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Leaving An Abusive Relationship: Why Can’t I Just Leave?

January 22, 2014 Kellie Jo Holly

Leaving an abusive relationship usually can't be done the moment you figure out your partner abuses you. Leaving abuse takes planning and time, if you have it.

So many people beat themselves up over the question "Why can't I just leave?" You want the easy answer? You aren't ready to leave yet.

You

  • haven't been convinced that the abuse warrants you leaving, or
  • you lack financial resources, or
  • you're in business with your abuser, or
  • the kids are too small, or
  • the kids are almost out of school, or
  • the abuser needs you, or
  • fill in your reason here.

Notice I said fill in your reason here. These are not excuses. The reasons you stay may sound like excuses to someone else, but don't let anyone belittle your decision to stay. I really want to end that sentence with "to stay for now" but truth is that you may never leave. You could be 70 years old and wondering how your spouse is managing to exceed life expectancy, them being so miserable and nasty and all (lots of people are doing this right now).

I want you to be okay with choosing to stay, because making decisions is empowering. Staying is a choice you can make.

Leaving An Abusive Relationship Is Important

Irresponsible Advice

It would be very irresponsible of me if I don't say a few things at this point.

  • I want you to end your abusive relationship. Life is too short and precious to spend it with a person who hurts you.
  • If your abuser physically assaults you, I hope you leave right now. Verbal abuse escalates to physical assault and assault escalates to death. Additionally, you may not be the only one to die -your abuser could murder you and then your children and anyone else on the scene.

Point is that choosing to stay with an abuser will have very serious emotional and/or physical consequences. It is only a matter of time.

Leaving An Abusive Relationship Is Not Your Only Option

Honoring a person's choice to stay in an abusive relationship is a relatively new concept to domestic violence social workers and other domestic abuse helpers. You might find helpers who support you no matter what you decide to do. On the other hand, you might find helpers who decide there's nothing they can do for you if you do not leave the abuser. That hurts, I know, but just because they're the experts doesn't mean they always know the right thing to do.

Additionally, many of your closest friends and family members may distance themselves from you if you choose to stay. Often we tell ourselves that they're tired of listening to us complain when we won't do anything to change it. Remember though, the ones who love you need to keep themselves sane, too. If they're in the battle with you, they may not be strong enough to pull you out if you change your mind and leave the relationship.

Don't take it personally if people don't support your decision to stay, and please don't beat yourself up because you feel you can't leave. Let's just roll with this for a while and see what we can do for our mental well-being when we choose to stay.

Key Concepts to Accept About Your Abusive Relationship

You cannot make your abuser happy, therefore you cannot make them mad, either. You do not have magic powers that control your abuser's words or actions and no combination of your words or behaviors will result in an end to the abuse.

Most everything you do and say will be "wrong", and if you are right today, you'll probably be wrong tomorrow. So you may as well do exactly as YOU please at all times. Make your own decisions, act on your hunches. It doesn't matter what you do, the abuse will continue.

You are in a relationship that thrives on your honest disclosures about yourself. However, unlike healthy intimate relationships, your significant other uses your deepest secrets against you. You cannot trust your abuser with your heart, so keep your mouth shut about it.

There will be moments of joy and pleasure in your abusive relationship. Go ahead and enjoy the sex, the compliment, the joke, etc. But leave the joy in the moment. Don't assume that because s/he smiled a minute ago that the smile will be there when you look again. Humans need joy in their life, so grab all you can.

You need a safety plan. Period. Abusers are unpredictable and you never know when you're going to have to get away from them. Thinking through a safety plan during moments of peace will help you to think more swiftly and clearly during moments of danger.

Keep people on the outside of your relationship close. Isolation is the abuser's best friend. When you're isolated from others, you lose the most valuable lifeline an abused person can have - ideas from people other than the abuser. You increase the effects of abuse by only hearing your abuser's opinions, so stay connected to the world outside your home.

Educate yourself about domestic violence and abuse. Search words and phrases like verbal and emotional abuse, side effects of abuse, gaslighting, crazy-making and brainwashing. Learning a little bit each day about how your partner manipulates and controls you lessens their ability to do it.

Concepts to Accept About Yourself

You are human; a delightfully imperfect person who can do the very best you know how to do in this instant. Every instant.

You are lovable.

You deserve respect.

You can choose one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

You are powerful.

You can learn, grow and adapt.

You do not have to accept or absorb lies, even if the lie has a grain of truth to it (see Detaching from Verbal Abuse Hypnosis MP3).

You hold God's hand, even when you cannot feel it, but sometimes you must do something differently so He can help you in another way.

You decide who stays in your life.

You decide when leaving an abusive relationship is right for you.

You can also find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2014, January 22). Leaving An Abusive Relationship: Why Can’t I Just Leave?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2014/01/why-cant-i-leave-abuse



Author: Kellie Jo Holly

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 19 2017 at 9:26 pm

Alexis, Hi, thanks so much for reaching out, I'm so glad you found us here at HealthyPlace. Your comment broke my heart, no one deserves to be treated so poorly, you deserve to be loved and valued. I'm so sorry for your current struggles. You're so young Alexis, you have your whole life ahead of you and you do not have to continue living this way. I understand how badly you must want to just be happy and content but I must warn you someone who is as abusive as your boyfriend is will likely not change anytime soon and not ever without extreme therapy- there is nothing you can or cannot do to make him change, his abusive nature is distinct from your actions. The best thing you can do is try to save yourself and put distance between you and him. Please continue to reach out Alexis, we're here anytime. Thanks, Emily

hippichic
December, 4 2017 at 12:41 am

I am with a mostly verbal, Sometimes physical abuser and I want out. 4 years of HOGWASH. The most important bit of info I'm taking away from this article is to not share your heart with the abuser. I've shared and shared and shared...and it always gets used as ammo against me...to hurt me to make me feel bad. Reading this has been so helpful to me on how to 'escape'. Thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 19 2017 at 8:58 pm

