“She left with only 36 cents and a gas card,” a radio station reported after the news broke about the passing of Tina Turner.
The media immediately revisited the tragic story of the mental and physical abuse she endured by her husband and the monumental moment in her life when she was able to leave “…with only 36 cents and a Mobil card.”
It instantly brought me back to the first time I saw her movie. The pivotal moment she left the hotel room she shared with her husband on the night of the Academy Awards, beaten and bloody, and stepped foot in another hotel and asked for help.
That moment was iconic.
If she could walk away from the life she had built, a life filled with wealth, success and glamour—for her safety and well-being—no one should ever stay in an abusive situation, no excuses.
Sometimes people are unaware they are actually in an abusive relationship. It doesn’t always have to be physical.
Abuse comes in many different shapes and sizes.
Obsession can be abuse. Someone who constantly wants to know where you are and what you’re doing all the time. Someone who isolates you from people in your life.
Controlling can be abuse. Someone who assumes control over your finances or other important factors in your life.
Physical, emotional, and sexual violence is abuse. No means no. You don’t owe anyone anything. And if someone lays a hand on you in any way, it’s abusive.
But you are the only person who can stop the abuser. You have to leave once and for all.
But it’s not always easy.
Your mind will play tricks on you. You may feel a sense of connection to your partner.
You will tell yourself all sorts of excuses why your partner does what he or she does. He or she really loves you and couldn’t survive without you. You want to keep your family together so your children have a family unit. You have feelings of fear, shame, or embarrassment.
You will find reasons why you can’t leave. You have nowhere to go. You have no money. You don’t have anyone to help you. Your partner won’t let you leave.
Tina Turner’s story lives in my soul as I witnessed abuse when I was young.
The best thing you can do for yourself, your children, and your loved ones is to f*cking leave.
It may not be easy, but it’s possible.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Listen to your intuition and trust your own judgement on the safest time to leave.
Create a safety plan to execute if needed during the separation process. Your plan may include identifying and keeping contact information for someone you can call for help or shelter if needed. Prepare a list of items you’re planning to take with you when you leave. Take the necessary steps to ensure your safety at work, school, and anywhere else you visit frequently.
It is important to be prepared for any situation that is unique to your situation. Just be prepared.
Create a support network and surround yourself with people who love and care for you and who can help you through the hard days.
Don’t ever forget why you left. You might miss your partner. And it’s completely normal if you do. Walking away doesn’t always mean you stopped loving them. You just loved yourself a little more.
But just because you miss someone doesn’t mean they were right for you.
No matter what, put yourself first. Always. Give yourself kindness and time to heal.
Work toward becoming independent.
Utilize available resources for support. The internet, friends, employers, your local state representative are all great places to begin your search for what may be available to you.
Join groups and organizations to connect with other survivors who can offer you comfort and support during this time.
Consider therapy, which can help strengthen your relationships, help you set boundaries, and help you better understand the abuse you went through.
Look forward to a new life. You didn’t deserve the abuse you have been through nor was it a reflection of who you are. There is so much more of this life to experience.
Remember you are worthy and deserve love.
But you can’t get where you’re going until you take the necessary steps to leave.
Even if you only have 36 cents and a gas card, you can f*cking do it.