Why People in Abusive Relationships Can’t “Just Leave”.

Why People in Abusive Relationships Can’t “Just Leave”.

When many people hear that someone is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, their first question is, “Why don’t they leave?” This sort of response might seem logical. Just throw the deuces up and move on with your life – right? But here’s the thing – when it comes to relationship abuse, it’s never as easy as “just leaving.” WHY? Well, here's why:

1. Emotional abuse destroys your self-esteem, making it feel impossible to start fresh.

Oftentimes, people in emotionally abusive relationships may not understand that they are being abused because there’s no violence involved. Also, many will dismiss or downplay emotional abuse because they don’t think it’s as bad as physical abuse. It’s hard for those in abusive relationships to leave their partners after they’ve continuously been made to feel worthless and like there’s no better option for themselves.

2. The Cycle of Abuse: after every abusive incident comes a make-up honeymoon phase.

Often when an abusive situation happens, it is followed by the abuser doing something nice or apologizing and promising that they will never do it again. This makes their partner minimize the original abusive behavior.

3. It’s not just hard to breakup safely, it’s also hard to escape the cycle of control.

People in abusive relationships often attempt to break up with their partner several times before the break up sticks. On average, a person in an abusive relationship will attempt to leave 7 times before finally leaving for good. People in abusive relationships often attempt to break up with their partner several times before the break up sticks. On average, a person in an abusive relationship will attempt to leave 7 times before finally leaving for good.

4. They feel personally responsible for their partner or their behavior.

After a conflict, an abuser will turn the situation around and make their partner feel guilty or as though they are somehow at fault. This type of behavior is known as gaslighting.

5. They believe that if they stick it out, things might change.

A lot of people in abusive relationships stay in them because they love their partner and think that things will change. They might also believe their partner’s behavior is due to tough times or feel as though they can change their partner if they are a better partner themselves. Never stay in a relationship in which you count on someone to change their behavior for the better.

6. Fear of how others will react.

People in abusive relationships often feel embarrassed to admit that their partner is abusive for fear of being judged, blamed, marginalized, pitied or looked down on. For example, in some LGBTQIA* relationships, someone may stay with their partner for fear of being outed.

7. They might have a Life Together.

Marriage, children, and shared finances are often huge reasons that people in abusive relationships stay in them. This dependency is heightened in relationships where one partner is differently abled. But there are also similar factors that affect young people’s decisions to stay in relationships, including shared friend groups and living situations.

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Abusive relationships are fairly simple. They are driven by insecurity, the fear that feeds that insecurity, and an expectation of inconsistency, both real and perceived.

SOLUTION?

It all comes back to us, to our responsibility and accountability. But, in this case, it comes back to responsibility to ourselves and accountability to ourselves. Instead of just riding the wave, if we choose to mindfully examine the nature of our relationships and make a determination of what is acceptable and not acceptable to us, of what feeds us, rather than bleeds us, then we are living, and loving, authentically and with mindful awareness.

Why People in Abusive Relationships Can’t “Just Leave”.

This Take was inspired by a recent take on Gaslighting. Made me wonder why they "just don't get out of it."

All love,

Angelina25 <3


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  • As usual dear Angelina, the right "Take" at the right moment, can't really get enough of your writing!
    It is indeed the most (sorry for the word) disgusting and low thing to do, being an abusive person. It is disrespectful and there is nothing related to "Love" in this kind of behavior in my own opinion.
    I cannot stay silent when I see an abusive person, it eats me from the inside, I have to do something about and mostly all of the time it ends with me being the bad guy but at least my conscience is clear.

    People in average get seven chances, I have never had second chance even in my whole life while abusive people get 7 ? This is cruel really and sad, but I understand if you love someone you will try your best to help them get out of that phase, but they need professional help most of the times which we cannot offer in case we have no real experience in the subject.

