What to Expect When You Call a Women’s Shelter or Safe House

You want to leave your abusive husband, but you don’t know where to go. Are you thinking about calling a safe house or a shelter for women and children? Here’s what to expect and why you should keep trying to get into a women’s shelter if you aren’t successful at first. I worked at a safe house for women and children, and was trained to help survivors leave a unhealthy and abusive relationships.

If you need to leave your relationship, you are not alone. You will find likeminded souls, kindred spirits, women who are escaping the same type of violence you are! Together, you are strong. I was inspired to write this article about shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence for two reasons: 1) hundreds of women have commented on How to Leave Your Husband When You Have No Money, saying they have nowhere to go but can’t stay with their partners; and 2) I worked as a casual relief Women’s Advocate at a safe house for women who are fleeing domestic violence. This includes emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse. If you wish you could leave but don’t know where to go, consider calling a safe house or women’s shelter. You’ll know what to expect after you read this article…

Many women stay in unhealthy or abusive relationships because they think they have no choice, but they’re mistaken. They DO have a choice…they just aren’t considering all their options.

Are you familiar with safe houses or shelters for women and children? What advice have you already received about going to a women’s shelter or safe house? I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below.

What You Need to Know About Women’s Shelters or Safe Houses

This blog post isn’t representative of all women’s shelters or safe houses. Each shelter is different – even if they’re in the same neighborhood or run by the same organization. For instance, I work at one of the only shelters for women and children that accepts pets. We don’t take all types of dogs, but will do our best to accommodate women who don’t want to leave their dogs behind.

If you have any questions about what to expect at a women’s shelter or safe house, please ask below. I can’t give advice or counseling, but I am happy to share what I know about shelters for women and children.

The difference between a safe house and a women’s shelter

Our safe house is for women who are fleeing an abusive relationship, and who are actively looking for a new place to. We’re mandated for 30 day stays, but many women stay for shorter periods. We ask our residents to be actively working towards finding work or applying for Income Assistance, and we help them find a permanent place to live.

Some shelters for women and children allow residents to stay for one or two nights only. Transition or safe houses are generally for longer-term stays. That’s one of the big differences between a shelter and a safe house is that shelters are short-term and safe houses are long-term in comparison. Another big difference is that many shelters for women and children close during the day, while safe houses are open for women to come and go as they please. Another difference – but this varies widely – is that most safe houses require residents to be clean. Some shelters allow drug and alcohol use, but off the premises.

All safe houses and women’s shelters have one thing in common: helping women who want to leave abusive men.

Expect to talk about your situation

We do a telephone assessment to determine whether we’re the right women’s shelter for you.

safe house shelter women and children
What You Need to Know When You Call a Shelter or Safe House

We ask about your age, marital status, children, drug and alcohol use, health conditions, prescription medications, and current living arrangements. We don’t require you to bring identification or money, but we do expect you not to drink or use drugs while you’re staying at our transition house.

Not all shelters for women and children require their residents to be drug and alcohol free, and not all will accept women without identification. To find out what to expect at a women’s shelter near you, you need to call them directly.

Calling shelters for women and children in your community is one of the 5 Stages of Leaving an Abusive Relationship.

Prepare to live within the shelter’s guidelines

During our telephone assessment, we’ll review many of our “house rules.” All shelters for women and children have guidelines to keep order and peace in the house. For example, our transition house requires residents to take turns with light housecleaning, such as mopping the floor, cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen, and unloading the dishwasher. We ask residents to treat each other with respect and kindness, even if they disagree on matters of principle, faith, culture, or values.

Different women’s shelters have different types of rooms and space available. We have a few family rooms that hold up to four people, and a few rooms with twin beds for singles. Everyone shares the five bathrooms in the house, as well as the kitchen laundry facilities.

Expect to move fast

If our women’s shelter has a free bed, you can come over immediately. We encourage you to bring your most important documents, such as your birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, health card, credit cards, and other forms of identification.

While you’re staying at our safe house – and after you leave – you’re not allowed to tell even your closest friends and family members the address. Not all shelters for women and children are in secret places, but all safe houses are. We need to protect not only you but also the other residents, staff, and volunteers.

Do you want to leave your house without telling your husband? Read How to Move Out Without Your Husband Finding Out.

