The question I’m most often asked about domestic violence is, “Why don’t they leave?” There are lots of reasons: money, fear, the belief that you’re safer if you know what the abuser is doing/thinking, staying together for the benefit of the kids, and love.
Sometimes there’s social pressure to stay together-- from family, friends, and well intentioned acquaintances. From the outside looking in a relationship may look very happy. An abuser may be known as a nice guy...or gal. Those helpful friends and family just may not see or understand the daily torment of living with fear, intimidation and control. Sometimes the pressure can even come from people in the home. Kids don’t necessarily see the “Abuser”, they see a person they love deeply-- a person they hug and call “Dad”... or “Mom.” When the parent who is abused leaves to protect themselves and their family, they aren’t’ necessarily hailed as a hero; in fact, may get backlash, resistance and resentment for a long time. Here's the story of a mom who said, "No More." "No More." You'd think some would have pinned a medal on her for her courage when she left. That didn't happen back then; in fact she's still apologizing for all the little things she couldn't provide.
But years later there's something she can be really proud of. She raised a daughter with strength, smarts, and gratitude for a mother who , "...healed my wounds, and made me an independent, hard-working mother who knows what real love feels like." That's way better than a medal.
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