Hippichic, Thank you for reaching out to us here at HealthyPlace. I'm so sorry for what you've been dealing with. I imagine it must feel terrible to allow yourself to be vulnerable and share yourself with someone and then it's later used against you. This is definitely unacceptable behavior. I'm so glad the article was helpful for you. Please continue reaching out and checking out the site. Thanks so much! -Emily Also, if you'd like, check out this article on Verbal Abuse Coping Strategies

Misty
December, 2 2017 at 6:10 pm

I can't leave as bad as I want to
My son still in school
I have no money because he takes it all from me
He degrades me disrespects me
Emotionally mentally and physically abuses me
I'm not allowed to see my family
Have friends. Have a job or tlk to anyone or he beats me
I feel like a slave a prisoner a punching bag
I hate him with all my heart an soul but he threatens to blow my head off in front of my kids if I leave
Somebody please tell me what to do
If I stay or leave i fear he will kill me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cece
December, 3 2017 at 3:51 pm

Misty my goodness what your going thru is absolutely scary for you and your son
You need to leave and seek help from local authorities
Im sure you fear doing that but if you can get number for a womans shelter but you cannot stay in that your to wonderful of a woman
I know your scared but please start finding resources to GET OUT!!!!
Remember your worthy of so much more

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Arisma
December, 4 2017 at 1:00 am

im so sorry to hear that. u need to seek help. do u have any relatives you can contact? ask them for help. they may be able to help you so you can feel strengthen to leave him.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May
December, 4 2017 at 7:11 pm

Misty , if you can find a way to do this
Get an app that can allows you to Audio or video record some incidents whether physical abuse or verbal to use as evidence when you get into contact with authorities which is the best approach I recommend
And after you do record it
Download an app that you can put the videos in , like a secret app with a password lock , the one I have is called calculator vault where the icon of the app is a calculator so it's not suspicious at all and work exactly like a calculator would
However , this is on my iPhone
So hopefully you have one
If not , search in the App Store either way
I hope for you to be free of this soon enough

Kylie
November, 30 2017 at 12:44 am

I just got smacked in the face twice after 5 years of emotional abuse I have no friends or family to turn to zero dollars to my name and I have to go to work tomorrow. I threatened him with the police, he doesn't care. I'm dead in a shell of flesh that resembles me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 3 2017 at 9:15 am

Hi Kylie,
I'm so sorry this is happening to you. What your partner has done to you is against the law, so do document his violence and file a police report -- it doesn't matter whether or not he cares. I know how impossible it feels when someone is trampling all over your self-esteem and sense of worth, but you have to care about yourself . Please confide in a trusted friend or family member, and contact a domestic abuse hotline like 800-799-7233. You don't have to do this alone. Good luck, and please come back to this site for support any time you need.

Katelynn
November, 29 2017 at 6:47 pm

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost six months, and I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing by reaching out. But every day is a non-stop jealousy fight. I can not even leave my house to go with my family with out his permission, and if I do get granted the permission he still gets mad at me. He accuses me every day of cheating or lying. He has all my passwords, all of my information yet still doesn't trust me. Be complains I never spend enough time with him, but I'm with him nearly every day. I'm physically, and mentally drained. I hate going to his house sometimes because he never allows me to be on my phone. If my mom or even a close family friend was to message me we will fight over it. I've never been in a situation where I've been treated like this. It's more like he treats me like an object. If I smile, I'm being "too friendly" when we go out or see people, or if I'm just sitting there I'm "acting different," or being a bit**." I just don't know what to do anymore. I've invested so much time and effort that it literally frightens me to leave, because I've had to cut everyone off. Even friends, and hobbies.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 3 2017 at 9:31 am

Hi Katelynn,
Well done for reaching out. You may not feel as though you're doing the right thing, but what your boyfriend is doing is far from OK. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he is abusive, and that you should seek help. Over time, his controlling behavior will only get worse and it could even turn violent, so please don't keep this to yourself.
It sounds like you need a break from the relationship to figure out whether or not you want to be treated this way, so is there a friend or family member you could stay with for a while? You must tell your boyfriend in no uncertain terms that unless his behavior changes, you can't stay with him -- and mean it. You might feel like you've invested a lot in this relationship, but it's nothing compared to what you stand to lose, and what you've possibly lost already. Nobody reserves the right to call you derogatory names or tell you who you can and can't talk to.
Good luck, and please reach out to your loved ones, even if you've cut them off in the past. If they love you, they will understand. You can't do this alone, and you don't have to.

Sierra
November, 27 2017 at 3:13 am

Ive been with my current boyfriend for about four months and he shows signs of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. He constantly starts fights with me and calls me names which causes me to worry and say sorry because I feel that it is my fault. He isolates me from my friends and family and constantly wants me to hang out with him, I am exhausted. Part of me really does want to leave but then the other part of me is afraid of being alone especially since im clingy and got used to him. Every time I say it's time for me to leave he gets upset and yells and name calls me. Ive told him how I felt and that I want to break up with him and he threatens to kill himself which is guilt tripping me. Yesterday I went over to his house with my two friends to try to end things because I was afraid he was going to hurt me he threatened to hit me and my guy friend had to hold him back. He has split personalities and is bi polar and claims he cant remember what he did. He also used me a lot for sexual favors even tho I cry and say im not in the mood right now. I honestly just feel trapped and I want to leave but im afraid he is going to hurt me or my family I need advice.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 27 2017 at 7:36 am