    The problem regarding shared finances in a relationship I am seeing happening more often while one of the partners would take advantage of their wealth etc... This is why in my own opinion, it is always the best decision to stay each independent from the other financially and have a common joint third account where each partner will deposit a previously agreed on amount of money for common expenses. My future SO/Wife will be working hard for her money so I don't have the right to take it from her!!! Same goes for me as well. I will maybe want to buy something for myself or a gift for her or anything else because it is my money. She has the right to do whatever she pleases with her own money. Buying a house for instance should be 50/50.

    Getting out of an abusive relationship is never easy as for both partners will need professional help and a lot of support from family and close friends, and sometimes, it feels like a bird that does not know how to fly and is being mocked on by people!!! I used to think like that till one day I changed everything and honestly I really don't care about the "he says she says" stuff, people can talk, talking is for free, once it will be charged then they will stop saying stupid childish stuff.

    If your friend is in abusive relationship, then it is your job as a friend to help them in case you really care about them. True, they will be mad at you but not for long. Eventually they will understand what you did.

    Thank you again dear Angelina for this beautiful post <3

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    • Your appreciation actually inspires me... Thanks :)

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    • Thank you dear Angelina for the MHO :-D

    • No problem :)

  • I would think the #1 reason is that they are scared. If a guy is abusive to her while they are in the relationship then she is thinking he's going to going crazy if she tries to leave him. If she doesn't have a man who can protect her lined up that she can jump over to then she is essentially alone. Her parents aren't going to protect her, the cops are too busy to be her personal body guard, restraining orders only work if the guy allows them to, and her friends aren't going to be there to protect her. If she doesn't have the money to just get up and move to another location (without telling him). If she doesn't have a good network of friends and males that can protect her then she is essentially trapped. If she goes to the police, after she gets beat up, she is taking a chance because that guy might get out on bail, get a light conviction, or get the charges dropped.. and she would have to put up the money for a lawyer. So women who are financially disadvantage are at most risk.

    There is also something to women being sexually attracted to dominant guys, especially if she is from a culture that promotes hyper-masculinity (like Latin culture). This only encourages the abuser to be domineering because he feels if he gets 'soft' she would lose attraction for him. So the abuser becomes almost unable to change his ways feeling that he must continue in his dominant role.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • This is all true. People be like "just be aware" "don't be lazy" blah blah blah. Bro you must have a phd on relationships, right? Easier said than done my brother, stop with the bashing if you yourself haven't been in the same situation. Do you know how ridiculous you sound? It's like someone is drowning in a pond and you're telling them, "Just get out of the water" -_-

    Add one more point. Financial dependency. I'm not sure how common it is in the West but in countries where women mostly have poor education and no qualification for jobs because they are only housewives, often don't leave abusive relationships because they have nowhere else to go if they leave their partners, they will end up on streets.

    It is so important for a woman to be independent before being in a relationship. Being a housewife is always okay, but I would suggest even the homemakers to ensure that at least they are capable of earning a good amount of money in case they are ever in such a situation.

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What Guys Said 52

  • I believe that people don’t always build walls to keep others out. There are times it is done out of necessity to protect whatever is left within.

    Love, my mother.

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  • I know it's all true, I've experienced it.

    But what's the right way to combat it? Instead of trying to get people to understand, which doesn't matter, because how does some third party "understanding" person matter? They aren't going to do shit with their "understanding." Literally nothing. Nobody who reads this is going to go out and help anyone else with "understanding."

    What is more important is that the third party people have knowledge of how an abused person can escape their abuse, and they can help facilitate that escape. Homeless shelters for abused people, police, monetary help is available. Caring and loving people are donating to these things all the time. There's help for you AND your children. There's always a way out. So yes it's hard, but the message that should be beaten into every persons head is "what is the path out? Well, the path is this: 'blah blah shelter blah blah help' and there's tons of people who want to help you!"

    What about suicide? Nobody is preaching "understand what it's like to be suicidal!" NO! They are spamming that suicide hotline, they are spamming churches that will help you, they are spamming all the resources that someone who wants to die can go to. This in my view is much better.

