But I Can’t Leave! There’s No Way Out Of This Abuse.

August 12, 2012 Kellie Jo Holly

Some of you are reading this to receive validation that there is no way possible to leave your abusive relationship. If you're looking for someone else to agree and say, "Why by God, you're right! You are stuck!" then you are a victim and you are absolutely correct.

Does that help? Do you feel any better hearing me say that your situation is hopeless? There's no hope - your abuser wins. Go sit over there, sigh, and wait for the next episode of abuse. Feeling better yet?

Victims of Abuse

If you're in the "victim" camp, don't despair. It doesn't have to be a permanent trap. In fact, I believe that you must go through a period of "being the victim" because that's what we were! We were victims of abuse. We were victims of horrible people who sought to hurt and control us. We were victims because we didn't know what was happening to us.

victims live in a false prisonImagine an earthquake. It came without warning, swallowed up your house, left you banged and bruised under a pile of rocks for two days until miraculously, someone found you. You are shaken, mentally misplaced, hurt, and eventually very angry that this "thing" took away your happy home. You are the victim of an earthquake.

In the direct aftermath of the earthquake, you cannot see how you could ever be happy again. Your home is gone, perhaps you've lost some family members in the disaster. The Red Cross feeds you warm meals and you gladly accept them along with the hugs, blankets and post-traumatic stress counseling that they offer.

But one day, those support resources go away. The powers that be have decided enough is enough, and they shoo you back out into the world to rebuild your life. Perhaps you beg for more counseling, just one more blanket to warm you as you live out the rest of your life under the bridge or only one more meal before you set out to begging for change. But no. The support is gone. It's up to you now.

Likely, you see the parallels between the earthquake and waking up one morning to discover you are being abused. No one in their right mind would deny you help and support. But much like the "powers that be" in our example, friends and family eventually tire of the emotional drain you place on their shoulders.

Support groups cannot meet your needs, real or imagined, because they are also financially struggling to stay alive. You ask for help time and again, but no one sees you do anything about gathering the mental tools or supplies you'll need to healthfully live again. You keep asking for their support, but you're not standing on your own two legs or using your thinking power to support yourself.

At this point, you can choose to become a victim inside and out. You can blame others for abandoning you, for not making it easier to live in your situation. You can wallow in self-pity and see no end to the hardship. You don't even try. You assume all avenues are blocked - there is no way out.

If you stay there in that mental prison, it is a prison you've made for yourself. Your abuser abuses you - but you stay in place allowing it to happen. So long as you remain here, imprisoned by choice, you soothe yourself with the thought "But I can't leave!"

I've got to tell you: those of us outside of your mental prison don't see it that way, and we wish you would remove your loosely bound ropes and step out into the sunshine.

Survivors of Abuse

Some think that "survivors" have left abuse behind, but there is a growing trend in thinking of abuse survivors as those who are no longer victims whether they continue to live in the confines of abuse or not.

If you are or were a victim of abuse, you can become a survivor of it relatively easily.

You are a survivor as soon as you begin to react differently to abuse. For example, when I was a victim, I raged right along with him, then hated myself and tried to figure out where I had gone wrong, or how I had caused the abuse. When I became a survivor,

  • I did not rage with him.
  • I reacted differently to his abuse than before.
  • I felt differently about his abuse than before.

I was now a survivor. I continued tweaking my responses and reached a place where I felt empowered instead of powerless. I gained strength and when he crossed one particular boundary, I left because I said I would.

Here are some pages that can help you become a survivor:

Connect with Kellie Jo Holly on facebook or twitter and read more at Verbal Abuse Journals

    APA Reference
    Jo, K. (2012, August 12). But I Can’t Leave! There’s No Way Out Of This Abuse., HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

    Author: Kellie Jo Holly

    June, 25 2024 at 2:58 pm

    Oof, yeah this article is all kinds of ableist ignorance and while there is some truth laced into certain points, (if you take those pieces out of the overall article and separate them), the majority of this article actually only applies to people with an exact situation like yours.
    Also, abuse is wrong, and in order for it to be abuse means there is automatically someone on the receiving end who doesn’t deserve it, which is what is called a victim. In actuality, you can be both a victim AND a survivor AT THE SAME TIME.
    I am interested in a lot of the topics available on this site, but this article honestly makes me question how ignorant and untruthful/misrepresenting other articles on this site might be. This article betrays credibility for the site as a whole. Might want to consider that. Especially with both disability AND domestic violence being on the rise…this article is only going to get more and more negative feedback over time.

