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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

In an ideal world, we’d cut off the harmful people in our lives — exile them from our social circles and mindspace, block their number and hit the unfollow button. But in reality, that isn’t always possible.

Sometimes there are people that, for a variety of reasons, we have to keep in our lives. Maybe it’s a spiteful coworker or supervisor you’re required to work with for your job. Maybe it’s a narcissistic parent you’re just not ready to say goodbye to yet. …


With a concrete escape plan, I could have avoided many post-relationship traumas.

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Readers please note: this story includes a discussion of domestic abuse. If you feel that you may be in an abusive relationship, seek help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help victims and survivors.

Leaving my abusive marriage was both the most painful and the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. While ending any kind of long term relationship is difficult, disentangling yourself from an abusive one is uniquely challenging. If I could do it all over again, I would absolutely make the same choice — but there’s a lot I would change. …


The right plan will save you from additional and avoidable trauma.

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Leaving an abusive relationship isn’t as simple as breaking up. Statistics show that the greatest chance for physical violence between intimate partners is immediately after the relationship has ended, which is why you need a well-thought-out plan before severing ties.

Here are five things you can do to get started:

1. Gather evidence of the abuse.

This can include photos, text messages, audio recordings or other types of evidence. Store them someplace safe (ideally digital) and make sure that someone you trust can also access them. Even if you’re worried about having enough evidence, do not jeopardize your safety by attempting to provoke your abuser in…


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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Divorces and break-ups can be messy enough on their own, but when children are involved, there arises a whole additional slew of issues around determining custody and visitation. Often during the relationship, one parent was decidedly less interested in child-rearing responsibilities. Sometimes, a parent was completely absent, or abusive, or otherwise downright terrible. But then when the time comes to settle custody, this parent is suddenly demanding equal (or even full) custody. So, what gives?

There are a lot of reasons an objectively terrible parent would still fight for and want favorable custody or visitation. Here are five potential explanations.

1. Because you do.


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Photo by Nqobile Vundla on Unsplash

Relationships end for all sorts of complex reasons, but abusive ones tend to go out with a bang rather than a fizzle — not so much a ‘misalignment of your astrological planets’ as a collapsing star creating a supernova-grade explosion of emotions. Yet, while explaining these sorts of relationships to friends, family or a new partner is complicated and difficult for abuse survivors, the abusers themselves often make it pretty simple: you’re crazy.

They subjected you to years of verbal and emotional abuse and eventually with professional psychiatric help you managed to leave the relationship? You’re crazy.

They belittled you…


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Photo by Martino Pietropoli on Unsplash

I haven’t met my ex-husband’s new girlfriend. In fact, I didn’t even know she existed until I learned about her through a third party, but that’s hardly unexpected. My ex wasn’t good at a lot of things, but he excelled at secrecy.

I imagine our relationship is somewhat of a difficult topic to bring up with a new romantic partner. “I choked my ex-wife,” isn’t a great conversation starter. Neither is “I regularly threatened to murder her,” or “it ended when she went to the police, even after I told her I’d kill our child if she did.”

But he…


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Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Joint custody after divorce is difficult under the best conditions, where communication between both parties is plentiful and respectful, everyone’s in agreement about the terms, and trauma from the relationship’s dissolution is no longer having a heavy impact on either parent or child. But the conditions of a dangerous, global pandemic that’s prompted shelter-in-place orders across the country are brand new to us all. With courts closed across counties, there aren’t a lot of options left for co-parents but to figure it out on their own.

Many states’ shelter-in-place laws include language that seems to allow for continuation of a…


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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

As the world grapples with the outbreak of the covid-19 virus and governments move to take extraordinary measures to prevent its spread, one of the many social symptoms is the rise of domestic violence, particularly in the United States.

The reasons may seem obvious for those whose lives have been touched by domestic violence (and that’s a lot– according to a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, more than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime). But for…


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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Most people who’ve been in an abusive relationship before are already aware of the fact that they’re more likely than others to enter into another one. A lot of times we chalk it up to poor decision making skills, a lack of example-relationships (whether our own or our parents’), or a desire for the comfort of familiarity, even if that familiarity is toxic. But did you know that your experience as a victim of abuse also makes you more attractive to other abusers?

“For individuals with unresolved traumas, the mate-selection process often carries a double risk,” explains Dr. Shauna H…


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Photo by Cassiano Psomas on Unsplash

For women in abusive relationships, living in a perpetual state of fear can become an everyday reality. When that’s your normal, it’s easy to engage in a behavior that feels proactive, but is actually incredibly harmful: moving the goalposts.

Romantic relationships rarely start out as abusive. You were likely drawn in by a great sense of humor, a charming personality, a shared worldview, or maybe even all three. But as time went on, red flags were raised. …

Hallie Lyons

I write about my ongoing journey from domestic violence victim to survivor.

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