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.


  • 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 2024, July 20 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

January, 15 2018 at 6:49 am

Thank you for this article. As I sit crying on the bottom bunk of my sons room I feel a little stronger. I know leaving isn’t an option so I can make tomorrow better than today.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 15 2018 at 3:21 pm

I can understand. I've been on that bottom bunk, literally, myself. I am leaving after almost 10 years. I deserve so much more and deserve happiness. God bless you and be strong.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2018 at 2:03 am

I am trying to leave too. I have been married for over 15 years. It's hard to leave. I am so dependent on him. I am slowly trying to do everything without his help, but I think he's onto me. He insists on taking our daughter to daycare in the mornings. I need to know that I can make it without him. Thank you for writing this. I need all the strength I can muster, I feel so weak and incapable. He constantly reminds me of how I always mess things up and compares me to any strange or ugly looking thing on television in front of our daughters. Good luck to all who are in the same spot.

January, 13 2018 at 8:48 pm

How do I get out !

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 13 2018 at 8:52 pm

This guy I was seeing broke my jaw last year came back 10 months later and broke my rib I fought back he’s in jail what do I do he still want to leave me alone I just don’t know what to do anymore I don’t feel scared I feel happy but then again I feel sad wishing things would go away idk drinking ruins everything that’s the only time it would happen !!! But what next what will happen next do guys really change if they really want too ??

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 14 2018 at 4:19 pm

Chantel, I'm so sorry for everything you've suffered! I hate to say it, but no I do not believe a man that is capable of doing those things to you has much potential for change. Sadly, things typically just continue to get worse, not better. I hope you're able to steer clear of this guy and move on to live a safer, happier, more deserving life for yourself. Drinking may be in part to blame, but his character is the number one thing to blame here. Alcohol or no alcohol, those are some egregious actions committed by someone capable of doing so. I'm so sorry Chantel. Please reach out to us anytime. Thanks, Emily

January, 9 2018 at 9:43 am

I need to get out of my marriage. My husband is not always mean but he has a sharp tongue and is quick to call me names, even the kids (mine and his). It has gotten physical before but he doesn't try and control money, or stop me from seeing people. He doesn't work anymore, but I work full time. He stays home with the kids. I want to leave, I really do but I have no family or close friends to go to and I don't want to leave my kids. How do I make him leave? I want this to stop. I don't want my kids to grow up frightened or angry or act like him. What should I do? He hasn't hit me in a long time but the verbal/mental abuse is every day.

January, 9 2018 at 9:40 am

help me find a way out

January, 9 2018 at 1:31 am

Please find Alanon Meetings and attend them, I wish you well, you are not alone xo

January, 2 2018 at 12:34 am

My live has become so bad I meet this man 6 years ago and have not be able to leave. He is abusive and plays mind games I no longer no who I am. He is an acholic and drug addict not to meantion a porn addict, in which I just found out and not normal porn. I have no say in anything and I can't even turn the tv down so I can sleep I work a lot and I'm up at 5am but he has the tv loud and calls me controlling because I aks tomtunr it down he calls me terrible names and kicks me out into my own room when he no longer wants me. He lies about everything. The threats he is going to but my body in acid is all the time. He threatens that he will kill me if I find another man. I am so scared and have lost my power I am a shell of a person now. I am scared to be on my own and scared to stay. He talks badly about me to his family and beat me up And I lost our baby of 5 months I had him charged but dropped it now at family events he goes on about how I had him locked up he is sick so sick and so mean, I wished I could walk away but the person I am is no longer... I have tried to get help from therapist but it's not worked. They all say I'm in danger but I can't see it. I wished someone could help me get away, I see myself as the star in sleeping with the enemy..

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 8 2018 at 6:00 pm

I literally cannot see a single reason why this man appeals. Would you recommend him to a friend? Is it possible another guy could be any worse? It seems very unlikely!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 9 2018 at 6:29 pm

T B Your comment is not in the spirit of what Kellie Holly just took the time to write out up there. It comes off as victim blaming. There are obviously reasons Mandy is staying with this man.
Mandy-- it took me probably 5 or 6 tries to leave my abusive ex. By the end I knew in my heart what I need to do, but god, it was so hard. Getting back together with him was always the best. It was the honeymoon period of relationships over and over. He would treat me so well. For maybe a month....
I'm a drug addict and an alcoholic. I have several years clean now. My abusive ex was also an addict and alcoholic. We would pull each other continuously into our cycles of relapse, drug abuse, getting clean, blaming each other, justifying what we were doing, resenting the other when one of us was sober. In the end how I think of it in my mind is that HE was one of my drugs. My life would be horrible with him, a new low, I would want to die everyday. I would somehow manage the energy to quit him. I would get out, and feel so joyful for a few days! But then after a while, I would only remember all of the good times. I would crave him. I would tell myself it would be different this time.
I had to quit him as I quit any other drug... face the facts: it's the same thing every time, it will NOT get any better, it will lead to pain and suffering. Quit 100% and not leave any little crack for him to get through. The things he told my friends in an attempt to get information to me was astonishing. He tried begging, he tried looking like he was doing well, he tried looking like he was on his deathbed and needed me. In the end the only way I broke it off was by spending several months halfway across the country.
This was almost a year ago. I still crave him. But like any drug, I know it's not worth it. Sometimes I think he will change and we'll be together again someday. Sometimes I genuinely wish he would die and leave this earth.
You ARE in danger and I think you know this. I'm sure your therapist has resources for you. All I can do is say I've been there and share my experience with you. I hope you find a way out of that absolute hell. Nobody can prepare you for that kind of mind messing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Glazebrook
January, 10 2018 at 7:02 pm

Mandy, You are so brave to write your comments. I'm still in my husbands life.We been married 29 years. You have strength within you you don't even know is there. My kids are all grown and hee I STILL am being abused EVERYDAY. NOT PHYSICALLY BUT EVERY OTHER WAY.You will be in my prayers.
Knowledge is power......let me at that again Knowledge is power. Please read, read, read everything you can get your hands on. Join narcissist groups on Facebook. You are not alone. You are a super wonderful person. Good luck to you and remember read read.

December, 29 2017 at 7:53 pm

This year has been the best and the worst year of my life. I met my fiancé late May at a strip club and the moment I saw her, I fell in love with her. She is beautiful, smart, and fun to talk to. Only when she is not high off cocaine or drunk. Or both, which happens more often than not. We got engaged in August in Vancouver when we went to visit her parents. Her family adores me and sees that I am making a positive change in her life, but for the past two or so months, things haven't been great. I have been called many, many names, embarrassed in public, and disrespected beyond belief. I grew up with an emotionally, physically, and mentally abusive dad and as a result, I suffer from depression, anxiety, low sense of self esteem, and a low sense of self worth. Lately, our arguments (which is mostly her yelling at me and berating me) have been about money. I bought her expensive gifts, I paid almost $1000CAD for her to do her hair, I bought her a new iPad Pro, and I bought her friend (who is a WONDERFUL person and a honest, loving mother) a new Nikon camera because she lost hers. Every trip I take to see her costs me $1000USD. And that's excluding the plane ticket. I'm totally broke at this point, and I took out a $16,000 loan and that's almost gone too. My credit cards are almost all maxed out, and now I have student loans to worry about every month. I'm also a nursing student who put his school aside because we were suppose to get married and move in together, so my life is at a complete standstill at the moment. And as a student, it's not too much of a surprise that I had to take out loans. All my friends that I talk to about her tells me that she is holding me down in life, which is true. I just can't seem to find the courage to end things. Earlier today, she took off the engagement ring after one of her drunken verbal abuse episodes, and threw it on the counter so hard that she lost it. I've been called weak, stupid, idiot, immature, pathetic, and disgusting on a daily basis.
I don't know why I'm still in her condo. She's asleep in the bedroom and I'm on the couch. I love her so much, but it's a one way relationship and that hurts so much. After 16 years of abuse from my dad, the last thing I want is abuse from a spouse... I know what I have to do, but I don't know how to do it...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 8 2018 at 5:58 pm

I was in an abusive relationship for 7 years. It just gets worse. I did not realize I could love him and still leave. Putting up with the insults -- crazy, b**ch, pathetic -- was not loving. If you have kids this will be their model. You deserve better.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2018 at 2:18 pm

I'm sorry to hear that you were in an abusive relationship too. Nobody deserves to be berated and it hurts more coming from somebody you trusted and love. I wouldn't want my kids to grow up in an abusive environment, but in her defense, she is bipolar and doesn't take lithium because of her vices.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 13 2018 at 5:35 am

Please understand that you are a beautiful soul who has fallen in love with a troubled soul. The first step is for you is to realize this is not your fault and nothing you say or do will change her. She sounds like she has some serious inner battles of her own and doesn't sound like she loves her self so there for she isn't really capable of loving anyone else. Understand the longer you stay with her the more comfortable with disrespecting and abusing you she will become. I know it's hard I'm currently in my second abusive relationship trying to find a way out myself so I understand the hardship you face and how loving a abusive person can take over your life leaving you feeling helpless, desperate and depressed.Stay strong in the knowledge you dont deserve this and you can't fix this neither the best you can do is start planning your departure. Good luck and know that your worthy of real love❤

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2018 at 2:22 pm

She says that she will try to change and that's the hope that I cling on to. I think it's manic episodes from the cocaine, but it shouldn't be an excuse. The day after my post, she told me to go to hell and suggested that I kill myself. We made up about a week ago but the past still haunts her and she ended up telling to kill myself once again.
I'm sorry you're in an abuse relationship as well. It takes a lot of strength and courage to leave, and I do hope and pray that everything for you turns out for the better.
Thank you for your kind words and understanding. In times like this, it means more than gold. Bless you.

