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Why leaving an abusive marriage may feel almost impossible

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Protection From Abuse

The image that some people have of an abusive marriage is often one of clear-cut violence. Furthermore, many people believe that victims of abusive marriages ought to make an immediate decision to flee. But the reality of any abusive relationship may be far more complex.

In real life, many victims of an abusive marriage find it difficult to leave. Many people who stay in abusive relationships don’t do it because they lack courage. Most of the time, leaving an abusive partner can be a dangerous process. Furthermore, some may encounter emotional and financial barriers in their attempts to flee.

The cycle of abuse and the erosion of self-esteem

Contrary to popular belief, abusive marriages are rarely a constant state of violence. Most abuse partners follow a cyclical pattern, with periods of affection dotted with episodes of abuse. This can create confusion in the mind of the victim. Many end up clinging to the hope that one day, the abuse will stop once and for all.

It doesn’t help that many abusive partners and narcissists are skilled manipulators. They may gradually erode their victim’s self-esteem to a point where they may lose all hope of a better life. Narcissists may use isolation, threats and emotional abuse to make their victims believe that they cannot survive on their own. Manipulators can also use reverse psychology to make their victims think that they deserve the abuse. These manipulative tactics can leave victims feeling trapped and powerless.

Financial dependence and fear of the unknown

Many victims cannot fathom leaving an abusive relationship because they’re financially dependent on their partner. Most abusers just happen to be the ones who control the marriage’s finances, even if the victim also has a source of income.

This thorough oversight can make it difficult to covertly plan and save for an exit from the marriage. The fear of homelessness and poverty can be a compelling reason to continue enduring the abuse. This can be especially so for victims who have children. Furthermore, the fear and uncertainty of the unknown may be overwhelming, especially for those who have been isolated by their abuser.

When leaving a manipulative partner, divorce can be the beginning of yet another battle. As such, victims of abusive marriages can benefit from arming themselves with appropriate legal support. With sufficient legal arsenal, they can work to finally close this difficult chapter safely, and move on to a bigger and better life. To better ensure safety, contact with an attorney should be made via untraceable means, such as a burner phone or an email sent from an account unknown to the abuser on a public device such as a computer at a library.

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