Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why It's Not So Easy To Just Leave An Abusive Relationship

How many times have you heard comments like, “why don’t you just leave?” or “you must like it since you stay” when a woman (or man) talks about being abused? Whenever I hear ignorant statements like these, my skin just crawls. When it comes to any type of domestic violence, just leaving the situation isn’t always an easy option and I’m going to explain why later.
abuse, domestic violence, abused woman

First, I want to explain to everyone that domestic violence isn’t just being hit physically. Domestic abuse can be emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse also. If the other person is manipulating and controlling you, this is considered abuse in the eyes of the law. Just because you may not be getting hit, doesn’t mean that you aren’t being abused. Unfortunately, many people out there still believe that abuse can only be physical.

When an abuser is abusing, he uses many tactics to keep the abused under his thumb.

Isolation

An abuser will do what he can to keep the other person away from their friends and family. They want to cut off all contact with the outside world. They may keep their victim from calling or texting friends/family or going out with friends. He doesn’t want them to have the ability to depend on anyone else. He wants to have full control.

Control

The abuser will attempt to control every aspect of their victim’s life. He may not allow them to get a job and/or have their own money. He may keep control of all of the money and give the other person a small allowance-- just enough for what they need as if they were a child. He wants to be in control of everything. He might control how they dress, if they wear make-up, who they talk to, where they go. He may make sure that they don’t have a vehicle so that they won’t have the ability to go anywhere without him. He will blow up up their phone when they’re not together just so he can keep tabs on them. They are always on his radar.

Blame

The victim will be blamed -- for everything. They will be blamed for the abuse. “You made me do it”, “You should have just shut up”. Slowly killing any confidence and self-esteem that they may have had in the first place. The victim will begin to question everything and they will eventually believe the lies that they are being told. They will begin to believe that it really is all of their fault and if they just would have stopped doing whatever they were doing, he wouldn’t have had to snap like that. I just pushed him too far! It’s all my fault.

Apologies

Many times, after the abuse is done, the abuser apologizes to his victim. He apologizes and he may even cry fake tears to win them over. He promises that it will never happen again, he just had a bad day and he never should have done what he did. The victim wants to believe him. They want to believe that their abuser truly loves them and didn’t mean to hurt them. They will be loving and kind and tell their victim everything they want to hear so that they won’t leave and will continue to let them have control.

Self-Esteem

Another control tactic that an abuser uses is to kill all of their victim’s self-esteem. They will tell them that they are ugly, they are stupid, they are not smart enough to get a job and make money, they will never make it on their own and no one will ever want them because they are so stupid and ugly. After a while, the victim believes what they are told, and deep down they do believe that they are ugly and stupid and that no one else will want to be with them, so they should just stay where they are.

Narcissists prey on those who have low self-esteem. They do this because they know that if someone lacks confidence and self-esteem they will be easily controlled and won’t fight back when it comes to the above control tactics. They don’t want someone who is going to fight back; they want someone who will fall for their bullshit lies and excuses.
abuse statistics, domestic violence, mental abuse

These things can make leaving a very difficult task. Think about it. If the victim has never been allowed to get a job or have any money, how are they going to afford to move out and into a place of their own? The only way is if they have a friend or relative they can stay with until they get on their feet. Some people don’t have anyone or they don’t want to be a burden to anyone. If their abuser alienated them from family and friends, they may have no one to reach out to and most do not want to have to live in a shelter, especially with children. Many of them don't realize that there are resources available to help victims who are trying to escape danger.

When kids are involved, it makes it even harder. Many victims will stay for the children. They don’t want to uproot the kids and take them away from the other parent. The hard truth is that kids are much happier in a separation than to be stuck in a situation where they are forced to endure abuse themselves or watch the abuse and fighting going on in front of them. Many victims think they are doing what is best for their children, but they are really hurting their kids by staying. The parent also may not want to take the kids away from their school and friends.

The victim may also be too scared to leave. Many times the abuser tells them that if they tell anyone, they will kill them. If they try to leave, they will find them and hurt them or the kids. An abuser keeps control by instilling fear. They know that if the other person is too scared to leave, they will maintain the control that they have. Yes, they can get an order of protection, but most of us know that when an abuser is in a rage, he doesn't care about that piece of paper. Victims are often times scared for their lives.

Losing confidence and self-esteem also makes the victim believe that they can’t do it on their own. They aren’t strong enough and they aren’t smart enough. They don’t possess the confidence to take that first step and walk out the door to a new life. It takes a lot of guts to remove yourself from a toxic situation; guts that many people don't have.

Remember these things the next time you think about making an insensitive comment about someone who is being abused. No one enjoys being abused. No one. I know it’s difficult to understand if you’ve never been in that situation, but most victims of abuse truly believe that they can’t leave. The best thing you can do is be a good friend to them, support them, and help them figure out how to get out of the situation.

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Please share this if you think it can help someone in an abusive situation or help others understand domestic violence.

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