Why Abusive Relationships Are A Lot More Complex Than People Think

Why Abusive Relationships Are A Lot More Complex Than People Think

#Abuse #Relationships

I am writing this myTake in response to @CrazyyChick's excellent take Things You Need to Know about Abuse In Relationships and the comments made by a few select individuals who really don't seem to understand what its truly like to be in an abusive relationship. Their naivety leads them to make uneducated responses such as: "I don’t sympathize women who are in abusive relationships, it was their choice" or "No one cares, she made the decision to be with an abusive man".

What these people fail to understand is that it is a much more complex issue than it may seem and that its not as simple as just leaving. Here's why...

Why Abusive Relationships Are A Lot More Complex Than People Think

I was in a relationship for 5 years with a guy who I thought loved me. It was my first serious relationship, so I obviously had no previous relationship experience. The relationship started off great. He was sweet, attentive, and made me feel like I was the only girl in the world for him.

However, overtime, he began to become very controlling. He would dictate what activities we did, what we would eat at restaurants, and even began to alienate me from my friends. At the time, I wasn't aware that this was abusive behaviour because I was so focused on the positive aspects of the relationship. He also began to show a temper. He would get angry at the smallest things or would get mad if he didn't agree with something I did or said. I began to feel like I had to walk on eggshells just not to set him off. The worst part, he started to become very critical of me and would belittle, making me feel worthless. On a deeper level, you begin to believe you aren't worthy of anyone else.

My self-esteem began to go down and I knew on a subconscious level that this relationship was not healthy. But I was in denial and/or conflicted. I loved him and the way he made me feel at times, but somehow was able to justify his abusive behavior. You begin to focus on the good moments and deny the bad ones. Its hard to describe the hold someone can have on you that you both love and fear.

Why Abusive Relationships Are A Lot More Complex Than People Think

It was only when the relationship ended (after he broke up with me because he couldn't "deal with the stress of my problems") that I was able to take a step back and evaluate the relationship objectively and see that it was highly toxic. I now know that I never want to be in a relationship like that ever again, and in a way, it has taught me what I want and don't want in a future relationship.

As you can see, its a lot more complex issue than some people think because it is a form of slow psychological/emotional manipulation and control. It is not as simple as just leaving. Again, it is difficult to explain why people don't leave abusive relationships when they have never experienced it for themselves.

I am hoping that this Take helps educate people a little more on the subject and at least try and understand the complexity of this issue. To the people who still fail to try and understand, I will tell you this: don't judge someone unless you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Why Abusive Relationships Are A Lot More Complex Than People Think


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Most Helpful Guy

  • This is a difficult topic, also for those who have not experienced an abusive relationship, but we should all be aware of how difficult it can be for many people to terminate an abusive relationship (and if you're a minor, you have much less ability to do this) because it is with someone we trusted with our hearts.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • The danger of leaving an abusive SO is that they might try to kill you out of revenge. The danger is real.

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What Guys Said 33

  • Seeing things from a different point of view can help us understand why other people act the way they do. We too often judge people without having all the facts. Thanks for sharing your Take with GirlsAskGuys Community.

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    • Very true. Unfortunately, as you can see from some of the posts on here, that some guys who don't even try to understand and still automatically victim blame. Fortunately there are enough good men on here, such as yourself, who are understanding :)

    • Healthy relationships involve respect, trust, and consideration for the other person. Abusive relationships don’t have these qualities. Instead, they involve mistreatment, disrespect, intense jealousy, controlling behavior, or physical violence.

      One should Get help from a counselor or therapist if they feel confused or unsure of whether they're in an abusive relationship. I am Researcher + Author who is trying to help people through GirlsAskGuys. I can solve problems by sitting far away from the people freaking out with Problems. Sexism and Feminist movements and metoo movements are destroying the Humanity. We all have problems. We all should have empathy for each other and help each other. Thanks for appreciation. It inspire me to help people.

  • Very true, I see the same pattern time and time again.

    For a lot of people, just walking away is a difficult step, for a whole host of reasons an outsider might not immediately understand.

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    • Yes, sadly as much as you try to explain it to some people, they will never understand (for whatever reasons that may be).

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    • People don't understand it that's why they think it's easy. The hell no. My ex threatened me of suicide.

    • Mytake owner, well said "I am aware that I can be "too nice" of a person a lot of times and have a hard time voicing my opinion. I now know that I should never be afraid to speak my mind in a relationship instead of trying to be the peace-maker."

      I'm still there.

  • Do you think a strong confident woman who knows her dating value can ever gets into an abusive relationship? One who is willing to leave when the guy falls short of expectations...

    It’s obviously not a black and white issue, but set some standards for the guy you are dating you won’t get into this mess.

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    • As I said, its starts off slowly. I was a very confident woman going into the relationship, and it started out healthy; it was only over time that it because toxic and my self-confidence started to decline.

    • But that makes it sound like the person being abused doesn’t have an ounce of fight in them. They’re simply dominated by someone... and without dominance there is no abuse.

      Keep reminding your partners how lucky they are to have you (keeping them on their toes) is the best way to avoid this.

  • I guess i will never understand this. I'm probably not meant to understand things, that are making little or no sense.

    Just like i will never understand cutting your own body during depression. Even i had and still have severe depression and never did the idea of cutting myself appeal to me.

    So basically feeling worthless of relationships and the fear of leaving are preventing breaking up?

    What I'm going to say now will be unpopular but I'm being honest:

    I'd say why listen and follow the one, who obviously doesn't care about you and makes you feel the way you feel. As a result i cut those sorts of people out of my life, block them and never have contact with them. A similar response i do to lazy landlords, who don't want to fix their issues with their apartments. I literally vote with my money, move out and settle somewhere acceptable.

    Fear of leaving is just prolonging the misery and the inevitable. Might as well do it now. Or find a safer space and break up there and then. Hope you got your own place.

    I'm kind of sorry but not sorry at the same time. I will still say, that it was their choice. Call me ignorant but i am unable to comprehend this.

    One reason probably why I'm a single and kissless virgin, who never had a girlfriend in his life is because i never settled for less than i expected and that as soon as true colors would show up later on i would stand up and leave due to my own self respect.
    No matter how much i love anybody there is a borderline i will never cross and that borderline is my personal one.

    You may be right. I won't understand it since I've never been there myself. 🤷🤷🤷

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    • I appreciate that you acknowledge your lack of understanding at least (unlike some guys who think they know everything on here). I think the more people share their experiences, hopefully the more people will understand this issue. Yes, it is their choice, but it is not an easy choice.

    • Well, at least we got to something. That is what matters 🤔

      Thanks for the kind reply.

  • I used to judge women who dated assholes until I myself was stuck in a relationship like that. She would be sweet in the beginning of the relationship or when she was trying to get back with me, and a week later wold turn cold and uncaring and start saying hurtful things. I always thought that one day she would go back to the way she used to be, and clung to that hope. Nut she never changed. Karma can be a bitch

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  • It's easy, just leave. I think they choose to be a part of an abusive relationship for attention or they're too lazy to leave.

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    • Again, you have never experienced it for yourself, so it is hard to understand. Its easy for people to tell others what to do when they have never done it themselves.

  • Bullshit. Abusive relationships are NOT more complex than you think. Bullshit. If you're in one, get out.

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    • I can see there is no educating you on the subject because you apparently have never experienced it for yourself, so I won't even bother trying to start a conversation with you.
      Have a good day.

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    • @loveslongnails I actually do agree with what you just said actually. There definitely are a number of people who are in abusive relationships who can get out when they want to. The thing is, it's hard to tell who knows they can get out, and who thinks they are stuck.

      Your original comment was that ALL abusive relationships are (much) more simple as this myTake makes them out to be.

    • @GuyWannaHelp Gotcha. Thanks.

  • You ever notice there's never any stories about MEN being in abusive relationships, guess what it happens. Only difference is they don't have free legal help, halfway houses or public support for when it happens to them, and on top of all of that the woman can make up any lie and the law believes her despite the fact she says it purely to get him in trouble.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIOY2ezMy9A

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    • What does that have to do with my Take? I never said anything about just women, I said people. I know it happens, but it doesn't make my experience any more or less valid.

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    • I am not saying the same thing as the other two commenters. I was replying to @justanotherchicka who said "women aren't handed a lawyer". Yes, you had to make a huge effort to get help but you ACTUALLY GOT HELP. Yes, you were not handed and you had to work for it but it was there when you put your effort in. For men, most often, it is not.
      Again, I admit it was very difficult to admit what was happening to you and actually get out of it. But you did get help and you did get out without any economic or social consequences when you actually decided to get out.

    • Because I'm sick of hearing the same old argument over and over again, just like Bill Burr says in the video. Do people think abusive partners watch those adds or see the posters and say to themselves "OMFG that's me, I do that!"

  • Typical sexism

    Women can speak out publicly, and believed without question.

    Men speak out. But they get laughed, told to leave, and even arrested.

    My (ex) fiance went on the website of her college alma mater. and publicly accused me of raping. But because she is a woman, she wasn't questioned. If I had done something like that. Not only would I have been told to prove it. I might have been arrested.

    In society, false accusations made against men, by women doesn't matter. Only women being abused by men, makes the situation newsworthy.

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    • What does this have to do with my Take? I know men can be victims too and that there are false accusations. How does that make my experience any less than anyone else's?

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    • The Take wasn't sexist. She was writing about her personal experience.

    • Yeah sorry, she's a woman and wrote as a woman, using pronouns from her own person experience. But she stated it was such, there was no manipulation of words, impressions, or misleading about her intent or ideas. No sexism here, I've been going through this with my wife and had no problem reading this article and applying it to my experience. Think this negative comment is more about personal hurt than any problem with the mytake

  • people don't want to be in such a position thats why

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  • Thank you. Hopefully some people take this to heart.

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  • Wow. That's quite enlightening. Thank you. Sorry that you went through that.

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  • I’ve seen enough friends go through it to understand the mindset and lose any sympathy for them. People make their choices and have to live with them

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    • Again, its difficult for people who have never experienced it for themselves to understand.

    • You're right, I haven't. But after watching friends ignore advice and refuse all the help in the world to get out, as I said I lost all sympathy

    • Well that's the problem in my case, no one saw or knew anything because I was so socially isolated.

  • I know a girl in an emotionally abusive relationship. However, she has given him so much she can't leave.

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  • I would have slipped off those grossly uncomfortable shoes about 20 meters in and got myself a new pair...

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  • Wonderful, life stories, really helps the point along.

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  • Good take. I understand what you're saying, but it's still just not that complex. All it takes is just being a good judge of character to avoid abusive relationships altogether, and manipulative assholes are not that hard to spot, so it's not like you have to be Sherlock Holmes. It doesn't take prior relationship experience, it just takes people experience. One should always do the legwork and figure exactly what they're getting themselves into before jumping in head first just because the person seems charming or whatever.

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    • I agree that there probably were "red flags" at the beginning of the relationship, but I was honestly at a very vulnerable spot in my life. He preyed on my weaknesses.

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    • The fact that manipulative assholes do that, doesn't mean you can't fall for it.

      I agree with you that it's sometimes very easy to spot an asshole, especially if you're not in a relationship with him. However, not all abusive partners are that obvious to see.

      Additionally, it can be very difficult to break up with an abusive partner. I'm sure this sounds like complete BS to you. After all, you just need to tell him it's over and you're free, right?
      Many people in abusive relationships feel like they are virtually worthless. Why else would their partner be so abusive to them? They are in such a vulnerable state, they don't have it in them to just leave. You don't have to understand this and just think they are making a big deal out of nothing, but the most important thing is to respect that this is how they experience the situation. Do you think they prefer to be in an abusive relationship?

    • @GuyWannaHelp 👍👍👍 Very well said!

  • who told you this

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    • Who told me what? I am talking from experience. Apparently you didn't bother to even read my take.

  • Nobody should be in an abusive relationship.

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    • Nobody should stay in an abusive relationship.

