When you leave, start with meeting your basic needs. (Source: Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs published 2007, revised 2016)
The base of your hierarchy of needs is food water, shelter, and warmth. Not surprisingly, the next block on the pyramid after those needs are met is safety, security, stability and FREEDOM FROM FEAR. The rest in order are as follows:
- belonging, love
- self-esteem-recognition, respect
- self actualization-creativity and fulfillment
Our progress in healing can be disrupted by our failure to meet our lower level needs and also include life experiences like divorce and loss of a job.
Only 1 in 100 people will actually reach the self-actualization part of the pyramid because society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love, and other social needs.
When we finally leave our abuser and empower ourselves, we need to start with our most basic needs. We need our strength so we need to eat. If we can’t meet that need then we need to seek out food cupboards. Water is usually not a problem but shelter and warmth are. Lose the pride and seek a women’s shelter, call a friend, find a church. Get sleep and keep warm. Resist the urge to run back home where the familiar blanket and bed is.
The next level is safety. If you need a Restraining Order from the court, GET ONE. Find a safe place. If possible, remove them from your residence legally. If not, find yourself a safe place and do not give anyone the address.
Meet these needs and do what you need to do to be successful. It is very empowering. It’s no longer about them. It’s about what you need now that you have left them and fulfilling those needs. After those needs are met, your need to belong is next. Family, friends, and love. By now, you should have weeded out those friends who are toxic having lived with just the most important basic needs for a while. If you have done your work, your life will start to fall into place and you will start to reach for your place in self-actualization. Be the 1 in 100! I plan on being the 1 in 100 that makes it. After I got him out of the house, I starting writing. Something he told me I would never accomplish and something I found hard to do with his presence. My next step is to publish my first book. A teen book about date abuse. The Grey Heart. I’ll be honest, it’s been written a while. I have some personal blocks right now, that have to do with that abuse, that is keeping me from jumping in and publishing but I’m getting there. And most importantly, I have the right support system in place. People who stuck by me to get where I am today and didn’t bail on me. People who validated my abuse and said, “You got this. You have bigger things ahead of you. Time to move on.” People who believed in me on those days when I couldn’t or didn’t believe in myself. BUT, I started with my basic needs for me and my children and I’ll be honest, it’s been five years. It’s been a long, hard road but through it all, I kept my basic needs met and myself as strong mentally and physically as humanly possible and my work is finally paying off.
You got this! Be the 1 in 100. Somebody has to be, it might as well be you! Oh, and me! I plan on being there too. See you at the top. 🙂