Sierra, Thanks for reaching out to us at HealthyPlace! I'm so glad you did because you are most certainly in an abusive relationship. The way he is behaving, the way he is treating you, is absolutely unacceptable. If you have been with your boyfriend for four months and things are already as bad as you've described, you need to get out of that situation as fast as possible. He sounds dangerous Sierra, and statistically speaking, things will continue to get worse and worse. He clearly has some very serious issues and needs to get help for those issues on his own. If you think you're ready to leave but you're scared, I recommend you reach out to those close to you and communicate everything that's going on. Have you told your family? Have you considered reporting his behavior for your safety? From what I gathered, you're not living together, and that's a very good thing, leaving will still be complicated but you won't have to worry about that aspect. Have you thought about maybe sending him a text or email so you're not on the phone or in person, that way you can say what you need to say uninterrupted and end the conversation there? Maybe your best option would be to send a text explaining why you need to break up, that you need to put your safety and self-respect and self-care first and foremost and that you don't want to continue the relationship. After you send the text, if you're open to this, consider blocking his number. I think in a situation where a guy is sending you threats, trying to manipulate you with guilt and blame tactics, and making you feel unsafe, the best route is no-contact. I hope this was helpful Sierra. If you have any more questions please feel free to reach out anytime. I've attached an article below I think pertains to your situation. Thanks again, Emily
Reasons to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Flower
November, 26 2017 at 3:07 pm

Hi . I have been with this guy for almost three years now we'll at the moment I left him cus I got tired of him once again I've left many time before . Now I wanted to search about emotional abuse cus I always figured I was being emotionally abused but then again he would tell me things and every single time id wonder what if I could have done something different ?. I always tried my best . But somehow things would not work out . It's really hard for me to explain it but . He would always get mad at me at db things like leaving my shoes in his car when he's car would always be messy and he'd tell me I needed to help him clean it when it really wasn't my mess , but anyways I'd leave something and he'd throw it away and say well don't be leaving your shit like that be cleaner ... When I'd help him clean his car all the time Everytime id say something I feel like hed wanna say something superior to what I said idk if that makes sense . He doesn't work he lives with his mom everything he has his mom got him I'm not trying to talk bad about him but I'd be tired after a long day at work and I'd say "I'm tired " he'd say "me to " I'd tell him of what .? He'd always tell me I work more then you your jobs easy ect. Always putting me down . I felt so low many times . Wed always argue and it'd lead to the point where I was crying so bad I couldn't breathe right , he'd just watch me ... And say more things I'd say how could you just " I don't understand how you could just watch me cry ? He'd just turn it around on me . He addicted to Krystal meth . At first I didn't want to I'd say no and hed keep insisting for me to try it one day I did. I got to the point where I'd do it with him daily I'm not addicted because I'm fine without it I wanted to stop I'd say i don't want to anymore he'd first say that's good baby . But then comee blow it in my face I guess he'd think it would make me want it .? I was ready to leave him for sure the time before this well i thought but then I found out we where diagnosed with herpes ... Of course I wanted to die . He cried and said he'd love me and if Id be there for him and he would to so I went back thinking I need to stay with him I don't want to infect anyone with this ... We found out because he had a horrible outbreak we went to the hospital thinking it was a rash I was there when the doctor said you have genital herpes I cried of course as he did but I did not for one second doubt him I hugged him o was there untill he got better got him ointment everything he needed I tired to leave and he started telling me he was gonna expose me that I was a whore and I gave him herpes not only was I already depressed cus I had it but my heart just sunk hearing that from him when I would never want that for him I'd never threaten him like that . He's done it before threaten me to come do stuff toy house cus I wanna leave even after he called me a whore slut I stayed ... Cus I felt discussed in myself . Recently I had been crying everyday I lived with him . Today I got tired to tired .... Of crying ... Being sad I left again I'm not scared of his threats anymore but I guess I just need advice because I'm afraid I'll end up going back ....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 26 2017 at 9:06 pm

Flower, I'm so sorry for everything that's happened, that is just terrible. I'm so glad you decided to look up emotional abuse and found HealthyPlace. Searching for information and getting a better idea of what's happening in your life is such an important step to take. From what you've described here, it does sound very much like emotional abuse, you are correct. The name calling, threats, shaming, and degrading -- are all unacceptable behaviors and you deserve to be treated better, you deserve to be valued and loved. Flower, you seem to have found yourself in a very toxic and dangerous situation. Not only are you being abused but being in a relationship with an addict opens your life up to chaos, especially if you've done it with him. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for young adults, even more so than car accidents. Also, once you've been arrested for drug possession, your life becomes much more difficult to manage. Methamphetamine addiction is such a scary thing to grapple with, for yourself, and just having that in your life because of someone else. If you feel like you're not at the point where you feel addicted, I would run from this guy and never look back. So often when dating addicts, people may feel guilt over leaving but leaving is sometimes the most loving thing you can do for yourself and for the other person. Enabling that kind of behavior is very dangerous for all parties. You have to look out for yourself in this situation and put yourself first. Now to address the STD factoring in on your decision to go back -- I can see how you would get there in your mind, now that you have this STD you feel like you're stuck with him in a sense because how will you go on to date new people with something like this. Ugh, I'm so sorry! Unfortunately, the herpes virus is very common in the US. More than one in six young adults and adults between the ages of 14-60 have the herpes virus. There are prescriptions you can take to help reduce the chance of you spreading it to your partner and you can use protection as well. While I understand how that may factor into your thought process when weighing the pros and cons of staying with this person, I think you may need to alter the way you are looking at it as a factor. Right now you're looking at it like okay, we both have it, we are stuck together because I don't want to date anyone else and have to go through telling them or risk spreading it, etc. But looking at it like, ok this guy gave you herpes and treats you horribly as a way to deflect from his own blame in the matter, he threatens to use it against you, to embarrass you and trap you -- this is not the kind of person you want to spend your life with. I'm going to include some links to a few other articles I think you should check out.
Gaslighting, Emotional Abuse and Manipulation
Reasons to Leave A Verbally Abusive Relationship
Thank you for reaching out Flower, I'm so glad you're trying to better your life and find ways to stay away from this person that is hurting you. You wil be so much better for distancing yourself from him. Take care and please feel free to reach out anytime! -Emily