    • Obviously not. Its not like people WANT to get into an abusive relationship or WANT to stay.

  • try once, you will easily understand

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What Girls Said 20

  • The cycle of abuse describes it pretty efficiently
    teaminfocus.com.au/.../Cycle-of-Abuse.png
    Thank you for sharing this take, and I'm sorry for the shit that you were put through. I've been in a similar situation with a guy, but thankfully we were never in a relationship and I was able to cut him off before being affected in a way that could have damaged my future. Manipulators suck.

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  • Yep, not only the issues of subtlety but also ability to leave and start over, dropping your life isn't a small matter.

    Then there is also the matter of comparison to other options, if you have had an abusive past those people seek you out and you just compare "is this one better than the last"

    The the issue of "what is normal" someone who grew up in an abusive home and has always had abusive relationships has no way of knowing what is not abusive, what they consider abuse and what aggravates them is different because their tolerances formed differently.

    For example, someone who was beaten repeatedly as a child may consider it normal for their boyfriend to do so, but may still consider manipulative behavior like being passive aggressive or lying to be a hard limit they would leave over because they are used to brutal honesty.

    All human relationships are complicated, and you can't know what is best for that person. Men seem to have the perspective of "she's a woman she could easily get someone else"... But to quote an old saying "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't"

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    • Yes, I agree 100%! I don't even bother wasting my time trying to argue with those guys who say its "easy", because they are just so narrow minded. Its so easy for people to tell someone what to do, but yet they never experienced it for themselves.

  • I used to say it was so easy to leave or hit them back in self defence

    Wasn't until I was in one myself did I realise how difficult it was..
    My first boyfriend started emotionally
    He would always find little things about me like telling me to get cosmetic surgery on my boobs because he can't get off
    Pursuing other women in front of me, being emotionally unavailable.

    First time he hit me it was a blur.
    He strangled me during an argument, punched a wall instead of hitting me.
    Slapped me for making a joke.
    He also knocked my teeth out and then chased me after it because I was going the police/dad

    Every time He hit me I accepted it as normal and that going the police was dramatic
    He used to tell me nobody else would want me that I'm ugly and he even had to watch porn whilst having sex with me to get off.

    I was forced into aborting his baby when I didn't want too also.
    He throttled me for reaching out to my friends and going on nights out.

    He made me feel unlovable, like I was a freak of a woman, that I was ugly and fat.

    Told me what to wear, told me another man wouldn't want me or behave the same as him.

    I was convinced I deserved it
    He was so scary to be arou nd and I found out he had also hit his mum before

    He also went through my social media a lot and read my messages.
    The tables turned on him eventually

    When I fell out of love with him I started seeing him as a stranger not the man I loved.
    He hit me again except this time I beat the shit out of him because he got scary again and I thought he was gonna kill me

    Little did he know I have a boxing background and I dislocated his jaw put him on his back and restrained him

    I managed to escape
    He was threatening to call the police and I said do it, I'll tell them what you have done to me for years and this is self defence.

    He finally left me alone and I moved forward with my life.
    It was scary because I never knew how to have a relationship because I was so scared they would do the same.

    Looking back I cry, he took my dreams away from me my teen years and my confidence.
    I was such a beautiful teenager with everything going for her but never realised till it was too late.

    Sad thing was my friend warned me he would turn out like that but he isolated me and I thought it was love.

    His family knew to an extent he used to hit me but never did nothing.

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  • Absolute a good article. I know people in trouble will even have a problem reading this all and those people for sure should not be forgotten because otherwise they will, so it is good to give it attention but also that is complecated but this is a good article that points out why it is so complecated. But it is a good begin and start to begin with I think and I am happy to see that because I am trying to learn about what is good or to handle right with people who undergo actually a bit of a traumatical life because that is absolutely not easy. I know many have problems with the media that only shows happiness or the music that is only for those who are happy in reality and do well and have a job and so in society you see this group of people really on purpose are ignored and hated by give them evenso also a bad name as if something is wrong with them and they are even to be blamed as if we therefor would not even need to care. But it is not that way that we should not care because it is also our business and many are unable to come out of the closet where things are to shocking for words. Find someone to blame does not work since that brought many people in the first place in trouble because they were forced to choose. Like between mother or father and that is cruel also for children if they have or are forced to choose between the two they want to love but that is sometimes not possible also and then where can they go?

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  • Very well spoken. You put it in a way that helps others understand when they haven't been in that situation themselves. I get so sick of hearing people say "girls love guys that abuse them" and "nothing stopped her from leaving." It's so much more complicated than that.

    I was in the beginnings of an abusive relationship when I was 16. We were only together for 10 months, but the effects already showed. He was overly critical, possessive, and ridiculously clingy. If I didn't answer his text within 5 minutes, he'd text me two additional times and then start texting my MOM AND BROTHER looking for me. He didn't like any time I spent with my family or friends because it meant I wasn't immediately available to him. And when we were together, I was quiet and withdrawn, afraid to be put down by him. I didn't even notice until my dad pointed out how different I act around him. Finally, my dad bribed me to break up with him after seeing how miserable I was. I don't doubt that it would've gotten worse had we stayed together.

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  • I agree.
    No woman in their right mind wants to be in an abusive relationship. The reason I stayed in one is because I thought he would change, so I hanged on to that hope.

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    • Exactly. There is always that glimmer of hope that he can and will change. I used to justify his behaviour by thinking it was just situational, he's stressed with work and his family and is having problems coping.

    • Me too. He also said that he would kill himself when he wanted to blackmail me.

  • I am happy that I inspired you to write this cause you explained what most people DO NOT understand, This mytake is amazing, and I am sorry you had to go through an expirience like that

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    • Thank you :)
      I felt compelled after reading some of the blatantly ignorant comments on your take. Its nice when people are able to have an understanding and open conversation about this topic.

  • I agree, its a lot more complicated than just walk out whenever you want. And those symptoms seems great at first because women tend to like dominating men and we sometimes get confused and don't notice when the line is crossed.

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    • Exactly. I did like that he was assertive and "strong". I mean, even sex was rough at time and was fun, but sometimes it was too aggressive and painful (especially when he drank).

  • This article came at a good time for me. A group of us at work was trying to help a coworker get out of her abusive relationship. She was so scared of her boyfriend that she brought three other coworkers with her to help her move out.

    ... Only for her to move right back in the next day after he groveled enough. We couldn't understand why, but your article helped to shed some light on why she made the decision she did (apparently there was a history of abuse in her family, too).

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  • I honestly had a Relationship that till today I am not sure if it was abusive or not, as in i fight with my self at times about it when i remember it
    So i kind of know, its hard to know if it or not

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  • Same. When I was with my ex he was like the best guy in the world to me. He was everything I ever dreamed of. It's after breakup that I realized how awful he was. And I still can't forget how much I loved him.

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  • Living in an abusive relationship takes a toll on everyone in it. The number one thing to remember is that only you can change it. It will take courage, strength, and most of all it will take you making a decision and going forward with it. In many of theses relationships most are so afraid to breath, look you in the eyes, wear the wrong thing, walk a different walk, or even smile. With every word that comes out of your mouth you are choosing at every moment hoping it isn't the word that is going to set the abuser off. This is not men and women who stay in a abusive relationship because they are choosing it. They stay because they truly have been abused so much and are in complete utter fear that they do not see any way out and this is there reality. At that point this is were the abused try's to make the best of it. Remember ONLY YOU CAN take that first step towards change. The first step is always the scariest. YOU CAN DO IT..

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  • great take thank you!

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  • Beautiful take! Love it

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  • That's what toxic persons are doing

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  • It all boils down to lack of pride.
    Everyone can justify anything with a simple sentence "you don't understand what is like", but no matter how you put it, it's still stupid and the person's fault.

    Doesn't mean I don't understand or think it's easy, it's still the person's fault. Sorry if that doesn't help or if it's something you don't wanna hear.

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  • Can't tell about it

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  • Being abused really sucks!!!

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  • Thanks.

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  • All very true. Thanks for this take!

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