Why I’m Staying In My Abusive Marriage

When the department of social services counselor told me that I didn’t have to be ready to leave right now, I felt a huge burden lift from my shoulders. I know my husband is abusive, but despite the pressure to leave, I am just not ready to go. Maybe I’ll never be ready to go. I have time to decide.

The counselor’s statement reassured me that although the experts are certain that my abuser’s behaviors will never change – can never change – that I do not have to believe them. I do not need to leave my husband in hope of creating a happy life. I can learn to be happy right here. I’ve felt that from the beginning. I’ve felt it strongly and to my very core.

I’ve also felt that the experts telling me to leave were not seeing the whole picture. They saw me as codependent (which I am) and him as abusive (which he is), but they could never see the compassion and love I have for Will, or the greater love I have for keeping my family TOGETHER.

It takes two participants to play this sick game we've got going on in my home. What will happen when I simply stop playing?It’s like the professionals got lost in the books and research, losing the ability to see beyond a label.

  • “Codependent”. Codependents don’t know who they are or what they want; in their desire to please others codependents cannot think for or know themselves, and continually fuel the fire in order to keep themselves insulated from doing the work required to create authenticity and wholeness of self.
  • “Abuser.”  Abusers have a massive psychological web of problems to which they want to turn a blind eye that pretending they and their families are other than they are to the extent of abusing themselves and others to live that fantasy is the end-all of the abuser’s existence.

I am not that book-defined codependent, and I refuse the label. I refuse the idea that I must BE alone in order to learn to be myself. I refuse the idea that I cannot face the abusive behaviors of my husband without further losing myself or my ability to function as an authentic human being.

I am not saying that codependency does not relate to me at all. Neither do I mean that I am willing to stay codependent on this abusive drama.

I will be doing a lot of work in the realm of codependency, as well as finding solutions to dealing with my husband’s abusive techniques. It takes two participants to play this sick game we’ve got going on in my home. What will happen when I simply stop playing?

Well, here are some possibilities:

  • My husband’s shock of having his game-partner leave the court mid-set could leave him floundering, searching for answers and with the realization that the old rules do not apply. He could either start playing by new rules, or he could adhere so strongly to the old ones that he leaves me for someone else.
  • The same shock could throw him into a physically abusive rage (for which I have a safety plan and am cultivating the trust in my own judgment which I’ll need to escape it).
  • The stress of living by my own new rules could become overwhelming, but I am cultivating the ability to learn HOW to calm myself and deciding on WHEN enough is enough and an extended break to recoup my strength would help. (Can anyone say, “vacation by myself in some cool location?!”)
  • The stress of living with his abusive outbreaks could throw me out of whack with my goals to treat myself right. The key is to learn to recognize my own stress and formulate ways in which to deal with it in healthy ways.

If physical abuse occurs, I will STILL need to decide whether to stay or go, and I know that. However, making the decision to stay in absence of physical abuse and with the intention to limit and eradicate the verbal and emotional abuse, helps to stabilize my emotions and feel empowered. I can make a difference here, I hope.

My emotions are real and important and valuable. I will continue to honor and to feel them. But from now on, I’m going to make every effort to THINK before ACTING on them.

Wish me luck, and please stay close. I need you. (See, that’s codependence! LOL) Let me restate it:

Wish me luck, and please stay close. I value you very much and do not WANT to do this by myself. But I will, if and when I must.

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About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly passionately advocates against domestic violence through her writing and mentoring service. She loves helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave the relationship and begin to heal. You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can buy her books from Amazon.

Comments

  1. Leanne LaFerney says:

    I certainly understand all that you are saying. I can identify completely. I too, am in a VERY verbally abusive and controlling marriage. I on more than one occasion have just wanted to run and take the easy way out, but I am a fighter and I want my marriage to work. I adore my husband although, I honestly can’t give any reasons why. I have three year old son I am terrified of repeating his dads patterns, but more terrified if I leave it will tear his world apart. I’ve seen the good side of my husband, but not in a while. I too am trying to stay calm and rely upon my own instincts to conquer this demon that has invaded our lives. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you. Leanne

    • Leanne, I hope the best for you. I’m a fighter, too. I’m learning that the battles I used to fight were the wrong battles. They were wrong because they fed the demon and no “victory” went unpunished. It’s good that you’re seeing the abuse now while your son is so young; when my oldest was 3, I was thinking everything was my fault.

      Here’s to discerning which battles to fight and which battles are diversions! [wine glass clink*]

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