Why didn’t she leave?

I stayed in an abusive marriage for 11 years because I was afraid.
Today’s media soundbite is shocking to me. “Why didn’t she leave?” As though it were her fault that she was married to an abusive man and caught in the cycle of abuse. If people are so curious then why don’t the just do a little research and ask. Time to stop blaming the victim folks.

Dear Google,
Why doesn’t she leave?
Signed,
Uneducated (but willing to learn)

Today a particular couple is in the spotlight. The only reason this couple is making headlines is because the man is being punished financially for his abusive behavior. This is just one couple, but I assure you that this is not an isolated case. This is happening in so many homes every single day. One in four women will experience domestic violence within her lifetime. The statistics are staggering and these are the cases we know about. Most women don’t report their abuse. Did you know that almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner? That domestic violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year? That the cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services? That domestic violence victims lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates last year? This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence. Finally, there are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion last year.

PhyVio

So, why didn’t she just leave? Why didn’t I just leave? Please feel free to insert your mother, sister or daughters name here because it very easily could be anyone. If this can happen to me then it most certainly can happen to you. What you need to understand is that domestic violence systematically breaks down a persons sense of self. It doesn’t start with a knock out in an elevator. It is much more seductive than that. It creeps in slowly and knows how to bend and manipulate the mind of a person who is truly trying to love. Simply put, it is a “mind fuck”. We have seen kidnapping victims fall into life with their abductors and fail to run away when presented with a clear opportunity. When you are living in the middle of a situation like this there are so many factors that prevent you from leaving, but the main underlying issue is often Stockholm syndrome (trauma bonding). This suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be perceived as a threat. This is also known as survival to the abused.

Allow me to give you some bullet points on some of the reasons why:

1. Fear.
2. Love
3. No self worth & depression
4. Afraid of escalating violence if the police don’t intervene and help you.
5. Threats of harm to you and your children if you leave (extended family and pets too).
6. No access to leave.
7. Your ability to cope is completely caught up in the dysfunctional situation and so you pray for the storm to pass.
8. No outside support
9. