7 Deadly Sins of Leacing and Abusive Relationship
There are a lot of things I see women do that hurt their ability to have a clean break from their abuser. Domestic Violence is no joking matter, and the damage that is done can leave you feeling so lost and hopeless.
We are going to talk about the 7 things that I have seen women do that make it even more difficult for them to break away from toxic relationships.
- Feeling Guilty
- Making excuses
- Lashing Out
- Not Setting Strong Boundaries
- Allowing Him Time to Explain Himself
- Not seeking God for Guidance
Repeat after me “I left so I can be safe. I left so I can be safe. I left so I can be safe.” You likely left so your children can be safe too. This is an honorable thing to do. Removing yourself and your children from an abusive home is something to be proud of.
Feelings of guilt can easily set in. And because you are the one that left, you may feel like you are the one who gave up on the relationship. Or that you are wrong for not choosing to work things out.
The truth is, dear girl, is that if he was gentle and not controlling then you could have stayed. That was his action, not yours, that ruined the relationship. You are only responsible for your actions.
It’s okay to lay the responsibility at his feet. In fact, it is good.
If you are anything like me you probably begged him to get help and to change, but he also had a choice.
This one kind of piggybacks off of the one above. I feel it is so important though, so much that it deserves its one section.
Part of making the person actually responsible is choosing to not make things easier on them. This often happens in the form of making excuses for them. This can look like “Well, he had a really rough childhood.” “He is just used to treating me that way.” “He’s just so worried that he will lose me.” “He does it because he loves me.”
You are doing him no favors by excusing his behavior. Real change happens when they are allowed to take responsibility for themselves.
Thinking of your abuser fondly can be a way of continuing his abuse. It is pure emotional turmoil to turn from someone who hurt you, and while you are trying to heal you remember all the good times. This is exactly what makes so many women, myself included, return to their abuser.
Did you know that it takes a woman an average of 7 times to leave her abuser? For some it's more, and others less than that.
Be honest with yourself about how things were. Be aware that abuse gets worse over time, not better.
Let’s be real: when you spend years of your life in bondage, it is normal to feel like it’s finally time to stand up for yourself. You likely feel a little liberated too, from escaping. This is a deadly trap to fall into.
I have seen so many women (and have done it myself) try to prove that they are strong by telling their abusers off. They want to convince him that they know his strategy, prove that they are strong and eager to get him out of their lives.
Fight the urge to do this! Not only does it fuel his fire to get back in control, but it also is often used as a tool against you in court.
The best come back is giving him no chance to control you again, and remaining in control over yourself.
Not Setting Strong Boundaries
THIS IS HARD!!! But I know you can do it. A boundary is where one thing begins and another ends. A boundary in a relationship shows what you are comfortable with and what is appropriate.
Here are a few examples...
- You can draw a boundary by saying you will only talk about the kids through TalkingParents. But he keeps trying to call you and leaves you messages about how he misses you so much. The boundary is established by ignoring the calls and only engaging in conversations that you know are necessary.
- You can draw a boundary by calling the police when he violates a restraining order.
Know what you are and are not comfortable with. Know where you begin and where you end.
Allowing Him Time to Explain Himself
You will hear it time and again. “Just let me talk to you so I can explain.” Or “I just need to tell you how sorry I am.”
Remember the numbness you felt when you were with him? Like you were stuck in a fog that didn’t allow you to see or navigate your way through. That will all come over you again, it did for me, and so many others I have worked with.
I think of it like this. When crabs molt, they shed their outer shell to allow them to grow. Underneath the hard shell, their new shell is forming. The new shell takes a couple of days to harden before it is able to protect the crab from danger. While the crab has a soft exterior, it is in a lot of danger from other animals and even people. But as soon as the new shell has increased in size and hardened, the crab is both bigger than before and protected.
Think of yourself as having a soft shell and in need of protection from your abuser, and anyone in his corner.
It takes a lot longer than a couple of days for an abused woman to strengthen her shell.
Not Seeking God for Guidance
So many “Christian” teachings make so many women feel like God will be mad at them if they leave their abusive marriage. The truth is that God sees, He cannot be fooled, He knows exactly what is going on.
You were created by God, he defines you- not your abuser.
Things to Remember on Your Journey
Be kind to yourself during this time.
Allow yourself time to heal and grow.
Celebrate small successes.
Embrace the journey- God is doing a new work.