    June, 18 2022 at 8:11 pm

    What a stupid article. I was born to my abusers and for all of my life, they've controlled me in every way. I'm just a puppet on strings to them and I can't even get a job because of them. Apparently I'm always in danger, so they lock me inside unless I'm supervised by them. I didn't choose to be born to them, I didn't know my life would be so miserable, and I am not choosing to live with them. I have no where else to go and I was just looking for help, but all I got was judged for being in a "mental prison".
    You are a callous, cruel, malicious, and ableist human being. I hope you have changed your ways since this article was published.

    June, 20 2022 at 12:36 pm

    Hello, I am Cheryl Wozny, current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. I am sorry to hear about your current situation and the challenges you face daily. It takes strength to reach out and share your story with others. I encourage you to talk to a local mental health advocate or visit our Resources page… to find someone that can provide the assistance and support you need to heal and find peace.

    The end
    April, 6 2024 at 3:21 pm

    I completely agree with your comment. Knowing you are being abused doesn’t end the abuse nor is it helpful in any way. Nobody chooses to be abused and people saying you are allowing yourself to be a victim clearly haven’t experienced abuse to the extent of them and their lives lives being threatened if you dare to try to put an end to it. According to this article I am allowing this abuse. If I walk away then my parents , children or I will end up dead by the abuser. There is not a safe way out and many victims die when they try to leave. The person who wrote this article is disgusting and reading it is not healthy to someone suffering every single day.

    September, 5 2020 at 11:13 pm

    You an ablest and short sighted. Not everyone has the means to be independent- but given your tone I suspect you don't view the disabled as people. Reality check- 1 in 2 disabled women are abused. It often takes the form of denial of medication/treatment, isolation and financial abuse- frequently people become sicker. Most domestic violence resources cannot assist disabled women- most aren't even accessible. If you require care its even more impossible. Please, by all means, explain how someone unable to drive, or speak without assistance or work is supposed to become independent because 'positive attitude'. When there are no shelters that can help and you require care going without it can be a death sentence. What if you have children? Should you abandon them, or ship them off to be abused in a foster system, abandoning them anyway? Your advice when applied to the disabled is pfft I was healthy and fine so everyone should be able to do it- I didn't face serious health concerns or have dependents but eh who cares if my advice is likely to kill you? Do you even realize that 70% of women who leave domestic abuse will be attacked after they leave or killed? Post break up/Leaving is the most dangerous time for an abused victim. You should be happy things went so well for you and keep your arrogant foolishness off the net. Most disability claims are denied even if you can get access to services to prove it- and nearly all claims require a hearing which can take over 5 years before you ever even see a judge.

    June, 25 2019 at 9:10 am

    If I leave my abusive situation, I'll be homeless. I don't think of myself as a victim. Don't think you know everything a out this subject.

    Robin McIntyre
    August, 26 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Paula, you said what I was thinking reading this article. Clearly we don't want to stay in the status quo where we just accept the abuse and cry "poor me!", otherwise we wouldn't have sought out this article... In my case, Any info, source of help or guidance, etc. that would enable me to deal with my abusive marraige. I don't need a lot to be happy, but just being pragmatic I don't see how leaving my husband in order to "live" on the streets, at my age (60), is a wise choice! And after exhausting all options that I am aware of those are unfortunately my only 2 choices. I'm an intelligent, kind, honest, hardworking women who is on permanent disability. My husband has systematically stripped me of pretty much everything save, my integrity, my decency and my desire to just be able to do some good, be of some help to others while I'm still here.
    Paula, I hope and will pray (tho' my life-long faith in God has been severely faltering of late) that you will find the break, the support or "open door" that you need soon. I wish you all the best. Please take care.