Prepare to live in community with women in crisis

When I first started working at a women’s shelter, the biggest adjustment was learning how to be with women and children in serious, scary, threatening short-term crisis situations. They experienced trauma and violence and are fleeing terrible situations.

The residents of a women’s shelter or safe house are in crisis, which means they aren’t fully themselves. They have nowhere to live, no income, and no family support. They’re vulnerable, scared, and bewildered. They don’t know what happened, and they’re struggling to make sense of it all.

I always expect emotional outbursts and blowouts between the residents, and am always happily surprised at how strong and calm they are. If you’re searching for information about women’s shelters, you’re not alone. You won’t be alone when you get there, and you won’t be alone when you leave.

What to Expect at a Safe House for Women

Not every women’s transition house or shelter will offer the same services, but here’s what our safe house offers…

  • A safe place to stay for approximately 30 days
  • Food, bathroom facilities, and basic hygiene items
  • Advocacy for meetings with social workers, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals
  • Support for court proceedings
  • Information about market housing, job searching, Income Assistance, immigration cards, housing organizations, social services programs, health care cards and services, etc.
  • Child care support

Every woman in a safe house or shelter has different needs. Some women need assistance with their financial and legal affairs, while others just need a bed for a week. Some women are struggling with multiple house conditions and prescription medications, while others are healthy. Some women have left their abusive husbands repeatedly, while others have never experienced domestic violence before.

May you find solid, helpful resources to fill your needs, for staff and volunteers to help women and children find a good place to life. I pray for safety, for healing, and for compassion.

Start letting go of the man you love

letting go of someone you love

I wrote 3 Powerful Secrets and 75 Tips for Healing Your Heart because I needed to learn how to let go of my sister. Letting her go was the most painful and difficult thing I ever did. I know that letting go of a man you love – especially when it’s a complicated relationship and you’re planning to go to a women’s shelter or safe house – isn’t the same as letting go of a sister.

But letting go of someone you love is the same in one respect: it’s the end of a relationship you want to keep in your life. It hurts.

To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches on letting go. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is when you’re letting go of a loved one. It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering your passion and identity.

Here’s what a reader recently emailed me about Letting Go of Someone You Love: “I gobbled the book down. Great help in putting things in perspective and in taking positive thoughtful action. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences.”

Information about shelters for women and children

If you’re not sure if you should go to a women’s shelter or safe house, read Signs of an Abusive Relationship You Should Never Ignore.

What to say when you call a crisis line for women

When you’re in an abusive relationship, you may not even realize you’re “in crisis.” This makes it very difficult to look for assistance, make decisions about going to a women’s shelter or safe house, and take care of yourself and others.

The staff at the safe houses for women know this. They’re called advocates or women’s support workers, and they’re trained through a local domestic violence program. They can help you in so many ways.

Types of help a women’s advocate offers:

  • Identify resources in the community that you may not know about, such as local nonprofit organizations, churches, and individuals who can help you leave an abusive situation
  • Start contact with a service provider (eg, a rental housing agency or social services), and facilitate the process
  • Offer counseling, emotional support, and encouragement throughout your stay at the women’s shelter or safe house
  • Give you advice and support for your children and pets
  • Offer an external perspective and an objective opinion on how to leave an unhealthy or mentally unstable husband

Creative options and even bartering is an important type of support you’ll find at a women’s shelter or safe house! For example, the other women who are fleeing domestic violence may not have a source of income or stable finances. Like you, they won’t have money to pay for childcare. Many safe houses encourage women to trade childcare services, especially if financial assistance is low. You can watch each other’s children and give each other time to take care of the next steps in your life.

When you call a women’s shelter or safe house: 

  • Keep telling yourself, “I can do this.”
  • Do not be discouraged if you can’t move in immediately. Remember that many shelters and safe houses for women and children are busy places, and may not have an immediate bed or room available.
  • Keep trying! Don’t allow the abuse to win, don’t let the violence overcome you.
  • If you are not comfortable with the staff or volunteer at the shelter who is helping you, ask for another advocate or counselor. You might even try to find another domestic violence program.
  • Get a list of possible resources for women leaving abusive relationships from different places, programs and organizations. Most states have the free phone service, 2-1-1, which will connect you to advocates who can help you find additional resources in your area.
  • Take your essential documents available when you go to an appointment: birth certificates, picture ID, driver’s license, passport, and utility bills (to show residency). Learn what documents you will need ahead of time.
  • Make your calls from a place where you can engage in a conversation and take care of possible interruptions ahead of time (e.g. have little ones take a nap or call when children are playing at the neighbor’s).

