Barriers to Leaving An Abusive Relationship

We’ve discussed why women stay, but what are some of the barriers the abuser may put in place to prevent the victim from leaving?

I can tell you that the average woman leaves seven times before she stays gone for good.  I lost track of the number of times I left. I know there were at least three serious attempts to leave.

So why did you go back you’re wondering?  These barriers are the reason.  The most prevalent being I had nowhere to go and no money.

So what are some of these factors?

  • Isolation—isolation from family, friends and even a work situation.  The less people to reach out to, the less aware the victim is of the help that may be available. The victim feels all alone.  This happened with me.

    Isolation

    Isolation

  • Fear—the abuser may threaten to hurt or harm the victim, a child or someone special to the victim.  The abuser may also threaten sole custody of any children or attempt to kidnap them.
  • Financial dependence—the abuser may prevent the victim from working or seeking an education.  If the victim does work, the abuser may take the entire paycheck and leave little to none in the form of an allowance.  This really leaves a woman struggling and wondering what to do and where to go with no money or source of income.
  • Emotional breakdowns—the abusers often know how to psychologically break down the victim’s emotional stability and self-esteem.  In time, the victim will begin to believe the lies the abuser has instilled into their psyche.
  • Impairment—if the victim has any type of disability or impairment this can make the dependence on the victim greater and compound the situation.
  • Individual belief system—culture and religious values are often woven into the victim’s makeup and personality.  I believe that God ordained marriage and struggled greatly with divorce.  I tried everything humanly possible to make my hoperelationship work.  I cried out to God for help on a daily {often hourly} basis.  I struggled with my own beliefs in realizing this relationship would not work, was not healthy and my belief that I was going against God’s will.  Through much prayer, God showed me this relationship wasn’t healthy and I needed to leave.
  • Hope—most people want to believe that things will get better.  I know I did.  I believed that if I became the person my abuser wanted me to be, the abuse would end.  No matter how much I gave and tried to change, it was never enough.  I eventually believed that things were never going to get better no matter how much I tried.  Also, not every minute is bad.  The good times can be very good and overshadow the bad times {depending on how bad they happen}.  The victim holds on to the memories of the good times.

    Lack of Resources and financial dependence

    Lack of Resources and financial dependence

  • Guilt and/or shame—often the abuser makes the victim think the abuse is their fault.  If only they would do x, y, z or were “better”.  The victim rarely wants others to know she is being abused.  She feels that it is her fault.  The abuser often has different personalities around others.
  • Disbelief—there are times when the abuser puts on such a “good face” that friends and family do not believe the victim.  This is more prevalent when the abuser is in a role of authority such as law enforcement, clergy, politics, etc.
  • Lack of Resources—often there is a lack of resources in the area where the victim is living.  Some resources only receive minimal funding and are able to afford to help a limited number of victims.  This makes it very difficult to leave a domestic violent situation.
  • Culture hurdles—some cultures belief that you stay “no matter what.” Unfortunately, there are still cultures that belief the man is the “head of the household” and women are to “submit” to their husband regardless of what he does to her.  {When I say “submit” I’m not talking about the way God asks us to submit.}

What are some barriers you can think of that might prevent a person from leaving an abusive relationship?

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Barriers to Leaving An Abusive Relationship

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