Ending a Relationship and Leaving
This discussion is not about the advisability of leaving a relationship with a primary aggressor. It is about the safety aspects. Angry attachment produces desperation and rage when a partner tries to leave or separate. By far, leaving is the most dangerous and lethal time for a survivor. Sometimes, it is only when first trying to end a relationship, that a survivor sees the most dangerous side of a primary agressor. Please keep the following things in mind:
- Even if the survivor has clearly told the primary aggressor that the relationship is over, he probably doesn't really believe it. Everything the survivor does without telling him or involving him will be thought of by him as 'going behind his back'. Of course any survivior must do many things without telling or involving him in order to start a new life unencumbered by his control and non-cooperation. It is a dilemma
- The primary aggressor will not cooperate with moving out, or disentangling financial matters, etc...
- If there are children in common, most of what the primary aggressor says and does with the children is intended as a way too influence or punish the survivor. Intense struggles over visitation are about the dependency and angry attachment with the survivor, not about the children.
- If the survivor starts a new relationship, the primary aggressor will likely consider this cheating, because he doesn't agree the relationship is over. The survivor's danger increases.
- Being served a protection order, because it is concrete evidence of the relationship being over, may enrage the primary aggressor and increase the survivor's danger, but of course a protection order may increase the survivor's safety, and a protection order certainly helps with non-cooperation.
- Being served divorce papers, because they also are concrete evidence of the relationship ending, may enrage the primary aggressor and increase the survivor's danger.
- A divorce going to trial or becoming finalized may be the event that triggers the awareness that the relationship is actually ending, and the survivor's danger increases.
- Survivor's should avoid the temptation to tell the primary aggressor what they haven't felt able to say before, because this could evoke serious violence.
- Be prepared for the primary aggressor to launch a serious smear campaign with friends and family. It may well be helpful to tell your side of the story, but remember this type of third party controversy is a way to keep you the survivor involved.
- A 'no contact' policy, if possible, has proven the most useful in countless cases. It is fair to the primary aggressor, because despite his demands, the survivor does not need to explain herself. Contentious contact where the primary aggressor gets hopes up (of manipulating the survivor) and then is frustrated, increases danger. Also the survivor may fall prey to doubt.