    November, 20 2021 at 1:03 pm

    I understand unfortunately..i strughled on my own for years no help no friends..I am from somerville mass and i have found myself in an abusivre relationship before.i am now forced to move to my mothers who is elderly with dementia. I have a safe plsce for someone trusting patient and willing to help asap. Im so burnt out n need a friend. I dont have any and im feeling crazy. Pls contact me if you want to discuss options n see if thos works..i need someone to care for mom and help me too.. thanks

    Elle world
    January, 19 2019 at 9:04 am

    I am a forward thinker. Yet I am still stuck. Not emotionally. Physically. Waiting for something to happen to him or someone to intervene feels helpless and painfully despairing but when one is out of options, truly out of options, sometimes the thought brings a measure of comfort, a long distance goal you set your mind on. It helps to make small steps towards your eventual freedom. Don’t be complacent in keeping this all to yourself. Set up therapy sessions, you need to balance out the insanity of your life. You also need to have someone else bear witness to what you are going through so it can be documented. If you cannot make it to outside therapy, there are therapy hotlines, chats, etc. Pack a bag or two. If you have access to your own money, start squirreling some away. If you do not, Start a “change” jar and collect whatever bits of money you come in contact with. It starts off small, 12 cents, it will feel impossible but before you know it, there is hundreds. And it will motivate you to keep going. Try to view your your home as a temporary thing. Envision the future of this home without you in it. Take steps to prepare for your eventual release. For example, are you concerned with tying up loose ends so he(or she) can’t have something to harass or contact you about later? Are there things that you want to take care of before you leave so that when you leave you can feel at peace with your decision? If so, do them now. Do you look around and worry about what will happen to your things and you cannot bear the thought of leaving them behind? Rent a small storage unit and begin stowing away things you cherish. If you cannot afford to do that, perhaps a family member or friend has a small amount of attic space where you can store a box or must remember to take small steps every day that will greatly tip the scales in your favor in the future...plant the seeds now, tip the scales in your favor. Rig this abuse system so you eventually come out with the winning hand. You can do this. You are smarter than you think you are, and stronger than you believe.

    July, 11 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Where in heck else would you tell people who have clearly been victimized and still are even if they got out to just "stop being a victim"? None of these women who responded sound like children crying in a corner waiting for the good fairy. Do you have any credentials that qualify you to "decide" the time frame for trauma recovery, financial recovery, or how these women once out are victimized over and over by men they did leave? I worked a 911 major city police line where the content of a large majority of our calls were relationship abuse matters. Usually man on women, custody abductions, exes showing up with weapons to harm or threaten their exes. Scorned abusers are known to kill entire families or friends of these survivors long after they have left, or track them down, killing anyone that is related or befriends their targeted victim. " Survivors" are killed everyday, is that when the news verifies them as victims, that you would agree they now clearly are?
    The abuse or the threat of more goes on for lifetimes for some survivors, regardless if they "react" to it or not, accepting of it without "making a fuss" or another legal battle none of which does not diffuse the anger of an abuser one bit but often esculates his/rarely her resolve to "just stop .
    Everyones situation is unique and some are victimized no matter what they do, including remarry or obtain financial "freedom". These people are victims as abusers think of themselves "above the law", and sadly that often proves to be true, until their target is dead.
    I was present ( as the abuser came and got me from my next door apartment) where an irrational man had just killed his wife and claimed she was "sick". She lay in her bed with bruises all over her and a swollen face from being beat to death, and clearly he had cleaned up the crime scene and tucked her under the covers hoping to get away with his crime.
    Now, she was a victim, would you not agree? Clearly, she was NOT a survivor. Being a victim is not a mental problem in the abused, but often is a mental problem in the abuser who feels entitled to harm others and then claim to be a victim like the woman who I just described above husband was attempting. He claimed that she got sick in the night, he was asking me to take a look at how sick she was and how he fell asleep and had no idea she was that sick. That was him staging a reality to fool me and later the police and him playing victim and dissassociating from true reality. He was playing, "the victim", and clearly she was no survivor. This was a neighbor in the nice apt complex I lived him while working for a major police department as a 911 operator.
    Tell him, not to have a victim mentality. Clearly you do not fully understand domestic abuse. Or how regardless of ones mentality, they can end up a non survivor real quick. Why did she stay? Besides the financial.. to protect her family. Her mother who she had sent her children to live with so he could not get at them.
    He did not know where i worked, or that she casually mentioned to me in passing me on the landing on day that if anything happened to her, know that her husband did it.
    Helplessness is not what these women are showing me, including myself. We are fighters for our own survival any way we can with little to no help from anyone including the legal system who requires share custody with men with police placed restraining order on them due to known violent behavior on the perps part.
    That attitude is not that of a victim, but of someone being preyed upon, toyed with and cut from the herd for entitled victim mentalitied person to torture, blame and toy with. These perps have the mental problem, not the women being proactive in a system that offers them word salad and false hope of any real assistance or protection from the target on their back, until they are in a body bag or the one with the true mental problem is identified, has consequences or is somehow stopped. Verbal abuse, financial abuse esculate to physical abuse that can and often does escalate to a targets death, even months and years after they leave..

    July, 11 2018 at 7:34 pm

    A community and others pull together in a natural disaster. Friends start a "go fund me" account. I hardly have any friends as people pull away from domestic " disputes" and going public on covert abusers can backfire big time. You will end up back in court, for "fraud" or slander! Or be accused of " all sorts of things" and face retaliation for " going public over a he said she said" domestic matter. My adult children are not even "true believers" as they do not want to register or know of the numerous covert ways he abuses, and finally physically abused by hitting me or throwing things at me. They too are in a bit of denial as to how and why he triangulates them or plays himself as the victim. They refuse to believe because he resorted to buying their silence with cars, cash loans, cell phones etc. Claiming "keep this a secret" as mom doesn't want you to have this. Lying while passing basic or other costs to me so he can afford this, whether they need it or not. Nothing is sacred, HE lies at will, told them " mom has money, put it on her credit card"...and then refuses to see it gets paid and expected nothing at all out of them in return but to "choose" his side. I realized way too late how he refused them basics or anything if I asked for them, then waited several years and then grandstand "gifted" it and basically sent me the bill, then refuses to title it over to them long after they are doing well financially so he can control me through them and how they were trained to do so, by his lying, grandstanding and sending me the bill for all of it as he now refuses to pay the costs of our household. I had 4 daughters treated like his little princesses with over the top "gifts" while I was Cinderella buried in the whip lash effect of his " generosity. They then somewhat took advantage of this not knowing all the behind the scenes abusive way he manipulated them as objects to abuse even them. They would be appalled to know exactly how he makes them a party to my abuse. He gets off on this covert devaluing of me or my anger at this blatantly abusive tactic to buy loyalty whether he or we could really afford it or they even needed it or the money gifts way past their 20's and on into their adulthood, of course I had to pay. I am still expected to go along with this no matter how I suffer or am forced to "just eat" the budget deficits he has now caused with his all or nothing erratic behavior. Grandstandingly picking up holiday or other meal tabs an my ccards, then refusing to see it was paid or threatening not to when no one is around. Classic financial abuse.

    July, 11 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I cannot sell my home as he ignored anything that broke or needed repair for the 25 plus years we lived here in order to horde "his money". I also horded. Shampoo, food, personal products, anything I could sell, coins I won or found metal detecting....anything for basic support or that could be sold that I might be able to slip by him. Stuff he called junk that i knew had any value on the " itsy" or ebay sites I found at Goodwill or at garage sales. Being in bankruptcy as no way I could pay all my 27 awarded cc bills he also added to by never using his cash resources in pension withdrawls if he could put it on my side of the ledger, I have to be very careful about what I sell and I have to pay the bankruptcy court 557.00 a month as it is to keep my exempt assests house, car and home equity from being jeapordized.
    He knew exactly how to destroy me as our marriage is his 3rd divorce go round at home wrecking annilation. I pay a low mortgage for all I have bit taxes and other costs just go up and up while my pension award was frozen and severly depleted interest rate drastically reduced and the lump, inaccessible for any emergencies and of course my credit is ruined. I cannot even list the home in the shape it is in or until I move out 25 years of "normal accumulation from such a large family. All our now adult children moved out and left a lot behind asap when the funds became just a tool to abuse, and due to the horrid environment.
    Maybe we "sound like victims" because we are.
    I worked tornado relief as a volunteer and that is a devasting one time disaster, but to compare it to years and years of mental, emotional, financial, physical abuse from these deranged toddler like abusers, with no end in sight is an insult. If for no other reason you can "see" tornado damage, and get understanding, assistance and sympathy, and often reimbursed by insurance for some of the loss ( both financial and medical), none of that happens with ongoing abuse.