The above information is from the article Personalized Safety Plan from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

When you call a women’s shelter or safe house, be patient, speak clearly, and do not give your story to the person who answers the phone or the first contact person. More than likely, you will have to tell your story all over again to the person qualified to help you.

Give clear and specific information about what you need (e.g. “I need a pro-bono family law attorney for a child custody case, and I am a victim of domestic violence”). Then let the women’s advocate or service provider ask you for the information they need to qualify you for the services. If possible, have an advocate initiate the contact with the referred service provider.

How do you feel about moving to a safe house for women? Tell me below. If you’ve lived in a women’s shelter in the past, please do share your experience.

You may need to be reminded over and over that the abuse is not your fault. You need to find the motivation to trust your perceptions – and find the courage to change your current situation. You can forgive yourself for staying because you were doing what you needed to do! And, allow yourself to time to heal and move forward with your life.

Remember: This, too, shall pass

You’re in a difficult place right now – but you won’t always be in this situation. It’s really hard to leave an abusive relationship or violent marriage, especially if you’ve been with your husband for years or even decades. Allow yourself to grieve and feel pain. Know that you will come through this, and you are seen. You were created for a reason, and the reason isn’t to live in hell.

This, too, shall pass. It won’t be easy to call – or to have to keep calling for help – but if you keep trying, you will get out. And you will be so glad you kept going.

May you find strength and courage as you search for a local safe house or women’s shelter near you. Know that you are loved, and that you were created for a purpose. You deserve love and kindness, respect and honor. May God bless you with wisdom and guidance, and sustenance for the journey.

Travel in faith, and you won’t get lost.


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41 thoughts on “What to Expect When You Call a Women’s Shelter or Safe House”

  1. Hi my name is sue I’m leaving in a alcoholic relationship I dont drink my boyfriend of 5 yes drinks pretty much everyday now.i work 12 he shifts 3 days a week .I make ok money but dont have what it takes to get my own place.Thank you in advance for hearing me…

  2. I want to know would I qualify to stay in a shelter I have a neighbor who bothers me all the time physically,harrassment,steals my garbage, vandalizes,and used threatening messages,jealousy,is female doesn’t like me around men etc. Does this qualify if I want to get away from her for my safety and a new start? I really would like a response thank you

  3. I’m here at 26, no family support, no money, and have no where to go. I live with my boyfriend of 1 yr and his parents. His mom is so fake with me, I know she absolutely hates me. Says she doesn’t want me being a financial burden on her son who is 38. I pay for my all things by myself and give them rent money. And have little left for myself, but even then she insists on me finding more income. in my comfort zone I’ve been up and down with him for the passed 6 months trying to figure out if he really wants to be with me or not… I want a future with this guy, but he doesn’t seem to put extra effort into getting us out of there. Even though he sees me applying to places, and trying to take action. He’s comfortable too and it’s killing me inside. This is not the life I want for myself. I haven’t slept in days, and he always argues saying I should just go find myself a rich man. I don’t want a rich man. He’s always calling me crazy and in past occasions has gone as far as to say I need to hit the gym, that my legs/bottom has cellulite. He gets drunk all the time and says mean things to me like “I’m ruining his life”. Truth is I don’t know whose life is worse his or mine. All I know is something doesn’t feel right anymore. And it’s sad for me, because he financially make me feel like I’m going to be broke forever, and he says things like I will never achieve anything. I’m stuck, I have no where to go. This guy isn’t hitting my body but he’s breaking my spirit. I wish there was a way out. I’m scared, alone, and feel embarrassed.
    I live in Orlando FL, and rent here is massively expensive. I’m currently taking an online course to get a license to sell insurance. Last night he told me he was done with me. I don’t know that a safety house will take me considering there’s no physical abuse. But I really need to finish this course within the next two weeks, so a shelter I don’t think will take me in that long. What would be my best bet… also what about my clothes and personal belongings? I have no car, I have no one to call to pick me up. Maybe I can get an Uber? But even then I’m between crossroads, and need guidance fast. My brain physically feels swollen from thinking so much. Help.

