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Only you can know what’s best for you at any given moment.

Statistically speaking, very few abusers stop being abusive.

Below we’ve compiled some common questions we hear from survivors of abusive relationships, with responses from those of us who have been there.

Fast answer: If it’s the sort of treatment you wouldn’t tolerate for one second directed at a friend, it’s probably not healthy and might be abusive.

At the same time, abusers try to plant seeds of doubt in us to extend their control. There also may be people in your life who try to downplay your experience, which makes it more difficult for you to trust your gut feelings.

Image credit: the Advocacy Center Know that the technical definition or perceived validity of your experience matter so much less than your feelings and reactions to the abuse.

But your partner is ultimately responsible for making that happen, not you.

Giving your abuser a heads-up about your intention to leave will give him/her the chance to manipulate you into staying.

Remember: abuse can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or physical.

If you cohabit with your abuser, try to plan ahead of time exactly how you will leave, and do so when your abuser is not at home. Some of our abusers began to stalk and harass us (or intensified their stalking and harassment), showing up to our dorms and calling us at all hours, in an attempt to regain control.

Often they cried, cajoled and begged forgiveness from us, and promised to be better in the future. Some of us found it helpful to send them a text or email saying, “Do not contact me”; we documented this message for legal purposes, in case we ever needed to seek some legal recourse.

For some of us, leaving was a powerful way to regain control of our lives.

For others, leaving can further complicate their situations.

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