Planning needed to safely exit abusive relationship: Ellie


A letter writer is unsure how to leave a relationship with a person who is mentally, physically and emotionally abusive


Wed., May 25, 2016

Sixteen years ago, I went on a dating site. I communicated with a man via email for several months before pictures were sent and we met.

Initially, I was afraid to start anything because of our cultural differences. They didnít make our families happy, especially his mom, because I had a child out of wedlock, and Iím black.

I started the relationship thinking my life and my child would be better off. But that wasnít so.

Iíve been the financial provider from the beginning. I wasnít happy about it, but I didnít say anything because I didnít want to be alone.

All these years later, weíre still living in the same apartment, living on my paycheque to paycheque.

Iíve been mentally, physically and emotionally abused.

I want out, but it canít happen because he has nowhere to go.



Youíve put up with too much for too long. Focus on yourself and your child.

This man has taken enough from you ó your hard work, your well-being, and safety.

He will find where to go, because heís selfish and knows how to survive at othersí expense.

Get out, but get out safely. Heís abused you before and can be harmful if he realizes his meal ticket is leaving.

Do a secure search of shelters or agencies that provide help and accommodation (use a public library computer, not your own, to do your research and planning).

Since he knows where you work, alert police to any fears you have about his reaction. If necessary, put a restraining order on him.

Talk to a lawyer or legal clinic. In some jurisdictions, you may need to pay him a settlement to legally separate without further obligation. If so, itís still worth your peace of mind!

I had my first panic attack recently, after a year of struggling with depression.

I live with my husbandís family, who tease me about being depressed and call me names.

My husband isnít good with feelings, especially not mine. So I now hide them from him and them.

I made a goal of improving my life to be happy again.

I got a full-time job, and went back to school. I stopped being dependent, tried harder at being a better wife. I spend more time with my kids.

But I still feel lost. The more I try to hide my feelings, the harder itís getting.

This past week, my stepbrother died. I broke down. I couldnít breathe, couldnít think. I was shaking and numb. I bawled in front of everyone at home, so I ran.

My husband followed me and asked what happened. I told him it was a panic attack. He said Iím overreacting, that anxiety is just made up and used for pity.

So Iím back to hiding hurt and sadness again.

How can I make him and his family more supportive of my anxiety and depression? I need comfort and understanding of how broken I really am.

Anxiety Crisis

Make looking after yourself Goal #1. See a doctor about your anxiety, and discuss an appropriate treatment plan, soon.

You may need medication when you experience panic, and natural strategies may help prevent these (exercise, yoga, etc.)

If thereís any way you and your husband can move out from your insensitive and uninformed in-lawsí home, that should be Goal #2.

If not, ongoing counselling will help you discuss your feelings, and learn ways to manage them.

Your husband and family will see your improvement and hopefully back off.

Tip of the day

Do NOT accept abuse. Make a safe plan to leave, involving police as needed.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday.

Email or visit her website,

Follow @ellieadvice.



Ottawa Mens Centre

 613 797-3237