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
Holly, K. (2014, January 22). Leaving An Abusive Relationship: Why Can’t I Just Leave?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 15 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

June, 9 2017 at 11:29 am
Been married almost 31 years to a man that belittles me often for saying things he didn't want me to
say . Anytime I make any type of a statement he shuts me down and says I'm being negative even if it truly wasn't. I have been with him since I was 13. Ran away with him at 15. Married him by 16. 3 kids by 22 who I adore. He has cheated on me since the beginning of our marriage and still to this day. I don't and can't even confront him anymore .He can instantly turn it around and tell me it's my fault because........or make me out to be stupid or crazy . I need to get out for my own sake but I'm stuck. He becomes a better liar and manipulater every time confronted and has even told me ,what does it matter your never going to leave me anyways. And some how he always becomes the victim. I ended up with breast cancer and he never even skipped a step. He talks like we are in it for ever but sleeps with anybody who will give him the time of day. I want out but I feel stuck do to our finances etc. he has a way of making me feel useless and unworthy of all I am and all I do. One min. I'm everything and the next I'm nothing. It's a lonely emotional roller coaster .
Jade Love
June, 7 2017 at 10:24 pm
Currently the 1000th confrontation between me and my abusive partner. At this point, I feel pathetic. I feel tired of even telling my friends and relatives and do nothing about it. I guess that's the sad part. When you start feeling like you deserve it. Mine wants me to "shut the f*** up" every time I do something he does not like, even if unintentional. I am not allowed to "talk back" or explain myself. The last time I did, I was pulled and dragged and kicked down my stairs. He says, call me crazy. And I may be f'd up, but that's how it is. "You made me this way after not listening to me these past years." He says the things he thinks are not normal, and I should just leave. it's dark isn't it ladies? Knowing the one person you try to give so much to, feeds off of your guilt and shame. And in the end, I stay. pathethic & scared, I stay.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 10 2017 at 1:52 am
I totally feel you!!
Were currently fighting off something i have no clue about!!! Im getting the silent treatment right now and of coursed threatened that he will strangle me with an cord and watch me die ( he just said that to me). Told me to move out and took my car keys, as usual. I never hated someone soo much. My life is miserable. Its like im in jail and i just go to work and come home. I try to make him happy but its never good enough. Never!!!!!!! I pray everyday to god to give me the strength to leave

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 11 2017 at 2:25 pm
I too am a prisoner of the house. Took my car keys yesterday and hasn't given them back. So instead of the usual text arguing, I am getting my ducks in a row and finding an escape route. I am 47 years old and I've already raised my son, he is now 28. My dogs ( who were my babies ) have passed away, now 6 months, I see no reason for me to stay and take the verbal and emotional abuse. I've had a lot and I've had nothing. And, as nice as it is to have the little luxuries in life, I'd rather be living my life and not just exist in it. Stay strong women, there's always a solution. May not be the easiest, but being miserable is a lot harder to deal with.
Jane matos
May, 25 2017 at 10:33 pm
I'm in a relationship that I am constantly being told I am stupid to know where I stand if not he will put me in my place. How i am the reason why he isn't happy I constantly annoying him everything about me piss him off to leave get out etc. how me dealing with everything he did and do wrong I stood besides him and that no longer mean stuff to him and yet few hours later act like nothing happened. Mind u he have ptsd but I want to leave my stuff is packed it just I feel stuck emotional I'm in massive amount of stress being here. Idk what to do his phone is lease under my name and the internet is as well

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 3 2017 at 1:13 am
I feel so sad and depressed, because my husband constantly calls me names, says that I make him miserable, and threatens to leave me. I am successful in my career and I don't understand why I can't leave him. How do I leave. I have a 13 year old daughter and a 16 year old son, who does not want us to get divorced. I feel trapped and don't know how to end this nightmare

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 11 2017 at 2:28 pm
Bring in the authorities! The kids may not want the divorce now, but when they see how healthy you are and how happy life can be after, they will get it. There are laws to protect you, start researching.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 22 2017 at 1:42 pm
I feel the exact same way, I constantly get called a maggot, hoe, bitch, slut all the evil words in the book you name it I'm that person according to him. I cant look anywhere or at any male and if I do he thinks I am attracted to them and calls me dirty names. I have never cheated on him, and just try and love him. he constantly abuses me and breaks me down. I want to leave but I am afraid for my life and my families life as he always threatens us. he said he is not going to let me leave until he finds another women or until he doesn't feel like I am a hoe. I am so afraid to do anything beside go to work and home and be with him 24/7. I cant see my family without him thinking I'm cheating. I need help! I am afraid to go to the police he said in the past if involve the police and he goes to jail he will just have his friends come and hurt me and my family.
May, 25 2017 at 2:45 pm
I want to leave, but he doesn't let me. He would call people to beg me to stay for him, he will apologize n say it will never happen again. I would pack my things ready to move n leave him but he never let me leave!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2017 at 2:01 am
My bf does that every time I want to leave! He also makes threats to make my life worse.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 11 2017 at 8:35 pm
Yes I'm in th same situation je belittles me hits me and when I have my bags packed ready to go he starts this crying scene and say he will make my life worse sometimes.
May, 13 2017 at 9:46 am
Thank you for this article. ....I am trying to get out of an abusive relationship. is so difficult because it's emotional abuse and of course I gave him money which seems to go along with abuse. ...I've been down this road before. think I would get smarter with age but the charm of an abuser is magnetic and difficult to detach from. ...I have distance on my side.....thanks for not making me feel guilty about all of this. would be too much to bare.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 30 2017 at 5:59 pm
I'm with you and I'm trying to find my way out. I'm glad there's distance between us but he doesn't know what No means and it's always my fault.
May, 4 2017 at 6:58 pm
I have been told that all my life I've accepted some type of abuse. I've pretty much left one dysfunction for another. At the time you don't know it's even happening. You think you have gotten healthy found the right way. Someone comes along and you are completely open and honest with that person in regards to what you want in life and I a partner. No matter how honest you are doesn't mean others will be. My family relationship was the first dysfunctional relationship in my life. I met my kids father in high school. I graduated pregnant with my son and out on my own. Dealing with being a young mother on my own and my kids father constantly cheating and missing I tried to make my family work. Vowing not to to have my children a product of a broken home. Accept for not realizing the home was already broken . It wasn't until several years of abuse, manipulation, betrayal this was finally realized. Years of thinking I'm bargaining with God on what I will endure just to have a better life for my kids . Wondering why God doesn't hear me . It wasn't until someone said to me how do you know God hasn't answered you maybe it wasn't the answer you wanted. Within a couple of weeks it seem to be my eyes were opening. After a couple more episodes of abuse and going to see a marine graduation was when it hit me. There are people with nothing in their way starting there lives. Taking a pledge for our country, going to fascinating places and starting careers. All my life consist of is working, cleansnig cooking. Someone who is barely there and when they are the air is so thick and tense. I made the choice to leave and this time for good. I don't know what made it different . I attempted man many times and was unsuccessful. This time it felt as though my eyes were open and I could see the pain and abuse and knew it would never get better. After leaving I worked on myself made myself healthier enjoyed my kids more. After only a few months I met someone who I thought had my best interest at hand. I was up front on everything I have been through and what I expected out of a relationship and if he couldn't provide this it was ok but we couldn't date . He said he understood and was not looking for games he wanted to settle down with someone. Unfortunately all these statement , understandings were false. He played games the entire relationship, yet again I was manipulated, cheated on, abused , and brain washed . That perso. Is my husband. Just recently has he admitted to all the things I had questioned him about years ago. I am still his puching bag. If someone makes him mad he takes it out on me . He allows everyone else to walk all over him and I have no lack for errors what so ever. I'm beneath him I. This marriage and wonder frequently what in anything I said when I presented what I wanted I. Someone made him want me? If he hates me as much as he shows why. Can't he just leave?? Just like my kids father I've tried to leave many times unsuccessful. My children are attached to him . They see the rollercoaster in his unstable emotions but still care for him. We share a house . The mortgage is in my name the deed in both. I don't know how to walk away from the home
I tried to build
For my kids . How do I get out of my mortgage without going bankrupt? Divorce lawyers are so expensive and my husband claims everything is all his when I've worked harder than him the entire relationship. He bullies conices, is sneaky, and when thing s are not going his way everyone in the house has to pay. It's a vicious cycle that needs to end. Last time I left someone I wasn't married or owned a house. How can I leave this behind without bringing along more financial baggage?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 11 2017 at 2:35 pm
Unfortunately, the likelihood of staying in that house is 50/50. Two sides of the coin, mentally it might be better not too and downsize. There are laws and they will protect you. It may be further than you'd want to take it, but at some point happiness and sanity have to be a priority.
April, 27 2017 at 10:06 am