  4. I am in a abusive Relationship and I Want To leave my Relationship But I have nowhere to go no place to go to And I Have A 10 Month Old Baby Can You Please Help Me And Give Me Some Advice..

  5. I have been married to my husband for almost 10 years. Its been physically for the first 8 years. He has slept with so many women, I have stopped counting. We have 4 children. My youngest is 10 months. I’ve had enough and I’m ready to go. We don’t get along anymore and I’m afraid that if I let him know that I want a divorce he will try and hurt me. I have no family in this state so I have no one to turn to or no place to go. If I did, I would have left already. I would like to call a shelter but I’m scared. I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid I’m going to be on the streets with my kids because he won’t support us. He’s evil like that. Ugh..I’m stuck.

  6. I am in an emotionally abusive marriage. He starts fights with me just because he’s in a bad mood. He says the most hurtful things that he knows will hurt me the most. We live with his Mom for the second time. He can find a good job. He is a journeyman electrician. But he likes being here. Even though he knows we don’t but he doesn’t care. He ignores me unless he wants sex. Calls me a b for no reason. He makes me feel unwanted, ugly, and worthless. Always threatens to divorce me. Turns everything around to make me feel like i caused everything. He says our car is broke down but heard him tell his mom the brakes just need fixed and the tires are bad. He could fix it but won’t because he wants me to be trapped. He talks bad about me to his mom so she can’t stand me but i don’t know why. He doesn’t care about my feelings. I can be crying my eyes out and he just gets mad or just ignores it. We have a 16 year old here that he never talks to. He is not physically abusive. But i can’t live this way anymore. I love him very much but can no longer be with him.

  7. I need help i can’t find a shelter that has room and i can’t hardly look because I live with my abuser, please I’m scared and need to leave before cps takes my kids.

  8. Wow… After reading this and everyone’s issues with abuse I don’t feel crazy or feel as if Im being ridiculous. I have always felt that a relationship shouldn’t be like this but then again it’s always in the back of my head “oh this normal”. My boyfriend who is also my ex husband… Shows all abuse except physical, he is an ex drug addict with a temper. He pays no attention to the children or myself unless he is having a bad day then we all get the worst end of it. He yells, slams doors, forces me, hides money, calls me and the children names, and I am also thinking he is being unfaithful. Only reason he isn’t using now is because he was busted with drugs back in FEB and cps was contacted. We both have to submit drug test every month. I know that he will go back to using once the case is closed and when that happens he will become violent just like before.

  9. Call a shelter in your area, and ask what you can do to keep you and your kids safe. Some shelters don’t allow women to stay if they live nearby, because the husband might see them. The safe house I worked at required women who lived close by to go to a farther shelter.

    But the first thing is to call, and just get information. Even if it’s a shelter close to you and they say they can’t take you or don’t have room for you and your kids, they’ll still answer your questions. They’ll be able to connect you to helpful resources, and support you and your kids in different ways.

    It’s a hard position to be in, but you will make it through this! One step at a time. Keep going, keep moving forward. Soak up every little bit of support you can get, and keep asking for more. One day you’ll be in a position to help and support other women who need help…right now, take all the help you can get.

    How are you today?

  10. I’m thinking of going to a safe house with my 3 children. I been with their dad for 8 years now. He doesn’t work regularly because he does drugs and this situation is driving me crazy but I’m super scared of going and star a new life with my kids…

  11. I have been with partner for 12years was abusive at start but physical abuse stopped after our 2nd child who has just turned 6yrs old it more emotional abuse now he doesn’t pay any rent or bills and expects me to pay for everything and give him money for marijuana otherwise he just makes household feel like crap by slamming doors giving silent treatment and just plain intimidating us.. He has not hit me but he does lose his temper and physically abuse our 8&6yr olds he is so rough with the 8year old he chokes him and pushes him and runs at him as if he is a grown man this brakes my heart.. My question is will I still be able to go to a shelter or safe house to keep my children safe and away from him

  12. I have been with my husband for almost 25 years and he has made it known that he never wanted to get married or have kids but yet we have 4 children. That are all my fault. Everything is my fault. I get the silent treatment on a regular basis, if he has a bad day or something goes wrong he takes it out on the kids and I. Not physically, but yells and slams doors and what not. It has gotten to the point where my youngest is asking me to divorce him. I do not make a lot of money (I work at a school and am off summers) and he has been at the same job for 20 years but still only makes 30k. I am surprised we have not lost our house yet. He does not care when I tell him we do not have money he has always just spent it anyway. Very irresponsible and immature.

