I have been working on a pamphlet on how to create a safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship and steps you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible while you plan your escape from the narcissist (abuser). I am doing the pamphlet in PDF format and will email it to anyone who wants it, free of charge, to be printed and used by them or handed out to people you may know that needs it. I should have it done by the end of next week and will be posting about it at that time. In the mean time I want to give you a list of things you can do after leaving an abusive relationship because I have had several women wondering if they should be concerned for their safety.
My default answer to anyone concerned about their safety when dealing with a narcissist is: better safe than sorry. You have no idea what he is capable of so it is best to err on the side of going overboard on the safety measures than to not be prepared. Even if he has never been violent in the past and his abuse has been of the emotional and/or financial variety, the relationship ending signifies to him that he is losing control and they never like to lose control, even if the split is his idea.
Even if you are the one with the broken heart and the one left with nothing, drained of all your funds, self-esteem and support system and possessions; he will still feel justified in blaming you for the demise of the relationship and any discomfort to him. he may want you gone but he expects you to make the transition of him going from your bed to the new woman’s bed as easy on him as possible. You are to hang around in the wings for when the new relationship doesn’t work out or doesn’t move along as quickly as he hopes. He needs you to still hand over cash, meals, sex, and a roof over his head until he has your replacement securely in place as his new supply. Once he is completely done with you it is like someone flipped a switch and he will callously discard you. He wants you to go in a corner and quietly lick your wounds, any sign of you making a scene, defending yourself, or expecting fair treatment is an inconvenience he is not prepared to deal with. You are garbage to him, used up and discarded, he does not want to pay child support, spousal support, divide property, none of that shit. You are of the past and he is done with the past. He feels no responsibility to you or his kids and would rather have you killed and spend the money on lawyers to defend himself than waste money on a divorce.
Plus he is so sure and cocky of himself, he is positive he can pull off killing you and not get caught, or hiring someone to kill you.
A protective order or restraining order often give women a false sense of security; they are only effective if you combine them with additional steps to keep yourself safe and if you are diligent about your safety and take precautions. following is a list of things you can do to keep safe. Following these suggestions will increase your odds of remaining safe but there is no guarantee, so please be careful.
– First of all, if you have not gone to a shelter and have moved to a new place, apartment or whatever make sure that where ever you move is not a remote area. Try to move to a place where a lot of people around all the time, like an apartment or townhouse, not a remote farm somewhere 10 miles from your nearest neighbor.
– Make sure you do not tell anyone your new address unless you trust them with your life because if they tell your ex, your life will be in danger. If the kids are seeing their father, get someone else to drive them to him and tell them under no circumstances are they to tell daddy or grandma and grandpa your new address. I understand that can be confusing for the children, but it is not your doing, it is their father who has made it this way.
– Have your new phone unlisted and if you are in an apartment don’t put your name on the mail box or the intercom.
– Change your voice mail message to the generic one that is provided by the voice mail service.
– Just because you have not given your ex your new address don’t assume he won’t find a way of getting it
– Whether you stay in the house or move these next steps apply to both
– Get a new cell phone and computer if possible, you never know if he has planted an app on them to track your activity, have your vehicle checked for a GPS tracking device by a professional who knows what to look for.
– If you can’t afford a new phone at least change your phone number and have it made private so it doesn’t show up on call display and can not be looked up by a reverse lookup app.
– Download that free app i posted about a while back for your cell phone; here is the link to the information on it http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/30/ca-whengeorgiasmiled-idUSnPnLA2PhzY+169+PRN20131030
– Buy a personal alarm. I had one that had a strap that went around my wrist and was attached to the alarm by a pin, if the pin was pulled an extremely loud alarm went off and the only way to stop it was to put the pin back in. Don’t rely on the alarm to bring people running though, people are desensitized to alarms; what with car alarms going off all the time, so make sure you scream “help, call 911”, and keep screaming.
– Never park in isolated areas and try to avoid underground parking. Park on the street if the only parking available in underground and under a street light if possible.
– Make sure the entrance to where you live is clear of bushes that block the view of the doorway and could provide a place for someone to hide.
– Make sure to keep the entrance well-lit and if you come home and the light is out make sure to get someone to go with you into the building and don’t go alone.
– When you arrive home take a few seconds to observe the scene and look for anything out of the ordinary, be aware of your surroundings at all times and if something doesn’t seem right, then something is not right, trust your gut and get out of there.
Get used to backing into your parking stall or driveway and keep your car fueled up, in case you have to make a quick escape.
