#whyistayed #whyileft

whyistayed

Why did I stay? I ask myself all of the time, even after being gone for six years. My situation was not the worst that you will hear about. It definitely was not the best relationship. I’ve talked about it before on the blog. My abuser wasn’t physically abusive to me, except that one time or maybe two times. See, how I made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal? That’s what happens when you’re in an abusive relationship. The abuse isn’t a big deal. Well, that’s what you tell yourself and other people. However, it is a big deal. 

It is THE deal. The abuse is why you do things that seem strange to other people. It is why you lie about bruises. It’s why you make it seem that the yelling that your neighbors hear is fine. Of course, the victim thinks it’s their fault. Abusers love that because it makes their job of abusing so much easier. 

My abuser was more of a verbal, emotional, financial abuser. There were accusations of child abuse against him that no one could prove. Inconclusive was the word that children’s services used. Inconclusive. That word kept me awake for years. If he abused my kids physically, he did it when I was asleep. So for a long time, I felt guilty for sleeping. He was verbally and emotionally abusive to my kids. So it’s not much of a stretch to think he could be physically abusive also. 

Today, I was thinking about the time I should have gotten his baseball bat and busted his kneecap. I was trying to get my then two year old daughter dressed. He came in and insisted on doing it. I tried to push him away from her and he pushed me away. Yeah, I would’ve gone to jail for busting his knees. Would it have been worth it to get him away from my kids? I regret it everyday that I didn’t get the bat.

However, there are other ways of leaving an abusive relationship. I didn’t know it then. 

I stayed because I was a coward. I stayed because I didn’t think I was worth more. I stayed because he always had the car keys. I stayed because he “borrowed” my credit cards. I stayed because he had my mind so twisted that I defended him, lied for him, etc. I let him do other things that I can’t even write about because they are so embarrassing. 

I was bringing a new child into the world. I had let my older kid’s live with their dad until the abuser was gone. I didn’t see them for at least six months because he was around. I missed them but I didn’t know how to leave my abuser. 

When I think about what a terrible person he was, I ask myself “Why did I stay so long?”

Finally, one day I was just done. I decided that a life with him was not the way to live. Life is not supposed to be that terrible. I sacrificed everything to be with him. He wasn’t worth any of it.  I haven’t regretted leaving once. It was the best thing I could do. 

So my advice to anyone in an abusive relationship is to leave. Find a way because there is a way. Do not make the abusers job easy anymore. 

 

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27 comments

  1. Awesome post Holley and it’s great that you share your story. Abuse is common and people are afraid to talk about it. You have come such a long way and I am so grateful you got out of there and on with finally living your life. ❤️

  2. One day you were just done. I was done on Sept 12, 2001. I left and have been much happier since I am not any longer being verbally and financially abused. It was worth it after 28 years.

  3. I love this. My story is almost the same, though I was never touched physically. He knew I would call the police. I once did when he was close threatening me. We are talking about a large, loud guy here. They just really thought I was a distraught woman. I do not know if this fits your case also, but another reason i did not leave is when I reached out for help with many prior contacts,( I had been so isolated for about 6 years, I had no up to date friends.) These people blamed me because they only saw his wonderful manner on the outside of the home. I even heard, ” I do not believe that.” from other woman!

    • Not exactly. He was large and loud, No one liked him. People would have believed me. I was isolated though. They probably thought I was crazy for staying. Hope your situation has improved.

  4. Holley, your lived experience of DV is poignant as is every person’s experience. That you share openly is a treasure so that those of us who have no idea of what it is like can learn a little of trauma. Me thinks September NaBloPoMo’s theme has brought about opportunities to re-engage with some of those hurting places in each of us and have a look at them again. Thank you for sharing your experience 🙂 Hugs Linda

  5. HURRAY for the epiphany that you deserved better and could LEAVE! I salute you for your wisdom and courage and for your choosing to live a life free from that abuse and the stigma—some of it always self-reinforced in people living as victims, because they’ve been trained so thoroughly to believe they deserve shame and suffering.

    I am thrilled that you not only escaped but have chosen to share your story, which I hope in turn will give others the necessary courage and wisdom to recognize *their* value and take *their* lives back too. You are a heroine. May your life continue to grow more rich and joyful, always.

    Kathryn

  6. dear Holley, YOU are a brave and courageous soul! It is never easy…Just the other day, someone dear to me said, “Well, I did speak back to him, so I pushed him over the edge so that it is NOT all of his fault for hitting me.” I replied, “No person should ever hit another! Because you spoke your thoughts, does not give someone permission to hit you.” It is a tough psychological battle to leave someone who is abusive. I am so sorry for your suffering…Blessings to you and do not ever blame yourself for his abusive ways! Thank you for sharing your story—I am sure it will give someone the courage to follow in your steps! Thank you!

    • Thank you so much. I hope it does help someone. I feel very honored by all of the comments on this post. I can’t even say how much it means to me to read all of the supportive comments. 🙂

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