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Escaping Abusive Relationships: Therapists Keep This Quiet

The aftermath of escaping abusive relationships is an emotional minefield many aren't prepared for. I can help you avoid some of those mines. Read this.

Escaping abusive relationships involves more than the escape plan, and you won’t know the depth of your problems until you break free. But, as you plan your escape, it often feels as if getting out of the abuse will make everything better. And once you get out, you will have well-deserved stages of bliss – you will often feel much better! But at first, as often as you feel better, you will feel worse or confused or doubtful of your ability to create a life of your own. The aftermath of escaping abusive relationships is an emotional minefield that therapists won’t warn you about. I can help you avoid some of those mines.


First of all, your therapist does not want to deter you from planning to escape or escaping abusive relationships.  They know that after you leave, you will gain your mental footing and you will become emotionally and mentally healthy. Secondly, therapists aren’t psychics. There’s no guarantee that you will experience even one scary emotion after leaving abuse. You could be the exception, blossom immediately and maintain that bloom for the rest of your life!

But reality says you’ll experience emotions similar to many other survivors of domestic abuse, so I want to give you a heads up on some confusing emotions you may encounter after escaping. If you know your strange emotions are normal, then you’re more likely to sail through them without returning to your abuser.

Escaping Abusive Relationships: The Other 3 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

For numbers 1 and 2, see Part I, Escaping Abuse: 5 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

3.) You could feel an overwhelming desire to speak well of your partner to your friends, no matter what he or she did to you.

Escaping abuse is the first and most important thing you can do for your mental health. Find out what you could experience after you leave.How did you make up for the things your abuser said you did wrong during the relationship? You somehow soothed your ex-partner’s ego, got them to calm down, apologized, or perhaps purposefully let them overhear you speak well of them to others. Old habits die hard. You know your partner feels angry with you for leaving them. You know they want to react in their typical way. Calming his or her ego was priority number one during the cycle of violence, so don’t be surprised to hear yourself say things that remind you of your ex’s better qualities (real or imagined).

Additionally, you could feel compelled to say good things about your ex out of guilt.

4.) You could feel incredibly guilty for leaving your abuser for any number of reasons.

Your logical mind knows that you have no reason to feel guilty. The abuse wasn’t your fault, you didn’t cause it and you couldn’t stop it. But holy cow! Your heart bleeds for the person you left! He never had a good example of how a man should act. She fell victim to a sexual predator during her formative years. You feel sorry for them.

I challenge you to re-channel any guilty feelings about leaving to how you feel about your partner’s behavior toward you. One of the side-effects of abuse is forgetting to pay attention to your feelings. You feel guilty because you’re imagining what your ex might feel, not because you did something wrong. When you start feeling guilty or hear yourself giving your ex a glowing review, get in tune with your emotions and leave what your ex could be feeling alone.

5.) You could find yourself mourning the death of the abusive relationship.

I know you don’t want to feel like a victim anymore. You’re a survivor and you escaped abuse. But you must allow yourself to mourn the death of the relationship, and more than likely, you will feel intense loss and sadness. For me, I discovered that I didn’t so much need to mourn the marriage I had as the marriage I wished I had. The dream of growing old with the man who finally learned to love completely was very difficult to let go.

When the sadness overwhelmed me, I let myself cry and be angry; but I reminded myself that I mourned for something I would never have and that escaping my abusive relationship was the best thing I could have done. And it was.

As you prepare for escaping your abusive relationship (or imagine what leaving would feel like), I hope you look at your possible future emotions as a rite of passage. No matter how horrible you may feel during recovery, escaping abusive relationships is the only way to guarantee your mental and emotional health will improve. Expect the unexpected, including the urge to return to the abuser, and talk your way through it with your friends and a therapist.

Although your therapist didn’t give you a heads up about how hard it would be to stay gone after escaping your abusive relationship, he or she will definitely be by your side as your story unfolds. A therapist’s job is not to guess what you might feel, but to help you deal with what you do feel. And you won’t know what you will feel for sure until you leave.

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

56 thoughts on “Escaping Abusive Relationships: Therapists Keep This Quiet”

  1. No one has the right to hurt you purposely in any way. They have mental attitudes to abuse woman. It is not your fault. Run away anywhere you can…it only gets worse as they will “punish” you more.you can’t fix them and make treat you nice…ever!

