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 13 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
December, 7 2014 at 6:18 am

In which country do you live? I know several do not have services, but maybe someone who sees this will know how you can receive help.

Love Addict
December, 3 2014 at 4:31 am

There is a reason why we cant leave our's called Love Addiction. I had to do some research to find out why I get sick when my boyfriend threatens to leave me. I can't eat, sleep, or even think straight when he tells me that he no longer wants to be with me(which is like every other day). I literally feel like I go into withdrawl symptoms when we're not together....the pain is so unbearable that I always call him begging him to take me back, even though I know that i'm not the problem. It started out wonderful, I thought he was my soulmate. He told me how much he loved me, wanted to marry me, and he wanted me to have his baby. Well Mr. Wonderful had me fooled for a whole year. He asked me to get his name tattoed on me(yes i did it

December, 2 2014 at 11:32 am

Im going through it now. First, the verbal abuse and now I'm being threatened that if I call the police he will kill me before they get here. He has to control my every move every second of the day. I have no power, and if I even give my daughter (his stepdaughter) permission to go to her friends house for an hour, he freaks out and days she has to go through him, not me. He calls us bitched, vermin, dirty animals. Im losing my mind. His mother won't talk to me anymore because she expects me to make excuses for his behavior like she does. You know--because he is her son. I will tell you one thing--my son will never be like this. I won't allow it. Im saving up for divorce as we speak. I deserve better than this. I make all of the money, pay all of the bills. He hords his money from his measly $9an hour job (which I filled out his application because he won't do it by himself). I make more than he does and do well. Maybe thats why he gets crazy. I dont care. He has tried taking my phone away, I have lost all of my friends. I am scared. Because I will have to learn how to make new ones after he leaves. Yes, he will leave. The police will end up giving him a ride. I will be looking over my shoulder as he has threatened to kill us when he would get out. But nobody will be calling me a bitch in my own home after he is gone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2018 at 7:35 am

That's the scary thing In it? What there reaction is going to be like, my ex as he is my ex I've told I have no love for him,he's threatened to burn my house down with me In it. I have had an injunction out In the past and he broke in and waited for me to come home, then battered me and took my money. I am so ready for him to leave. When I kick him out this time I will be scared but hopefully he will get bored and do one. After 13yrs I am so ready to live my life without him, I have no love for him at all, I would want anything bad to happen to him, and wish him no harm. I just want him to vanish from my life, I am going to try another injunction but unlike last time if he comes near me I will call the police, I'm 45 and I don't want to be sat hear in another 20yrs thinking why didn't I get him out my life, if nothing changes nothing changes, good luck amy in your new life xx

December, 1 2014 at 10:44 am

Green Pixie you just described my life. I have rented a house and have most everything in place to go and I am terrified that I will stay. No physical abuse , but subtle threats, constant insinuations that I am lying or cheating, unrealistic anger, constant negativity. He can be very nice, says I love you and thank you for dinner and asks about my day but I realize those are just words, there is no intention behind them, no partnership, no compassion. He is not there when I accomplish things, when a relative dies, when I am having a bad day...he can't be, I think he is incapable of being a partner. He has such rage and anger, over what I have no clue but I am tired of the roller coaster, the anxiety, the trying to be better so he will be happy. I can't fix him...but I can't seem to get past the guilt and the pain I think he will feel when I leave, boy that's sick... I can't get past his imagined pain. I guess I need to work on fixing me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 31 2018 at 12:51 pm

I lived the same kind of life for 25 years. It started out good and got gradually worse and worse. I hung in there for my kids, bad choice in retrospect. The best thing I could have done for them was show them healthy relationships. They never got to see that as so as grown adults, married now, they have had difficulty in being emotionally available to their spouses. Alcoholism, anger and OCD "control" behaviors are the outcome. They are successful in their lives, but they don't have the skills to navigate relationships healthily.
I am supporting and teaching them since I have gotten healthy. Let me say this. Co-depedant is a primary reason that we stay. I won't take this space to explain it, just google it, get Melody Beatty, Co-dependant no more book and learn about yourself and how to grow into a healthy person. It has been a journey for me, learned a ton. There are great resources out there for us, but we have to be ready and willing to do our work if we want things to change. Feel free to email me if you need more information or support.

