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“How will I feel after I leave,” is a common thought both women and men ponder before leaving an abusive relationship. They can't imagine life without their partner, all while knowing they are not really “living” with them.

What surprises these courageous domestic abuse survivors is the exhilaration that they feel when they leave. I see it as the exhilaration in their lifting the burden of oppression and finding the diamond within.

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Lifting the Burden of Oppression

When your life is all about survival in your own home and suddenly you find yourself free of the tension from ongoing attack or the threat of attack, a whole new window opens up. And in that opening is you-available to feel, think, do and be what's YOU.

“Oh my goodness,” they say with surprise. It's exhilaration beyond words. I call it the litmus test of intimate partner abuse. Imagine a gorilla sitting on your back that you have carried day in and day out for years or even decades.

And when lifted, you feel the YOU that was there, though not showing, all along. It's so freeing to have your inner strength and your personal preferences bubble up and spring from you.

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These domestic abuse survivors have lifted the burden of oppression in leaving their abusive relationships. And from here, they are open to accessing what is within.

Finding the Diamond Within

I hear story upon story of women discovering strengths that stun them. They embrace passions beyond what they may have ever imagined for themselves. They exhibit competency that they had convinced themselves never existed. They, indeed, discover the diamond within.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

If you are contemplating leaving an abusive relationship, know it is natural to worry how you will feel without your abusive partner. Know that there will be a grieving over the life you once had and the partner you once knew.

Realize that you will face challenges from your prior life reaching into your day to play out and re-enact old dynamics. It's all part of leaving an abusive relationship.

Be mindful of the realities of making your move and the nuances of how to insure a safe departure. Learn all of the “dos” and “don'ts” before you go. Have your exit and safety plan down with precision. And then, sit back and enjoy the exhilaration of lifting the burden of oppression and finding the diamond within.

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