December, 29 2017 at 12:33 pm

Please help me, I’m 16 years of age and my boyfriend is a physco path. At the beginning of the relationship he made me block my friends, made me delete social media’s, now he’s abusing me verbally and physically. He locked me in his room, spat on me, punches, kicks, he even slit my own wrists but I can’t leave him. I’m scared cos he says one day he’s gonna kill me. Please help,
My emotions are a mess!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 4 2018 at 11:24 pm

Please leave this boyfriend now, report him to the police. He will definately kill you if you have another day more

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 8 2018 at 6:02 pm

RUN to your friends and hide hon or he will kill you!!

December, 27 2017 at 11:51 pm

I'm in a really bad place.
My partner verbally abuses me and has started to punch, kick and hit me along with death threats. He literally flys off the handle at the smallest thing, eg. Me not stacking a plate in the dish washer the way he wants it, me slicing cheese to thick for his sandwiches,
He screams in my face and leans in trying to scare me. I stand there paralysed with fear, sometimes I nearly pee myself. He went fishing and woke me up early to go, he took me out in the middle of the ocean and stopped the motor of his boat. My blood turned cold. He started to tell me how worthless and pathetic I am as a human being (this is because I couldn't help him pack as much for our camping trip, because I was working all week and even though I asked if he would like help he would say no) he started screaming at me and I thought I was going to die. I thought he was going to drown me since a few hours earlier he told me he was going to bash me up and leave my body in a ditch. He forced me to get in the car before our trip but I was too scared. I tried to hail a car over to help me but no one saw me.. so I got in his car. He either thinks I'm the best thing ever or he wants to kill me. There's nothing in between. I know I'm in a bad relationship but my emotions are a mess and I feel like I'm stuck and helpless.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 30 2017 at 5:12 am

Leave now! I know it's hard and frightening. I known your emotions are a mess. But you need to run and hide. He will kill you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

wendy Lawson
December, 31 2017 at 4:34 am

I’ve been here. I know how scared you must be. You do not have to live like this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 8 2018 at 6:04 pm

RUN the next stage is death

December, 22 2017 at 1:21 am

After reading all of yalls comments I decided it was time to share mine. I'm 19 years old and my fiancé is 27. We have been together 1 year and 2 months. 2017 has to be the worst year of my entire time. The first month of our relationship was amazing he would wine and dine me, so respectful, charming and everything above. I remember the first time I was ever abused physically I went to the bank I decided to do it while he was sleeping so I didn't wake him and as I was there at the bank he was blowing up my phone I told him where I was and when I got home I remembered being chocked so hard. The next months I cheated on him with my ex because I couldn't handle the names he called me and the abuses. My ex had never not once in 3 years had ever put his hands on me. And I wasn't used to it so of course it was easy to run to him. I told my fiancé and surprisly he didn't hurt me instead he cried and got over it and realized that the reason I did that was because he wasn't loving me right. After all of that we moved into our new place and he absuse got so real. He had broken 2 of my phones and would chock me and slap me all the time. Over stupid fights. I would always say stuff back and it made things a whole lot worse for me. He would pull my hair and hurt me so bad. After only being together half a year we got into an argument because he drinks way to much and I had said something I was driving his truck home because he had been drinking. He got so mad he turned the wheel and there were two poles and we landed right in the middle of both. God had to be watching over me that day because if I would have hit one of those poles I for sure would have been dead. We got home and he started chocking me and hitting me. He threw me into the wall I hit my ear so back there was blood everywhere. I called the cops because I was so scared. He went to jail and of course my stupid ass bailed him out. He promised to never hurt me again but you all know how that goes. Well he was on probation when he was arrested so they put him back in jail. What was he on probation for? A family violence charge from a previous girlfriend before me (I should have known then) and I bailed him out again after him being in jail for violating probation. Then he got but in jail 2 more times because we had a no contact order and we got pulled over twice. I would always pray that they would give him a no bond but they did so I thought it was a sign and bailed him out 2 more times. The abuse would never stop though everyday I constantly pray that we have a good day but we fight all the time. I've gotten to the point where I know what to say so he doesn't hurt me. His famous words are that he always says are "you pushed me" that's not an excuse for a man to hurt you. I've had so many bruises because of him. "You pushed me" is a saying I've come to hate. He is constantly jealous and always asking me where I'm at and what I'm doing something he pulls up the the house Just to check on me. He has distanced me from my family it's not even funny they Iive an hour away it's always some excuse why I can't see them. He gets mad if I don't post pictures on social media of how happy we are. He has called me names that have destroyed myself fat, ugly, bitch, stupid, mother fucker, cunt. Everyday I for sure get called a whore. He expects sooooo much from he the household work to be perfect and gets sooooo mad if there is even a wrinkle on his shirt or his clothes aren't taken to the cleaners.the smallest things make him so angry like if my car is dirty yet he broke my car windshield because he was mad and that's okay. So flash forward to December last week we got into an argument because he called me a mother fucker for no reason so flash forward and last week we got into a argument and for the first time in my life I thought he was going to kill me i got up and grabbed my dogs and proceeded to walk out the door he pulled me back in and chocked me so hard and was slapping me he was on top of me and I was fighting back so hard. I finally got outside and called the cops they came and saw the scratches on his neck from me fighting back and took me, YES me to jail because I didn't have any marks and he did. This is the lowest of my life I've ever felt I'm going to school to be a teacher and I don't know how I'm supposed to get a job with a family violence on my record. At jail I saw a judge and he looked at my fiancé back ground and saw a history of family violence so he let me go and found no probable cause to arrest me and I wasn't convinced thank you god!! But I'm so ashamed I've been to jail and I feel like I'm a criminal and it's only been a week since ive been out. And of course I took him back after he apologized I told him the first time he hits me again where over he said okay it's been a week and last night he slapped me and punched me so hard my neck is killing me. The only good thing about him is that he has a damn good job and makes lots of money. He was able to hire a damn good lawyer that he just got 1 year probation again for all his arrest that was it!!! And he always lets me keep his money but other than that, that man is the worst thing on earth I'm so emotionally drained and depressed, and I'm sso scared to leave because look what happened that time I feel like I can't even count on the cops to help me. I'm still so shocked on how I have given up so much in life for this man my family, school (I took off this semester) and my friends. I'm so alone. I'm hurt and I can move back in with my mom because she wants me back sooo bad. He put everything in my name and our lease is up and it would be the perfect time to move but I'm stuc in dept because of the holes in the wall the cabinets he's broken. I don't know why I allow myself to stay for some reason I believe he's going to change and I love that he has money but money isn't everything. I'm a beautiful 19 year old and I have goals for myself but I've been so mentally brought down Hes made me feel Iike nobody will love me. I hate to see what people think about me cause I have to move in with my mom. But I'm so drained and as I'm reading yalls post. I constantly see that other people can't leave either. Why? Why is it so hard to leave?? Why why why