November, 21 2014 at 11:35 am

I am in an emotional, verbal and on occasions physically abusive relationship and I want so desperately to leave but just can't find the strength to do it. My husband has threatened me with knives, beer glasses, his fists, threatened suicide, cheated on me with prostitutes and escorts and called me the most hurtful things imaginable. He flies off the handle for the smallest things and makes me feel constantly on edge. I began 2014 with the resolution that I did not want to waste another year of my life in this situation, yet here I am in November and what has changed?
I have been seeing a therapist for almost a year now, and the support helps, yet I find it hard to truly open up about my situation. Maybe it's shame or embarrassment, or maybe I just don't want to admit that the man I fell in love with, the man who I thought was my soul mate, who would always protect me is actually the one who has hurt me and frightened me more than anyone I have ever known.
This blog has really hit at the heart of how I am feeling and what I have been going through. I am sorry to hear that anyone else is going through this heartache, yet at the same time it gives me strength to know that I am not alone.
I hope that 2015 brings us all the strength we need to move forward with our lives and to break out of the cycle of abuse.

November, 16 2014 at 5:23 am

My husband has been abusing me for many years. I want to leave him so badly but i cant leave because my son is autistic and My son and I have some health issues. I need money for my child treatment. He said if our relationship is over, he will never take care of our child and he never iur child again. My life is shit!

November, 15 2014 at 5:11 am

Anonmys from october 23. Put your children in the car and drive to the nearest battered womans shelter andNEVER LOOK BACK. Save yourself and your kids. You are dying a slow death and the children are suffering with you. Move change your number. And your name. Reinvent yourself

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2018 at 7:21 am

It's not that easy when you suffer with mental health and have no family

isolated and alone
November, 9 2014 at 12:14 pm

Reason 1. In the beginning ,As an 18 year old immigrant leaving behind all family friends & support I never had to financial means or transport to hop back on a 12 hour plane ride when the physical violence began. i knew something wasnt right when we eloped and when the ceremony was over he walked out of the service with out saying a word. The minister was mortified and make a comment of what person leaves their young bride at the aisle without holding their hand and walking in togetherness. The fact that he was swallowing vicoden like candies and giving them to me too to "make me feel better," made every thing blurry and less painful. i see it CLEARY now.
Reason 2. I can't now leave my job my car my pets my possessions apt etc. Ive worked so hard to get my visa permits SS # enrolled in college. Done everything legit. All the while being lazy stupid worthless crazy pathetic disgusting ugly white trash. Underminig. Gas lighting. Crazy making. Mirroring. Traumatic bonding. Multiple dometic violence arrests from neighbor calling the police. Why wasn't I ever offered a dv shelter ? A restraining order? Any kind of programme ? Follow up from the police report? Being cut off from people. Literally not having a place to run and hide for me was obviously his game from the beginning.
Reason 3. Now. My children. My preemie tiny son from the stress of the constant cheating lying stds ,debilitating aggravation. Verbal assaults that are really from the bottom of a black dead souless reptile cold blooded sub human. now I have no job. No financial power. No child minder. Still no parents. Zero family. Afraid of my young children goibg to a dv home. Taking government money. Low income housing. Food stamps. Wic. Afraid to take a the plunge. Because really isn't he "such a nice , giving, hard working man who supported your life and gave up everything for you", with all the charm, fake plastic smiles, mirroring and emotional intelligence as your typical American psycho / sociopath.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
November, 12 2014 at 8:40 am

I would like to see you with a good therapist who can help you remove the mental and emotional barriers. Please go to a domestic violence support group. The people in the group are perfect counselors while you figure out how to get a private one.

