Someone should write a guide specifically on coming out of domestic violence. The thing, though, is that I'm convinced that a woman who leaves a situation like that must:
1) come to her own conclusion to do so, and
2) decide to be healed of whatever is within herself that attracted her to a relationship like that to begin with.
Most women don't do that. Most people have broken parts inside that will never get fixed because they either don't realize that something is broken, don't know how to fix it, or are so comfortable being broken that they don't want to change. As you read this, maybe you will reflect on your own brokenness; maybe you are at a place in your life, too, where you are ready to get healed. It's a blessed journey to travel, my friend, and so worth it in the end.
For the women who are ready to step away from that relationship (for most of us, it's simply because we can't do it any more. It isn't really a "choice"), though, a guide would be helpful. It would include things like this:
1) A list of free or affordable babysitters who are reliable, good influences, responsible, and trained in CPR.
2) Instructions on how to: install a deadbolt, mow your lawn while your toddlers are awake, motivate yourself to do something after the kids are in bed (other than sit on the couch and listen to the silence), change the oil in your car (because who has done that in the last seven years?!), even know how many cylinders your car is so if you have someone else change the oil you can correctly answer this question, and how to remove a huge wasp nest from your back garage.
3) A pass that you can cut out which says "I am allowed to have a bad day and be grumpy." Because...really, this isn't allowed, but it sure would be nice. :)
4) Workout instructions. When you're starting a new chapter in your life, it feels really darn good to be in charge of your body and accomplish something that's so good for your health!
5) Organization and cleaning tips and tricks to make things happen Mary Poppins' style. Who wants to take all of her free time up by cleaning a house?
And then the more serious things, like what to do when you're lonely and 9pm hits. Night time is the roughest. How to maintain your integrity and not make mistakes out of your loneliness. How to know when you're ready for a relationship, and how to not sabotage the next one you have because you are overly sensitive to certain things. How to retrain your brain to have correct thinking about what is normal and healthy in a relationship. How to rebuild your identity, because if you have truly been in an unhealthy relationship, you probably lost hold of who you were along the way. How to not care what other people think about you (as long as you know you're doing what you should be doing, of course). And...
How to have healthy boundaries with the person you were in that relationship with. How to still show that person respect so your kids can see you model how they should act. How to stop reacting to that person out of fear. How to help that person, have his back, and support him while not giving him the wrong impression.
It's interesting, this journey. A lot of unanswered questions and dilemmas, but it's ok, and the journey is good. Behind every rainbow, there is a little rain...and I sure do like rainbows and the promise of God's love that they hold.