  13. I have been with my husband for 34 years. 34 hard years. He has not physically abused me, but the emotional abuse has never ended. He has emotionally abused out three children throughout our marriage and the more I tried to tell him how wrong he treated the family, the worse he would get. I have threatened to leave many, many times but I have never done it. I regret that I stayed and I feel so guilty for it. I feel I let my children down. Recently, my oldest son has come back to live with us . My son Is a recovering drug addict who is doing well with his recovery. But he suffers the degradation, humiliation, distrust and every other negative treatment you can think of give. By his father. Of course, I get all the accusations and mistreatment, too. I have tried to tell my husband that he suffers from anxiety and paranoia and needs to see a doctor. He listens to nothing I say. He just continues to cause emotional turmoil on myself and my son. I am 60 years old. I cannot take this anymore. I really cannot. I even feel guilty for writing you because I know there are women out there suffering far worse than myself. Far, far worse! But, I have no one to talk to about my plight. I feel guilt, embarrassment, and pain. I have such a heavy heart for all I have done, or for all I did not do to prevent the emotional mistreatment of my children. I do feel trapped yet I do not know why I feel like I cannot leave this prison. I have 2 dogs and I cannot leave them. I have no credit so I don’t think I can find a place…especially a place that accepts dogs. Well, I am rambling. As I said, I have no one to talk with about my messed up life. I know all my pain sounds trivial to the lives of others, but the constant stress and worry and sadness is real. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. You are going through so so much right now that it’ll be hard to see that major changes and happiness that will begin to come your way once you’ve talked to someone who like me can relate. The domestic violence online chat is extremely helpful! Just don’t use your real name and they will give you all the information you’ll need and maybe even have an advocate come to help you.. Just think about it okay? You deserve to be happy, and free of all his… Evil. Take care best wishes and good luck.

  14. I have such a hard time calling the hotline number even when Im staying in my car nowhere to go no food or anything but my dog I still can’t call. The thought of having to talk to someone over the phone terrifies me. Is that normal or common to for victims to have anxiety like that?

    1. Yes, Kristi, this is normal. It’s scary to call a shelter or safe house – especially when you don’t know who you’ll be talking to! And describing your situation is stressful, because it requires you to face it and admit that you need help. You’ve been living with anxiety for a long time, and even the littlest things may trigger more anxiety.

      When you call, remember that you can hang up at any time. You don’t have to talk for long. Just start small, with a minute. If that minute goes okay, then hang on for another minute…and another.

      What do you think? How are you doing?

  15. Dear Brittany,

    I’m so glad you’re writing here! You’re doing the right thing, both by writing about your experience with leaving an abusive man — and just by writing. Writing will help you work through your emotions, thoughts, and plans. It’ll help you heal and grow. And, writing about what it’s like to move to a women’s shelter or safe house will help other women cope with their own abusive relationships.

    Keep writing, and you will find the answers you’re looking for. You already have the answers; your writing will help you dig them up and live them out in your life!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. May you find hope, healing, strength and power. May you lean on God’s strength and power when you feel weak (which will be all the time!), and may you see His love for you and your children in unexpected ways.

    Stay connected to good people, websites, and thoughts. You can do this.

    How are you today?