Stephanie J
November, 22 2017 at 5:54 pm

I’ve been in an abusive relationship for over 6 yrs. I’ve been hit, choked, kicked in the head, strangled with a cord til I passed out, and that’s just the physical stuff. The emotional abuse is much worse. Often told I’m a fat cow, lazy, useless, smelly cunt, twat, liar, bitch, thief, with a gimme job, no motivation, etc...from some 1 who’s lived off me for over 6 yrs and only worked a few mos

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Stephanie J
November, 22 2017 at 5:58 pm

But I can’t leave which is crazy!! I stay for NO reason. I’ve loved him for many years & I always forgive him. He’s not always like this—even though I know it’s pathetic. I desperately want the strength to leave! Help me!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 24 2017 at 7:51 am

Hi Stephanie,
Thank you for that comment, and for sharing those details with us. I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. It sounds to me like you already know you have to leave him. By staying in the relationship, you're endangering your physical safety and allowing him to diminish your self-worth. I'm sure that you love him very much, but your love will never be able to keep his violence at bay -- because it's not about you, it's about him.
First, I'm going to urge you to call a domestic violence hotline (like 800-799-SAFE) because it sounds as though you're in real physical danger. I would strongly advise you to document any abuse that occurs (emotional and physical) in case you decide to go to the police for protection -- which again, I think you should. If both of those options feel like too much right now, at the very least you should try to confide in a trusted friend or family member about what's happening. It's going to be difficult for you to find the strength to get through this on your own, so allow others to help you.
It can be difficult to really grasp what's going on in your relationship when you're always caught up in it, so try to get some distance -- even if it's just an hour in a coffee shop thinking things over. Get away if you can. Then, rather than focusing on all the things he does, think about how his actions make you feel -- afraid, vulnerable, in emotional and physical pain -- and ask yourself if you want to feel like that for the rest of your life.
I don't think you're pathetic, but it sounds as though that's what your partner is making you feel. Abuse doesn't discriminate, and often it's the "strongest" women who become victims of violent behavior. I don't consider myself a doormat, but I too have been in an abusive relationship and I know how it feels. Please get help before the abuse gets worse. Good luck.

Courtney
November, 21 2017 at 9:32 pm

I thought I finally had enough. In February ,I told my husband of 18 years that I wanted a divorce. He told me if I was the one who wanted to divorce , I had to leave the house. We have bee together for 27 years and it has been emotionally abusive since the beginning. We have 3 girls 12, 8 and 5 and I had no place to go. He begged and pleaded for me to stay and try counseling. I did go with him to counseling but aftet a while, when I knew counselingwasnt working, he wasn't going to change and I couldn't do it anymore, I started looking for a place to live for myself and the girls. Finally I found a place and about a month ago I signed the lease and have still not moved in!!
Our entire marriage I have felt he never loved me for me and has always been trying to change me. He had an affair 12 years ago that went on for 2 years all the while I was pregnant with our first child and after. I served him with divorce papers back then and he moved out for 6 months but I ended up taking him back. He is also a cross dresser and promised he could stop that, purged all his clothes only to rebuy an entire wardrobe and continue the dressing. He guilts me when I want to do things with friends and picks and chooses the family events he wants to attend.
He always has something to say about how I dress, what kind of job he wants me to have, that I don't show him enough affection or ever want to have sex with him(which I don't because of the abuse and the crossdressing). Nothing I ever do is enough!
I had breast cancer 3 years ago and feel like he wasn't really there for me then. He wanted to keep it to ourselves and not let people help us during that time. He didn't go to my first chemo treatment with me after he told me he would. I have decided to take out my implants after a double mastectomy and stay "Flat" to be told by him that I should wear my prosthetics because otherwise I look like a boy and that it is "shocking to people" to see me without breasts.
I could go on forever. I just don't know why I am still here. He is doing everything now that I have wanted for so long but I know it won't last. We are in the honeymoon phase and I know it.
I just want to know why am I still here? Why do I feel so much guilt in leaving? How do I get feet out of the cement I feel like they are in!! All I want is to be happy and stop walking on the eggshells I have been walking on for years.
Please help!!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 25 2017 at 5:49 pm

Courtney, Holy Moly! First and foremost, I am so sorry for everything you have struggled through. Twenty-seven years with this man?! That is a long time to live this way. I am impressed you went and leased an apartment. You are making all the right moves, inching your way closer to the readiness you need to be able to leave. Your husband sounds monumentally self-centered and you will without a doubt be better off having left him. Your daughters will benefit from the stability that will likely provide as well. To address your questions -- Why are you still there? Well, there a multitude of reasons why people stay in abusive and toxic relationships and a major one of those reasons is guilt. You have a family with this man and you've spent much of your life with him, it's not going to be easy to leave. It will be hard but it will likely be the best thing you could ever do for yourself, and your children. You are so close though! You have an apartment leased, you've run through the motions in your head . . . People cannot leave until they are ready, they just can't. I'm cheering for you Courtney, I believe you deserve a happy, stable life in which you feel valued, supported, and loved by those you allow to be in your life. Please reach out anytime, Thanks, Emily
Please check out my most recent article as I feel it directly pertains to your current predicament -- Reasons to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Brionna
November, 19 2017 at 11:01 am

My boyfriend put his hands on me for the 3rd time today. The only diffrwmce now is were pregnant. I want to stay a family, but i want my unborn child to live a happy life

