Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The difficulty of leaving an abusive relationship

The biggest mistake we make when it comes to an abusive relationship is waiting until he/she/they puts their hands on you before you leave. By this point, it’s too late and harder than ever; your mind has already been infiltrated, your logic compromised and your heart manipulated. 

Often, the early stages of an abusive relationship are wonderful as you are doted upon, complemented, and showcased like a top prize. At the beginning, it’s so easy it almost feels too good to be true as this person who randomly fell into your life happens to have so many similarities and things in common with you. Well that’s because it is too good to be true and they’re FULL OF SHIT. Abusers may mirror your interests and likes when interacting with you, to give the sense that the two of you belong together. 

Within what could be weeks, months or years, you may start to notice slight changes in the tone of the relationship and the ways in which you are treated. It may start with a few unkind comments, masked as constructive criticism whilst the intention is actually to begin breaking you down. ‘Constructive criticism’ might turn into downright disrespect, consistent criticism and putting you down. At this stage, you begin questioning yourself, feeling less confident and possibly thinking of what you could do to change, in order to please this person you care for. 

Often, episodes of abuse (whether it be verbal/emotional/physical) are followed by intense  apologies, kindness and fake promises that it will not happen again. At this stage one might question whether they were imagining the hurt that was put upon them. This is where your mind starts to feel fucked as thoughts of survival and fear of being alone begin to battle. 

(Attachments: Some of us have developed an insecure attachment style from a young age due to whatever circumstance; for these people, a fear of rejection and abandonment are significant during decision making processes.)

You may have heard of love bombing which refers to someone bombarding you with loving language and behaviors, often to get you emotionally hooked onto them/ the situation. A tad of manipulation and pinch of gaslighting are usually added to the disastrous recipe of a relationship, again adding to feelings of confusion and having your mind fucked. There's nothing quite like going into a conversation ready to stand up for yourself and ending up apologising to your abuser for somehow being in the wrong. The ability to manipulate is a skill which many perpetrators have perfected over time and may have even learnt from a young age/ their own abusers. For some reason, I have personally found that a lot of shame and embarrassment is linked to the idea of leaving and having to admit to others that you were abused/hurt/taken advantage of, or that you became serious with someone who wasn’t what you thought. 

All these mixed emotions and thought processes contribute to an overall diminished sense of power and esteem, keeping one feeling stuck in a negative relationship. For some there may be additional concerns about finances, social support or housing. It is for these reasons, it is so hard to leave an abusive relationship. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an abusive situation, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are services and people out there committed to getting you to safety.

Telephone help

  • 0808 2000 247 - Refuge - free domestic abuse helpline 

  • 0808 8010 327 - Respect - advice line for male victims of domestic abuse 




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