    Besides look at the comments. Many men simply don't understand. They literally cannot. Many men lack empathy, they can't understand it unless they have lived it. It's sad but true. Rather than to try and convince a bunch of ignorant guys, teach them the resources available so when someone they know or love is in this situation they can actually reach out and help them.

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  • While I can understand how someone might justify staying with an abuser, it's important to realize that the woman HAS the choice to leave and SHE needs to exercise that choice.

    In our effort not to berate the victim, we shouldn't enable their "victimhood".

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    • There's many people who don't justify them staying with the abuser, but is telling the reasons on why they do so. Same reason with murders. Most people don't justify the murder, but they can say their mental health may be a logical explanation on why it happens. That don't mean it's a good excuse.

  • I love the way this take is focused on women victims when in reality many women abuse their male partners, not physically but in pretty much every other way but do me get sympathy? Of course not. Women are the only ones allowed to be victims in 2018.

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    • Why do you think it's focused on women? The pictures? Can't you look beyond that?

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    • So male victims "don't even matter"? Are you kidding me?

    • Victims MATTER. Male or Female. The pain, the hurt, the emotion... it's all same for both the sexes. And, I don't think I've ever mentioned that the abuser is a male always... I've kept it strictly to both the sexes... You'll talk about the pictures... I didn't even put a thought to what pictures I'm using. That's what I found on Google. And also, the pictures don't matter.

  • *sigh*
    Okay. Let's check your essay.

    But before i do i will warn you: Don't get me wrong. It won't be an easy or a quite bearable answer.

    "1. Emotional abuse destroys your self-esteem, making it feel impossible to start fresh."

    That is understandable. I've been in a similar situation when i was growing up into adulthood. Except it wasn't a girlfriend but more like family.

    Still at the age of 20 and above i expect humans to get a grip in life themselves and not hoping, that someone else will do it for them or hoping, that things will change. The change starts with *you*.
    And that means taking on your personal responsibilities and avoid toxic degenerates.

    "2. The Cycle of Abuse: after every abusive incident comes a make-up honeymoon phase."

    This is something i can never agree with. Ever since i could think i take only consistent people seriously. This frequent change of behavior is not something, that i want to see in anyone, less so my partner.
    I get, that people are different but if one person is a cool person today and a sadist tomorrow and this repeats, then i want no business with that person. Either Make up your mind or stay out of my sights.

    "3. It’s not just hard to breakup safely, it’s also hard to escape the cycle of control."

    What's wrong with the unplug method?
    Anyway under physical threats - at least in the united States - there are helpful hotlines available. Victims need to find that information immediately. Those must be accessible in pretty much many official places to prevent abuse.

    Or if we are talking about being caged in the basement like the daughter of joseph fritzel, then you have a point.

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    • "4. They feel personally responsible for their partner or their behavior."

      Alright, so this guilt trip is be blamed on the person thinking is fully responsible for the partners never satisfying happiness.
      I get it. Those victims must be told, that they are not responsible to the full extend of their partners happiness. It's similar to reason number 1.

      "5. They believe that if they stick it out, things might change."

      Sorry but not sorry. Those people will learn only until after they made the sour experience. This is a lesson learned the hard way.
      The easy way would be "accept your partner as your partner is and don't expect your partner to become suddenly different"

    • "6. Fear of how others will react."

      Really? Is being a peoples pleaser worth an abusive and destructive relationship to the point where your own health keeps degrading?

      "7. They might have a Life Together."

      Yeah, tough one. For the finances part however I'd counter to start getting a job and stop being financially dependent. Nothing is ever handed to anyone except for the governments. This is capitalism.

      And once the finances are checked, the ability to bail out is available. Money talks.
      And the well being of the children are just as important.
      The damage is minimized by kids living with a single parent than having at least one abusive parent. So here this logic of having a future together is debunked.

