Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Economic dependence
Who will support me and the children?
Parenting
Wanting a second parent for the children.
Religious belief
Pressure to keep the family together.
Extended family
Pressure to keep the family together.
Fear of being alone and on one's own
Fear that I can't cope with home and children by myself.
Loyalty
If partner had cancer, I'd stick with him/her.
Pity
Partner is really so much worse off than I am. I feel sorry for him/her.
Rescue complex
If I stay, I can "save" him/her, help him/her get better.
Fear of his/her suicide
Partner says he/she will kill him/herself if I leave.
Denial
It is really not so bad.
Love
I love him/her, and he/she is often quite loving and lovable when he/she is not being abusive.
Duty
I said I would stay married to him/her "till death do us part".
Guilt
I feel and partner claims that the marital problems are my fault; I caused his/her difficulties and his/her problems.
Responsibility
It is up to me to work things out and save the marriage.
Shame, Embarrassment, Humiliation
I don't want anyone to know.
Security
Belief in the American dream of growing up and living happily ever after.
Identity
Many people feel that they need a partner in order to be complete.
Optimism
Things will get better.
Low self-esteem
It must be my fault, I must deserve it, I'll never find anyone better. A little love is better than no love at all.
Sex role conditioning
This is just the way men/women are.
Survival
Fear about my own physical safety if I leave because he/she has threatened to find me, and to kill me, the kids, and/or my family.
cycle of domestic violence - everything circles around denial

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