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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.

Other Helpful Posts:

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly advocates for domestic violence and abuse awareness through her writing. You can find Kellie Jo on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. My entire life has been filled with abuse.when i was 15 i started going out with a guy who was a few years older he started out cool and spending money on me and making me feel like a princess..when i was only 17 i found out i was pregnant.i decided to keep the baby.he slowly started showing his true colors.it started with a push here and a push there then a smack here and a smack there.im sure u know the rest.he was awful to me but he was a dependable and stable father.we broke up and i had a few years on my own he would take our son on the weekends..but i honestly started hanging with not such a good crowd and doing things im not very proud of so my sons father allowed my son and i to move in with him until i got back on my feet.even though we were not together he started being abusive once again and time went on and on and it was easier to just deal with the abuse once in awhile then to leave and do it all on my own.i was afraid.i dont have family support and i was scared.but then i met a man who i thought would be my knight in shining armour only to turn out to be my worst nightmare.he promised to take care of me and to never ever hurt me.i have some mental health issues i have bipolar and manic depessive i collect ssi so my income and choices are limited..but anyway my sons father decided to throw me and all my stuff out in the street in front of the house.all because he was tired of me living there he met a girl and she didnt like the fact that i lived there so he threw me out.i had just met this guy so i didnt know him very well he said i could come stay with him and his mom.shes a sick woman so he needed to live there to help take care of here.thats what he told me anyway.i held my son in my arms and didnt want to let go.but all the fighting in the street was traumatizing.so i left and this guy turned out to be the craziest man i ever met.he showed his true colors very fast.he was crazy jealous i couldnt talk to my sons father without a huge fight and when i realized he was a real abusive man i tried to leave he actually cut himself so bad he needed 12 staples in his arm.he lied and told the hospital someone did that to him.after that he tried to be so sweet with me but honestly i was afraid to bring my son around him.he wouldnt leave my side for a second he would tell me things like he would take his life if i left or mine and things like that.i had a court date about custody of my son on the way to court he thought he was going to loose me he ran in front of a bus.imagine i was in aposition of a man thats sick and obsessed with me.well imagine i have been dealing with this man for over 4 years i really dont know how i lasted this long.my son wouldnt talk to me for r years he only recently started writing me.he wants to see me and i am dying to see him.i cry myself to sleep every night since the day i was thrown out.i wish every day that i could go back 5 years.this man has put me through hell since i met him.i recently started saving some money and putting my important papers on the side and tryingbto reach out and see what kind of help i can get.i pray everyday god will answer my prayers and bring my son and i back together.i went threw ovarian cancer twice and almost died, i thank god i had my son so young i had to have a total hysterectomy when i was only 28.my son is turning 16 i missed out on 4 years of his life i cant miss anymore.please i need help.i feel so stuck i feel sorry for him his mother passed away almost a year ago and they were very close but now its even more abusive.he dont give me anytime alone he always wants my attention.he dont sleep.he is also metally ill.i only have alittle time here and there.i try to make phone calls and find out as much as i can.its really a nightmare.everyday i wish i could just wake up and this all have been a horrible nightmare.i apologize for pouring so much out.oh and how very stupidly i married this very unstable man.i need some advise please.i collect ssi for mental health issues and back problems.please if you could tell me how to get into housing or what my next move should be i just want a home so i could get my son back.i miss him so much.please help.thank you.

  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.

    1. Adriana, i have to be honest with you if i didnt know any better i would think that we were with the exact same person.this monster i married broken my soul, destroyed every part of me and i honestly dont know how im still alive.i know that i dont deserve this but just like you its those moments of the other person comes out and knows how to make me feel so sorry for him.and how its my fault, that if only i would stop this or start doing that and stop talking back.like really wow i didnt know u were my dad..its really a living nightmare.these men get such a hold on us and they take our love for granted and try to make us feel so awful about ourselves that no one will ever want to be with us.and i know its not true, and honestly ive been through this too long in life i really just rather be alone! I just wanted to let you know you are still so young and i was exactly where you are when i was your age only i had a son.its not easy but then again what we go through everyday is hell anyway.i can promise you that you will be so much better off once you can make that huge step.once you get out the rest will be a dream come true.i wish you so much luck.they dont realize it only takes one little push to fall the wrong way or them hit you in the wrong spot for something really tragic to happen.please get out before that.we are in very similiar situations its not easy at all just got to stop worrying about them and worry about us.please do everything possible to get out asap..i wish i knew how to help i myself is on here looking for help.im disabled with a very low income.i just keep trying to save as much as i can without him noticing and got my papers where i can grab them.good luck

  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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