I am writing this while Im on break at my job (wirh tears). I am in a relationship with a man who is physically mentally and emotionally abusive. He is controlling and a hypocrite.  He has cheated on me multiple times and now he wants me to take a lie detector test.  I want to take it to prove myself but another side of me wants to grab my kids and run. I am starting to hate him with every fiber in my body. He has a child support case against I feel like he won't take a DNA test because he knows it is his child.  I hate that I stayed this long. I feel so worthless every day of my life. The only thing I am is a punching bag to him. I hate my life with him. If I had somewhere for me and my kids to go without him knowing I would take it in a heartbeat. He accuses me of cheating when he cheated 5 Times and he couldn't be a man and tell me he was cheating he had to get caught. I have let him get too much power. I feel stupid because iI allowed him to control me and put me in bad financial situations. My credit is totally messed up because of the things I put in my name. But his credit is fine. He has threatened me to leave me with bills that he helped create and abandoned his children.  Our children loves him but the hate his attitude. My son says he is scared of him because he constantly yells and curses at him. My daught has told me so MANY times to leave her dad. I hate my life sometimes I wish I dont wake up but I know my kids will suffer.
Jackie Taylor
April, 13 2017 at 6:06 pm
I have been in an abusive relationship for almost 2 1/2 years. At first it was great. I didn't know until months later how bad his drinking was. He comes home from work complaining about his job etc. I have listened and tried to support and encourage him in every way. I am unemployed and have been for most of our relationship so I am Dependant on him for financial reasons. He calls me horrible names, accuses me of cheating, has thrown a lamp at me. It came inches from hitting me. Then the next day he acts like nothing has happened. Then the aploogy comes and promises that it wont happen again. I feel I've lost myself trying to make this work, walking on eggshells not knowing what will set him off. I have 3 children that visit on weekends. My oldest daughter who is 14 has witnessed this abuse along with my mother. All I hear is just leave him blah blah blah... I want someone who understands me. My mom is struggling herself in a 1 bedroom and unemployed. I feel stuck, defeated and somehow feel I deserve this somewhat. I've made terrible decisions in the past. I'm twice divorced and left my ex husband because he was also abusive but this is by far the worst situation I've been in. Yet I can't get the courage to leave. I'm deoendant on him financially, I don't get any encouragement or support from him. If I could just find a good job and save $$ I would leave. Problem is I feel so beat down with doeression and anxiety I barely get out of bed most days. I pray to God for strength and wisdom to leave.
April, 7 2017 at 11:57 am
Thank u I needed to read this , short but impactful
April, 2 2017 at 5:41 pm
Hi guys.. my boyfriend verbally, emotionally and physically abuses me. I love him with all my heart but he has extreme rage problems and he thinks everything is my fault and he tends to hurt me. Ofcourse afterwards he cries and apologizes but this happened too many times now. I have no idea what to do... no one knows this and I feel so alone. It's unforgivable.
March, 27 2017 at 1:33 pm
How do u deal with all the emotional feelings with out crying?
September, 24 2016 at 5:06 pm
J lin, I grew up abused, first husband abuse, I left. 2nd, I divorced him after 18 years. No sex. No family, all that he'll gets worse. I did leave him, but then as I lost my job I had to return. I'm still being abused. But look, the reality is this. The abuse won't ever end. We get brainwashed. Thinking it's us, oh I can go is truth. Abusive shelters only give a nights stay not much help. If your financially ok. GET OUT. but you need a plan. I know you think he will get better or change 99% do not. Think of that, he hurts the one he loves. Because there is no love. Your his frustrating bag he can whatever to. I made up excuses too. I pray in 5 months I'm gone. Do not waste ur time. Yes he can kill you, or you can spend years trying to figure out what you can't fix. I would rather see you living with yourself and later meet a great man. Don't waste it like me. I am 49 and I have my plan again. This time I am leaving it's my plan. After almost 20 years all I have is clothes and a few pictures. No family is left to help me. Bottom line is simple. This is your life. You have no self worth it you think you deserve it. Make a plan, do not tell him anything. Get a post box for your mail. Open up a checking at another bank. Find a place you want to move to. When you go do it when he is not home, get movers to come after he leaves. Get ur own cell phone. At work inform them hr of your situation and get a restraining order. It's sounds like alot but it's not. You will speak with him but I really would limit it. Get some support group. I can not urge you or anyone to get out and away fast with a plan. The more you stay the odds go up for your death. These men go so far that some have killed their spouses outside court offices. Some mothers where the father sexually abused the child are in other countries running for their lives. He will be nice, rude, insult you, make you feel horrible or sad for him. This is advise, you won't ever change him. Imagine spending 20 with him and all your life is gone, over. Don't be a fool. When he starts if you can go out asap, leave the argument. If he touches you call 911, many men need a wake up call. No one who loves you should hurt you. Iv read so much. Iv understand brainwashed myself and now I am ready but I have waiting on social. I am leaving and never looking back. You know what helped me, I went on a few chat lines I met a few men, they were nice, had manners, I told them about my issues and all of them supported me emotionally. I then saw I had no self worth. Love yourself right now. Get a journal, write down ur important documents to take, what's next the post box etc, start cause it can take a year or years to get out safe. All my love
September, 24 2016 at 8:59 am
I have been married for 18 years.He is abusive and has been since his sister was murdered.He refuses help.He maintains he seeks help from his alcoholic buddies.Five years ago his step father attempted to sexually assault me in the front yard.Instead of coming right home from work he goes to the bar. According to the police he was trying to "selI" me .IT has been one thing after another after another.I have sought help from the local domestic shelter,medical community,police,counselors.Due to budget cuts and program deletions I am stuck.Plus trying to find housing with a medium size dog..I own my own home and have lived 35 years first husband died...housing is hard to come lady at the shelter went from one place to another for 5 years dragging her stuff with her until something opened up for her.Another went from a home to an apartment to a room with college students and she is miserable.I cannot go to the shelter 1) no pets 2) they are so backed up with clients they are using pantries,offices,closets, instead of 1 o2 to a space there are 3 to 4.He has treatened if I leave he will burn down the house and all my precious pocessions.He threw a ligh charcoal grill at me so I believe he would.Any thoughts thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Been there
June, 7 2017 at 8:21 pm
Call the cops