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 8 2018 at 6:09 pm

Honey this man will kill you. The next stage of choking a woman is killing her. Please go to your momma and the debt will work itself out. Debt is better than death. Scratching to save yourself is not a crime if its self defence and you did nothing wrong so no shame -- the shame is all his. Wete you born to be beat by a guy that another woman was already strong enough to say I deserve better?

December, 19 2017 at 9:45 pm

Im n a abusive relationship, i have children i get verbally abused on a daily bases , he calls me broke bcuz he pays the bills, he hits me when i say things he dosent like, he hit me while i was holding my 9 month old son , im currently pregnant he still hits me n punches me , he dosent realize hes abusive , he cheats on he dosent help me with our son, i got a restraining once only to drop it bcuz he said i was wrong for calling the cops after he had a girl in my home cheating on me, i dont believe hes a bad person, now hes trying to take custody of my son when he dosent even spend time with him he pays for everything, im scared he going to hurt my son or me , the abuse is getting worse , im so depressed y is he doing this to us

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 20 2017 at 9:42 pm

I’m so sorry. You need to plan a way out. If you love your children you will. You do not want to see how selfish this man will get. He will hurt them just to hurt you. Men are capable of sick things.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Sarah Neel
December, 28 2017 at 9:20 pm

He's a bad person. Believe it

December, 19 2017 at 3:31 am

I've been dating my boyfriend for about five months. During these months he has broken up with me countless times, at least once every two weeks, and comes back apologizing saying that he was stressed out and didn't mean anything he says. He constantly picks out my flaws like holding onto my stomach fat or telling me I'm mentally slow. He always accuses me of cheating or talking to other guys when I let him check my phone whenever he wants, but I can't ever look at his phone without him getting upset. He currently won't speak to me because I went home with my own family instead of staying with his family for Christmas. I have lost all of my friends because of this relationship and I feel like I'm going to lose my family too. The problem is even though we have all of these issues I am still madly in love with him. I've tried breaking up with him previously and I went right back a day later. I just don't understand how I can love someone that constantly can tell me that he doesn't love me and can say all these mean things to me... I don't know what to do anymore

