We did our usual post-Christmas shopping, and he suggested a certain ornament. Without thinking, I said, "We won’t be together next Christmas." He was furious and accused me of being negative.
You see, I’d just had a Freudian slip, where something I’d been trying to run away from popped out of my subconscious. I’d been wanting to leave him for some time but never made any concrete plans because I felt guilty for "abandoning" him. Later on, my clients told me how they’d unconsciously done similar things—for instance, packing their ornaments and decorations separately—without having consciously decided to leave. On some level, they knew that’d be their last Christmas together.
Leaving an abuser is one of the toughest things someone will ever do. It makes you feel uncertain. You'll inevitably doubt yourself. I wrote this to help people in this situation recognize the signs they're ready to leave and to help them feel strong enough to make the leap.