Thursday Thought — Leaving Successfully

I would never pressure you to leave your relationship.  There is way too much that I don’t know.  You might not have any money to go our on your own right now. You might have to stay to protect your children from him.  You may not feel strong enough.  There are many reasons why staying might be the right choice for now.

But if you decide to leave, I want you to succeed, so that you can build the life you desire.  And staying away after you leave is the hard part.  That’s the phase when you have to deal with your fears of what he might do.  That’s when your loneliness comes up, and your sadness.  That’s when he makes promises and starts manipulating you.

So to succeed in staying away you have to have a plan, and it might be best to put it in writing.  It could take you a few weeks and perhaps a number of months to make your plan, so start today.  Here are some of the points to include:

  • Which friends and relatives are going to be good sources of emotional support for you?  When will you tell them that you’re leaving your partner?  What plans do you need to have in place for them?
  • How much money do you need?  How are you going to get it, and hide it?
  • How and where can you tell him safely?  (Alone at home with him is not a good idea.)
  • What steps will you take when you start to feel the urge to go back to him?  (Write the answer to this one in detail:  include phone calls you will make to loved ones, a support group you can attend, a trip away for a few days, and other steps.  Do not keep it a secret from other people that you are thinking of getting back with him; isolation is disastrous.)

Keep adding to your plan in the weeks ahead, so that by the time you are ready to leave, you have a plan that can succeed.

(Excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link] p332-3)

***IMPORTANT NOTE:  While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the “healing retreats” Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his “Peak Living Network”. See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

13 thoughts on “Thursday Thought — Leaving Successfully”

  1. Please pray for my Mom (who also visits this site) today, and my whole family. My “father” is pushing for visitation, even though he privately promised not to force the issue. This has caused my sister to have a mental breakdown. She is currently in the hospital under intensive care in the adolescent mental health unit. “Dad” is still insisting on seeing my brother this weekend, while demanding updates from Mom on her status. He has not bothered to try to visit my sister, like a real father would– though at this point, she would probably have hysterics if he did.

    One benefit of having her in the hospital is that the abuse is now on official record. She desperately needs what they can give her. We have virtually no money right now, so the hospital bills are looming rather threateningly in the future.

    Please pray that we’ll be able to find the money to pay the bills, that Mom would find a job, that Father Dear would back off, that my sister would be able to start healing, etc.

    1. Thank you for reaching out, Harlequin. My prayers are with you and your family. It is good that you are able to find one positive thing. I too am thankful that the abuse is exposed and on official record. This might be the necessary first step for her healing.

  2. My people perish for lack of vision.

    I agree with this post, it is important to have a plan, even if its only first in writing.
    To set your goals and aim to achieve them, one by one however long it may take.
    Determine to never give up.
    I did this almost a year ago and it is hard to believe how far God has brought me once the vision was set, and I began to act towards it.
    It is not easy but God will help you along the way as you step out in faith.

  3. I am having a hard time. I have been deserted, infidelity by my husband, he started cheating on me while I was in medical treatment, he didn’t talk to our children for years after leaving me while they were in college, he then wanted to return where he then deserted me again when I was having medical treatment. He now says he doesn’t remember things he says, he says it must be from his years of drinking, he is trying to get sober. The strange thing is after being married to him over three decades now, I see myself in the situations in the book Should I stay or Should I go (editor’s addition: by Lundy Bancroft), but for some reason, it doesn’t feel like it happened to me.

    So I am at a relative’s house where he just left a few weeks ago, took the car. I have no car or house keys, everything I saved during our marriage etc is at the house. I just feel very detached from life now, like my life wasn’t real. But this book, I am so glad I found it.

    [comment edited to protect commenter’s identity]

    1. Hi Debbie, welcome to the blog 🙂 — and sorry it’s taken me a little while to reply to you.

      I’m so glad you found that book too. We recommend Lundy Bancroft’s works on abuse highly. I think you will also find his book Why Does He DO That? [Affiliate link] helpful.