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 19 2017 at 5:48 pm

Dear Mackenzie,
The very fact that you have written this on December 19th…less than a week before Christmas, tells me much. I know this is going to be long but I ask that you read it anyway. Take what you want and leave the rest.
I can’t possibly share in this response all that I have been through in the last five years with my ‘boyfriend’ but I can tell you...implore you…leave the relationship now while you still can. The pain you feel in doing so will fade…I promise you. I don’t want you writing in response to someone else in five years like I am to you right now…because you stayed.
Mackenzie, I too saw ‘red flags’ early in my relationship. Because I hadn’t dated in a long time, I questioned whether it was him being a jerk or if it was me over-reacting. I too experienced very painful emotional abuse but second-guessed myself every single time after the anger and pain subsided.
At that time, what I experienced weren’t blatant forms of abuse such as name-calling, ridicule or attempts to isolate. I didn’t experience physical, sexual or financial abuse…nothing that I recognized as ‘signs’. The things he did or said all seemed like ‘singular incidents’ that left me feeling shocked, hurt and saying ‘What the hell?’ There was nothing blatant…in the beginning. If there had been blatant signs of abuse, the relationship wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. I wouldn’t have stayed long enough to fall in love with him. But it wasn’t blatant. Back then, I just found myself saying ‘What the hell?” an awful lot.
Things got worse and after five months of being hurt over and over again, I broke things off with him. At that time, five months together had felt like a long, long time…now I recognize that I could have left after five months without a lot of damage to my life. It just didn’t feel that way back then.
The first few weeks of the break-up were brutally painful. I had believed the relationship was going to be permanent. I loved him deeply and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I could hardly concentrate at work and cried myself to sleep every night. I believed that this man was everything I had wanted in a relationship and couldn’t understand how he could tell me he loved me with such sincerity yet say and do the things he did. The desire to want it all to go away, to have him just hold me in his arms and say, “I’m sorry…everything will be okay,” was so strong. But despite the pain, I stood my ground.
Unfortunately for me, he came to the dance classes I helped teach twice a week. It was very painful to see him there…like salt on an open wound. Could I have avoided going to those classes? Yes. But I was stubborn and felt the unfairness of losing something that I considered to be mine for several years (he had been a newcomer). It was my undoing. Within thirty days after the break-up, we talked after one of those classes and got back together. I can honestly say today that if I had not seen him again after the break-up, I would have been okay in time; the break would have been permanent. Had I done this, I would not be living the life I live now.
Instead, I placed myself in a position of seeing him at those classes. I thought I could handle it and obviously, I expected too much of myself when I was in such a vulnerable state. Now I live with the consequences of that decision…of having him in my life…living in my home. We are now legally considered common-law which could negatively, financially impact the remainder of my life. The explanation of this is too long for this forum.
Before I met this man, I was happy. I remember that. I was truly happy. I wasn’t even looking for a relationship. We just happened to meet each other the old fashioned ‘boy meets girl’ way. Who knew that in that moment, life as I knew it was about to be over.
Five years ago, I was well loved and well respected by my family, friends, workplace and community. I was a hero in my grown daughter’s eyes. I was healthy, fit and active. I had a career that I loved, I was making good money and for the first time in my adult life and I had a healthy savings account. I was able to travel to beach resorts with friends each winter and spend time doing bucket list things each summer. I went out for dinners with family and friends and bought my clothes from shopping malls. I went to salons to have my hair and nails done. I wasn’t ‘wealthy’ but I had reached a place in life where things had finally become financially comfortable.
Then I met him…and lost my career.
I had worked hard for so many years to climb the ladder and at that point I was a Director in a large company doing a job that I found very fulfilling. But the constant overwhelming shock, hurt and subsequent anger over his lies, cheating and abuse towards me, I found myself constantly trying unsuccessfully to concentrate, constantly struggling to keep up with my workload on massive amounts of relationship stress and little to no sleep. After a year and a half of round after round of abuse, I lost the career I had worked for so many years to grow. I will never forget sitting in my office hearing my boss tell me that I was being let go for ‘performance issues’. I was devastated. I was embarrassed. I was horrified. Yet despite knowing that this loss was directly due to my partner’s abuse, I didn’t end the relationship.
