Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z: Leaving Checklist

Broken Heart symbolBroken Heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)When we marry or become involved with someone, leaving's the last thing on our minds. There is no safety net - who needs a safety net? We are in love, we are going to make the relationship work.

End of story.

Only, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it is necessary, for our our mental and physical well-being, to leave someone we might still love very much.

So, how do you detach, and emotionally prepare to leave?

During this part of separating from "The Loser", you recognize what you must do and create an Exit Plan. Many individuals fail in attempts to detach from "The Loser" because they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources. In many cases, "The Loser" has isolated their partner from others, has control of finances, or has control of major exit needs such as an automobile. During the detachment phase you should...

  • Observe the way you are treated. See how "The Loser" works

  • Gradually become more boring, talk less, share less feelings and opinions. The goal is almost to bore "The Loser" to lessen the emotional attachment, at the same time not creating a situation which would make you a target.

  • Quietly contact your family and supportive others. Determine what help they might be - a place to stay, protection, financial help, etc

  • If you fear violence or abuse, check local legal or law enforcement options such as a restraining order.

  • If "The Loser" is destructive, slowly move your valuables from the home if together, or try to recover valuables if in their possession. In many cases, you may lose some personal items during your detachment - a small price to pay to get rid of "The Loser".

  • Stop arguing, debating or discussing issues. Stop defending and explaining yourself - responding with comments such as "I've been so confused lately" or "I'm under so much stress I don't know why I do anything anymore".

  • Begin dropping hints that you are depressed, burned out, or confused about life in general. Remember - "The Loser" never takes responsibility for what happens in any relationship. "The Loser" will feel better about leaving the relationship if they can blame it on you. Many individuals are forced to "play confused" and dull, allowing "The Loser" to tell others "My girlfriend (or boyfriend) about half nuts!" They may tell others you're crazy or confused but you'll be safer. Allow them to think anything they want about you as long as you're in the process of detaching.

  • Don't start another relationship. That will only complicate your situation and increase the anger. Your best bet is to "lay low" for several months. Remember, "The Loser" will quickly locate another victim and become instantly attached as long as the focus on you is allowed to die down.

  • As "The Loser" starts to question changes in your behavior, admit confusion, depression, emotionally numbness, and a host of other boring reactions. This sets the foundation for the ending of the relationship.

  • Many times, even though it is extremely painful, a relationship can be ended amicably. but if your partner has been physically violent, or has threatened physical violence in the past, keep yourself safe. You are under no obligation to give your partner a face to face goodbye if you believe there is ANY chance s/he might harm you. 

    Sometimes, he or she would rather see his or her partner dead, than see him/her walk out the door. The most dangerous time for a man or woman in a domestic violence situations is often when s/he is telling their partner they are about to end the relationship; trying to walk out the door, or trying to force their partner to leave.

    Do not overrule your instincts because you want to be a Nice Guy/Gal, or because you are afraid of overreacting and looking foolish. Foolish is a much better look for you than a body bag.

    Verbal abuse always precedes physical abuse. This woman had been so cowed that she would stand and take an hour-long rant from her husband in hopes it would defuse him (it didn't).

    Shocking video? Yes. But except for the actual physical violence, the verbal abuse was much like I received on a regular basis. I justified it on his behalf; told myself he was ill and couldn't help himself. Eventually, I realized it didn't matter if he was physically or mentally ill; there is no excuse for abuse.

    1. Start a private bank account in a bank that your SO doesn't use and put money in it.
    2. Rent a post office box and forward your mail to it.
    3. Have a safe place to stay, preferably where your partner won't easily find you.
    4. Reconnect with responsible and supportive friends and family who were pushed away during your relationship with your partner.
    5. Make copies of important documents that you will need:
      - Bank/Credit Card records
      - Telephone records
      - past tax return copies, bills, financial records etc.
      - educational and medical records for the children
    6. Put the following in a secure location:
      - your credit/debit/atm cards
      - wedding/birth certificates,
      - passports
      - photographs and family treasures that you want to keep
    7. Locate important records concerning your SO
      - Driver license, License plate #
      - Social Security #

    1. Have a bag in the car with clothes, medications & toiletries, spare keys etc.
    2. Close all joint bank accounts, credit cards etc immediately.
    3. Make sure your mail is being re-routed to your new location.
    4. Don't tell your partner you are leaving until you are on the way to the safe place. Use a pay phone on the way, preferably not at your destination city. Do not use the telephone at the safe place as this will show on Caller ID.
    • Stay away!
    • Let the answering machine do the talking for you.
    • Bring backup when you go to collect your things.
    • Don't let yourself be alone with your SO.
    • Police and/or Sheriff are willing go with you in nearly every city.
    Do not assume because you are a big, strong man, that you are safe. Men are also victims of domestic violence, and men are also killed by their partners.

    Everybody deserves to be safe. No one deserves to be berated for hours in front of their children (or even in private behind closed doors). No one deserves to be beaten, slapped, or verbally degraded.

    I just watched a short (15 minute) version of Telling Amy's Story, a documentary about how police unpacked and broke down all the pieces of how a young woman entered a relationship that turned into a violent marriage that ended in her murder, with her parents and children only a few yards away.

    What the detective had to say was very chilling. In a relationship with domestic violence, there are only three outcomes:
    1) The batterer stops the abuse. (Which is extremely rare without outside intervention, such as "anger management classes or jail" options.)
    2) The victim leaves the relationship.
    3) Someone is going to die.
      If you are unclear as to whether you are being emotionally abused, see the link, below. Get help, and get out, as soon as you can do so, safely. Please, be a survivor, not a statistic.

      My A-Z theme is Issues related to Mental Health or Mental Illness.

      Have you ever had to leave a relationship 
      with someone you truly loved?
      Any tips you can share?
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