– Always check the inside of the car to make sure no one is hiding behind the seat, if you can remember, flip the seat forward in the front so you can easily see in the back.
– Always keep a flashlight in your purse, it not only can make it easier to see inside your car it can be used as a weapon.
– Make sure your cell phone is charged and have it ready to dial 911 when you are walking out to your vehicle or home.
– tell your neighbors that you have left an abusive relationship and if someone comes around asking questions about you or if they hear a disturbance coming from your residence to immediately call the police. Give them a description of your ex’s vehicle and a pic of your ex if possible and tell them to call the police if they see him in the neighborhood. (if you have a no contact order otherwise he can be any where he wants)
– At work make sure someone walks you out to your car if you are leaving at night and no one will be around. Tell your boss that you have a protection order and that the police should be called if he is seen around your place of work. Give a picture to security, the reception or who ever would be the person to first see him. This is for their safety as much as it is yours.
– If you move to a different town make sure you tell the local police and give them a picture of your ex, and a description of his vehicle and license plate number so they can do drive by’s and will notice if he is lurking in your neighborhood. Plus if they get a call saying there is a disturbance at your place of residence they will know there is a protection order and you are in danger.
– Replace wood doors with steel doors if possible.
– Install a peep-hole in the door, low enough that everyone can see through it
– Install a security system with camera’s facing the main entries, you can monitor most of them remotely now and they aren’t that expensive.
– Have an alarm system installed with a panic alarm feature
– Put sticks in all the windows so they can’t be broken opened and get new locks for the doors. Dead bolts are best.
– Keep you doors locked and never open the door without asking who is there, if you are unsure do not open the door.
– Tell the children that if you are being hurt to not try to help but to run to a safe place where they can call for help. Designate a place for them to go in the house that is safe, preferably a room with a phone and a lock on the door. They should go lock themselves in the room and dial 911. If they can leave the house safely they should get out of the house and go to a neighbor and ask them to call the police.
– You should pick a meeting place where you will all meet up after the disturbance is over.
– Teach your children how to dial for help using your cell phone and tell them to never call in front of the abuser, it could put them in danger.
– If the children call using the house phone tell them to not hang up after calling because the police may try to call back and if they hang up the abuser may answer putting everyone in grave danger. it is best to leave the phone off the hook, plus the 911 operator can hear what is going on.
– Make sure the children know their full address and phone number,
– Teach them how to make a collect call to you and a trusted friend should the ex kidnap them. Always keep a recent picture of them and your ex handy in case this happens to give to the police.
– Always have your restraining order on you and any child custody papers handy
– Inform the school and daycare that the children are not to be picked up by their father.
– buy fire extinguishers for each room and escape ladders for the upper floor rooms
– install smoke detectors throughout the house
– Keep knives in the kitchen out of sight
– Always be aware of your surrounding and do not run into an area you can not get out of, like the bathroom.
– remember that scarves and necklaces can be used to choke you or tie you up
– If possible trade your vehicle for something else.
– Change where you bank, grocery shop, go to the gym and your church
– Change your schedule, shop at different times than you usually do, if possible change where the children attend activities
– If possible change your doctor, dentist and other professional services you use ie hair salon, nail tech
– Have someone who always knows where you are and when you will be home, check in with them to tell them you got home safe or if you are going out, where you are going and when you will return.
– Check your vehicle to make sure the tires are not flat or that it has been tampered with, if it is locked they should not be able to get under the hood, but if it won’t start use your cell phone to call for help do not get out and check yourself, stay locked in your vehicle until help gets there.
– always lock the car doors immediately when you get in.
– If your ex is following you go to a safe place like the police dept, if he is trying to run you off the road or endanger you in any way honk your horn continuously and drive as quickly as possible to a safe location, do not get out of the vehicle until help arrives.
– Change the route you take to work and if you ride the bus have someone walk you to the bus and someone meet you at the other end. sit up at the front near the bus driver if possible. If your stop is not close to your home many bus drivers will take the time to drop you off closer to your home and wait until they can see you are home safely, it is worth asking, I have seen them do it.
If you are calling 911 from a land line the police can trace where the call came from if you leave the phone off the hook but with a cell phone you must give them an address.
– There is no charge to call 911 from a pay phone
– If your ex is arrested ask for a copy of the conditions of his release and ask to be informed when he is released, there is no guarantee they will call but they should.
– never agree to meet with the ex anywhere, no matter how much he cries and professes his love. You shouldn’t even be talking to him because you have blocked him and gone no contact.
– consider buying a dog or borrowing a large dog that will bark if there are any noises outside or someone comes to the door.