After that, my savings quickly dwindled. I wish I could say that the loss of all my money was solely because I was trying to stay afloat while trying to find work but a lot of that money was lost due to me constantly trying to appease my partner in one way or another. Again, much too long of an explanation for this forum.
So now I am completely stuck. No job, no money…I am now financially dependent on him. I NEED the amount he gives me each month as his ‘contribution’ to the household. It doesn’t pay the bills but it goes a long way to staying almost afloat. My attempts to find work keep getting sabotaged. I secured a contract position a year ago and he started cheating on me as soon as |I was away from the house. I was once again focused on him, on the shock, hurt and anger. I struggled to maintain an image of professionalism while under a tremendous amount of stress and not enough sleep. The contract ended early due to ‘performance issues’. I don’t even know what the ‘performance issues’ were…I thought I had been doing well despite what was going on in my personal life. Obviously, I can no longer see the impact his abuse has on me but clearly, others can. The humiliation is unbearable.
Attempts to concentrate on job searches during round after round of different forms of abuse becomes almost futile and it keeps me stuck. It’s one thing to say, ‘just ignore him’ and quite another to successfully do this.
It is a week before Christmas. I am so broke that I have had to borrow money from a family member to pay utilities so that they wouldn’t be disconnected. I can’t tell you how mortifying it was to make THAT phone call. I have had to utilize every penny of my overdraft to buy small Christmas gifts for the kids and grandkids. I have less than eight dollars accessible in my bank account, my credit cards are full from using them to stay afloat after my savings were depleted and I have no idea what I am going to do. I feel like my life is a giant game of Snakes and Ladders and I have somehow ridden the giant snake back to square one. How is it possible to go from having a great career and well over a hundred thousand dollars in savings to having no job and only eight dollars left in the bank…in five horrific years? And all of it because of a man? How the hell did this happen?
I look back at that first year with him and I honestly wonder, “Why didn’t I leave the relationship back then?’ If I had, I would still have my career, my money, my friends and the respect I used to have in my world.
Mackenzie…the bottom line is that over the last five years I have experienced emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse that has been traumatic and has been so horrific that today, I experience symptoms of C-PTSD and have an ulcer. The ulcer is a result of five years of constant traumatic events, weight-gain as a result and swallowing too many Tums each night to battle the heartburn. Eating feels like I am swallowing glass; this is the long-term effect of this stress I have been under. I am trying to get this ulcer cleared up before it turns cancerous and I end up losing my life because of this man.
I have lost all of my friends and my family has become distant. I know my reputation and good judgement is in ruins. I can’t seem to gain decent employment and I have lost everything I worked so hard for through so many years. Somewhere along the way, I went from staying in the relationship because I couldn’t bear to lose him to HAVING to stay in the relationship because I am completely broke and without work.
And as for that dance class that I so stubbornly continued to attend after breaking up with him five years ago? I ended up losing that too. At some point I stopped going because he had stopped going and I learned that he was using the time I was away teaching dance to go onto dating sites, porn sites or connect with other women in other ways. Going to dance became just another source of stress. All those years doing the dances I enjoyed and all those friends are also now gone.
I have fought hard to try to keep depression at bay and I keep praying that I can find work that pays well enough to pay the bills so that I can have a voice and kick him out of my house. Love? He stomped that to death a long time ago. And yes, periodically even today I get suckered in. He acts nicely towards me and I find myself thinking that maybe everything will be okay…but it never lasts long before another round of abuse occurs and I realize I’m just being used.
Mackenzie, I don’t know how your relationship with your boyfriend will turn out. All I can tell you is that if he has done all of this to you in the first five months, what will YOU experience in the next five years? Please don’t wait to find out. Sometimes, there are simply no do-overs and the losses can be horrific. Be strong, find your courage and say, “No more.” Mean it and leave the relationship. You have one shot at living the life you choose on this planet…don’t waste it walking a path that you already know you’ll regret. Hugs.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 26 2017 at 7:16 pm