    July, 11 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I left my abuser after 37 years of marriage. He still is able to come and go at will. I called the Sheriff who did nothing, except inform me if my daughter (17) at the time let him in, he has committed no crime. So much for leaving. She only saw a few examples of "abuse",as these interactions were all my childrens normal for years. He is Jeckle Hyde with all the financial control because pensions do not honor marriage only divorce.
    I have my home because I fought for it by holding seige and refusing to allow him access to "continue" his abuse.for months. Living with all the doors and windows locked, curtains drawn like a prison. He camped in his truck in the yard. Waited till my daughter got home from school, tried to slip in behind her as she came home everyday from school ! Finally, he went to a hotel, called and threatened me from there.....for months. At anytime he could have cut of our money flow, leaving us destitute. He had been "stealing" from his pension, taking out loans, holding out his paychecks for 10 years.. forcing me to use credit for 6 people needs beyond basic bills paid, always threatening not to even pay those! He had a huge sum at his disposal yet threatened us with extinction if we did not pay his bills while cutting us out and off.
    Forced to use money owed to everyone, including the mortgage, to be in jeapordy. He got another house. Came by to steal refund checks out of the mailbox, still stalked and threatened.
    I tried to comply, with his demands, just to keep a roof over our heads. He rented an apartment ( we are still married during this time) demanded I give him more and more money, forcing me to put our needs on credit in my name! I was a stay at home to support his police military jobs and WE had decided I would not work to do so.
    Your attacks on "wealthy" women for not wanting to give up their wealthy lifestyle are bs. I was a wealthy woman on paper only, he controlled all the wealth! I could get zip for resources due to His income not mine! I was a pauper and expected to live like one unless i used "air money"! Credit in my name only! Wealthy women are financially abused in the same way poor women are! If not worse as so many more things to keep up and running. So much more to fight over, so much more for attorney's to deplete leaving you with nothing to live on! Or massively larger debt!
    He got an apartment... as his home base to,abuse me from! I filed for divorce got a restraining order. Now the real hell begins!
    He runs up the costs and still abuses behind the scenes, demanding " our" temporary support to pay HIS bills, taking out more loans from accounts supposed to be "frozen" but not.
    My attorney says "give him the money". Our money, money to pay the bills! At every turn the court system never "check out" any of his claims of separate income he "claimed" to have. I was never reimbursed! He got every thing he bullied for even when he perjured himself in court, my "evidence" never made it to the judge, why? So they could keep raping our large pension accounts to put in their own pockets. Things he would have filed contempt on me, he got away with with ease. No one cared.
    4 years out he still abuses. I was awarded a depleted and failed pension that was not what the court divided "fairly" and they all knew this as I told them he would and discovery was a charade.
    I filed bankruptcy! Now i have ruined credit and major PTSD, medical issues, lost my father, and all my teeth. He still abuses, exactly how he always did, demands access to "his yard", knows I suffer, offers to help, insists he will, cannot take no for an answer, stalk me through our adult daughters, plays power tripping financially abusive games and threatens. Currently, he is trying and sadly ( succeeding) trying to financially obligate me to people he goes and pays for in advance ( with or without my knowledge) and then threatens to withdrawl leaving me obligated for the " service", I did not order or want done. He is whacko, and dangerous as he cannot accept boundries!
    I worked a police hotline and all of his "stuff" is a civil matter, not "illegal" enough for anyone to give a hoot. He makes his adult children report my "doings" by playing caring and curious and so they do as "trained". He gets all worked up and jealously angry and here we go. I do not will not date for this reason, it will just esculate everything, plus I could lose everything due to the bs controls the court allows him, but not me.
    It is a mans world still.
    I never got a "divorce" just a different prison and new ways for him to abuse, both overtly and covertly, and the "court system" condoned it all.
    I am 63, and always was as straight arrow as they come. No doubt the grankids will be his next "tool", as is anyones holiday or sickness or happenings we or I might attend an excuse to "get him started" and worked up to abuse me behind the scenes badgering for control or to take money or abusive if you do. It is horrible to live a "prisoner" still. I think he will just get more and more angry or act out his death wish on us all by creating a "situation" of epic violence as his final "act out". I was told in the beginning by many to "just move" away, right. He wins again. If he can't have it nobody can, he is sure right about that.

