How do I find the courage to leave my abusive husband?

DEAR DEIDRE: HOW do I find the courage to leave my abusive husband?

I’m 47 and have been with him for 20 years. He’s 50. We have a teenage daughter who has left home for uni.

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He’s never hit me but he’s always been emotionally abusive. He starts arguments for no reason, puts me down and makes me think I’m clumsy, selfish and stupid.

Everyone thinks he’s funny and charming, and he can be – until I do something he doesn’t like or agree with.

I used to believe everything was my fault, until a counsellor told me he was gaslighting me. Now I’ve realised how cruel and manipulative he is.

Talking to him is hopeless and he won’t come to see a counsellor with me.

Now I want to get out of the marriage before it’s too late but I know he’ll try to stop me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Don't underestimate the strength it takes to leave. But you’ve already taken the first steps and should be proud.

He will try to change your mind. Please believe you can do this. My support pack on Abusive Partners will help you find support.

If you ever feel in danger, contact the National Domestic Abuse helpline (, 0808 2000 247).

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