    With the love of Jesus,

  16. I have already contacted a place. I have a 5year old daughter and a 6m old son. His fam was my fam But in the past when emtional abused happend his mom was on his side. been with him 9 years more mental abuse then anything. but recently he hurt me 2x . The first time he said i deserved it the 2nd time he claimed he was sorry, this is written in are messages Btw. excpt for him being srry cuz he came upstairs On Facebook what i need to knw is do they have internet? Its the only way i can get ahold of my mom she lives in another state were trying to find a way to get me and the kids and my small dog out safe she wants me to file a order of protection. The lady from the shelter? I am scared i dont want my daughter going through this but i fear if i stay it will get worst i think he needs help. He does not realize what hes doing he says things like ur prolly telling ur family i abuse u, and he has 2x its like he does not see it is this normal? also been with him 9 years, i wanna take my kids and go but he has there stuff and wouldn’t let me leave be 4 In the past would not even let me visit my mom .and i have no money no where to go i am scared. I am worryed for my daughter i fear she will hate me and be heart broken if we leave her dad.she has made claims he hit her in the past. i have a safelink phone which is his not even mine barley any mins left. i had bills so couldn’t pay on a phone this month. My cell was having issues. I have things in my home id like to sell that are mine, My table and chairs my washer my ac i just bought, and my daughter got a bunkbed from her fathers father which idk if i can even sell that? But it would help us get to my moms My sister has pics of everything, shes gonna post incase theres no internet but idk how ill get ahold of them if ill be in the shelter. also d they let us all in one room? how does it work is there a bedtime? I mean my son is 6m he wakes up anytime he is hungery. and also am what i am doing is right? i am worried this is the wrong decsion ik sounds stupid right? also i am the type that loves to write i wanted to wrot him a letter staing why i left and took my kids would that make me look bad in court? and do you know how i can get the judge to let me move out of ny to sc? thats where my fa is and i am on low income. i get ssa from my father who passed away in Jan…

  17. Tonya,
    I’m glad you’re here – it sounds like you’ve been through so much! You and your son are both deserving of a better life. Did you call a shelter or safe house in your area? That’s a great first step to take. If you don’t have a phone, can you ask a neighbor or friend if you can use theirs?

  18. I’ve been threatened , choked, hit, punched , spit on , told to get out for the last time ,, I’m ready for change , I have an nine year old son who is do deserving of a better life ,, not only is by boyfriend extremely abusive but his brother is threatened to kill my son and I and smashed my phone just s few days ago,, please help me

  19. A friend of mine is being stalked by her ex from prison…he is pedophile and she is wrecked…he wants her daughter….at one point and time he was presumed to be grooming her which is a “pimp” term….she apparently has tried the police and has tried to talk but every says she’s “crazy”….she isn’t the look on her face…the fear and the tears….

  20. Thank you for being here, Bria – it’s great to hear from you. I’m so glad you decided to call a shelter or safe house; you will find the help you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s easier to get help leaving an abusive relationship from people who aren’t your friends and family, because friends and family let their emotions overrule their rational decisions!

    You can do this. Let me know how it goes after you call a nearby shelter or safe house. I’d love to hear from you again.

    Take good care of yourself, be safe.


  21. I have been with my boyfriend for two years now and we have a one year old together. Over the past six months his drinking has gotten worse and has become more violent. He would choke me and thinks that because he doesn’t leave bruises then he’s not abusive. Recently the choking has gotten worse he’s starting to do it longer and the last time I almost passed out. He’s also escalated to punching me in my head and throwing me around. And the worst part is he does this in front if our son and I’m currently 3 months pregnant and he knows that I’m pregnant. The last time this happend the only thing that saved me was his uncle pulling him off of me. I don’t know what to do I’ve never been in a domestic violence situation before and I’m literally in a state where I have no family or friends here I’m isolated in the house 24/7 and when he gets angry he takes my phone so I have no communication with anyone. I’m 25 and I’m scared and I don’t know what to do I’m so scared of becoming homeless but reading this article but me at ease about my decision to go to a shelter not only for my own safety but for my children. Please pray for me and wish me luck.

