Leaving the Abuser

When a woman leaves her abuser, the abuser goes through a process of emotions and behaviors that is quite predictable. This is the separation process:

At first, the abuser says such things as, “Go ahead and leave. I don’t care. I’ve got
lots of women after me. I don’t need you.”

Manipulative “Anger”
Now the abuser shows his “anger.” Abusers are no more angry than anyone else. Anger
is a tool abusers use to gain and maintain control. If there are children in the family, for instance, he may claim his outrage is because the survivor is keeping the children from him and “I demand the right to see my kids!”

Manipulative Courting
The abuser tries to hook the victim back into the relationship and succeeds in more than
a few cases. The abuser begins to court the survivor again, perhaps with a trip down memory lane: “Remember when we met? Remember when the baby was born?” He also promises to change: “I’ll quit drinking. I’ll get counseling.” He won’t discuss his choice to use abuse; he will talk only about past good times and the promise of good times to come. He says he wants her back.

Defaming the Survivor
He tells lies about the survivor to everyone who knows her. His goal is to isolate her socially and to wipe out any support she might have among friends and family. Many times, the woman does not know about the lies. One of the most common lies is that the woman was having an affair, a lie that he can use to justify his violent behavior.

Renewed Manipulative “Anger”
Once he recognizes the survivor is not coming back to him, he renews his manipulative
“anger.” The victim may be in danger. The abuser is more likely to carry out threats he made during the relationship and earlier in the separation cycle.

What you can do
If any of this applies to you, see Plan For Safety, Identify Support and Survival Needs for
more information on how to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible.