Now that I know, why do I stay?


Just the two of us

Again, I use the convention of speaking in the first person – on my behalf (in the past) and for some struggling now in an abusive relationship but who finds it impossible (so far) to leave it. For simplicity purposes, I will use the masculine pronoun for the abuser, but of course, it can happen the other way around. Here it goes:


“I sit here drowning. I see it all so clearly now. I see what he is doing, how he tries to manipulate me, how he threatens and bullies me. I see clearly how he tries to make me feel guilty. I see how he creates a problem and then blames me for it.

It is clear to me now how he undermines my relationship with family, friends, any one who supports me. He is trying to isolate me to have me all alone – except for him. The ways that he does this is sometimes devious, sometimes outright cruel and humiliating.

He wants me at his mercy. He is trying to brainwash me. I see that he is trying to make me dependent upon him. He tries to generate anxiety in me; he cultivates my despair. He gives me hope just often enough so that I will continue to play his game.

He tries to create the belief that nothing I can do will make any difference. It is as though he has sealed off all exits. And while he has me he degrades me. Everything he does drips with contempt designed to make me feel small and insignificant. He demands complete control and if I try to make any decisions by myself, of course, they are always wrong.

He is secretive about money. I just know he hides money from me, but he scrutinizes every penny I spend.  He has a right to privacy; I don’t.

He quiets down for a while, but then he goes into one of his “moods.” That’s when my anxiety spikes. I know something is coming and it’s not going to be good. Sometimes I start shaking. I can’t sleep. Sometimes he just walks in while I am sleeping and starts yelling. I am not safe.

One of the worst things that he does is to deny what I know to be true. It is unbelievable how he creates his own version of reality and defends it with his life. In the past I have questioned my own sanity. Maybe he is right. He really believes it so maybe I am wrong. It made me doubt everything and that opened me up to more and more manipulation.

I see it all. I know fully what kind of hell I am living in. It helps me to know, but then again, I don’t feel capable of leaving. I know I fill myself up with excuses why I can’t leave. I justify staying out of so many fears. But what kind of life is this?

Do I deserve to live a life without fear? At least this is what I know. My world has become very small. I have allowed him to define my reality, who I am, what I am capable of. In my mind, in some small part of me I know I am bigger than the box he has put me in.

How do I translate this knowledge into action? Where do I find the faith when I have been betrayed from the inside out? I am in a maze. I know I got in, but will I ever find the way out? There must be a way. I need to find the way I came in to find my way out.

Please help me. I feel so alone and afraid.

I seek the answers that will help me.  I am waiting for redemption and freedom.  How do I release myself from this bondage?”

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