November, 9 2014 at 5:30 am

here I am 65 yrs old and realize I hate my husband, who I have left control my every move, and verbally abuse me daily. I am a miserable old lady, who wish I had the balls to go, but no money, and where too? I am afraid of him, I know what he can do, people don't realize my situation, or maybe they do since my whole family has been dysfunctional. so read this younger women, and think this could be you one day, get out before your 65.

November, 8 2014 at 12:14 pm

I tried to leave him,got a order of protection.But he called me saying he's so sad.I felt like how can I go on.I moved to another state w him n dnt know anyone here but him.I felt lonely,isolated.As crazy as this may sound I was happy he was sad n missed me
I really shouldve stood firm n not went back.I have no real support from family.They have no clue what's been happening.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
November, 12 2014 at 9:16 am

I think most of us who left WISH that our abusers missed us or showed emotion at our loss. If they show sadness, it validates that we matter to them on the outer levels of thought. More deeply however, we want them to miss us because their feelings validate that we matter; in reality, to be a healthy person, we need no one to act like we are worthy... We need to feel it for ourselves. When you leave next time, remember that you are worth more than his manipulative displays of emotion. You are worth more because YOU say so.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2018 at 7:15 am

Kellie jo, I love that. You are worth more because you say so xx

November, 7 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thank you so much for this article.
GREEN PIXIE - you said everything I could never put into words. I am in a 21 year marriage, and have been controlled, accused, and treated as though I've always had to prove who I am as a woman. I have checked out of my marriage emotionally...I just need to find the strength and courage to get out for good and be happy while I am still young. I have faith I will do this soon. I would love to talk to other women that are in the same situation. I feel it would be very therapeutic and empowering.

November, 6 2014 at 2:34 pm

I'm a battered mother who has been in a abusive relationship for almost 13 yrs been married for 4.Yes we have kids together, three,8,4,3.Yes you can say I've been busy.My life started when I first meet him.He was the most charming man ever until he first hit me.Yes I though it would stop after the first time but it didn't it got worse.He tells me I'm shit I don't deserve to be alive he wish I die.And I still stay.Plenty nights he keep me and my kids up wanting to fuss about him thinking I like the next door neighbors.SMH!!! The landlord,The man at the store my child football coach yes the list goes on.And I forgot to say he drinks and when he drinks he start accusing me off crazy stuff.Many times my kids wakes up 2,3 in the mourning because he lost something he miss places during his episode of his drinking.I remember one night he said I peed on him while he was sleep he was just that drunk.He hit me,spite on me,slap me and pour beer on me and I still stay.Why???? I feel so alone my sister moved 4 hours away,my brother stay 4 hour away my mom had back ans hip surgery.I really don't have help I'm not living off the government so its hard to find somewhere to.stay and pay for daycare if I leave.He took me and the room one night and choke. Mr until where I could not breath but God spared my life the police got call. plenty times and I didn't want him to go to jail so I lied to cover it up can somebody please listen to me and help me overcome this faze in my life!!!! Its all a dream right that's not happened to me. I want the picture perfect life but instead I got the road to hell!!!SMH :(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 12 2018 at 4:09 am

This is my situation almost verbatim and i need to leave but he threatens he wiil get custody cause i have no job no house and a couple misdemeanors for petty theft so how do i leave and make sure he cant take my girls from me?

November, 4 2014 at 3:41 am

My tears wont stop while reading this article.Im in abusive marriage for years.verbal and physical.where couple of times I was thinking of killing myself.I caught my husband cheating on meany times and even we are together he still do it.He never think of me.He is a military and coz of my love for him i give up my job and stayed as house wife.For 5 yrs of marriage all he do is cheat lie say bad things to tear me down and afterwards beated me.I want to get some help from authority but knowing he will get in trouble everytime Im telling him I will talk to his commander he is threatening of killing me.I love my husband but i see tht he never love me...I need help...