  22. Thanks for your article. Married 29 years , together 30. I’m disabled and have some mental health issues and have been in counseling four years no and go every week. It’s hard hearing what you’re going through is abuse even though in your heart you know you’re being treated in a way that’s wrong on so many levels. It’s not physical abuse for me it’s emotional. I’m 56, and feeling so unsure of myself as I’m constantly being told what a bad wife I am and having bad choices I made 15yrs ago being thrown in my face . He takes no ownership of any wrongs he’s done. He controls me with money and the car. I’m on Social Security Disability and I can’t work:/ I never thought at my age I’d me dealing with this. Please if you pray, pray for me. Thank you again. Vicki

    1. Dear Vicki,
      I know what you are going through because I am going through a similar situation- especially about the control of the money and car (and phone, for me). Also, he seems to enjoy that I am in distress about his cruelty towards me, and that I have nowhere to turn (his angry, drunken outbursts scared away any friends we had, or might have). I am 57, no children. I have been married for 19 years and my husband is a severe alcoholic. It has progressively gotten worse and the emotional abuse is unfathomable- at least to people that have not experienced this. Not that it is better, but with physical abuse you can call the authorities. Not so with emotional abuse (even as it takes a mighty toll on your body). Vicki, please know that you are not alone. I will be praying for you and please pray for me. I truly believe that God will help us get out of our soul crushing, abusive lives and show us the way back to a life full of love and happiness. The one thing we CAN control is prayer. I still have hope. I hope you do, as well. Please know that you are loved.
      God Bless,

    2. 46 years together. 38 of which were violent abuse. (Vietnam vet…) After 9/11 he needed something solid and turned to God. Things began to smooth out after that, but his wandering eyes and lies continue. Now he hides behind his relationships with the guys at church.

      I too am somewhat disabled after an accident. Just found him in chat rooms with scantily clad bimbos telling them all about his loneliness and my condition. I cannot go on anymore. His unfaithful wanderings are physically killing me. If I don’t escape this time (there have been 20 or more attempts in the past) I think I won’t make it. I just do not know how to go about it. I’ve tried so many times in the past and have never quite gotten him to let go. (He lies to and uses our family to badger me to coming back.)

      I’m 61, jobless, not qualified for SSA, and have physical problems. In debt and foreclosure. I do not know where to turn.

      If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate the help.

  23. Dear Tati,

    Yes, many safe houses and shelters for women do help with English speaking. It really depends on where are, though. In my city, the ESL classes and resources are very popular, so there’s often a waitlist.

    Some safe houses and shelters have translators. One of our Women’s Advocates spoke both Farsi and English, and other one spoke French and English.

    Call the womens’ shelters in your area, and they will be able to give you resources and suggestions on how to help your mom get out of her abusive marriage. She might even be able to take a friend with her, to help with translation and offer moral support.

  24. I’m looking up information about shelters for my mother and not me. My moms been abused by my dad for a long time and I’ve been trying to find her help because it hurts to know it happens. And I would like to help her go into a shelter but my worry is she doesn’t speak English very well and has no family’s in this country. She’s a smart woman and has a Masters degree in Spanish education but her English is limited because she was taking care of me and my brother when we were little and couldn’t finish her English classes. So I’d like to know if she can get help with her English or finding a job with her limited English because I’m 18 and live with them and I’m just as scared for her and myself and of my dad.

  25. Sending you prayers, encouragement, and positive energy as you move forward with this, B! Stay safe, and take heart. Calling a safe house or women’s shelter isn’t easy – and neither is leaving an abusive relationship.

    But you can do this. You deserve to be loved and honored, respected and taken care of. You were created for a purpose, and you are deeply loved! Hold on to the flow of strength, wisdom, and clarity from above.


  26. I decided that I can’t stay with my husband anymore. He is very manipulative and threatens to take our daughter if we divorce because of my resident status ( he is citizen and I am not). It has always been like this. He used to drink but two years ago he stopped and started using drugs. This is third month he hasn’t paid the rent, and I already spent my savings for the previous two month’s rent, and some tickets he had. I have a part time job, and dont make much.I am ready to move out, find a studio or only a room for me and my daughter but I would like to know if i have a legal right to leave him and can he accuse me of kidnapping our daughter, because that’s what I can expect from him. Thank you!

  27. Dear V,

    Going to a women’s shelter is so scary, I totally get it. You’ve been with him for so long, for over a decade! Making a major life change is difficult even under the best circumstances, even when you know exactly where you’re going and what you’re doing.

    And when you’re coping with low energy, no self worth, and isolation…it is completely understandable that this is a huge step for you!

    It’s the first step that’s the hardest. Truly. Once you take that first step, you will find yourself supported and cared for in ways you don’t expect. This doesn’t mean it’ll be easy living at a safe house or shelter, because women in crisis aren’t exactly in a spa-like mood….but you will be on your way to creating a new life for yourself. And that will give you energy and life.

