He hurts you physically and emotionally, yet you can’t walk away. Here’s what Caroline says about why it’s so hard to leave a man who hurts you – you’ll see yourself here…
“I left my husband 4 days ago after 2 years of abuse. I called 911 from the car and they found me and arrested him. The sick thing is I miss him terribly. I must be just as sick. We have a 7 month old so I’m doing it for him more than for myself. I feel like I’m a bad mother by taking him from his dad but I feel just as bad for keeping him in that environment. I’m staying with my family in my home town. I hope these feelings I have of missing him get better. It’s the hardest thing I ever had to do. Good luck to all women out there in recovery. We’re not alone.” – from my article about the stages of abuse.
It is surprisingly difficult to leave a man who hurts you. The feelings of love and loss are confusing for you, your kids, and the people who love you. You’d think it’d be easy to walk away from a harmful relationship, but it’s actually one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.
If you’re thinking about leaving a man who is hurting you, read It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence.
Reasons it’s hard to leave a man who hurts you:
- Fear for your or your children’s safety.
- Threats of custody battles.
- No money.
- No job, or a low-paying job.
- Low self-esteem.
- Fear you’ll never be loved by another man.
- Habit – the hell you know is less scary than the hell you don’t know.
- History of abuse. You’ve never known anything different.
- Shame and embarrassment.
- Feeling like you have nowhere to go.
- Fear of homelessness.
- Fear of change and uncertainty.
- Feelings of love for your partner, even though he hurts you.
- Feelings of powerlessness.
- Hope that your husband or boyfriend will change, and stop hurting you.
- You’re trapped in the cycle of abuse.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to leave a man who hurts you is the powerful abuse dynamic or cycle of abuse.
“Knowing the [abuse dynamic] cycle helps women begin to understand the real reasons for her entering into the relationship and staying as long as she does,” writes Jill Cory in When Love Hurts. “Most women living with the cycle are just trying to survive day-to-day; thinking about leaving seems impossible.”
If you don’t know why he hurts you, read Why We Hurt the Ones We Love.
How Sam Left a Man Who Kept Hurting Her
Here’s what Sam (not her real name) says:
“I left my husband 4 times but always went back, even though he hurt me worse each time. I thought I had no one, but when he left me to die I went to the police station for the first time. A really nice woman took my details and I told her everything. They took a statement and arrested him and put me in a place of safety where he couldnt find me. I was scared, really scared but thought if I stayed with him I’d die. I’ve started the divorce procedure with the help of a divorce organisation and solicitor and got an injunction. I’m starting to breath again. There are people out there to help, don’t think you are alone! He always said to me no one will ever believe you and I thought he was right, but he wasn’t. You deserve better and the sooner you leave, the better. Be strong.”
Are you thinking about leaving? Read How to Break Free From an Emotionally Destructive Relationship.
What do you think – why is it so hard to leave a man who is hurting you?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.