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 24 2017 at 7:58 am

Hi Brionna,
This sounds like a very dangerous situation for both you and your baby. I know this is a difficult thing to hear, but your boyfriend could be putting your unborn child's baby's life at risk.
I'm sure you already know this, but the reality is that the damage to your child in the long run will be far greater if you stay in this relationship. If he is capable of hitting you, don't think he's not capable of hurting a child. Please call a domestic violence hotline (like 800-799-SAFE) and seek immediate help and support. I would also urge you to document any incidents of abuse as you may need them when it comes to claiming custody of your child further down the line.
Your first priority is to leave this man and get yourself and your baby out of harm's way. Is there a family member you can stay with? A trusted friend? Abuse often isolates us from those we love, so if you don't have anyone you can call, please call your local Women's Aid shelter for protection.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 25 2017 at 1:10 pm

Brionna, This sounds dangerous. I understand that you want a happy family, of course you do! I'm so sorry you're going through this. Being pregnant is such a sensitive time for women as it is, and now you're dealing with this?? That's terrible. I think you're on the right track there when you mention although you'd like to stay a family, you're concerned about the quality of your baby's life. As Mommy's that's all we want and try to achieve, a happy, safe, life for our babies. Girl, you sound like you're in the thick of it right now, but I think your heads in the right place. Stay focused on the quality of life you can give your baby and I think that will guide you to make the best choices for you both. Are you able to develop a safe exit plan? Even if you're not there yet mentally, and you're still wanting to make things work, it's always a good idea to just explore the reasons to leave an abusive relationship, coping strategies, safe exit plans, etc. Reach out to us anytime Brionna and take care of yourself! Thanks so much, Emily

Bryanna
November, 17 2017 at 2:19 pm

Im 16 years old and my boyfriend of 1 year and 3 months just recently started physically and emotionally abusing me. A few minutes after he realizes what he did he says hes sorry and he wont do it again. He doesnt like me being with family, he has my sister blocked and threatens to hit me if unblock her and if i dont txt him within a minute he gets mad and thinks im cheating. I dont know what to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 18 2017 at 7:39 am

Hi Bryanna,
I'm Emma-Marie, co-author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog, and I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your comment.
I'm sorry to hear you are encountering relationship abuse so young. I was 20 when I entered into an abusive relationship, so not quite as young as you, but I do understand how easy it is to fall for a guy and not realize he is an abuser. Your situation sounds truly awful and it's way too much for any woman to try to deal with alone, no matter how old she is. Please know that you are worth so much more than this, and there is nothing you could do to justify his abuse. Identifying domestic abuse and reaching out is incredibly courageous, so well done for reading this article and leaving your comment.
Please, please tell your parent or guardian what your boyfriend is doing to you. His actions are illegal and need to be stopped. He probably blocked your sister because he doesn't want you to tell her what he's doing to you, but you need to. You need to tell the people who care about what is happening in your relationship and let them help you. The alternative is years more misery, isolation and pain and you could be putting yourself in serious danger by staying with him.
Please don't try to deal with this alone. You need the help and support of others to break free from this relationship.
Good luck, and please come back to this site whenever you need support or advice. Emma x

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

B
November, 22 2017 at 10:51 am

Girl, I stayed. It breaks my heart just about everyday. Now we have babies, and I know I'll never be able to protect them, short of running away and disappearing...because they don't change, he won't change. Maybe he does feel sorry after wards, great, good for him. He will never acknowledge, or understand how he makes YOU feel, being belittled and physically hurt. I wish I could go back, look myself in the eye and say that you are loved, you're worth love, you deserve respect, you deserve safety in your intimate relationships, you don't HAVE to stay, you can be free. Because everything feels so complicated now, with kids, and the abuse has continued so long, he's made it pretty difficult to get help. Our birth certificates are shredded, were completely isolated, I'm not allowed a job, I'm not allowed a car, or a license. Im not allowed friends, my family is 'stupid' they 'dont love me' 'everyone else is to blame'. Maybe it sounds familiar. I just wanted to reach out to you, and tell you, YOU are loved, YOU are worth loving, this isn't a happy love, and you deserve happy love. You deserve safety. If you can survive the hell an abuser puts you thru, you can survive getting thru them, getting over them. Don't let the clock work against you, please reach out! Have some help from family, friends, the justice system, anything!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

ashley
November, 24 2017 at 3:30 am

Bryanna I am telling you right now break up with that boy. If he is starting it now it's only going to get worse. I'm telling you this because I almost got killed by my first abuser because he would tell me he's sorry and won't do it again. Tell your parents about it. It may be hard but they are there. I am a parent of two little girls and I would protect them within an inch of my life. As a parent of two little girls if a boy ever laid hands in my little girls they best hope he is behind a jail cell before I get to them. With that being said tell your parents,a teacher,school counselor, or someone you trust. You don't deserve it and it is not your fault.

Donna Marie Berry
November, 17 2017 at 10:15 am

Abuse for three years got violent today

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 18 2017 at 7:25 am

Hi Donna,
Well done for reaching out. Please call your local domestic abuse victim support service and ask a professional about what your next steps should be. If you're not sure where to turn, you may find our Hotlines and Resources page helpful.
Good luck, and know that, sadly, you are not alone in this struggle. That's why these organizations are out there. Please lean on family and friends and accept support wherever it is offered. You CAN get through this.

