If you're struggling with abuse, you know that leaving your partner isn't easy for a lot of reasons – even though you know you're not in a healthy relationship. If you're concerned about a friend, relative, co-worker, or client, it's important to understand why it may be hard – and even risky – to leave an abusive relationship.
Walk out the back, Jack is a cute song lyric, but real life just isn't that simple. Relationships involve a complex intertwining of emotions, memories, and patterns of behavior that can take a long time to unravel, especially when the relationship is dangerous.
Here are some of the common – and very real – barriers to leaving an abusive relationship:
Fear ... of increased abuse or of actually being killed; fear that the abuser will commit suicide, that no one will believe you, that the abuser will stalk you, that unsupervised visits with the abusive partner will put your kids at risk. The majority of domestic homicides occur when or right after the victim leaves the abuser.
Isolation ... of the victim from friends and family by the abuser has probably been going on throughout the relationship. Abusers often make sure any support system has been dismantled, so if you leave, you're left alone to find a job, transportation, childcare, housing, and social services.
Economic reality ... may be that you aren't able to support yourself and your children. You may not have marketable skills or have access to government assistance or to cash, checks, or other important documents that have been controlled by the abuser.
Childhood experiences ... may leave you feeling that abuse is unavoidable in relationships, or that it is okay to be abused by people you love and who say they love you.
Connection to the abuser ... and manipulation of feelings of love – and even compassion – may lead you to believe that you alone can help the abuser overcome his problems, or that your abusive partner is all-powerful and will find you if you leave.
Beliefs about self ... low self esteem often results in victims who accept blame for the problems in a relationship. You might think you deserve to be abused.
If you'd like to talk about what might be keeping you in a difficult or dangerous situtation, give our helpline a call -- 877-890-7788. We're here to help.