I actually got a start in the right direction over 5 months ago, when I finally ended a 40 year effort in personal disaster when constantly trying to salvage relationships with my parents and siblings. In the last 5 months, I have experienced kindness I didn't even realize was still possible.
Abusive people tend to influence their targets to believe that ALL people are abusive monsters, that normal is abnormal. That is not true, of course. Even in these troubling times, there is incredible kindness within many and people willing to assist without fostering new forms of manipulation for past abuse. My personal suggestion for a break from the battle is natural food stores and preparing natural food from home. It seemed logical to start with basics, a healthy body and mind. Shedding excess weight is a fast and easy way to make big gains. Yes, I said easy. An overweight person can usually shed 20 pounds in 3 months without trying that hard, especially by cutting out most meat, cheese, soft drinks, and refined sugar items. Those gains fuel the mind for more significant challenges. One word of caution is to still keep the guard up and beware of some stores which may be looking for recruits for a religion.
During the first few visits, I'd suggest making a conscious effort to not behave as one does in more aggressive settings. One quickly realizes they are in a different place, one where everyone there is taking a break, smiling and enjoying that little island of civility. It's amazing. Not all natural food stores are equal, but most are reasonably-priced and very laid back. It's just that some Bush republicans have discovered that organic and natural foods are in demand and they are trying to do to the natural foods industry what they did to the mainstream grocers and Wall Street.
Shifts can occur with grocery and other expenses to finance any adjustments. What would it be worth if someone got so depressed that they couldn't go to work? The stakes are high, especially those first 3-6 months of detoxifiction. I suggest expanding benefits of organic foods, buy what doesn't result in excessive overall expense increases, maybe being only 30%-40% organic at first. The savings of not buying beer, soda, and junk foods add up. It's all in the more efficient allocation of resources, or increase in revenues. However, it is true that food more likely to tear down your health and your life will be less expensive and may even be more familiar or seem tastier. Consumers need to realize that the taste is really just chemicals pretending to be that flavor. Given that, my taste buds have never been more alive than they are now. Sometimes something I cook taste so good and so different that I sit in the kitchen laughing like a madman, as I munch on my latest creation.
I've had good luck with natural food stores in college towns, less luck around large urban centers where people may use "natural" as more of a slogan or bait than a way of life. As far as mainstream grocers, Kroger is my favorite. Whole Foods is fine for some hard-to-find bulk goods, but tends to attract people not quite ready for a different life, and people just wanting to be trendy.
This initial strategy should work for most forms of domestic abuse, terminate abusive condition and seek nurturing interactions. I believe I will look back on this time as the most difficult, the journey into a complete unknown from 40 years of the known. Actually leaving one life for a mere promise of a better life is very difficult. One leaves friends, personal possessions, a usually pays a significant price both financially and in escaping the normal Stockholm Syndrome mentality that long-term abuse creates, similar to struggles of a witness protection program.
Trust me, the abusers will pursue a fleeing target. The process of a recovering target is almost identical to the 7 Stages of Grief. One realizes they did the right thing as they see their body healing physically and emotionally almost immediately. We often do not realize the physical toll of abuse. In so many words, abuse murders our soul and results in less quality of life over fewer years. The probability of a longer and more content life is far greater with the stress of the constant emotional turmoil delivered by abusive individuals. If I have to sacrifice or get another job to finance a better life, a life I will be pleased with living, so be it.