When you're trapped in a toxic relationship, it can feel like there's never going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Please know that this isn't the case. You're not alone and you can get out of this safely. If you need immediate assistance, please call the emergency services. If you're not in direct danger, but definitely in need of freedom from the toxicity, here are five tips to help you get out safely:
Have Access To Funds
When you start planning your escape, one of the first things you need to do is get yourself a nest egg. Ideally, this lives in a bank account that your toxic partner doesn't know about but if you can successfully hide some cash, that works too.
If you don't have the funds to do this, or your finances are too closely monitored, some banks offer assistance for domestic violence survivors, and if you need to take out a line of credit, you can find alternatives to payday loans online. Going about things this way will help lessen the burden on your new budget as these types of loans often have far more favorable repayment terms and interest rates.
Start Stashing Important Items
When it comes time to get out, you're not going to want to mess around. Ideally, your go bag will be exactly that – a single duffel bag or similar filled only with a spare change of clothes and the essentials that you couldn't remove from the house earlier.
With that in mind, it's a good idea to start stashing important items that won't be missed with trusted friends or family. Not only does this help strengthen your support network for when it's time to go, but it also means that you won't have to worry about collecting so many items during what may well be a small window of opportunity. When doing this, make sure you only stash things that will easily fly under the radar.
"Donate" Your Clothes
Rather than trying to get your entire wardrobe out with you when you leave, start planning early. Send any clothing that you don't want to lose off to the same trusted contacts you are storing other important belongings with. This can be done under the pretense of cleaning out your wardrobe and donating old clothes to charity as long as you have the freedom to do so alone. You can also stash some in your go-bag.
Get A Burner Phone
The first thing you're going to want to do once you're out is turn off your cell so your ex can't track or contact you. This makes it rather hard to get in touch with emergency contacts, so if you can, we suggest getting a burner phone before you make your escape. This is probably going to be the hardest tip on the list, but if you can pull it off, it'll make your escape easier and safer.
Lastly, if you know when your window of escape will be and are in a position to do so, it's a good idea to let someone know when you intend on leaving. This way, they can monitor the situation and you'll have someone looking out for you. It doesn't have to be the person you'll be seeking refuge with – just someone you can easily contact from your burner cell.
Most other elements of your plan will be specific to your personal circumstances, so it's a good idea to work them out with your support network. Stay strong, and good luck.