    Robin McIntyre
    August, 26 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Mitzy, Wow! I can relate in SO many ways to your story and to your feelings and insights on the matter!
    I just turned 60 and currently have no way to leave my Narcissist, abusive, gaslighting husband. At least, not unless "living" on the street is considered a viable option... at my age, on a disability income it would seem to me that that wouldn't be a prudent idea. I used to own my own home, have good credit, money in the bank...
    Anyway, I don't mean to disparage the author of this article; but I actually have gotten far more out of those who commented on it. Mitzi, I truly hope things get a little easier for you.
    If you, or anyone here, ever feel like reaching out to someone in similar situation, for support, encouragement or just to not feel so alone with it all here's my email:
    Please take good care, Mitzi.

    July, 1 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I need help but I dont know where to go, who to call or how to get away. I have been in my relationship for 11 years. The abuse builds and his anger toward me escalates to almost daily beatings which I try to convince myself are not my fault. He blames me for his misery but says that if I ever try to leave him, he will hunt me down and kill me and everyone I love. We are buying a home, I have a good payer stable job. I have a 16 year old daughter who graduates in 2020. I have a beautiful English bulldog that has my total heart and attempts to protect me always. There are no shelters that I know if locally and i have no family. Help me or I'm not sure how much longer I will survive. I have no way out.

    June, 10 2018 at 6:03 am

    Hi everyone, I suffer with borderline personality disorders, anxiety and depression. I was in a long-term relationship with domestic violence, I got out of the relationship and went to a refuge, I couldn't stay at home as he would break in, smash my Windows etc. My mum died in December 2012 and I was a mess, my ex got in touch and we chatted for over a yr on the phone, stupidly I believed him and took him in in 2014. Everything was fine at first, but the verbal abuse soon started. I have asked him to leave but he said he will burn my house down, it was only verbal abuse until couple of months ago he hit me and bit my fingers that have only just healed, and the first thing he said is look what you have done now!! I realized that he hadn't changed and more fool me for believing him. I could go to a refuge but I have my dog and she's my world, she's the only thing that stops me ending every thing. I have accepted that this is abuse and I am always thinking of ways to get out of this hell, I am going to speak to someone regarding an injunction this week xx

    kendra tullio
    August, 7 2017 at 11:00 am

    but u give no answers. how can someone get child care when the system and law enforsement flip flop on her being in a common law relationship when its inconveinient to deal with the situation or when there needs to be a concrete decision and help. why cant she get snap benefits and declare herslef a roomate who is living in the residence. how can she demand access to finances if she is considered common law? does she have to get a divorce? if u have no car no family no friend able to help beyond advice--what then. u cannot get a job with a child while living in a tent in colorado. so what then. how can i help her? where are these places that go beyond. my friend has lost herself and is afraid to move, she wqits for something toi happen to HIM and he just never gets the karma. WHAT THEN? i need a real place to get assistance. she cant help herself because he has altered her reality. the advice u give is for specifically you, not helpful at all. u are in fact blaming the victim. SHE IS ONE no matter WHAT HER POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE is. THIS CHICK NEEDS INDEPENDANCE. CAN U DIRECT ME TO SOMNETHING THAT CAN HELP ACTUALLY HELP NOT TEACH A MAN TO FISH HELP. sometimes a person needs a rescure...would u tell someone who is drowning that the resources for becoming a stronger swimmwer are avail and THEN hand a card to contact to the lazy drowning individual and say its a matter of self? u have got to do better thatn this. here is ur chance. dont use double speak, just help a fellow human being, or not. because it all came off as self congratulatory

    January, 29 2016 at 5:54 pm

    This article is completely FALSE to some like with me I truly can't leave, I am waiting on disability from medical conditions that prevent me to work, I have NO job, NO car, NO money, and nowhere to go and the shelters here in my state are crappy, you only get to stay so long and there is no way no buses to go anwhere close by, and no way of walking due to my back injuries, I also have to deal with bipolar depression and PTSD and you are basically bullying and judging those that cannot leave for whatever reason????? I also have blind cats that depend on me which shelters won't let you bring in and there is NO WAY I'm leaving my blind cats behind, this article was clearly written by a narcissistic jerk that didn't bother to realize that everyone's situation is different and those like me just can't "leave", shame on you for belittling and making those of us that have to say feel bad, what do you expect, for us to go live in the woods??? This so called article is full of s&*t!!!!