Lindsey
November, 16 2017 at 3:53 am

Emotionally Abused? I am 36 years old and I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old girl that is my life. After reading hundreds of articles of being emotional abused I feel as if I am in one. My husband and I have been together for 5 years. Just the other day my husband came home and told me we have to discuss my phone habits. The reason is because I checked my facebook messenger to see if the snow plow guy replied and my husband say that I was online and accused me of talking with another male which is NOT the case. I found out that he is now tapping the house phone to listen to my mother's conversations that she is having with her sister because he is convinced others are talking about him. My mother stays with us Mon-Friday to watch my daughter while we both work. My mother sees how he is and yes she does talk bad about him. I feel like he is trying to take me away from my family saying they are not good people which breaks my heart because I love my family. He always says "Me, you and our daughter against the world" I thought that was sweet but now I am not sure how this makes me feel. He always says he is sorry and says I don't deserve this and then is father and husband of the year. I am broken because this has been going for for almost 2 years. I want to leave but I am afraid of leaving my daughter with him alone. I know I can do this on my own but I don't know where to begin.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 17 2017 at 7:27 am

Hi Lindsey,
I am a co-author of this blog, and I just wanted to thank you for your comment and let you know you're not alone. Verbal and emotional abuse can be difficult to define. However, it does sound like your husband is exhibiting some of the classic signs, and the key to deciding whether or not to act is by looking at how his behavior makes you feel. You may find my latest article, Early Warning Signs of Verbal Abuse, helpful. Even though you say this has been going on for several years, some of these behaviors don't change, so you may recognize some of your husband's traits and gain some insight into why he makes you feel so broken inside.
You say you want to leave but are afraid to leave your daughter. Is leaving her with your husband your only option? No one can tell you how to resolve this situation, but there are domestic abuse organizations who can help you plan your escape and map out your next steps. I urge you to visit our Hotlines and Resources page and call one of the numbers listed. You may not feel like it now, but there is life on the other side of this, and it is ten times better than what you're currently living with. Good luck, and please come back to this page for support any time. Emma x

Shannon
November, 15 2017 at 12:47 am

I been with my partner for 6 years we have a soon to be 4yearold son. At the start everything was perfect until I fell pregnant with my son things started to change he was aggressive with me leaving me alone I struggled so much as I was only 19 having a baby. he always said he be there for us yet it was the opposite, yes we had good times but now I’m 23 and it’s gone to the point where I can’t have friends when I’m out with them he’s consistent calling and texting them to find out we’re I am, I can’t go anywhere without being questions even though I always have my son with me he accuses me of being or talking to other men which was never true..everything I do is worthless he makes me feel so low in myself I feel stuck. I don’t know how to leave without him freaking out on me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Shannon
November, 15 2017 at 12:48 am

Iv been emotional abuse all my life by my own blood, and when I finally got away I’m back in the same hole and can’t get out

Pamela A Garcia
November, 12 2017 at 2:50 pm

I'm 31 years old. I been living with my boyfriend 4 years ago, I have a daughter she is 6 that he is been racing like if it was his. I came from a very bad relationship before with the real dad of my daughter I don't know how it's happening to me again. I don't get fiscal abuse. But verbal, he has mood swings, he also do drugs which always denies but always find put he is back at it. We separate one time like for a month he said things will be different etc and we still argue for stupid stuff, he don't trust me he is insecure he call me horrible names when he is mad and always say you make me mad... and after that apologizes and say it wasn't him. And he is sorry, I care about him he is been good to me and my daughter, not all the times are bad, but I know a person like him will never change, I don't know why I can just leave him, I really think about it lots of times, when we argue y always defend myself but he never leaves and if he do always comes back. I wish I could just delete the emotions and get done with this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 14 2017 at 9:11 pm

Pamela, I'm so sorry, your comment broke my heart. I imagine that must be incredibly difficult for you, especially because I'm sure his place in your daughter's life holds emotional value for you as well. I completely get that. The verbal abuse and drugs are not a healthy environment for yourself or your daughter, it's toxic. I know you won't be able to leave until you're ready Pamela, that's just how it goes for everyone. What do you think is the next best step to give yourself and your daughter a better quality of life? Have you reached out to any close family or friends? I think it's always a good idea to reach out to someone you trust and to start thinking about what leaving would look like, start to develop a safe plan, even if it's just in your head, for now, think about it. You deserve a happy life filled with love and happiness and you deserve a healthy environment to raise your daughter in, free from the verbal abuse and free from the drugs. Please reach out anytime to us here on HealthyPlace. Thanks, Emily.

Stephanie Donohue
November, 6 2017 at 9:15 pm

Hi I really really need some help!! I've been with my partner for over 5 years now. At first it was great but then drugs became involved and he changed! Since then I've been on the receiving end of countless verbal abuse and physical abuse too. He's put me in hospital many times and earlier this year he broke my hand. I wanted to leave him and when he broke my hand I finally went to the cops. I had an avo and he was up on some serious charges! He found me and was so sorry etc. Next thing I was given a friendly reminder that I'm a coppa dog and it's in my best interest to have all charges dropped! I had no choice so I did it. He then got out of jail and came to. Live with me. Things still werent the best but it was better. Then the drugs started again! Now he's right back to cheating on me and verbally abusive to me! The physical stuff hasn't started yet but I know it can't be far away, it never is... No1 in my life knows I'm still with him because they've all said they'll cut me off if I see him and I can't risk losing my family and friends that I have left! I know this sounds stupid but I really really do love him! I know after all he's done I should hate him more than anything but I don't! I feel worthless and fat and just not good enough for anyone. Please help me! I don't know how to ask him to leave and I can look after myself no problem but I'm not sure I want him to go... Does that make sense? I know other men find me attractive etc but I don't want anyone else. WTF do I do???

