Often, the only thing you want to say is or what you, endlessly, hear is “just leave”… it is unfortunately just not that simple.
It is essential to understand that when someone finds themselves in such a relationship, the abused might not even recognise that. One of the familiar hallmarks of an abusive relationship is psychological abuse which means that someone believes that the only person who really has their best interest at heart is their abuser. Also, it can be hard to know the difference between love and abuse when you are in the middle of it; the abuser said sorry, or they say they didn’t mean it, they will have excuses for why they lashed out; often laying the blame onto others such as their abused partner. And it can be hard to see the abuse for what it is, which is certainly not healthy love.
There are many reasons why someone might not pack their bags and go, such as they might:
- Feel it would be “unfair” on the children,
- Worry about where they end up,
- Have concerns about money,
- Fear that if they were to leave, their pet might be killed,
- Be blackmailed with threats that if they were to leave their abuser, their abuser would kill themselves or be blackmailed with incriminating videos or images online,
- Not seeing a way out with children (or pets) in tow,
- See themselves as a carer of their abuser who would be able to survive without them,
- Think no one would help them or believe them,
- Feel they just have to “accept” their lot in life due to people often being cut off from friends or family by their abuser and no one caring.
There are so many untruths about the above for the objective, caring outsider, but this is why abuse is traumatic; it strips people of confidence and often also a sense of reality. This is why being a lifeline to some is so vital if you know they are in an unhealthy relationship.
Finally, it is well known, that leaving an abusive relationship can come with a lot of risks, it’s a dangerous time for those involved and planning for safety is essential!