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    Kellie Jo Holly
    January, 31 2016 at 4:40 pm

    In reply to someone else, I wrote
    "I tried to get the point across that abuse is a mental prison. The only way out of abuse is to stop being a victim. Before you can stop being a victim, you must know you’re being abused in the first place. But after you know, there are ways to escape the mental (and emotional) prison even if you cannot see your way out of the RELATIONSHIP. We escape the mental prison by reversing the bars – containing the abuse to the abuser instead of containing the abuse to ourselves."
    Of course there are financial restraints. Sometimes physical restraints. And many, many people will not leave because there is nowhere for their animals to go. There is no way to address all possible scenarios in one article.
    You can do things to help yourself. Go to therapy (or call hotlines) for the bipolar depression and PTSD. Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline ( You can work on confining the abuse to the abuser and not allowing it to affect you so deeply without ever leaving home.
    If you have marks from physical abuse it may be possible to report the abuse to the police and have him removed from the home. Even if it is "his" home. Without his income, you would qualify for more benefits and services.
    I did live "under a bridge" at one time. I had a friend and a tent - that's it. But that was better than living with my abuser. Everybody has their story, some seem easier than yours and some seem worse, but in reality, after being abused and brainwashed, there is no difference between you and the wealthy woman afraid to leave her relationship. There just isn't. At least two things keep people in abusive relationships: fear and sometimes a mental illness (mine is depression and PTSD).
    I'm so sorry you think I'm judging you, belittling you, or trying to make you feel bad. That is not my intention. Abuse is not fair. It turns us into people other than who we were.

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    May, 30 2017 at 8:33 am

    Thank you tonia that is my problem also. Im 65 on social security no job no car have cats cannot just leave.but the verbal abuse is getting worse. I have many health problens also. Snd the physical labor jobs i use to have have injured me.trying to get out of this marriage but its still hard with no money or when they find out the car is taken( only one car)its very hard to find a solution

    May, 25 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I will agree that leaving is hard to do, Ive attempted it 3 times only to be pulled right back in. I live with an abusive person and leaving just is not an option financially. I am not hit on a daily basis but the subtle put downs are still there. To maintain my sanity, I stay in a seperate room, I make my own meals, pay my own bills etc. He knows I have found support via outside interests and he feela threatened by that. While I am safe now, I have concerns about my safety after I make my exit. Its not easy I know.

    February, 27 2013 at 2:12 am

    I like the way you explain the different between physical and emotional abuse in the court system. I agree that emotional abuse is so damaging and awful, but as you said - if it was a criminal offense we would all be taking our brother/ sisters/ teachers/ parents/ friends/ workmates/ the guy yelling across the road/ the tradies at the construction site/ the woman behind the counter/ our manager/ the CEO etc etc etc to court.
    I like this article, I think I know what you mean...sometimes theremay not be a direct safe way to escape abuse, but if you can come up for air and remember your old self a little bit, and choose in your mind to not be the victim, then you are getting there...

    Ellena Keriazes
    October, 16 2012 at 12:05 am

    You make several good points however I think the article is short sited. Going from victim to survivor is not as simple as when resources end snap out of your mental prison. You make no mention of the legal system that continues to victimize the abused person. Try to convince a custody judge of 'nonphysical' abuse. Evidently this does not count even with evidence. Likewise attorneys are not helpful and also do damage.

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    Kellie Holly
    October, 16 2012 at 8:18 am

    I do not agree. The point of it all is to stop being a victim. Period. You are correct in saying the court system can continue to abuse you, but you do not have to add the court system's abuse to prior abuses within your relationship. They are separate issues and require different strategies to displace.
    Becoming a survivor is equivalent to becoming open to solutions and consequences (deserved and undeserved) for past and present choices.
    Non-physical abuse is not punishable by law unless the verbal abuse included threats of bodily harm or death. This is as it should be; otherwise, we'd all be in court, clogging the already overrun system due to abusive people's continual (mis)use of his or her freedom of speech. It is morally wrong for one person to emotionally, mentally, or verbally abuse their loved ones. I dare say that violating the mind and spirit of another person is the greatest sin anyone can commit. However, it is not within the court's reach to punish for it, and it is not within to court's reach to systematically remove victims from it, especially when they are not ready to leave.
    It is the former victims choice whether to become a survivor or to remain a victim, regardless of who the perpetrator of abuse may be. Whether or not you suffer abuse does not determine if you are a victim or a survivor. Each individual determines that label for themselves.