November, 3 2014 at 8:52 am

I am 17, which is pretty young. My mother was in an abusive relationship with a man for 12 years. I grew up with it. I learned to hate it. I told myself I would never let it happen to me. I was wrong. I like this article because it presents a side to the story that people don't often understand. Everyone says, "Just leave," as if it were the easiest thing in the world. It's not. I care so deeply about him, that I worry what he would do if I left him. He has threatened to hurt himself and so I run back to him. I don't want to be in the relationship, but I don't want him any worse off than he is. I don't know what to do. I'm stuck and I'm young. We haven't been together for long and he says he wants to propose. The idea scares me terribly, but I missed him so much that I said yes. (He had left to basic training) Now I'm afraid to tell him that I am not ready. I'm afraid of the side of him I like to forget. I don't know. I feel really stuck. If only it were easy, right?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
November, 12 2014 at 9:33 am

It is not within your realm of responsibility to stay with someone who threatens to kill himself. You must take care of you first. If it helps you feel better, he has access to help and counseling - good and free help - because he is in the military. 17 is pretty young :) It is way too young to to go down this road. My thoughts are with you.

November, 1 2014 at 1:13 pm

I really like your blog this was very eye-opening for me. I am in a relationship that is abusive and I am really confused. Sometimes I don't know what to do. But this viewpoint really got me thinking and I appreciate you for writing something so real and raw and something that a woman in my shoes can relate to. Because these situations are very hard to understand unless you live it/ or live past it.

November, 1 2014 at 11:33 am

I meet a guy 5 years ago who I had fallen in love with but the first 2years were a complete lie. He lived and dated other women and lied to them about me. I know this was a sign to leave but I couldn't help it, he loved more than any man had loved me....well I thought at the time. So as time went on the truth of he doulble life came out. We fought a lot from verbal to physical. We even had two children together. So now the physical abuse has stopped but now verbal is an on going thing and his threats to hurt me continued. He says mean and nasty words to me and is always throwing my past in my face I just can't believe I'm with someone like this. Im starting to be like him in defense. I've noticed I've changed and I hate myself because I've let someone so evil effect me. He

Lisa Anne
October, 28 2014 at 12:52 pm

When we first met he used the tactic of making me feel sorry for him. He was sick with COPD and a slow type of cancer (so he said), and was broke and needed a place to stay. I took him in and cared for him and helped him get well and find a job. He was so grateful and sweet and for a while everything was fine. But then, gradually, I noticed he began to change and gain power over me. He took over my house, my time, and even tried to take over my finances. Luckily I didn't let that happen. Then, he started telling me I "wasn't thinking right" - belittling me, manipulating me, and now he has isolated me from all my friends. He gets angry and yells obscenities at me. He throws things and has tantrums. I want to throw him out of my place, but now I'm scared what he will do. I found out he has a history of violence. He has a gun here in the house. I think maybe I should get rid of the gun first, an then tell him to leave. I know when he finds out I got rid of the gun, he will go berserk. I am so scared.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 3 2018 at 9:04 am

Lisa Anne, I'm just seeing this post years later, so I hope you are fine and away from this guy. But if your situation is the same or worse, and u are still ready to be free, my suggestion would be that you should leave instead of throwing him out. I think it will be safer for u that way. Plan your move. Say nothing to him about it. Plan a life far away and when u move, make sure you end all ties. Change your phone number. Reset any social media accounts. If u have a lease, and u trust your property mngr, let them know you are being abused and will not be renewing your lease but He Cannnot Know. If possible, live with another person at first. Check them out carefully, and have a roommate for the first two years to be safer. I hope all the best for you. What a horrible feeling to fear your life every day just because you had empathy for someone.
I just realized this past weekend that the man I've loved for 18 years and had empathy for has become abusive. He cried out to me for help two and a half weeks ago. In one weekend, my best friend and onlookers are shocked at what they perceive as my stupidity because they had such a high opinion of me. I feel so stupid and embarrassed. He's made a fool of me and I'm so sad about it. I'm fighting tears ever day. Right away, I searched emotional abuse online and found this article. If I can feel so horrible now and this is only the beginning (which I'm trying to make the end too), I know the sickening feeling you must have. Feeling trapped. I too feel a little unsafe because he knows where I live. My best friend who is a male is staying with me temporarily and he is so upset about it. I'm concerened for the safety of my friend. It's like being bullied. I'm a grown woman who suddenly feels like a small child. Allowing these abusive ppl in your life is the biggest injustice we can bring to ourselves. I feel it and it is only the beginning. The hardest part is leaving. The other side of that is so much better. Let your mind lead you, not your heart.
And as I'm telling you this, trust me, I'm also trying to convince myself.