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 3 2017 at 12:06 pm
Anytime the neighbors called the cops my husband just tells me to
Shut the f**k up because if they don't hear anything they'll just, beat on the door for a bit and leave and they always have done just that...beat on the door for 20 or so minutes and then leave
Abused Guy
September, 23 2016 at 7:20 pm
My wife makes lots of money. I had a pretty good job, but was laid off. Can't find another in my field for a year now because I'm 55. My wife has all the money and all the power. I know many women are with men who emotionally and physically abusive to them. I feel so bad for you. Get out as fast as you can if you're getting hit. I am with a women who insults, ignores, degrades, humiliates, undermines and hurts me regularly. The next day she says I was being a jerk and is my best friend until again, until out of nowhere she turns cruel and horrible to me again. She enjoys it most when she can embarrass or humiliate me in front of my kids or friends. Yes, we men suffer with these people too. I went to therapy, partly because she had me so confused about what was going on. I asked her to go too, so we could go to couples therapy. She won't go because she said "She doesn't need it" The latest thing to torture me is to purposely ignore me with the iPad. I'll think she is listening and then she'll be snickering after 10 minutes because I thought she was listening to me, when she was ignoring me the whole time. I am planning on demanding she go to counseling and we go to couples therapy, but I don't think that will work. I question is would she even care if it were over? She seems to love it when I fail at finding work. I assume because if I am financially solid again, she loses that power over me. So my biggest goal is really financial. I still love her and she uses it to suck me in over and over. Really bad that my kids see these behaviors, mine too, modeled for them as a couple. Any ideas or suggestions are really appreciated.
J lin
September, 23 2016 at 7:50 am
Hey I'm j I've been with my husband for 4 years he's a really good man and I have been living a expensive and lavish lifestyle. He hits me he makes me feel like crap he is verbally abusive and controlling.Sometimes I wish I could leave but I can't just yesterday he beat me so bad that i passed out. I don't understand why I can't leave I work 2 jobs I always try to improve myself but im just so depressed someone please advise me on what to do next?
September, 23 2016 at 2:15 am
Im tired and ready to leave I am in fear for my life and baby life
September, 19 2016 at 11:03 am
Because advice you read could get you killed . know what you can get away with and where you can truely go to be safe from him .
September, 15 2016 at 7:18 am
My name is Ree. I love my boyfriend. We've dated for over a year now. He's kind. I can tell he cares, i can tell he has strong feelings for me. But his ego ruins it sometimes. He gets abusive. Verbal and physical. I've talked to him about this. It stopped for about 2 to 3 months; but now it started all over again. He just cannot control his anger and the fact that he can't dump his frustration on anyone else he dumps it on me. Cause he knows one thing for sure, that I ain't leaving, which has made his abuses seem very cool and manly. I really love him and don't want to lose him. What do I do? He threatens to leave me sometimes but I know he only says that out of anger. He's a real good man otherwise. No faults, no flaws. Please help?
September, 11 2016 at 4:01 pm
at this moment I am in the ER. Reason don't know if my nose is broken. My abuser is all the bad things he gives his life to Meth... After a couple of days have past by he is a monster... With me and my kids. He gets mad, for any little reason, he starts telling me that I the worst thing that has ever happened to him. I am bad Luck, negative bad energy all the worst of many words. The worst thing is he stars throwing things around and today he hurt my nose real bad. I stared bleeding my nose got slownen it hurst and that's why I am at ER. When I left the house he stared crying like a little kid. His sorrys didn't mean a thing to me. I am really tired of my life with his. I can't agree or disagree cuz it might be always bad. Every time I try to leave him he stokes me at my moms house. He damages my brother property cars and such and such... He always has excuses for everything. My brothers are tired of my problems and that I always go to my moms house and he always goes there to start problems. I feel I am in side a box and there's no escape for me. He has so much luck with cops they never take him... So we're is the HELP... I pray day and night For a miracle to happend in my life... A change a knew life a second chance just to be free from this hell...!!! I know that's the right thing leaving him I just don't know we're to go so he won't find me or the kids.
September, 10 2016 at 11:20 pm
I need help. I have no family and no where to go. I have my son and he's just a baby. My husband has problems and I'm afraid. He blames me for everything and I'm starting to believe it. I feel so depressed and alone. I need to be strong for my son but I'm so broken. At times I think of just killing myself. But I can't think of leaving my son with him
He's an abusive asshole. Help me anybody.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 20 2017 at 11:21 am
I feel very much for you reading this. (HUGS) It's horrible to feel trapped and not know what to do, even more so when you have a baby to consider. I think you are brave to ask for help. In the meantime, use your resourcefulness, creativity and intelligence to look for opportunities to get out of this situation and to protect yourself and your son. It seems to me that you are going to need to leave at some point, or this unhealthy dynamic will hurt your child too. Keep that goal ahead of you, and work towards it. You are valuable.
September, 9 2016 at 7:30 pm