      Well, i genuinely don't know how to properly counter that. I'd still pull my favorite card of learning lessons the hard way. And who are the people they don't want to disappoint? Are they friends, good people or junkies and degenerates?

  • Why don't they just leave?
    Why don't they just get a job?
    Why don't they just work harder?
    Why don't they just quit the drugs/drinking?
    Why don't they just get better friends?
    Why don't they just eat less and exercise?

    Human empathy often leaves a lot to be desired in many aspects of life

    Solutions seem simple to the outsider who does not care to comprehend the totality of someone's situation

    It is so easy to be perfect flawless individuals so why don't we all just do that?

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  • Well in the end they actually can "just leave"... It's the extreme complication of the effects of leavin, and the human mind the hinder the process.. That's basically what's bein said.. Basically "They can leave, but many times it's just waaay too complicated for it to happen at the right time"..

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  • ... Any advice on helping a partner who has had a history of being abused?

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    • TRUST. And PATIENCE.

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    • Exactly! Just be patient with her.

    • Yes just keep treating her with kindness ❤

  • Why are all the pictures making the female the victim. You know the domestic violence is about even among the sexes right?

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    • Ik. And that's what I found online.

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    • @CubsterShura I don't think it's butt-hurt with all the misinformation out there.

    • I think it does matter that it goes both ways and there are abusive women as well. But I agree, it's not a "competition".

  • Great Take.

    I've never been in an abusive relationship, but I have friends who have, and so many people simplify the problem by glibly asking "Why don't you just leave?"

    As you've said so well, it's not always that simple.

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  • I had a relationship where everything I thought or wanted was wrong unless my partner agreed with it, and pointing out anything that was obviously wrong in their behaviour was pointless because... everything I thought or wanted was wrong unless my partner agreed with it.

    Shit, I lived the Big Bang Theory.

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  • Men usually go after a type of woman who is in need of love, possibly a little inexperienced in reading men. Only to fall into the mans trap , he's usually possessive jealous the only way is his. But the frightening part I find these women love them they get beat up , end up in A, E make excuses for his actions and go back to him to start al over again. They only get out of this situation is in a body bag ,, SAD...

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  • They can leave, but it is not easy, and its hard to be motivated enough to escape when your self worth is driven into the ground.

    However, objectively, if there is no threat of bodily harm, then it is a person's choice to stay. A choice I will not empathize with.

    Physical abuse, if you know anyone experiencing this, please call the authorities, no matter if it destroys your friendship with them, they'll realize it was best later.

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  • Stockholm Syndrome.
    Some people love the power they gives them to be beaten and have something over their mates.
    Quit being sexist it happens to men too

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  • All of these arguments just suggest that a person would have a lack of balls to leave:
    ''Fear of how others will react''
    ''They feel personally responsible for their partner or their behavior''
    ''Emotional abuse destroys your self-esteem, making it feel impossible to start fresh''
    ''They believe that if they stick it out, things might change''
    ''The Cycle of Abuse: after every abusive incident comes a make-up honeymoon phase''

    People should just look at it black and white: The person abused me, end of the relationship, no matter how bad they feel about it. F*** him/her. The person's crazy. In these situations it's just thinking with the brain that'll do the job for you.

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    • I mean yes, I get what you're saying... but life isn't always binary. Sometimes, the answer lies between zero and one. And, no, I'm not justifying abusive relationships. I'm just saying that those grey shades in between, doesn't let a person look at life in BLACK AND WHITE.

    • @Angelina25
      Abuse is a fact, though. Right? That doesn't lie between zero and one. That's just one. There's no excuse for abuse. That should be the end right there and then.

    • Ik. And I understand but it's like, some don't even realize that it's abuse. They feel like it just happened and they still love them. Wrong, I know. But that's how it is.

  • Excellent Take. The abuser is a sadist and wants you to think you can't live without them and their abuse.

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  • Reminds me of another take where someone claimed, the more they hit you, the more they love you haha.

    I wouldn't look for logic in this. There is none to be found.