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 6 2017 at 9:51 pm

Stephanie, Wow! Your comment was like reading my diary in my early 20's/late teenage years. Honestly, that was exactly my life back then. I'm so sorry you're going through such a tough time! Okay, first of all, I understand how hard it is to leave someone when you just aren't ready, but with that being said, you should take an honest look at what you are gaining from this relationship. It sounds like you are going through some pretty traumatic, chaotic, unstable, craziness with this relationship. When you are in a relationship with an addict, you subject yourself to some very serious issues. There is a fine line between enabling and loving an addict and it is very tricky to figure out how to lovingly set boundaries in that kind of situation. I'm sure you want to care for him but you also have to think about yourself and your own well-being, you have to remember to not disregard the quality of your life because you love someone, it is no way to live and you deserve better than that. Sometimes with addicts, the most loving thing you can do is to tell them you cannot be with them while they are using, and until they change their life completely, you cannot be apart of theirs. I know that is much easier said than done, but it is often the best way to love them while also loving yourself. I imagine you may feel like he would be/ could be the guy you fell in love with again if he could just get clean and so you may not want to give up on him. I understand those feelings completely but drug addiction is a disease, a very serious disease that can be extremely difficult to overcome. You have to consider that his sobriety may not be anywhere in your near future, and you may subject yourself to some terrible things while you wait for him to get better. Now I know you can't exactly talk to your friends and family about this because you're keeping things under the radar for the time being, but could you reach out to a therapist or counselor? They may be able to offer you some really helpful insight, to help you get through this. I've got to tell you, I went through the exact same thing, fell in love, my boyfriend got hooked on drugs, everything started to unravel, our relationship turned really dark and before I knew it I was in the hospital from an awful fight, my family and friends were adamant I not have any association with him, I did it anyway, the police got involved, and we did all of that in a cycle, again and again for several years. I thought I couldn't live without him, but you know what? That was so long ago now, a lifetime ago it feels like, and I am so happy with my life now. Separating myself from all of that chaos was the best thing I ever could have done for myself. I've gone on to go to school and I have a beautiful family now and I just got this awesome writing job, I could never have done any of this, in that relationship because it was toxic. We loved each other but it was just plain toxic. You deserve to be loved and valued, you have the potential to have a fulfilling life with a good man who adores you, who your family loves because they see how well he treats you, this is not an unrealistic standard. You are worth so much more than what your current circumstance is suggesting. You can one day too look back on this and think what you do next is the best choice you made and look at what a beautiful life you went on to have... I believe in you!

Kelsey
November, 6 2017 at 9:56 am

How do you find the will to keep going? When the abuser has made you feel as if you are nothing? I find myself thinking, that i have somehow lost the person i once was. Im not the happy girl, that i was 5 years ago before i had met my boyfriend which is now the father to my one year old son, my biggest fear is that my child will one day be the same as his father, and i couldnt bare to think of my child, making a woman feel less than nothing... just tell me, how do i find the will to leave... or even keep going with life. After the abuser has done all they can do, how do i make myself feel worthy again. somedays its hard for me to even find the will to keep going for my child, sometimes i think maybe if i werent here, my abuser wouldnt have anyone to abuse and maybe my child wont have to see me get hurt. Im just at a dead end road with nowhere to go. just tell me how do i pick up the pieces.. alot of the times i feel as if im damaged goods, and nobody will love me or i wont let anyone love me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 6 2017 at 11:27 am

Kelsey, your comment broke my heart, I'm so sorry you're going through such a tough time. I think you need to reach out to a therapist or counselor as soon as possible. When I was in an abusive relationship, I too felt like I had lost myself, I wasn't the person I used to be and felt like I had zero confidence. I honestly did not feel better until we divorced, after that, it was like a dark cloud that had been hovering over me, completely disappeared, following him out the door. I had twin babies and was scared of being a single mom, scared my daughters wouldn't have a father because of my choices, etc. I can really say almost 4 years later, that leaving him was the best decision I ever made. I think if you're able to reach out to a close family member or friend, or a therapist, and come up with a safe plan, you may be one step closer to leaving. You deserve a happy life, your son deserves a happy life and loving examples of the man he can become, this does not have to be the end of your story, it is never too late to change your life. I hope you will reach out and discuss the possibility of leaving. In the mean time, here's an article on https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/10/coping-with-verbal-abuse/. Kelsey, I'm really glad you reached out, please come back anytime and take care of yourself. Thanks, Emily

Julie
November, 1 2017 at 4:52 pm

I want my abusive husband to leave. I am living with my elderly father I am raising my son and his 2 children and I have no.problem with this, I have joint custody, their mother has passed, when I tell him. He needs to leave he threatens to take the children and threatens me. I. am afraid of retaliation. He is an alcoholic who leaves and stays gone for days, then comes home like nothing's wrong. , I've got to end this, I am loosing my mind but.he is a mean person when he drinks. He says if I cause him problem.s he will cause me problems.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 1 2017 at 7:35 pm

Julie, I'm so sorry to hear this. Is there anyone close to you that you're able to reach out to? You do not have to live your life this way. Not only does that sound awful for you, but I imagine it's horrific for your father and children as well. You and your family deserve a happy, healthy, living environment free from that kind of instability and chaos. If and when you are ready, maybe you can get in touch with someone who can help you come up with a safe plan? Here are some resources to explore in the meantime--
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
Healing Woman Foundation (Abuse): 1-800-477-4111
When you're ready, they may be able to help you to know your rights, and maybe lead you in the direction of a lawyer. I hope this was helpful Julie. Again, I'm so sorry for everything. Reach out anytime, Emily

Anon
October, 29 2017 at 10:59 am

I've been in a relationship for a year with this guy. I get called stupid, b**ch, c*nt, f**khead etc on a daily basis. His moods are unpredictable and he turns things that I've said in a distorted way and reacts. He's threatened to smash my skull in, "I'm lucky I'm not dead yet", and that he's going to put a bullet in my head because I'm an evil person. Last night he punched and kicked me over something that was not my fault, a random guy sent me d*ck pictures that I have not ever spoken to which is evident and I ended up getting assaulted.
He's put me in a state of confusion and I feel lost.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 30 2017 at 9:03 am

Hi there, thanks for reaching out. That sounds awful and terrifying, you are being verbally and physically abused and it sounds like you are in a very dangerous situation. You deserve more than this. You deserve to be loved and valued and cared for. Here are some resources for you to look into:
5 ways to end verbal abuse
Family Violence Prevention Center: 1-800-313-1310
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
I really hope you're able to reach out for help, your situaton sounds very scary. Come back anytime, we're here as well. Thanks, Emily