Mackenzie, I'm so sorry for everything you're current;y dealing with! That's so tough! Have you considered reaching out to someone close to you about this? Maybe a therapist could be helpful to you as well. I got through some of the most difficult times of my life with the help of a therapist. The man that you're describing does indeed sound very abusive. Just 5 months in, these are some pretty heavy behaviors to already be dealing with so soon. Evereything you've described meets all the criteria and are glaring red flags for an abusive relationship. I'm proud of you for choosing to spend Christmas with your family despite his disapproval, I'm sure that must have been very hard for you. It's important that you continue to call it like it is in regards to his behavior, it is abuse. I hope you're able to reach out to the people in your life that you love and trust most, they will be the ones to lean on now. It's so hard to distance yourself from someone you still have feelings for but things will likely just continue to get worse and worse, Mackenzie. Again, I'm so sorry for your troubles and very glad you reached out to us. Thanks, Emily

December, 7 2017 at 1:22 am

Why isn't my comment published?

December, 6 2017 at 6:33 pm

Hello, you can call me Rafaela (not my real name for privacy). I’m a mom of 3 kids and I’m from the Philippines. I’ve been with my husband, who is also my first and only boyfriend since High school and we got married after 6yrs when I fell pregnant with my first child. We were happy, we sure had ups and downs but there are times when the verbal abuse will roll out. He calls me names, and disregards the fact that I’m too tired to do a house hold chore for example yet he demands that I be the one to do it. If in the event that I’m able to tell him to do it instead, a series of insults and banging and loud noises can be heard. He also has the ability to shame me in front of my kids, even at the mall and other public places. It just makes me feel That I dont deserve to be respected and I lose my morale everytime it happens. Aside from verbal, emotional and physical abuse, there was something like smashing expensive gadgets like throwing the phone across the room, slammed my laptop so hard it broke to pieces etc and these are my things, things that I bought with my own money or a gift for me. And then, the physical abuse which at first it was just a single slap, then a punch and a kick or two, then whoah full out boxing. This really doesnt happen all the time, say once in every 2-3 months. In between we will be the picture perfect family before the abuse will happen again. It felt like everytime was my fault and that I deserved it. Then I had the courage to leave with my then 2 kids. We spent 3 weeks away from him and he begged me to take him back. I decided to give him another chance, i prayed so hard and i felt it was the right thing to do. Then i discoveredthat I was actually 6 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child! So theyall yold me that its just hormones and all that’s why i left him. He promised to look for a stable job to support us, promised never to shout and cuss and all at me and all that shit. As time goes by, the shouting came back, the cussing came back but thank goodness the physical abuse never came back. I learned to be careful with my words and how i act and I also submitted myself more to him as a wife doing everything from being a house wife to the sole breadwinner and slave of the house. He also works sometimes as a part time freelancer but most of the time its me who puts money in the table. I wouldnt have minded if that was the case but they way he insults me and talks to me just feels so degrading. Fast forward 3yrs after we got back together, i met up with some friends and there was a misunderstanding on when we should meet. He is to meet me at the mall with our 3 kids after my meet up with my friends. Unfortunately my meetup got extended and I almost lost track of time and i just remembered when i got an angry text. So i hurried off to see them and left my friends, and what does he do? He shouted at me in front of other people and made a small scene at the mall. It was horrible. Then I decided to turn back and not go with them since he already walked the otherway holding my kids hands. I decided to spend time walking alone thinking of what to do. When i cleared my head, i went home and i realized i could not bear to talk to him. So we went 24hours no talking. After that, he made the first arrogant move. Things got escalated so fast that he attempted to slap me, and me being frustrated already, stood up (first time i provoked him fyi), and I said “go ahead! I’m all you can beat anyway” then in a snap he puched and kicked and threw me across the room, threw things at me, punch kick pulled my hair and strangled me a lot of times. All the while cursing and telling me that I was the one who provoked him so I so deserve to be beaten. He even taunts me to go ahead call the police file a case and to facetime my mother who is in the USA so he can show her how he beats her only daughter. The whole time I was being hurt physically, all i felt was numbness and fear and also I felt sorry for him. So instead of fighting back i attempted to hug him to pacify his anger. This worked previously but not this night of december 5, 2017. Instead of stopping, he grabbed my arms and strangled me. I was the one who begged him to stop but everytime i do, it just makes him more eager to hurt me. Then a miracle happened, he stopped, prolly tired and I’m aching all over. Then he apologized. I decided to test him, one last time and i pretended to forgive him and admit it was my fault and i accepted that I deserved to be beaten etc. The next day, i could barely move, i have bruises all over but thankfully they are concealed in clothing. Even though he is well aware of what he did to me and how I must be feeling physically, he is more concerned that his foot is aching from all the kicking he did, and his wrists seem dislocated and his shoulders are aching as well! I decided to ignore it. He seemed empathetic specially when he saw the biggest angry bruise on my shoulder and he kissed it and whispered “I’m so sorry, please do not do that again as i cannot control my anger”. Today, i’m still aching all over, walking is a struggle, my neck feels broken and swollen but I still manage to do my normal house routine but at a slower pace. There was just one thing that I asked him to do for me since I’m unable to stretch my arms fully because my rib and back are really painful, he shouted “so what?! My arms ache too you know?” He also said “you asked for it and now you’re complaining?” How can he do this to me? How can he treat me like this? He is normally very sweet but if i do something stupid or make a mistake or if we run out of food or money, you can expect a drastic change of behavior from him. Despite all, i dont think he is a bad person. I think he just dislikes to be in a bad situation, example, car battery ran out. Instead of looking for a solution, he tells me “i dont care about the car, let it rot”. Please help me. Should I leave? What should I do. I have 2 daughters aged 11 and 7 and a son aged 2yrs old. The 2 daughters are still at school. I feel like I should leave ASAP but I just dont know if its right or should I be planning first? No one from his family nor mine knows that the abuse happened again btw. Thanks for your time in reading my really long comment!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 7 2017 at 7:53 am

Yes....plan then leave, i am currently going through a similar abuse. We need to do whats right for our kids. Hes never going to change believe me i know.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 7 2017 at 3:59 pm

Thank you. I think I don’t feel any love for him anymore. All I feel is anger and pity for him. He doesnt care if I cant move too much because of my injuries, even had the guts to say “you asked for it right? You provoked me to do what I did to you now shut up!”. Every time I wince in pain he will just say he feels the same way and even pointed out my scratch marks on his neck. The nerve. Thank you again. You dont know how your response affected me. I have been praying to God to give me just 1 sign, and here you are. I hope you find your peace as well and please take care of yourself and your children. I would hug you if I could but cant so I’m just sending prayers along your way that we both be successful. God bless you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 11 2017 at 8:01 am

Yes stay strong, God is w/ us. Reading your response helps me as well. Find the courage and hope u find the peace to moce on.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 15 2017 at 11:08 am

Thanks for sharing yoiur story its extremely nrave of you to do so, after reading you i know I do not want to be in my current relationship am single and my boyfriend who lives in another country verbally abuses of me because I will not initiate anything sexually with him, he even went as far to tell me to comit suicide because my life us soo booring. I cried and saud to myself he is just upset but i think I should end this now before we end up in a horrible situatuon this is not the first time hi verbally insults me and he claims its my fault because i wont sent him poctures of my body (nudes) he has told me to fuck off and that am extremely boring person. I have cried and asked him to stay, then he turns around and acts all guilty, but I just cant leave him. Am so confused I know it wrong, but i keep changing my mind on staying or leaving one good thing us were not married or have any children so that's a huge plus for me, but at tines I still cant seem to stop talkimg to him. Reading your experience lets me see were I can end up and I definitely dont want that for me
So thank you for sharing it helps alot. Good luck to you and your children.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 7 2017 at 1:35 pm