I have been on and off with my ex for 12 years. I lost my virginity to him, got pregnant at 14, had an abortion since he told me he'd leave me if I kept it. I went through the abortion alone just for him to leave me anyways for my "best friend" at the time. Then through the years there were always other women. We finally broke up for 3 years the lightest we separated and I had a son with someone else. I could never get over him and I don't know that I ever will at this point. He compares me to his ex that he said he wasn't dating when we reconciled... Constantly throws it in my face that I had a kid with someone else. We got past that we moved in together, got pregnant. I miscarried from all the stress he causes me... He's mentally abusive and emotionally abusive. And as of three days ago he's showing more signs of becoming physically abusive. I have never called the cops on him as I should have up until three nights ago. I caught him lying again and I asked him nicely to leave. He then begged me to stop and said this wasn't what I wanted that we wanted to be together bla bla bla and I again just nicely said to leave. I am in no way shape or form innocent. I am guilty of saying really mean things back to him when we fight. However, this night was different. He shoved me hard into the wall and even spit in my hair, he also repunched the holes in two of my doors that he recently fixed from previous arguments we've had when he put the holes in there. He said I didn't deserve to have my doors fixed. I pay for everything. I'm a single mom living on my own paying for absolutely everything. Including anything he needs. Yet he never buys me anything... Ever. He is so controlling he doesn't even let me steaighten my hair anymore or else it means I'm cheating. If I shave my legs or anything for that matter it's cause I'm having sex with someone else. I can't go to the store or anywhere without him. He even pumps my gas so I don't have to get out of the car (not to be nice just so I won't be looked at) he constantly compares my job to his (which he finally has a job he never had one the entire time and he complains about it every single day) constantly tells me I just sit at a desk all day. The night I called the cops finally he then told me I was fat and ugly and no one would ever want to date me. I'm convinced he just hates me and always has. Now we haven't spoke since that night and it's killing me. I feel so stupid. Sick. He even tried to take my sons bed apart on the way out cause "he put it together for me". The cops said I needed to file the protection order but I just can't bring myself to do it. My family and friends Have already just distanced themselves from me. I'm not allowed to even go around my family or wear shorts because of him. Idk I know it sounds so dumb because everything is a red flag. But I'm so physically sick to my stomach. I can't eat. Sleep. Function. I'm so lost and confused without him. But I know the best thing to do is leave and stay gone. It's just tearing me apart he doesn't even care. I can't stop crying and beating myself up for calling the cops but something clicked that night and I just had it. Had enough of the emotional and now physical abuse. And I can't get the image of him spitting on me the look on his face out of my head. Not sure why I'm so concerned with if he's upset or not. I didn't deserve that. And I'm not fat I know that but it hurts to confide in someone you consider your best friend and they then use those insecurities against you. I don't even know what to do. I'm just existing. I feel dead. And numb. And I can't stop imagining how much better off everyone else would be if I wasn't around to constantly worry people. Everyone that does care and love me all say the same thing about him that they all fear some day he's going to kill me and they'll have to come identify my body and or see me on the news. Again I'm fully aware how tragic this really sounds so why do I love him so much? He does nothing to benefit my life just makes it harder and more hell. He controls my every move. So why am I sitting here crying my eyes out st work and crying myself to sleep and slugging through my days and nights like someone died? I have been seeing a counselor but I don't think it's enough. This has been 12 years of on and off and I have never felt good enough. It blows my mind someone like him has manipulated me so badly that I'm convinced I'm the issue. I keep reading different websites to try and cope or heal and found this one this morning before work. I asked my counselor for support groups.. Which I wanna go to one but I'm just scared too. I guess writing has made me feel a smidge better.. Enoigh to fall asleep I guess... I'm 26 and successful and I think that bothers him... Who knows my mind is everywhere right now...
September, 9 2016 at 3:43 am
I have been in my marriage for 21 years. I stopped working as soon as I had my first child to raise my children. We've never had outside help from any one. My husband owns his own company and is a hard worker- definitely a workaholic. He provides a nice life for our children. Of course, there's a however, he has been physically abusive, emotionally abusive and verbally abusive over the years. He's extremely controlling about my friends and finances. We live in another state than my family so I never see them. He never has anything nice to say about them. The last time we had a visit from my sister, he caused such a fight and scolded my sister that they haven't been back.
We started in therapy 4-5 years ago and it helped for a while. In the past year , he has refused to go back to the therapist with me. I believe the therapist exposed him and he didn't like it. We have 3 children that are getting older and see my unhappiness and some of his behaviors. I haven't worked for 18 years and wouldn't know what to do if I left. He tells me if I go back to work it will not be good for the relationship or family. I'm well aware that is manipulating but I'm not strong enough to deal with the backlash should I actually get a job. I'm not afraid of being alone. I'm worried about the emotional well being of my kids should I ever decide to leave. My husband would never let the kids be without anything in their lives but would most definitely punish me. I'm wishing I made changes years ago when the kids were smaller , in hind sight. I can't relax around him or be myself. He's critical of me and comments on anything I say or do.
I'm only 50 and feel I still have a life to live . Any lifeline would be nice to hear.
September, 9 2016 at 1:57 am
Hi I'm currently living in Turkey and I am in a mentally and physically abusive relationship, I have nobody to turn to my family have cut themselves off from me because I am.with this man. I have no financial help so am unable to get a flight back to the UK, any advise would be wonderful


