Living with abuse can seem okay at times – particularly during the honeymoon periods or if you’re lucky enough to have extended vacations from one another. During the “good” times, it is hard to remember the terrible abuse. During the abuse, it’s easy to remember the honeymoon. I wish it weren’t so, but our minds have a funny way of not wanting to change – even if changing could save our lives.
Despite the horrors of an abusive relationship, sometimes abused people choose to stay with their abuser. Staying is a choice, you know. Staying doesn’t mean you’ll be happy, but sometimes staying “for now” or “forever” seems like the only thing you can do.
When I wrote out my first safety plan, I decided to stay with my abuser for three more years at least. I planned to finish college, then move out unless my husband somehow managed to change during that time. But Will changed my plans when he hit me across the throat and shook me like a rag doll. I didn’t have it in me to stay after that.
Here are some possibilities of what can happen if you choose to stay with your abuser:
- He could begin to physically abuse you (this is a natural progression from verbal abuse and emotional abuse).
- He could physically abuse you to the point of Traumatic Brain Injury, paralysis or some other life-altering physical injury.
- He could escalate the abuse until he kills you.
- He could try new ways of abusing you (such as taking out credit in your name and destroying your credit history or many other creative options).
- He could continue the present cycle indefinitely, never escalating but never stopping the behavior (likely to cause major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and other emotional problems).
- He could admit his problem and go get help for himself.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the last option is the MOST UNLIKELY. Abusers rarely seek help or treatment for their abusive behavior.
Remember: your abuser benefits from abusing you. He gets his way and lives the life he wants to live while you do everything in your power to “make him happy” at the expense of yourself.
Think about it this way: What if you discovered that every time you picked your nose, someone gave you $100.00? No matter how distasteful you find picking your nose to be, would you do it when you wanted a Benjamin? I’d do it.
What if you discovered that every time you abused your spouse, you earned a prize? When your abuser abuses you, he earns a prize! The prizes include your cooperation, a feeling of importance, power over you, getting his way, et cetera. How likely is he to change his behavior with those kinds of prizes to win?
Please read Kellie Jo Holly’s book, My Abusive Marriage…and what i’m doing in it. Preview available, sold on Amazon.