're in one. Are they angry a lot? Take their emotions out on you? Do they try to convince you everything is your fault? Do you feel unsafe physically, or scared to speak your mind to them? Are they cold/uncaring about your feelings? Lying? Cheating? If yes, you're probably in one. The second step is to tell someone. A friend, co-worker, family, anyone you feel comfortable talking to. Support is going to be critical to leave the situation. A lot of domestic abuse victims find that their partner tended to isolate them from friends and family, so they would feel that their partner is the only support they have. Once you've established support, it's time for step three; leave. If you feel safe to do so, tell your partner in person calmly that you want to end the relationship. Stand your ground. They CANNOT force you to stay in said relationship. If you live together, a smart idea would be to have a bag packed with essentials in your car/friend's/family's/co-workers car and find a place to stay before initiating the break up. Do not argue with them, and if at any point you feel unsafe, call the police, or leave the premises. If you do not feel safe doing this in person, use the technology at your disposal. Yeah, a breakup text sucks, but it sucks much less than being physically or emotionally battered. Step four: Do NOT contact them. They will likely be blowing you up with "I'm sorry," "I can change," and other pleads like that. Do not give in. You may love someone, but that does not mean you should be together. Turn off your phone if you have to. If you work in a public area, inform your supervisor of the situation so precautions can be taken to keep them away from you. Step five: Heal. Domestic abuse can take a huge toll, both body and psyche. It will take time. Always remember that it is NOT your fault. You did not ask for it, or deserve it. Their issues are just that; THEIRS. Not yours. If you live together, find a place to stay temporarily, and make sure when you return to the shared living space you are not alone, and if possible, your ex-partner is not present. And lastly, step six: Move on. You deserve love, happiness, and a good life. You do not deserve to be abused or mistreated.
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