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Why did I waste so long in an abusive relationship? Why was I not brave enough to walk away?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 02/27/2018 at 7:49pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Ann Brooks, MSW, LICSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Thank you for your interest! I am a LICSW licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I’m here to listen and I look forward to working with you.

Top Rated Answers
Enk33
October 5th, 2015 12:56am
I believe that there are so many reasons here. Maybe you just held hope, the hope that was deep inside you, thinking it would not happen again. Maybe it was love, you thought the one you fell in love, and saw at first might come out. Maybe it was impossible, Impossible for you to walk away, you thought. But you overcame it, controlled yourself, and walked away. Now just put a smile on your face and walk forward, to YOUR future. Good luck! :)
Anonymous
April 23rd, 2015 12:38am
Abusive relationships are complex things that effect us physically, emotionally and mentally. They deplete us of our strength, make us doubt everything about ourselves. It was not a question of not being brave, and the time was not wasted if you learned some of the warning signs of an abusive person and know what to look for in the future.
Anonymous
August 3rd, 2015 1:36am
Abusers work very hard to make you think that the relationship is normal and the best you're going to get, and that you're crazy and selfish for wanting anything better. Even if you start out completely healthy and strong and feeling great about yourself, this is going to wear you down and make you doubt yourself. Also, the longer you stay, the more normal it will start to seem, even if it upsets you and even when you know that individual things they do are crazy and out of line. And of course they also do their best to scare you into staying. It's really not surprising at all that people stay, especially considering the number of abusers who stalk and even murder their exes.
tammy0hopeisreal
October 11th, 2015 10:32pm
Relationships are shades of gray. We would all like to ideally think that one situation will definitely lead to an instant break up. But once we're in a relationship, it is much harder to let go of someone who you also share good moments with. Being in a relationship also makes it harder to decide on certain issues, such as a breakup, and there may be manipulation involved in the other party. I know that it hurts looking back on things that you wished you could've changed, but we are all only human, and the best things we can do is handle future relationships differently. Don't blame yourself.
mjibarra
October 27th, 2015 4:43pm
People when they are in long typically only see the good in their other! It is hard to do the right thing when you're madly in love with them!
Anonymous
December 21st, 2015 2:55am
We all ask ourselves this question. I was in an abusive relationship for three years. We all ask why we stayed, why didn't we leave? It is because we wanted to believe the person whenever they said they wouldn't do it again or we worried if we did leave how would we pay our bills, what would happen to our animals, what would happen to our kids? It's a struggle. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WERE NOT BRAVE. You were brave. You were always brave.
grumpymama
February 2nd, 2016 3:20pm
It's not about being brave. It's about being scared. Many people in an abusive relationship don't leave because not only has the abuse been physical it has also been emotional. Abusers like to keep their victims in a state of feeling worthless. They like to make their victims feel all the blame about the situation. The important thing is to remain strong in your belief of self worth, always remember that you do not deserve to be treated that way.
Harquinn909
March 11th, 2016 4:38pm
They always say hindsight is 20/20. You may not have realized that the relationship was so abusive while you were in it. Abusive behaviors may have just been accepted as normal in that relationship. The important thing is that you realize now that it was abusive and that gives you something to learn from. As for not being "brave" enough.. when you've been abused by someone who has your trust it can be tremendously hard to build up the courage to leave. When you had the courage, you left, and that shows how strong you really are.
Randy1
February 25th, 2015 8:15pm
It sounds like you are talking about a relationship in the past tense, which suggest that you did in fact have the courage to walk away. Good for you! Sometimes it takes awhile to see that a relationship is unhealthy.
MelissaElissa17
April 6th, 2015 2:19am
I think you did not walk away in an abusive relationship because maybe you were afraid to let go and you still have feelings for that person and you did not want to feel alone. Sometimes people just don't know how to get out of an unhealthy relationship and are in denial or doubting about some things. People think they can still fix something that is broken.
Anonymous
April 25th, 2015 5:42pm
No I think you just loved him/her too much that you can't even leave him/her. That's even brave - er than you could ever imagine
Anonymous
May 22nd, 2015 5:16pm
You only feel that you weren't brave enough. In all truth, you felt that there was a reason you needed to be in the relationship. You felt that you could make a difference. You did by finally walking away. You showed that you are stronger than how you felt during the relationship.