I read your story and I cried. 4 weeks now since I made the call to the police, and he is out of the house by court order. I am in the process of divorce. Today I feel ok. Other days I question my sanity. But I get through each and every day. And am always thankful at the end of the day to make it through stronger and wiser and with more clarity. It’s hard. And I wanted someone to tell me to get up and leave and to deal with it. But no one will, and when you do leave you will find you will be on your own, other than the juicy gossip it’s too much for anyone to deal with. But that’s ok. I actually stopped speaking to everyone about my situation for the 18 months before hand. But I started planning. Researching. Learning. And that in its self gave me purpose. Strength. Taught me I could rely on myself. So what I am saying is that don’t beat yourself up for staying or going back. They don’t change. And they just get worse. But start planning, that might give you some piece and purpose for now, and the support you need when you make that choice. Trust yourself. As I look back and for me, I am glad I stopped speaking to others about whether I should stay or go. I found that each time I did, I somehow found another reason to stay. I wanted out. That much I knew. Today is a good day. Thank you for sharing your story and as I read your comments where he has said you deserve it, I know I made the right choice for me. One of the last things he did say to me was I deserved it. For me and in terms of moving forward I have not spoken to him since and all communication regarding the children go through a third party. No contact for me is what I need, otherwise I would fall for the same charm again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 15 2017 at 2:41 pm

Thank you and am sorry you had to go through that. Writing my story here helped a lot because I realized I’m not alone, that there are others who have similar situation as mine. I’m undergoing counseling right now which would help me make the decision. Thanks again! God bless you too!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 16 2017 at 7:44 pm

Please leave. Pack a secret bag of essentials that is well-hidden. Do not tell him you are leaving. Do not tell anyone who knows him you are leaving. Then, when he is not at home or pretend you are going to visit someone just go and don't look back. If you have photographs of the physical marks it will help you in your custody case. This is not a game. Your life is at stake and so are the lives of your children.

December, 6 2017 at 5:09 pm

Its been 3years and yesterday I thought it would be the day I die. I begged for my life as I gasped for what I thought would be my last breath. Just when I thought he'd let up strangling me, he put a pillow over my face. How did I stay so long this isnt the first time. He has spent hours brutalizing me over a text or me not wanting sex, or if I caught him lying or cheating. He has no car, no job, 3kids, and is epileptic gaww I feel like such a fool. I'm educated, with a career, house job, beautiful kids of my own. After this latest beating, I've had enough and I will never forget the look he had in his eyes, he won't be happy unless he kills me or ruins me somehow.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 6 2017 at 5:13 pm

I wanted to add that thankfully we live apart should be an easy fix, but I keep letting him letting him in. Its over now, but now the complete loneliness sets in (my support system is shattered now) . I have no one now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 6 2017 at 5:15 pm

Why does it seem like there are so many abusers out there? Do nice guys exist anymore?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 26 2017 at 12:37 pm

Liz, This is terrifying. Thank you for reaching out, I'm glad you found us at HealthyPlace. You need to leave. This is an extremely abusive environment for yourself and your children. You are not safe and need to make an appropriate plan to safely leave. I know this is easier said than done but from what you've detailed here, your life is on the line, your children's well-being is in jeopardy, and this man should be behind bars. He will likely do irreparable damage to you before he will change and your life will be exponentially better. Your children will have better lives. You deserve to be loved and valued. I'm so sorry for everything you have dealt with. -Emily

December, 5 2017 at 9:56 am

My name is Alexis and I am 18 years old I’ve been in a relationship w my boyfriend for almost a year and he’s beaten me idk how many times , emotionally & mentally abused me as well and cheats on top of that . I am Tired He doesn’t allow me to have friends barely family or even any contact w the outside world . He currently has a case where he will have to go to court because of beating me so badly . Every time I give Him a chance he takes advantage of it & I’m just sick he tells me I’m ugly, broke, fat etc and doesn’t appreciate me at all . He says there’s other girls who look better that he should be with than me . I’ve prayed for a change but It doesn’t seem like I’ll get one ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 5 2017 at 7:01 pm

I’m in a abuse relationship just like this one girl I’m still here and trying to leave I️ left once for 8 months and it was the greatest thing but i don’t live near any family and lost my Apartment so I️ moved back in with him. I️ have 2 dogs and evictions on my record from him so I️
l moved back with him worst thing i could have done please be strong and get out as soon as you can’t never look back because we all deserve so much better and a real man in our lives that we can see having children with.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 19 2017 at 9:29 pm

Lovebug, Hi, Thanks for your comment. How are you doing? I'm so sorry you lost your apartment and are back in that terrible situation. How far away is your family? Are you able to reach out to them? I hope you are able to get away from him again, like you said, you deserve so much better. Thanks, Emily

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 15 2017 at 1:36 am

Run, do not turn back. Cut all contact with him. Go stay with a relative. Tell your parents..!!! Run you are still young your Mr right is out there .

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