    How are you, where are you?

    With warm prayers,

  28. I have 48 hours to check into this crisis women’s shelter. I’m scared to do it. I should do it. I keep saying its not that bad where I am but I can’t get out of bed sometimes I’ve literally lost all self worth. Since I was 18 I’ve been with the same man. Its been 12 years. Everything was good for ten of those years. Then he cheated. Now he tells me I’m stupid and delusional and get over it. But he’s all I have. Being in this relationship I have isolated myself from family and friends and he’s all I have. I’ll be alone with a baby on the way if I go to the shelter. I know I should but I’m so scared to do it.

    1. Had the exact thing happen to me. Together 17 yrs and two years ago he cheated. After 15 years he began beating and psychologically torturing me. He’s been diagnosed as a covert narcissist 3 times. He said the same things to me, I’m crazy, delusional, It’s all in my head. MOST human beings are remorseful and will compassionatley do whatever it takes if they want to save the marriage. Often I ask him , but how am I suppose to move on from all severe beatings? He says,”stop bringing up the affair!” If someone turns abusive after an affair, there is a much BIGGER issue than the cheating! Possibly one of his masks have been revealed? Unfortunately, there is true evil but remember they have chosen this path. I feel for you and just know I have decided to leave. I have nobody anymore and he’s all I know BUT taking a leap into uncertainty HAS to better than this. What if….It’s the most beautiful choice I’ve ever made in my life! I hope you left:) xo

  29. Dear Jess,

    I think it depends if someone presses charges against him. It seems that many women don’t press charges agains abusive boyfriends or husbands…but sometimes the state’s prosecution will press charges if the violence is really bad.

    It also depends on where you live, how often he hit or hurt you, and other factors. The best person to answer this would be a lawyer in your city, or legal aid.

    Are you protecting him?

  30. Dear Amanda,

    I believe different types of womens’ shelters or safe houses provide different levels of support. The one I worked at offered resources, phone numbers, and support group information to women who aren’t surviving well after leaving an abusive relationship.

    Call the safe houses and womens’ support lines in your area. Ask for help — and know that one day, you will be in a position to help other women!

    Don’t give up, and don’t lose hope. You WILL survive, you WILL get stronger and healthier. The hardest part is behind you….now you’re dealing with a different “hard part” — but I know you will come through this.

    Call different resources for women. Search for “resources for single parents” with your city’s name in the search. You might also try “help for single women”, and “lone parent support groups.”

    You are stronger than you know, and without a doubt more courageous than so many women! You CAN do this, my friend, and you WILL survive and Blossom into a woman who has been through fire and can handle anything.

    Stay the course.

  31. Just one question. Do safe houses help people who have already left the person but are failing at surviving? I have no help from friends or family and no way to survive on my own with two kids. He abused my son and while he is supposed to go to jail, his lawyer is dragging things out and hes out on bail. Im at an in between state that i cant seem to find much assistance for. I have a place but cant afford it and most places wont help me until im actually homeless. I got the kids out of the abusive situation, but cant find the help to make a life. I have 2 part time jobs but no child care. I just dont know who helps people at my stage.

  32. I wouldn’t tell him you’re planning on leaving. Just go. Call a woman’s shelter or safe house, and find out what your options are.

    It’s scary! It’s hard. But, leaving is better than staying with a man who abuses you mentally, physically, and verbally. Call a women’s shelter or domestic violence helpline and get the help you DESERVE.

  33. I’m lucky, I suppose, I have no children. He has not physically bruised me since his “ma” said sumpin ’bout my bruises (concussion). Emotional/verbal absolutely cruel. The mind games & speaking 2 me as though I’m the stupidist in the world. In Reidsville NC, disabled (in appeal). Is only nice when cracked high & I have to please him. Looking around for “safe” places 2 live outdoors. Want to die. I am SO good 2 him, but he just seems 2 hate me. Oddly, I’ll feel sorry 4 him when I leave (how crazy that!?) Will have 2 leave SO much behind. Tell him I’m going 2 leave? Or, run while he’s at work? Jobless, scared crapless – L