  2. I’m currently in an abusive marriage, yes i try to leave but the talk is if i leave wont be able to see my son again and that pains me so much, this time we went up to some elders and they spoke to us, there advice is for me to give him another chance but i don’t think that a good idea seeing that the following week he did the very same thing again, keep saying to myself i need to tell my family but i fear what they will do to him, he gives me no space to do nothing, i told a friend and she told me to leave him, but he wont let me leave. Financially in not there but I cant do this no any more, i need go but i don’t know how, i have very critical illness and I’m afraid that it might happen when i leave and I’m alone with my son and there will be no one there to help him if something happens to me, then i feel guilty for wanting to leave him behind, only for him to have a better chance.. So all i do is sit and cry my self to sleep. Please help me.

    1. If you have children, there is no help really. I fled the state with mine and was not only ordered back, I am forced to live no more than fifty miles from him. My whole life revolves around him now. No support, no help…

  3. It’s been about 5 days that I escaped my abuser, I have mad it up to 11 days once. I’m sure that I’m going back, I always do. My last relationship was the same thing. He went to prison and I just cut him out of my life. A year later I met my current abuser and he ran right off into a busy behavior. He has smothered me, choked me to the point of passing out, blacked my eyes several times, and no matter what the situation may be he always blames me, it’s always my fault. He wasn’t adusive in his previous relationships. The last one said that too but he really was..I sometimes believe I bring it onto my self. I have a drug addiction and my life style and choices are part of the reason of me being abused but to tell you the truth I was being physically abused since before I had memories. My mother is a very abusive person. It’s been years since I have even spoke to her and I slowly began cutting of contact with all my family and it seems like the more I cut family of the more abused I was. I wish I could change my past but I know that’s not possible, I’m almost certain things i wont do much better for my future. I do love the Lord with all my heart and I’m thankful that I have him to be with me and comfort me especially when I feel like I’m in the war zone and I’m going to die at the hands of a man that claims he loves me. Sometimes I welcome death..that’s where victory is for me. If I am able to stay away from him this time, I am going to help women like me. If I go back, well there’s no doubt that he will be the death of me and hopefully someone reading this will relate to my story and save themselves.

  4. I am in a horrible relationship. I always google to read and sooth myself that I am not the only one. My boyfriends is Arabic… Muslim. I was with him for only 3 months before I became pregnant with my son. He started punching me and hitting me while I was pregnant. He has went to jail several times for abusing me.. he knocked me unconscious once and put me in the hospital because I was hiding away at my mothers house. I regret not pressing charges. My son is one years old now and I’m being abused more than every tonight I made him dinner, I was sitting at the table doing homework and I got an attitude because he invited people over, we have been arguing about him being with his friends all the time lately. He came and struck me and threw all of the food that I made all over me and all over the kitchen, yesterday he punched me in my lips so I had a fat lip all day today. I stay with him because I’m scared, I’m scared my plans of leaving him will fail and then I will really get it. I don’t know what to do… he tells me I’m ugly, he can’t stand me… so why won’t h just let me go? He tells me to leave my son with him and I can go. I’m really so desperate but I am so scared. He knows where my mom lives he knows where I go to school… I am so skinny from how depressed I am, I don’t even eat because it makes me sick to my stomach. I dont know what I did to deserve this, I don’t know why he hates me so much when I do everything for him a woman should do. Getting the police involved I feel like they won’t do much. I just feel like I’m going to end up dead. I don’t want to do this anymore and I wish I can just get out. If you are in an wbusive relationship I would just recommend to leave when you have the chance because these kind of people will never change. I feel so grossed out when I see him, I hate when he touches me.

