When many people hear that someone is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, their first question is, “Why don’t they leave?” If you’ve never been through an abusive relationship, this sort of response might seem logical. Just throw the deuces up and move on with your life – right? But here’s the thing – when it comes to relationship abuse, it’s never as easy as “just leaving.” We’re here to tell you why.
1. Society normalizes unhealthy behavior so people may not understand that their relationship is abusive.
When you think that unhealthy or abusive behaviors are normal, it’s hard to identify your relationship as abusive and therefore there’s no reason to seek help.
2. Emotional abuse destroys your self-esteem, making it feel impossible to start fresh.
Oftentimes, people in emotionally abusive relationships may not understand that they are being abused because there’s no violence involved. Also, many will dismiss or downplay emotional abuse because they don’t think it’s as bad as physical abuse. It’s hard for those in abusive relationships to leave their partners after they’ve continuously been made to feel worthless and like there’s no better option for themselves.
3. The Cycle of Abuse: after every abusive incident comes a make-up honeymoon phase.
Often when an abusive situation happens, it is followed by the abuser doing something nice or apologizing and promising that they will never do it again. This makes their partner minimize the original abusive behavior.