    September, 14 2012 at 10:40 am

    "true domestic violence"?? So unless your partner is controlling your money than there's not really domestic violence happening? I disagree completely.

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    Kellie Holly
    September, 15 2012 at 3:29 am

    Paula, I didn't say that anywhere in this article. I didn't say it because it isn't true. Not all victims of domestic violence experience financial abuse. If you found that quote on a different article, please tell me where it is so I can check the context.

    Linda M.
    August, 15 2012 at 4:26 am

    You don't address the financial bondage of attempting to leave.
    Let me preface this by first saying I have been a self-sufficient person all of my life and have never relied on others for my financial welfare.
    An abusive relationship that includes true domestic violence, financial abuse and mental abuse changes things.
    After my own experience with leaving my abuser after 4-1/2 months of marriage, I stayed at 3 different domestic violence shelters over the last 4 months. During this time I was extremely proactive with trying to help myself with housing (not knowing any of the processes at first), while also trying to land decent paying jobs. I secured 3 temporary/under paid jobs in this time of major upset and travel from city to city, but I was still forced to return to my abuser because the shelters did not do enough to help me find transitional housing and my time was "up" so I was forced to leave. (I was told by the last shelter that the only way out was for me to work, and that is what I did.)
    That's NOT how the system is supposed to work, however it's the bold truth of it.
    Kelly, I agree that those who do not want to be helped will not be, however I find this article grossly lacking in reality and guidance to those who DO want to get out and change their lives for the better.
    In my case, I have now become one of those statistics that I had cringed to think I would who returned. That was never in my vocabulary prior.
    I won't give up and will continue to secretly work on a plan if and when he leaves the house, which doesn't happen often or for long. (Know that all the options of friends/family, etc...are not an option for me.) In the meantime, I would like to see an article that addresses the financial challenges of leaving because in many cases, this is the true reason I and others must stay or return to the one person who never deserved our company to begin with.
    Thank you in advance,
    Linda M.

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    Kellie Holly
    August, 15 2012 at 6:11 am

    I can see how you related the earthquake story to an admonishment of "not leaving" or "returning home". I used the Red Cross as an example, and there are of course many large non-profits/shelters that are similar in scope and purpose to the Red Cross. It could appear that I am saying it is the victims fault when systems fail. It could appear that I think victims who return to their abusers have no excuse for doing so.
    For this possible perception, I apologize. I did not intent to admonish anyone for his or her choice to return "home". I certainly have no way to know of all possible financial situations, and I have no right to judge you or anyone else for what I think they did or didn't do in their efforts to remain free of their abuser. I did not intend to do so.
    I tried to get the point across that abuse is a mental prison. The only way out of abuse is to stop being a victim. Before you can stop being a victim, you must know you're being abused in the first place. But after you know, there are ways to escape the mental (and emotional) prison even if you cannot see your way out of the RELATIONSHIP. We escape the mental prison by reversing the bars - containing the abuse to the abuser instead of containing the abuse to ourselves.
    Perhaps I can better illustrate my point by using you as the example. You recognized the abuse. You fought hard to stay on your own. The systems in place did not support you long enough to see you through your transition. You returned to the abuser, but you are no longer a victim. You are a survivor.
    Linda, you escaped the prison of abuse. Although you are now back "home", your return does NOT diminish your knowledge of the abuse nor your ability to change your perception of it. I know you are in a TOUGH situation. I know you wish you'd had another option. I believe you are courageous, and I believe that you WILL succeed in finding PHYSICAL freedom just as you've found mental freedom.
    Linda, you've been through two excruciating choices, not one like I had to make. I only had to make the decision to leave. You made that one and the harder decision to return. You are right - it is a popular misperception that abused women return because they "love" the abuser. Sometimes we return because the only other choice is to make a life under a bridge.
    Again, I apologize for my lack of clarity. I will work on finding information about the problems of financial resources available to abused women.

    Leave a reply