Submitted by: Amanda, Survivor
On average, it takes seven attempts to leave before a victim successfully exits an abusive relationship. There are many reasons why exiting is so difficult. Some victims may not want to break their family apart or rely on the abusive partner to survive. Others hold out hope that the abuser will change or, because they believe the abuse is their fault, think it is possible to change something about themselves to make the abuse stop.
Even if there has been no physical violence in the relationship or if the victim has been quietly planning their exit, leaving is still incredibly dangerous. Amanda shares with us why she kept going back to her abuser, what happened when he realized that she was finally leaving, and where she is now.
As is usually the case, Amanda says that the man who abused her was an amazing person when they first met. She was thankful and in shock that a man could be so good to her. Slowly but surely, things changed. He was quick to get angry with her and had no patience with her child.
When Amanda’s family would come over, he became angry and said horrible things about them. He also started to manipulate and gaslight her, and she eventually started thinking that her family was the problem. Later, Amanda agreed to move out of state with a man that would continue mental abuse and cause her more pain as time passed.
Amanda recalled that she tried to leave him multiple times. Each time she left, he would sweet-talk her into coming back. The abuse was escalating, and Amanda found herself becoming increasingly angry with the situation she was in. She started fighting back, and he hated it.
Slowly, Amanda started to separate herself from him. She carefully planned with a way to leave and began seeing a counselor while he was at work. Although Amanda was gaining confidence and self-esteem, she was able to convince him that she was still completely into their relationship and committed to him long-term.
Finally, when he realized she was leaving, they had the worst fight they had ever had. Amanda was scared to death that she was not going to make it out alive. She desperately tried to figure out how to call the police while he assaulted her while she held their baby in her arms. Amanda cried and screamed for someone to save her.
Once she was finally able to get to a phone, Amanda called 911 and tried to protect her baby from the attack. She begged the person on the line to help her and recalls that waiting for help to arrive felt like an eternity. The fear from that night was enough to keep her from ever returning to her abuser. The next day, Amanda filed for divorce, full custody of the children, and an order of protection; she was granted everything she requested.
“That night was the last time I have ever had to talk to or see my abuser. Now, I’m getting counseling and learning how a healthy relationship progresses. I’m also seeing an amazing man that treats my children and me with respect. Most importantly, I feel safe.
“The old me spent three years craving the safety that I have now. I’m lucky to have made it out alive. Just remember, every time you try to leave and go back is not a reason to quit trying. Get out – there is a way.”
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
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