Please Stop Asking Why Doesn’t She Just Leave

the grey area of abusive relationships

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

“Why don’t you just leave him?”

It is easy and somewhat careless to ask a victim of abuse why don’t they just leave. However I think for the victim it is much harder to answer.

There is a grey area in abusive relationships.

It is more complicated than a six-word question.

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

The National Domestic Hotline shares some common reasons why people like my mother stay —

  • Normalizing abuse & not realizing it is an unhealthy relationship
  • Embarrassment or shame
  • Low self-esteem — When you are constantly belittled and put down you start to believe it.
  • Kids — A big reason my mother was afraid to leave is she didn’t want to lose us.
  • Money — a person may be financially dependent on their abuser. My mother is financially dependent on my father and actually gets terrified if he gets sick. In her words, “she needs him to be alive” because she has never been on her own.

There is a lot of mental warfare and possible threat one has to face in order to try to exit a relationship safely.

From my own personal experience I was in a few abusive relationships and it took me years to get the courage to leave and stay disconnected from my abusive ex.

I needed help desperately and luckily I started going to therapy shortly after.

It was a long break-up and if it wasn’t for therapy I’m not sure we would have truly broken up.

“How can I support you?”

Offer support, to listen, to provide tools or resources. Be a gentle guide.

Let’s keep advocating for each other.

We all deserve to find healing, recovery and love again.

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here: www.emilystroia.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store