    1. Plan a time to sneak away,if no ride ask neighbor or stranger to take you to hospital,hell call an ambulance if you have to or law for a ride,they can take you to a shelter and relocate ya’ll.it only gets worse

    2. I’m so very sorry that your son and yourself have to deal with such a horrible person. This isn’t your fault and you don’t want your son to grow up with no mommy you need to be strong for the both of you and try maybe contacting a local shelter or the police if you need too. I wish you all the strength and courage you and your son need to be brave and strong enough to get out of that situation

  5. I pray you all find the inner strength within you God blessed you and loves you and did not put you here to go through life unhappy men can see the potential in us before we see it ourselves there mission is to stop what could be but you all will be everything you besire and more mi ex told me i would have things without him now i have more then him you have to do somethings you have never done yo get to places you’ve never been(chase your dreams) they’ll never realise what they have if its always there God bless you all seek and you shell find freedom

  6. It hurts deep to hear myself in all of you… I just turned 21 years old and I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years this November. I’ve known him since I was 15. He is all that I know, since my dad passed away when I was 13.. He was so sweet, the funniest guy ever (still is on a “good” day). But now I can’t stand to look at him… I find myself wanting to hurt him just as bad if not worse than he’s hurt me. I know I do not deserve this, but it is so hard to leave… I know who he really is, I know what makes him cry, I know the caring and emotional guy he can be.. But I swear it’s like he has 2 personalities… I despise the other. He hits me, slaps me, he has spit on me, drags me across rooms by my clothes, throws me against walls, runs at me, threatens me, calls me every name in the book. I try to ignore the things he says verbally to me but they ring in my head and when he speaks them my chest hurts just as bad as when he hits me. It’s only been a year of this and I can’t do it anymore. I cry almost everyday. People I know are growing up and maturing and I feel as if I’m going backwards… He makes me feel like a child and gets mad that I act like one! He makes absolutely no sense and I am never allowed to speak to tell him that. If I do, all hell breaks loose. I hate that this is my life. I ask God what I did to deserve this… Because I know leaving him is gonna put me into more of a depression. I hope I can find happiness as I am still young. Even for all of you that have been in this for way longer, I know there is someone out there for each of us that will show us and treat us with the love we deserve.

  7. God Bless You/US All…..

    Somewhere Somehow….we have!!! To find the Strength and get pass the fear to…LEAVE! !!! these….TOXIC!!! People.

    God Bless Us All.

  8. I have been married for 19 years. He is 53, I am 37. I ran from an abusive (sexually) stepfather and married my husband with in 2 weeks. It was wonderful until about 10 years ago. He became an alcoholic and has gotten worse and worse. No one knows it though. I am a stay at home mom, (3 kids ages 15,16, and 18 he is autistic) and I homeschool. The kids and I have no friends and no family other than each other. All of his friends think he is great and we are the perfect family. They all know he “rescued” me from my family so they think he hung the moon. He has never hit any of us, he is emotionally and mentally abusive to me and our children. He has a daughter that is 33 and she is perfect in every way (she’s an alcoholic too and a teacher so she hides it well. The children and I want to leave but I have no access to any money as I have never worked, am not on the checking account, credit cards, the house and my car are in his name. I don’t know what I am going to do but I know I have to do it fast. He shot my son and daughter’s dogs because they played to rough with his dog (his princess) right in front of them.

  9. First i would like to say thankyou for sharing your inner most thoughts, it does help me reading your stories. I am looking for a rental place. i am feeling deflated, demoralized, confused, sad and lost. I have lived the past six years with a person that has no emotion, except anger, spite, manipulation and game playing. I cannot speak my inner most thoughts as i don’t trust him….. He will laugh at me, he will twist my words and meanings, then tell his mates……he doesn’t respect my feelings. He chucks tantrums, runs me down and belittles me in front of my children. He is charming, shows compassion, listens and laughs to everyone except me. He has manipulated me into thinking i am unworthy, I work full time, i raise children (not his thank god). To the outside world he’s a good bloke, to me he’s nothing but a trouble making son of a bitch. He has done drugs for over thirty years, no-one knows. He thinks choking me and going to hit me is funny. This is also a story no-one knows. i am dirty on myself for giving him chance after chance. even last night he has this falseness about him trying to convince me he has changed, it is a cycle, it will last about one week, this time I am confident to leave, I feel like a failure but looking back i have tried every avenue possible. The ironic thing is that in a relationship it takes two people to make a success. I am scared, I am still breathing, the sun is shinning, I have beautiful children both boys, I have strength to get out. My feelings and emotions are real, They are mine and I will look after them……..That’s my promise to me.

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