October, 28 2014 at 5:22 am

Please leave, as hard as it seems. I have been through a similar experience for past 5 years. Loved the man and he did not treat me right by any means. I ended up leaving and it was unbearably hard. You have to read on violence and abuse of women and educate yourself on how to spot and avoid abusers. Everytime you wish to call him or go back, you need to watch videos or read messages from abused women, it empowers you. It has been a year and I have finally regained my life, and it is definitely possible to be free. I am not even thinking of ever looking back. You need support from anywhere you can get it, and don't be ashamed to ask for it.

October, 27 2014 at 3:40 am

How can you "love" someone that so obviously hates you. I'd rather him beat me daily then to make me feel so worthless. I asked him if I'd ever be good enough for him and his response was to ask myself that. Man of my dreams is now the star of my nightmares.....hard to let go when I'm so desperately wanting someone to love me for who I am.

October, 26 2014 at 6:47 pm

I think i abuse my boyfriend. I dont know why i do it. I truly love him and dont want to hurt him. But dont know how to stop myself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2018 at 7:00 am

Well done Maggie for admitting you have a problem, it's a good start, I hope things worked out for you x

October, 26 2014 at 3:26 pm

I dont know where to start except. That im scared to leave we never had issues until we lost everything. Money home cars and he says its all my fault he began to hit me about two years ago sometines i get brave enough to talk back when there is people around and then i catch myself and i know its best to shut my mouth i know in my heart that he will never stop my son has seen it and yet i stay because im scared i know that if i could one day have the courage. To leave me and my son will be just fine

October, 25 2014 at 4:53 am

I'm 27 yrs old and I've been putting up with my husband since I was 16 I don't know anything else but him. So it scares me to leave I've never worked in my life I got to small kids and I can't seem to leave them so I can work and plus he doesn't let me anyways.this really helps to have someone understand what I'm going through I can't leave him because my children love their dad and he's a good father don't get me wrong. I can't leave because of my children that's my reason but inside I'm screaming to get out.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 25 2018 at 9:19 pm

also going thrh that .I CNT just leave ,wat WL hppn to my 1 year old son,he luvs his dad .to be honest I luv him and WL do anything for him BT deep down i m l0okng for help...this blog really hlps m to shre wats eating m ..I HV this anger in me,also angry for no reason

October, 24 2014 at 3:41 am

Green Pixie and at, I am in the exact same boat as well... thank you for writing this so clearly.

