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For all the folk who said Sarah Lynn Redden should “JUST LEAVE”

The State Vs Sarah Lynn Redden

This link shares the story of Sarah Lynn Redden, who after leaving her abusive partner, had the abuse follow her and ended up wrongly being put in jail.

Likewise, I began my writing career when a beautiful woman I knew was murdered (in front of her sons) after starting what was meant to be a new life.

I don’t want to dwell on this subject, because honestly it upsets me too much. All I want to say simply is  . . .

Domestic Violence is Not as Easy to Solve as Some People Pretend it to be

If you are in an abusive relationship and start asking for help – you will undoubtably come across people who will treat you as stupid (or wasting everyone’s time) because you don’t, ‘just leave’. But then if you do, or even suggest that you want to; any abuse charges you lay will be treated as suspect and natural part of the ‘war that is divorce’.

Worse, if you have children, people will think you are making up the abuse charges to get custody.

So if you have an abusive partner and need help from the police, as stupid as anyone treats you, I suggest you consider saying you don’t want to leave but that you urgently need help putting an end to your partner’s aggression.

Some police don’t like this. Because honestly they would rather not get involved.

Domestic Valor – Advice for Clergy, Police, Doctors and Family

They may say “Well if we take action you will probably just drop the charges.”. Or,  “If you make a report we will issue an AVO or put them in jail. Is that what you really want?”

In this case I suggest you say something like, “I hope you can please warn him/her what the result will be if his/her aggression continues and that YOU will be charging him/her if it doesn’t stop.”

Because if you are in an abusive relationship you certainly need to take action, but ‘just leaving’ may cause the violence to escalate.

There are people who will hate me for what I am saying here. People who chant ‘Just Leave’ like a mantra, but this is too important an issue to avoid.

A person who tells you to run from an abusive partner really doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is like telling someone to run from an angry dog. It sounds logical sure, unless of course you know anything about dogs!

So, crazy as it might sound, Steve and I say, “Don’t run!”. Instead we want to teach you to resolve the conflict and hold your ground. And in our story ending the abuse didn’t end our marriage.

Now of course this doesn’t mean everyone in a domestic violent relationship can avoid divorce. That may still be necessary, but really is a different matter. Because leave or stay, the conflict needs to be resolved. If leaving is the best option, it is still going to be much better for you, and especially your kids, if you can resolve the conflict before you go.

12 Steps to End a Fight in Progress

We do not pretend that domestic abuse is an easy problem to tackle. Learning leaderships skills to help defuse conflict and emotional/domestic abuse in your home will definitely be challenging. But what are the alternatives? Please think through any advice you get very carefully before you take actions that could put you and your children in danger.

There are Solutions . . .

If you need help (and you haven’t already) please download Back From the Looking Glass 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home, and start putting our 13 steps into action.

Because strange as it may sound – the more dangerous the abuser – the more important it may be that you don’t ‘just leave’. This is not an easy problem and the solution much harder than most people realise.

Back From the Looking Glass – 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home

Domestic Valor – Advice for Clergy, Police, Doctors and Family


Kim is the author of seven books on the topic of relationships and emotional intelligence.

A prolific multi-media content innovator, Kim has created and shared a library of articles and multi-media educational tools including radio shows,
movies and poetry on 'The NC Marriage', and 'The Love Safety Net'.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Dear Kim, thank you for all you do. I believe you are right on. If I were to leave, I know that I would have to be in hiding for at least a year, do to my narcistic husband. Who is NOT abusive thank you Jesus!

  2. Yes, the research shows repeatedly that the time after the victim leaves the relationship is the most dangerous time for both battered partner and the children. People must raise awareness of covert and overt signs of abuse and stalking. Going into therapy “as a couple” at this time is also highly dangerous (and thus considered unethical) because it raises the incidence of abuse in the home. Victims will want to gain as much information as possible prior to actions of separation.

    1. Hey BBee – That is a very good point you make. The problem with partners of abusers is they tend to play fair instead of playing smart. When it comes to your own peace of mind and safety you need to do what is smart and especially don’t expect that anyone else – including the system – is going to play fair.

    1. Hey Kimberly, We live on the other side of the world so I am not sure. But if you visit the link at the top of my article and read her story you might get some ideas of what you could do to help her.

  3. I agree with her, I ran to, as a matter of fact, I told m y husband, you chased me out those times, I stand my ground, born again believer in Christ, doesn’t make it any easier to live with a narcissistic personality disorder. You are right, think it out clearly, be careful who you listen to, they mean well, but don’t always understand, it isn’t them making the move it is you. Get help, get support, and know it isn’t you…

  4. Sooo true ! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Not only true for abusive domestic relationships, but it is rampant throughout our government and human services systems as well. What I see that is in ANY relationship (bosses, client/customer service, or even from employee to boss etc.) where someone is systematically using abusive tactics (or purposely etc.) the SAME dynamics play out. Crikey – even the “mean/sweet cycle.” Evil is the word that comes to mind. Why do people tolerate and perpetuate doing it? Yikes, do I do it too and don’t know it? I intentionally try to make sure I’m not doing things back in malice. But do I manipulate, too? I don’t think so. I intentionally try being as straightforward as I can.

    I think Kim can identify with that I have Aspergers. Things were pretty hunky dory after high school. Adults actually behaved sane and civil (in comparison to teenagers). It’s experiencing special education for my own 2 kids that has me feeling like “I’m back in high school again” amongst highly trained “teenagers” in adults clothing out to do me harm (as if that doesn’t harm my kids, too).