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 20 2017 at 11:26 am
Tracey, can you go to the UK consulate and ask them to help you? They might be able to provide you with protection and a flight back to the UK. Do you think your family be more supportive if they knew you'd made the decision to leave him? So sorry you're going through this, especially being in a foreign country too! (HUGS)
September, 7 2016 at 6:11 pm
It just crazy how these things happen im not in a realtionship with this person but sum how he still has a hold on me we were together in highschool i was with him for 2yrs it was all great in the begining till his jealousy started kicking in he controled every moment i had from what i wore to who i talked to and where i went. Imagin i was only 16 thinking i was in love. Things got out of hand when he started being verbaly abusive like calling me names such as hoe slut etc... He used to harras me and threaten me if i didnt do certain things he asked espically threats like exposing me. I thought he loved me he said he did he said he didnt mean the thinngs he said i always forgave him toke him back. Then one day i found the strength to leave him and not to long ago we reunited idk what it wAs that brough me back to this man i assumed we werent 16 anymore we were older and i guess i thought things would be different so we tryed talking again and it the begining was good i neve rmade us offical because deep down somethjng was telling me he aint do much changing it well i was right he back to his old ways cursing me out name dropping and again with the threats of exposing me with things from highschhool which i was young and dumb he assume im out here doing wrong things calling my phone sendinfg me messages with just full of disrespect i told him plenty of times to stop that we are lil kids let communicate and well it doesnt work it back and forth i started fearing him again he says sorry all the time but for what he goes back to his old ways. I ask my self how can i keep letting this happen we not even together and he still seems to hve control over me i really want to have the strength ot leave and walk away. And reading all these comments it just like how much can u take open ur eyes girl that aint love. Right !! I hope all you good women fight happines as wel as u good men out there kuz i know it happens to both genders.
Linda Schmidt
September, 4 2016 at 1:38 pm
My name is Linda. Im 48 years old. Right now im in a verbally abus ive situation. I""ve done everything that I can do to get away from him and get out of the situation. For some reason I cannot find help anywhere. I refuse to go to a homeless shelter. Im not going to give him that satisyfaction. He yells and screams at me everyday. Everyday he tells me that hes going to kick me out of the house. He calls me names. Hes turned my mother against me. He acts like he does nothing bad to me at all. He blames me foe everything. He says hes mean to me because Im mean to him. Its the other way around. He thinks its fine for him to be mean to me and treat me like garbage. But he expects me to put up with it and never complain about it. He thinks he can treat me badly and thers nothing wrong with it but he thinks im supposed to put up with it and be nice to him When I treat him the way he trears me he raises hell and teels me that hes noIt going to put up with my shit. He turns everything around on me. He thinks that he never does anything to me for me to have the bad attitude that I have towards him now. i CANNOT TAKE THIS ABUSE ANYMORE. pLEASE HELP ME. dO YOU KNOW O ANY PLACES I can go to get away from him, besides a homeless shelter. Thank-you, Linda Schmidt
Ro Ro
September, 4 2016 at 11:34 am
I have been an emotionally abusive relationship. I can't say how long though because we have been together for five years and the abuse started this year. First few years were peachy and things started to take a turn for the worst after our families met because we had gotten pregnant. This man has cheated on me, lied to me, ignored me, made me feel as though I'm not worthy of simple things like effort, respect, calls and appreciation. He got so used to me being there for him and attending to his needs the best way I could possible do that he stopped appreciating me. I'm a mess. We have a son. He's amazing. I want so bad for him to get his act together so that my child can have us both in his life. He recently had a brain haemorrhage and things have just gone beyond control from that point. I know I have to leave. I know that. But I am thinking for our son and a part of me feels like he's acting out because of deeper things he has internally (watching his mom suffer and die of cancer, having his grandma whom he was very close with die, the financial responsibility he has incurred, his father dealing with alcohol abuse and then the brain haemorrhage). I'm terrified of leaving. I fear loneliness. I fear that I will be unlovable with all the baggage I have. A part of me feels like I have to stick around to force him to just deal with his emotional baggage once and for all so that he can move on. I want so desperately to leave and be okay with everything but I can't. I want to be better. I want to be healthier. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I don't understand why I can't leave. :'(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 20 2017 at 11:37 am
It sounds like you're wanting closure? Or at least some kind of acknowledgement that he has let you down, and is ready take responsibility for the hurt he's caused you (a totally fair thing to want and need, by the way) I can understand that, having stayed in a toxic relationship for 6 years, hoping that the person I invested my life in would turn around and love me the way he should have. It didn't happen, and I had to basically go through the process of grieving the loss of that significant part of my life and my wasted efforts to make that work. But, there is hope for a better quality of life apart from this toxic person. Don't give up on YOU, and don't give up on your future! (HUGS)
Jessica Hurst
September, 2 2016 at 9:05 am
I need help I'm confused