October, 23 2014 at 3:47 am

what do you do when you are in an extremely physically and mentally abusive relationship where the man doesn't care if you leave and you are desperately hanging on just wanting to be loved and accepted by him? or maybe he actually will flip out if you leave and his method of keeping you is to make you feel like he doesn't care about you and you are worthless and have to constantly fight for his approval. maybe that's his tactic. when i started dating him, he saved me from an abusive relationship. it took me almost a year to open up to him but he kept telling me every day what a beautiful human being i was and how i deserved to be loved and spoiled and he told me every day that it was ok to love him and that he wouldn't hurt me. eventually i believed him. he made me feel so safe. i eventually discovered that he is very bipolar and at times i believe he is a sociopath. he has stabbed me with a tv antenna, puched me in my neck twice, once so hard that he blew out my eardrum, stabbed himself in his arm to the bone in front of me and my children with plans to kill us both but he stopped because the children were witnesses, he has choked me, punched me, broken a chair over my head, punched me repeatedly in the stomach until i vomited, drop kicked me onto pavement, and said unimaginable things that would make any human being feel so worthless that they contemplate ending their own life because their feeling of self worth has been brought down to zero. how do you leave a man that you love so much that when you do have little break ups, you lose 10 lbs in 6 days from the devistating heart break and have to see a doctor because you can't even hold down water? how do you rationalize loving someone with every ounce of your soul when they are so horrible to you? how do you not question your own sanity for feeling this way? he is very very calculating and manipulative, he almost reminds me of charles manson with the way he can make you believe anything he wants you to believe even though you know in your heart it's not the truth. why is it that my fear of the pain i will endure if i lose him is stronger than my fear for my life? i feel like i am desensotized and i'm just riding the wave until he eventually kils me. he tells me almost every day that he wants me to die and he wants to kill me and has urges to cut my belly open and play with my organs. how do you even cope with something like that being said to you? i think it is just so unbelievable to me that the man i have loved for 8 years and have known for almost 20 years is actually that crazy so i just disregard the things he says because i can't begin fathom him actually being serious when he says things like that. he hid that side of him very well for years. he told me his soul purpose of making me fall inlove with him was so he could break me down and destroy me because he felt as though i had rejected him once when we were younger. i have continued living this insane torturous life with him for so long that it has robbed all of my hope, energy, and dreams in life. i feel like my life is worth nothing and that i will die and my children will be without a mother, yet i have absolutely no strength and no desire to leave him. he said he read books on how to make a woman fall inlove with you so that he could make me fall head over heels just so he could hurt me. my head tells me this is very wrong but my heart won't allow me to let him go and i just can't make sense of it. he can be so good when he wants to be, the sex is amazing and he can make so many promises and have me convinced that if i prove myself to be worthy, he will be good to me. i find myself constantly giving and trying and loving him with everything in me that i have nothing left for myself, my family, or my children. i need help but how do i get help when i can't help myself. how do i leave when i am so terrified of the pain i will feel when he is gone? i desperately hold on to the good moments because i know they don't last long and i have myself convinced that the suffering i endure in this relationship is less than the pain i endure when he leaves. we had split up for 3 years at one point and the second he showed back up on my doorstep, all the feelings came back and i was back inlove or what i think is love anyway. i can't get over him, i have tried and tried but all it takes is to see his face one time and i'm back to where i started. how do you end such a toxic, dangerous relationship? how do you break free from something like this? i feel like no matter what happens, he wins and i lose. if i leave, i will be the broken one and he will just move on with someone else without even flinching and i will just be left alone with no one. please someone tell me what to do!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
October, 23 2014 at 4:44 am

Please, please, please seek therapy and attend domestic violence support groups! You know what you're doing is bad for you. You need the support from others to get away and stay away.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 12 2018 at 1:07 am

I am worried for you anonymous, do you have a safety plan in place? You should find a local therapist to talk to. This sounds like a very dangerous situation.

June, 10 2018 at 6:56 am

Could you please give me advice on how to do a safety plan. My ex won't leave, I've told him I don't love him anymore and I don't. But he says he will burn the house down with me in it. I have no family to turn to. And I'm so ready to leave this relationship, thing is injunction etc will not stop him, in the past when an injunction was in place he broke in and waited for me to come home he battered me and stole my money. He tells me I need him and that I won't survive without him because of my mental health as I struggle to go to the shop alone because of my anxiety. He's right I will find it hard to be on my own, last time I tried to take my life. I'm feeling stronger and I think I'm almost out of my mental prision. Im struggling with a safety plan, I was going to try another injunction would love any advice, thanks in advance xx

June, 12 2018 at 10:45 am

I know exactly what you are dealing with. Don't feel alone please..I spoke with my therapist this morning, my boyfriend has done horrific things to me, I'm estranged from family and friends. These abusers are monsters that brought us into their world for their enjoyment. I too have been on life support due to an overdose several years ago. Speak to someone, maybe a hotline, to put a plan in action. Don't let anyone know what you are doing. Keep one thing in mind, there's a SPECIAL place in hell for these despicable monsters. Stay safe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 11 2018 at 12:28 am

I so hope you are still alive.

