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#1 Thing To Know When Leaving A Relationship If It Becomes Abusive

04/13/2015 03:12 am ET | Updated Nov 28, 2016

Husband and wife Anthony and Melinda accuse each other of mental, verbal and physical abuse and say the chaos is tearing their family apart. Melinda claims Anthony has given her multiple black eyes and continued to be physically abusive during her pregnancies. And Anthony says his wife of 18 months has out of control anger, and physically attacks him — and herself. Watch more of their story here.

Robin McGraw, a national leader in domestic violence awareness, shares with the couple that cases involving domestic violence almost always get worse. With that in mind, she tells Melinda that she must decide to do whatever it takes to be safe. “I know it’s hard, and I know it’s scary,” she says, adding that her foundation, When Georgia Smiled, has a list of resources for women in situations like Melinda’s.

Robin also shares some critical information for anyone suffering from domestic violence — some tips for leaving their relationships. “The first step is to build a support system around you,” she says, explaining that the group can consist of friends, family or co-workers. “Sometimes, it’s a slow process. You start building a bag for when it’s time to leave, and in that you put important papers, what money you have. You put special things for your children that will bring them comfort.”

Robin continues, “The No.1 thing you have to do is be safe for you and your children.”

“It’s not easy, and it is dangerous,” Dr. Phil says. “It’s what’s called the frustration effect: Abusers try to control, and when you slip away, they panic and they try to increase that control, and that’s when they get desperate and do desperate things.”

Watch the video above for more tips.

An Exit Action Plan For Leaving An Abusive Relationship

How To Stay Safe After Leaving An Abusive Relationship

For more information, please visit the Web site for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

For more information on where to turn for help, consult these Domestic Violence Resources.

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