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
September, 2 2016 at 11:07 am
Hi Jessica,

I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Unfortunately, there isn't a blogger on this blog to speak with you. Please call a helpline. You can find more information and resources, including helpline numbers, here:

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager
peaceful bliss
August, 17 2016 at 9:05 pm
Thank you for this article. I could so relate. I have been married 15 years and been with my partner for 18 years. We have a son together. I have never had a relationship with a man apart from my husband. I feel quite betrayed by him as the person he presented to me while courting is not the person i live. I have been physically abused, sexually abused, verbally abused by him for 15 years. This year he almost to me to my death by trying to suffocate me to death. I felt the life drain out of my body. I have been reading and researching the avenues to leave this relationship. I have expressed my need to leave to him and he says he understands, that he knows he did wrong and that he loves me, he is totally dependent on me and i feel so much of guilt for wanting to terminate the reaationship. We have done many things together but i am not happy even though I have all the comforts of life. I am not short of anything but I live on eggshells. He says he understand my feelings and that he is changing and i should give me another chance, but over the years i have done that and was promised it would not happen again but it still does. My son has no relationship with his father if anything he actually hates him and tells me to get out. I am so conflicted right now, and would appreciate help from anyone who could offer any. thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
August, 17 2016 at 10:35 pm
You can get specialized help for your situation at the NDVH:
August, 15 2016 at 9:24 am
I have been. In an unhealthy relationship for four years now, married for one. Most verbal and emotional. And no I will not say it is all him, I can be mean, throw things, swear and insult him but his actions bring out this terrible pain person in me. He has crushed the girl I once was I had so many friends and family and now I have not a single one that isn't his friend. I have tried everything I can from talking calmly to treating to leave. I love him to death and I don't want to be a failure because I believe in marriage but how do you make things work if in the back of your head you just want to curl up in a ball and die.i have tried to kick him out but he has no family or really good friends, no job, no savings, no motivations. His last job he held for three weeks and had been a year unemployed before that. The money, the dogs,cleaning my house etc has taken a toll I just can't be a mom to a grown adult and get treated like a child. I know this isn't a healthy marriage but I'm so stuck and lost and I need a friend