October, 21 2014 at 5:32 pm

Green pixie you explain the way I feel so perfectly I feel the same way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 13 2018 at 1:39 pm

Yes green pixie is 100% accurate on every detail. Thank you for your words. You have no idea how empowering they are. My (now ex boyfriend of only 30 hours) never lived with me, however, in his mind, my home had become his because he slept here 3 nights a week when my daughters are w my ex husband. I felt like I was in a hostage situation because so many times that I did break it off or did no contact, he manipulated me w promises of change. I was/am in love w him, so I always gave him another chance...until yesterday. I had enough of the verbal times physical, be it mostly minor shoving or had escalated to a slap last month that gave me a fat lip (he doesn't even remember he was so drunk) and lately, public humiliation. But the terror and threat of violence was always there. It all finally came to a head during a weekend camping trip w many other friends/couples. I woke at 7am yesterday and left camp ground. I told him he's no longer welcome in my life or home As scared as I was I remained strong & brief in my texts. Of course, he texted constantly..all day but I did not respond with anything except to let him know I took his few items of clothing, work stuff etc. to his house and there was nothing he needed to come here for. Knowing he had a key, I barricaded my front door w heavy hutch/furniture. I really did not think he'd come to my house. He doesn't have a license (lost in 2015 for 10 yrs from 3rd DUI) At 10pm, I heard him from my bedroom bust through barricade & enter front door. I immediately called the police. The key btw is something I so generously shared w him only recently after 3 years of dating. It was more a matter of convenience w our different work schedules. I did not want him to have a key really. But I saw it as a token of trust...that he could trust me. Thought it might calm him. He had said his troubled mind and behavior stems partly from past relationships where he was cheated on. So I was hopeful that he would lighten up if I allowed him full access. I gave him everything. Including full financial support during years of lay offs from carpenters union. I am a classic victim of the CEO of narcissism. Or was. The police came quickly and he ran off of course. After that I drove to a 24 hour Walmart for new lock. I changed the lock @ midnight and today I am here reading exactly what I needed to hear! The best advice I can offer to anyone reading (only a tiny glimpse into my 2 1/2 years of hell) is to cut off all contact. Do not reply to anything after you've left. Through my own determination, loving myself and my daughters way more than I ever loved him & of course Gods strength, I will never go back with him. My best advice to you and contact!

October, 16 2014 at 6:29 am

I want to leave. I have divorce papers ready to be filed. The trouble is he is not letting me go. He is doing everything he can to keep me. I feel like he locked himself in and now refuses to let go. I've experienced everything from him crying, begging, pleading, threatening to take his own life to now being the "model" husband and father. He knows I don't want to involve the police and expose that situation to my children. Especially considering he has said that he will "make" the police shoot him. So now what?