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  • I don’t buy it. If you’re a mentally stable and mentally aware person, you’ll leave

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    • Sorry to say, but I think so too. Just an excuse to be weak and lazy. I know too many abused woman the man could care less about leaving. Very few of the abusers are stalkers, some will leave you alone if you leave. I've had only a few follow me that I had to report. A lot of women think it's their fault because maybe it is. My mother too was abusive, stubborn, disrespect, irresponsible and spiteful. She made my father crazy on purpose, she had issues. Now she's abusive to my step dad who is a good man.

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    • @azzntittiz Yes, me too!

    • @azzntittiz If that's how you interpreted my reply then you seriously lack some brain cells.

  • Wait a minute... Don't girls pride themselves on tearing down nice guys while deliberately dating assholes?

    Food for thought.

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  • Abuse is terrible all you can try to do is attempt to convince them to leave, maybe call the cops if you manage to catch it but other than that its up to them

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  • " “Why don’t they leave?” This sort of response might seem logical."

    That's because it is a logical response.

    That said, they're talking about a situation that isn't logical. So while you can logically understand the how someone could stay in an abusive relationship. The actual act of staying in an abusive relationship is an emotional one and not logical.

    "Just leave" is in fact the logical response. But at times the abused is emotionally incapable of doing so. Which is why generally it takes them reaching a high enough pain point for them to use emotion again to over ride the first emotional decision.

    For some women. Boyfriend hits them one time and they bounce immediately. They don't care if he "doesn't usually" do that. They're gone. She doesn't stick around for it to get worse. I've had female friends who went through that exact thing. They didn't stick around for it and those guys basically had to look over their shoulder for awhile.

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  • Very good, it's a very sad topic, a lot of us are single, and it hurts to know how many ladies out there suffer at the hands of abusive men.

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  • Because they like playing the victim and getting sympathy from their friends about how shit their partner is. If they leave, they lose that ability. They would no longer be able to suck their friends into their drama filled saga and use them for a shoulder to cry on.

    If you take responsibility for yourself, your own wellbeing etc., you absolutely can leave! Stop saying "Oh he's stopping me from leaving, he's abusive wah wah wah." He's doing that's because you let him and don't set acceptable behavioural standards. If he's shit, just leave FFS and be in control of YOUR life rather than relying on others to make decisions for you.

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  • Men can be victims too. Men fear if they tell someone they will get laughed at.

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  • When I was cheated on, I just left, but without a fight

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  • I were in a bad relationship once. ended it as soon as I sensed the bad taste of it.

    just don't come to me saying shit like " but I love him/her"

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  • Good, but the "Solution" should be more in depth I think.

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  • You forgot to add: "There's nowhere else to go".
    In my country, abuse victims have often previously been persuaded to alienate themselves from close friends and family members. This way the victim has only the abuser to rely on or place trust in.
    Some abuse victims also have been threatened by abusers who are highly connected and wield a lot of power. The person knows your entire family and could get to them easily if you ended the relationship, so that there's no escape for you no matter where you go. One time a girl fled to England from my country to escape an abusive partner. He followed her there and killed her.

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  • i thought it's common knowledge these days that women abuse men, even physically, even sexually [rape] - so not 'just' verbally - as much as men abuse women [just google]. outside of political propaganda it's also well known that the victims are not just scared or intimidated to leave or otherwise incapacitated but actually gain all kinds of things: good sex, subtly controlling his power by sending him over the edge & tons of sisterly love for women; letting go of alround frustration; intense making up.
    as hardline feminist germaine greer said in her bestseller 'the female eunuch' somewhere 'i've lived with a number of violent men and have never been touched'...
    for girls there is a super-fast way to stop M to F abuse in their circles completely: totally dis & exclude a girl who even thinks of getting back with a guy who so much as pinned her against the wall. strangely, there won't be a single incidence ever after. has been tested. works.