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
August, 17 2016 at 4:35 am
Go here, request a mentor (free service) and start getting yourself unstuck:
August, 11 2016 at 3:48 pm
I have been in a abusive relationship since I was 18 years old. I am now 30. I have left and he has found me threating to kill me and take our daughter away from me. I have been hit anything you can think of in front of our children. he threatens to kill my brothers if I get them involved , or call the police. I'm scared out my mind and feel like the only way out and away from him is death. I be scared to do things with my family because he always playing the mind games of jealousy. The crazy part is I know exactly what he doing all the time and I do speak up on it and it makes him even madder. no matter what i'm always wrong. even when he mess up which is often its still my fault. I can support myself and I know he's jealous because I make more money then him and i'm beautiful. I know he's here holding on not cause he loves me but what i'm capable of doing financially. I don't need him for anything and he is scared another man can come in and take his place. I have lost all respect for him and hate to be around him I just need the courage to leave without him taking my children

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
August, 12 2016 at 4:30 am
Talk to an attorney about the custody. Sometimes there are free consultations. It is very doubtful that he'll "take them away from you," but talking to an attorney could put your mind at ease.

Call your brother(s). When they get there, leave with them. Try to have your husband out of the house when you leave. Go with your brother(s) and be done with your husband.

Who cares what he's scared of happening? He beats you. He beats you in front of the kids. He is going to kill you and if that happens, you'll never have a chance to leave. So go.

Get a restraining order, too.
August, 10 2016 at 9:53 am
I'm one of those guys that ended up in an abusive relationship. Thanks for this article! I do love my wife, even so, I tried to leave 6 years ago, but found that it left my three children more vulnerable. I went back because she promised to change, and while the violence has stopped for the most part, her verbal attacks, the yelling, the constant insults against me and my live at home daughter have not.

This article helped me understand where I am, and why I am there, and why I tense up before I head home at the end of the day, even if she's in a good mood on the phone. I love your advice, and every time I start to get ready to leave, she nicens up for a few days and I always fall back to your first bullet point.
August, 9 2016 at 2:27 pm
I am in an abusive relationship that started when I was pregnant. I know big red flag. But I stayed for the sake of my son. Then he was stillborn. I have no job, am 21, no homes other than his, or car. I literally depend on him and his parents for everything. I leave for college in a week and I don't want to come back here. But I have no where else to go. My family doesn't talk to me anymore, nor do my friends. He knows where my college is and my phone is under his name and he pays the bill so he'll take it away if I do leave. I have nothing to be able to stand on my own two feet. How do I leave? When I'm not financially able to?

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