green pixie
September, 8 2014 at 9:42 pm

Thank you for this article and for your supportive, non-judgemental approach. It has only "dawned" on me recently -much to my surprise and horror- that my partner could possibly be abusive. Previously, I was fairly judgemental of people who stayed with abusive partners but now I can understand just how complex, confusing and difficult it can be to leave an abusive situation.
My own experience is that leaving can be so very difficult because:
* Sometimes emotional abuse is very difficult to identify and even name. Some abuse is so subtle and "clever" that people may not even realise it's abusive (myself included). It can just be that sickening feeling deep down that something is wrong and feeling terribly upset/distressed by certain behaviours or words from your partner but you can't think straight or even articulate WHY you feel this way.
* Abusive people can be highly intelligent and convincing in their arguments so that you do really end up believing the problem is YOU and that the difficulties in the relationship are due to your own issues, faults and failings. Therefore, you keep trying to make things better, "work" on the relationship and "improve" yourself etc.
* It is still possible to truly CARE about the person who is abusive (though maybe this is an illusion?). He obviously has some deep issues and as a compassionate person, I can see his pain and find it hard not to want to help him, even if he sometimes deeply hurts or frightens me.
* These relationships overall are very "difficult", taxing and draining. I can feel so engulfed by my relationship and all its complexities that I don't even have the energy to begin to do all the things necessary to leave (finding a new house, buying a car, getting a different job and whatever else...)
* My partner CAN be incredibly sweet, caring and look after me well. We DO have some fun/interesting/nice times together. So when abusive behaviour does happen, it is so disorientating, confusing and almost surreal that I am paralysed by shock and disbelief. When things go back to "normal" and he is being sweet again, it almost feels like it never happened so I deny or lessen it in my mind or start to believe, "perhaps I am the crazy one" (overreacting, imagining things, being too sensitive, being "forgetful" etc - as he has suggested).
* You do just feel SO alone when awful things happen and "paralysed" as to where to go or what to do so it can feel like the best/easiest thing is simply to stay, try not to say or do anything to "set them off" again and simply hope things improve.
Reading blogs and information like this is so helpful in feeling less alone; in feeling less "crazy"; that perhaps it's not ME and that it's not my fault I've ended up in this situation. I am not going to beat myself up for choosing to stay for now. I do hope to have the strength and courage to leave if/when the time is right and if things don't change. Until then, I will definitely try to use your suggestions to lessen the impact of any abusive behaviours/words that may occur and to use this time in my life to become a stronger person.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 23 2018 at 12:31 am

Everything you said I go thru, literally just happened to me today

May, 23 2018 at 3:29 am

B, I'm so sorry for everything you have been suffering. I'm so glad you found us here at Healthy Place, we have a wealth of information, articles, and resources that may bring you comfort or guide you on your path. Please reach out to us anytime. Thanks, and hang in there, I'm rooting for you. -Emily

May, 27 2018 at 1:14 am

I would go fishing with my boyfriend early in the morning and he would be nice until we left the maverick, and he berate me for ,25 minutes, n I could not say anything cause , he would use it against me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 30 2018 at 1:07 pm

Wow this sounds exactly like my situation. In a sense I feel like I need to try and help him because I know he has anxiety problems and I try to understand his issues with trust. Like you when we are good we are soooo good, he is so sweet is like we are doing great but then out of nowhere or if there’s a trigger things go downhill quick. No matter what, I feel like I can’t walk away like something in me won’t let me. I just need to be there and I dnt know what it is I almost feel crazy for putting up with it. I always feel like if only we could get through those problems we could be great together. He has now decided that he will go to therapy but I dnt know. Sometimes I feel emotionally drain and I feel my anxiety act up. I am just not ready to walk away even though somethingnin tells me to leave sometimes. It’s like there’s something always pulling me back to him.

July, 27 2018 at 7:09 am

I've felt this for 20 years and after surrenduring all of my income to him for numerous "business opportunities" and "companies" he has started and never been able to fulfill, I've began having panic attacks at the thought of letting him continue to control my finances. So, I've been studying the traits of abusers. I've found that he fits the clinical definition of psychopath perfectly and at first I was horrified at what I'd let be done to me, and how I've ignored my gut feelings all these years, how much of my life has been wasted on the hopes of false promises of all these great rewards that were supposed to come .... at 20, He told me in 10 years if I supported him, he'd help me become wealthy and independent. Then at 10 years of surrenduring all my money (oh wait, I was allowed to keep 10%)... we were always "almost there". We only ever needed another 6-18 months.
When I came to MY personal boundary- 40 years old- Unfreaking believable- he still one last time gas lighted and guilted me, and threatened me with being cut off from other people I love. It was a horribly verbally and emotionally abusive scene, which his 20 year old daughter over heard and recognized as toxic. Long story short- keep reading and educating yourself, as horrific as it might sound, yes I've chosen to stay in this relationship until I can figure out how to let go. I'm closer every day.
Keep going! You'll find your way. Thank goodness for websites like this for us "inbetweeners" who are just beginning to realize what is going on, but not quite sure what to do next or where to turn.

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