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  • they can't handle change and there mind tells them better the devil you know

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What Girls Said 22

  • Not to mention that many abusers choose to victimize women who are economically disadvantaged, and may further control finances, so that getting out also means having no money to live, and that's not really a good option either.

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  • Unless that person is threatening their life about leaving or has them against their will, like chained up in the basement, then yes that person can leave but a lot women choose not to leave cause they are blinded by love and have rose tented glasses on when they see their abusive partner. Even in non physical abusive relationships, women still choose to stay with men who cheat, lie, and don't respect them.

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  • I didn't left my abusive relationship on time, because of blind love and hope that people can be good. ... big mistake, but happy that its over.

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  • I try to understand these people but I still can't. If a guy (sometimes a girl) hit you, that person doesn't like you. There is no need to waste time on this. I think that some people fear to be left out so they accept whatever their husband or wife / boyfriend or girlfriend do.

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  • This is very good and informative for all of us.
    Thank you for this take 😊

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  • I guessed people who decided not to quit a abusive relationship are often lack of courage to change and to start something new on their own, no support from families and friends are also one of the reasons. Or they basically still believes their partners can change their behaviour

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  • Really good MyTake, this is so so needed. And nothing in this can't be said enough

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  • All of the above - and more is true - as to why people stay in abusive relationship. Many of these people are broken and in need of a good therapist, living in a fantasy world, and unable to function well enough to leave or to get a decent, genuine person who would want them, so they make do. I know because I get a lot of them come to me for relationship psychic love readings www.accuratepsychicreadingsonline.com/psychic-email-reading

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  • That is why when you get the first sign of a bad boyfriend , leave don't stay cause itll only get worse

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  • Now that we knowall this, leave the relationship because it's not working for either of you. Ain't nobody got time for that. If the person cannot leave because they fear for their life, they'll kill you if you sgau anyway. Of you have kids together, they'll kill you and them if you stay. If you have no money and no job, get a job or go sleep on somebody's floor until you find one. I was abused by everyone including people I called my friends who set me up to even be sexually abused.

    I went out there on my own, because either way those I depended on were trying to kill me or make me crazy. What's funny is a lot so called abused people have some support and still stay, I think they want to be there especially when it gives them a chance to never provide for themselves, my mom was one of these people.

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  • This is sad. Not angrily or jokingly sad, but honestly, tear-inducingly sad.

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  • I was in an abusive marriage. The ex didn't hit me all of the time but he hit me and was very controlling and said I made him act that way. I stayed a long time. Stupid as it sounds, I stayed because we had 3 kids. From all appearances a happy, beautiful family. People don't even believe me now. And they love my ex! I left and my kids are all screwed up now. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I made lots of mistakes after the divorce and I guarantee you no one thinks any of it has to do with the abusive marriage scarring me and my ex has nothing to do with my kids issues. But even before my personal mistakes he had already ran a smear campaign. That's what they do. I'm not saying I'm perfect or a victim but somehow people forgive and forget the person who is able to put on the best show and that's usually the abuser. Truth.

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  • Very true. Good take!

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  • Nice take

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  • Great myTake

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  • Exactly

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  • As someone who's been in this situation before, I can't express how true this is. I don't think anyone else can understand how hard it is to leave. You do feel trapped, you do think that things might change, that you'll never find anyone else, that you can't give up when you might have a life together.

    Even now, I haven't ever told my parents about it and they still think he's a saint. I don't feel right talking about it and the only times I ever do is anonymously online because I don't want to look like I'm playing a victim card. Even now I'm thinking "get yourself together" and "it could have been worse".

    If anyone IS going through this right now.. You CAN get out.. And you WILL be ok. Leaving was the best thing to ever happen to me and I'm in a much better and healthier relationship now. All it takes is 1 good relationship to put in perspective how bad it was before.

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  • Very true have been their in my life and no one even knew because i had to hide it

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  • This is true

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  • I've been there, and I agree with all you've said.

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  • Because they don't want to

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  • It’s not easy to leave I get that but they still can

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