Anonymous
July 13th, 2015 11:12pm
Ending a relationship is extremely difficult and sometimes it takes some time before we are ready and able to do it. It doesn't mean that the person who wasn't ready to end it wasn't brave enough- I would say it requires a lot of bravery to be in that kind of relationship in the first place.
Anonymous
August 17th, 2015 8:15pm
You feltlike you could change that person, that they was special enough to change, and then you felt like if you left you wouldn't be able to find someonelse. Were always afraid to let go that part of ourselves that not needed anymore.
Anonymous
September 1st, 2015 8:35am
Because you were in love. That's why you didnt walk away. you're not the only one who's done something like this. many other eople are afraid to walk away as well.
beautifulCandy40
September 15th, 2015 1:19am
You thought they would change and be better later , so you waited but nothing changed. You thought you were in love and couldn't see yourself without them.
Maisie4y
October 6th, 2015 2:09pm
The fact that you did walk away means you are braver than you ever knew. It can be so hard to get out of those toxic situations, and so hard to know what to do after. Now you can look forward to the future.
courageousPond53
November 17th, 2015 8:50pm
You tell yourself that they are going to change or hopes of them changing. He/She loves me is the most common.
TellMeImListening
December 15th, 2015 6:32pm
Maybe when you were being abused it wasn't rock bottom for you. Whatever happened that made you wake up and realize it was enough is what you needed. Hopefully you can use that relationship as a lesson for the future.
charmingHeart92
March 1st, 2016 12:00pm
Most probably, it is not the question of bravery to walk away, its the strength of commitment towards the relationship. so, no worries for that past time. lie is very kindful, and gives a number of chances to live our life happily. so, cheer up and enjoy the present and plan well for the future.
Anonymous
March 14th, 2016 1:57pm
Sometimes we all just want to be in a relationship and if you just left maybe you thought you wouldnt ever be in a relationship again...just like stephen chbosky said we accept the love we think we deserve.
lipsticklez
April 4th, 2016 5:30pm
They made you feel intimidated it's hard to Crack out of your she'll when you're always being put down wich leads to isolation, feeling low, depression and exceptance
Greatlistener87
April 25th, 2016 2:05am
There can be many reasons. Sometimes it could be that you feel that you deserve it. Sometimes you have the fear to leave thinking that it will only get worst and etc. Whatever the reason nobody deserves a abusive relationship. Walk out of it as soon as you know. You deserve better.
Anonymous
June 14th, 2016 12:38am
It's not your fault , we tend to be in abusive relationships out of fear of leaving what we know for something unknown. You shouldn't blame yourself.
Vincentg
August 9th, 2016 11:41pm
For me, I believe bad situations including abusive push you to erase your feeling and emotion for yourself. Sooner or later the abuse is the only thing that causes you to feel. So you crave it so it wasn't that you were Brave. In fact I would argue your bravery was found in dealing with it for so long. We want to feel, and if pain is all we can feel we will crave it.
cosyheart21
September 19th, 2016 3:09am
It's scary to walk away in any relationship, regardless of the circumstances. You have a partner that at one point or another, you had complete trust in, and cared about immensely. It's hard to walk away from that, despite everything. It's just so important to remember that you deserve the very best, and to put yourself and your happiness first.
Anonymous
March 14th, 2017 6:42am
It can be tough to notice the warning signs when you are in an abusive relationship. People in abusive relationships tend to normalize abusive or negative behavior and words from their partner. There may be threats or fears involved in not being able to walk away. Sometimes a shared living situation or familiarity can cause trouble walking away.
thetamoon09
November 13th, 2017 1:29pm
Ohh, but you are. You are brave. And strong. That person isn't anymore in your life. You walked out. You were probably scared initially. Scared at the loneliness that would entail once you left the familiarity of your relationship. Maybe, whenever you thought of leaving your partner would ask for just another chance. And you gave in because you believed that deep down, that person truly cared for you. But you learnt to see through the veil, didn't you? You learnt that you need to take care of yourself. Waste of time, probably yes. But you learnt a valuable lesson. Never again would you let anyone treat you like a doormat. You're brave. Never let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Anonymous
February 19th, 2018 7:09pm
You must have been scared to face the consequences. Every human being is scared to change, but don't worry, everybody would be scared.
Anonymous
February 19th, 2018 7:42pm
It could be that you were afraid of them, or felt deep in your heart that you needed them. But, do not worry. You are not weak for staying with them- many people find it shard to leave. Yet, you are brave for enduring it this long.