      From what you wrote, it sounds like you are feeling somewhat numb. That is a feeling that many abuse victims have after being abused and mistreated for a long time. It’s a way of emotionally surviving the mistreatment that our spouse has dished out to us. What they do to us hurts! And it also confuses us, because they lie, shift the blame, minimise the issue, deny things they did, re-write history, etc. All this confusion and pain leaves us reeling, feeling like we might be going crazy, and the emotions are so complex and hard to handle that we often numb ourselves down somewhat, in order simply to survive. So you are not alone, and you are not crazy! You are responding to abuse in the way most of us have!

      I hope you keep reading the blog, and sharing here. We beleive you. Bit by bit, as you read more about abuse and share you story with other survivors, the fog will lift. The numbness also slowly dissipates — but be aware that the numbness is covering pain and grief, so let the tears flow if they come!

      blessings and hugs to you

    1. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


      Hi Mary, can you kindly email Twbtc? I’ve noticed that you’ve been using a couple of different screen names on the blog, and it would be good if we knew if you want to do that. Her email is

      And in response to your question — if you have no supportive family and friends and no money, that does make it harder to leave! I don’t have pat easy answers. Maybe the local Women’s Center be able to help you by getting you into a shelter, and pointing you to supportive assistance like government welfare payments?

      But having no church is not necessarily a problem — most churches make the plight of the victim worse, rather than help her. So maybe the fact that you have no church means that you are going to be exempt from that aspect of ‘running the gauntlet’ of leaving the abuser.

      I would encourage you to listen to the webcast Sunday Services from Christ Reformation Tillamook– which is the church where Jeff Crippen is the pastor. You can find instructions for how to do that under our Resources tab, in the ‘sermons’ section. 🙂


  4. (Light airbrushing…)

    Finally, I am starting to read Lundy’s book Why doe he DO that?” And, concurrently, Barb’s Not Under Bondage.

    First, let me bow my head in awe of all those who have read – and re-read – these books, learned, and found the courage to face a massive paradigm shift…then acted on the new information.

    I can honestly say I would have completely missed the boat and it would have sailed without me. As I have written elsewhere, I read “Tear Down This Wall of Silence”, “Unholy Charade”, and “In Sheep’s Clothing”. I still didn’t get the picture. (I have other books, but these are the focus of my comment.)

    Now Lundy’s book makes sense. Having spent an entire lifetime in abusive relationships, both personally and professionally, I find reading a bit slower, trying to associate the traits mentioned with the various abusers.

    I would have missed the underlying pattern of the abuser, since there were many surface variations. And some of the abusers were women. Hindsight is closer to 20 / 20.

    The information in the book excerpt TWBTC included in the original post would have overwhelmed me. I had no one to turn to or ask for help.

    Until reading Barb’s description of physical abuse, I would not have considered some of the medical circumstances I encountered as abusive…and now, I sit back and say, “Huh?”. It just seemed so “normal” at the time.

    So I repeat….I stand in awe of those who read, learned, and made hard choices.

    And I am profoundly grateful for everyone in the ACFJ community, for helping me see the light.

    1. Read, learned, and made hard choices.

      I can only speak for one woman, me, who has journeyed this difficult road. Thankfully, I was created with buffers and filters. Truth and understanding have dawned on me very slowly. [Over one decade] passed between the day a lady handed me a book about verbally abusive relationships until my divorce was final. I was clueless before I read and re-read that book. I did not discover ACFJ until a number of years after my divorce.

      I spent a lot of time studying ACFJ’s teachings to be prepared for the day when I would identify the destructive traits of my ex in “In Sheep’s Clothing”. Even after all those years, I found that realization nearly unbearable.

      We all must journey at our own pace. It is important that we continue to love ourselves a little more each day; that we practice gentleness with ourselves. Sometimes, these two practices require a lot of energy and discipline on top of all else that we are learning.

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