    People are only too expedient to advise to me also “Why don’t you just leave” – as if it’s that simple or easy. People complain if “regular kids” are homeschooled – but if the kids are special education kids “Well of course those kids don’t need to expertise of highly trained professionals to help them” and people readily and practically eagerly recommend you homeschool them. It’s so highly encouraged passively-aggressively with all the lies and tricks and willful ignorance and sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. It’s not the teachers (so far as I can tell) it’s the leadership they are under.

    I think I’m rambling. Thanks for your insight, Kim!

    1. Hey thanks Shella,

      I identify completely. If it is any consulation we went through all the same thing when we took my son with Aspergers out of school because he was being bullied constantly (but when he retaliated he was labelled the bully). The headmaster said – “How will he learn social skills at home?” And I said “Well what is he learning here?” Two and a half years later and he was back at a new school and in his final year (of primary school) was voted school prefect. Now he is playing team sport and doing great. Another huge hurdle was banning him playing computer games. Other parents just couldn’t believe we wouldn’t let him play them at all. But limiting them only made it worse. Now a year later we let him play sometimes but he has so many other interests it is fine. So hang in there Shella – I am sure you know a lot better what is good for your kids than the school system does.

  5. Thanks very much, Kim!

    “Play smart” instead of “play fair.” So true! I’m so incredibly horrible at “playing smart” though. I don’t get it. My 12-year old with Aspergers does “playing smart” better than I do. Reading about the dynamics of abusive relationships that you and Steve so clearly describe I think has helped some. (Such as even the problems I’ve had being taken advantage by my husband – which is better now).

    With my 2 boys the oldest (now 12) has Aspergers, and the youngest (now 8) has a more debilitating form of autism (PDD NOS – because of the circumstances it’s been more debilitating).

    With my oldest with Aspergers – he’s had interesting experiences with bullies. He’s fought back, and then the school gives both kids a pretty “light slap on the wrists.” Kyle now calls his 504 Plan – “504 immunity” – meaning he can get away with any bad behavior he chooses to because if the school says he’s got a problem, then they’d have to address it in his 504 Plan. The school doesn’t want to take any accountability for helping his with his special needs for social/emotional educaiton – so Kyle really can do whatever he wants.

    Reading about how you took computer games away from your child — I may need to do that with both of my own kids. They get sooo “stimmed” on that stuff — and then aren’t “present” to the other activities they do with their day when NOT doing video games.

    Thanks for your insights!

    Good job telling off your school master ^_~ Ironically, school often is NOT the place for learning social skills. Same goes for sending kids off to daycare.

    Happy to hear your son is doing well in school now! Apparently he got the social tools from home that he needed to handle social situations at school — or a mix of that he’s now going to a far better school than where he was before.

    1. Hey Shella, Yes it was a mix of the two with my son, one a better school and two lots of work at home. When he went back we would brainstorm problems he was having around the dinner table and my socially competent kids would tell him how they would handle the same situation – then we would get him to role act it with his brother and sister! He would complain a bit but still do it and it helped him so much. I got a lot of help from the site there is some great movies there that we all learned tons from. Most of all we would never say he had a problem but we would say that his antisocial behaviour was wrong. I think some parents are afraid of this and kids on the spectrum can end up covering their embarrassment with a lot of false pride. Acting proud of how your child is different or making them believe that they are actually better than other people can be very damaging I believe. Instead we would always try and make him feel respected as a person – but clearly tell him that reactive or impulsive behaviour was unacceptable and wrong.

  6. Thanks, Kim!

    I’ll have to check out the vids at, too ^_~

    I totally agree with you that “Acting proud of how your child is different or making them believe that they are actually better than other people can be very damaging” – I believe that, too. Well put! Although I like to celebrate differences that are good – but it doesn’t make the child better than others (in my opinion, that you share). I fall short on teaching him fighting is wrong =( We’ve talked about it though, and his behaviors have improved. Kids respect him due to the fights he’s been in – and as they are all maturing they are all realizing (including Kyle) that fighting isn’t ok. False pride I agree is just not healthy. I think school is filling him with some false pride. But I think enough of it is legitimate that the legitimate compliments are doing Kyle’s self-esteem and outlook on reality some good.

    You have lots of insight on how to be practical about “fixing” troublesome social situations of all sorts! Cracking the narcissism nut that professions haven’t made any progress on for decades is amazing! (from my perspective)

  7. I signed the petition to drop the case. I also know that the abuse organizations that help women here have lawyers on staff. I suggested that to the person organizing the petition in an email. They are secrative, to protect their clients, but you can find numbers to call easily on line. They are awesome organizations. Thank you for posting the story.

  8. Spring
    I have been with my husband for 9 years now I have tried to leave 5 times. He is very controlling, right now its at the point i cant talk to anyone. I feel alone, the threats of taking my children away to hurt me, its scary. He looks great to everyone but when we are home. verbally bully me and when he starts on the kids I put myself in the middle to protect them. I’m at the point if he is sleeping in the living room. I wont wake him to go to bed, because I want to sleep. tip toeing around the house so he wont get mad, or set him off… I need steps on how to leave with out putting my children or me in harms way. I’m normally a strong person. since we have been together I have gone on antidepressant as well. I’m not perfect but I do know that how I’m feeling and how my children feel is not okay

    1. Hey spring, sorry to hear the bad situation you have found yourself in. I really can identify. The Steps in Back From the Looking Glass will help you and especially the last chapters on leaving. It is important that you have a plan that is going to de escalate the conflict. Working through the earlier steps in the book may help too depending on your situation. As always read through everything before putting a plan together and make sure you have a ‘safety net’ of help in your community set up for yourself before you start putting your plan into action.

  9. I have a son in law with this problem and his daughter started cutting herself very deep and horizontal. each time they have to take her to hospital to get stitches! I am so concerned!!

    1. You need to get your daughter a copy of Back From the Looking Glass and help her follow through the steps.

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