Gail
October, 27 2017 at 1:47 pm

Hi I have been with my fiance for 11 years now, I didn't realise in the past that what he was doing was an abuser of some sort because he has never laid his hand on me. It started like... he never was willing to support his children , we havexpect two kids together, he was never available to support me in anyway, I managed to raise my kids with the little that I had and with the help of his family. He has been very manipulative in such a way that I always felt I was the one who was pushing him away by myour weight, my ugLyness, and my brokenness. This emotional abuses escalated to a point where I came to realise that I am in an abusive relationship. He is a heavy drinking and use to cheater and dump me whenever he felt fit. Whenever I'm threatening to leave he would beg me and say hello will stop drinking and change he has promised me to change more I could count now but he is getting worse.
He is now drunning everyday and pee on the bed or couch or pee in whatever he felt asleep on and when I try to confront him and tell him how I feel about what he is doingenile he will storm out of the house for another drink and blame me to have pushed him to do so.
One day he passed out on thebathroom floor naked and I trI'd to take some pictures with my phone so that I could show him how he behaves when he is drunk in his soberness but unfortunately he had a "click" sound of my camera and he woke up chased me around the house, naked mind you.... when he finally reached me he took the phone and broke it in half... that was the startrip of him breaking things.
We have recently moved to another city away from peoplease I know because of his work his alcoholic behaviour has escalated again and whenever I confront him he will breal something: eget door handles etc... I'm now afraid that hevery will now start to break me.
Last night he peed on my bed again and when I confronted him about it, he told me to leave him alone when I trI'd to remind him of some financial responsibilities he told me to leave the room , I left and sat in our lounge watcheddar TV with my 5 year old daughter, he came storming out of the room asking me what I just said, I told him I'm having a conversation with my daughter he pull down a power switch and told us to go to sleep and never to turn it up because of my disrespectful behaviour. I was so scared that he may do something to me or my daughter in the dark, as I type iam in.my daughters room locked the door and I can't sleep cause I'm scared and depressed. That's when I realise that the person I live with is an abuser and I don't wanna stick around to see the end of it. I wannam get out of this relationship for the sake of my childrensites safety. There is no love or happiness for me in this relationship .
I just want the right emotional support

Beebee
October, 27 2017 at 5:39 am

I have a 2 year old and am 30 weeks pregnant with #2. I want to leave so badly but he tells me he’ll take the kids. He doesn’t hit me so he doesn’t believe what he’s doing is abuse. We’ve been together 15 years. I am so tired of this.

Jack
October, 21 2017 at 11:20 pm

Like many I stayed mostly for the children. I became responsible for feeding, clothing the children and their general care as my wife gave up all responsibility. Things got worse and I became almost 100% responsible for the household chores. After 16 years I decided to leave but I feared for the children. During a court hearing I was accused of every conceivable form of abuse but I managed to provide sufficient evidence to rebutt the allegations. I was given sole custody of the two children whom I brought up on my own and continued with my career. Why am I sharing my experience? I faced considerable sexism. My relations thought I wouldn't be able to cope but didn't help at all; my female boss demoted me as she thought I ' couldn't bring up two children and work'; and the mums at the school gates excluded me. Most people were friendly but some were suspicious particularly if they had heard the allegations. There were lots of comments which became nauseating most common being ' men can't multi task' implying I couldn't bring them up and ' man flu' suggesting I would make an unnecessary fuss. I battled on through a slipped disc, pneumonia and memories of being hit by my ex wife and a dislocated jaw. So leaving was almost as bad as staying. While things are changing even now every time we hear of abuse people assume it is women that are the victims. Did I make the right decision? Yes. My wife was becoming increasingly violent. Most importantly I have some lovely memories with my children.

Sabrina Chacon
October, 19 2017 at 8:44 am

It saddens me to see how many women out there live my life. I try to leave...but I don't have strength anymore. 12 years with a drug addicted narcesist have taken a toll on my mental health. It is sad to see so many life's as mine are.
Keep your friends close.
Talk to your family everyday
Pray and believe in his words.
Talk to as many people as you can
DO NOT PROTECT HIM BY BEING QUIET ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON.
O KNOW ALL THOSE THINGS. NUT ITS HARD TO LEAVE AND START ALL OVER...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Sabrina Chacon
October, 19 2017 at 8:48 am

Sabrina here..so sorry..selfcorrect on a sentence..IT IS HARD TO LEAVE...STAY STRONG ALL YOU OUT THERE..STAY STRONG...

gERALDINE sMITH
October, 18 2017 at 12:09 pm

I have been in an abusive relationship for 10 years, it started out good. Since my parents passed away it has deteriorated. I have longed to return to my Catholic religion but this is incompatible with being in a relationship other than marriage. My partner will not accept it. He has struck me a few times when angry but I always feel Iprovoked him I feel unable to leave We have no children. He has 2 whom I have never met and do not wish to. No one really knows about us. We live separately and the most thing he wants me for is sex. He is 66 years of age and I fear that it will be til death do us part. I cannot see a way out. He has threatened me if Ileave it will be worse for me. He says I am his and he does not want me even to ring other people even when I am in my own home. Feel trapped and hopeless. My priests are not that sympathetic because they see it as my own fault, I got myself into the relationship which is disapproved by the Church anyway so I deserve to be in a mess now I guess. Some are more understanding but say the only way is to leave and take courage and not look back

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Asheley
October, 27 2017 at 12:37 am

Please find another church or priest to talk to! I was in a similar situation. I was married to a man who was abusive to me and my daughter. We were together for 10 years. Mt situation was similar. His family was super religious and so the men were superior to the women and i was constantly put in nt place. His family didn't believe in divorce under any circumstances so I felt trapped as well. I finally left and I've been gone for a year. It was by far the best decision I've made in my life and I wish I had done it sooner. I want to help people in these relationships now. Please find another priest and find a counselor. I'd choose a female counselor.

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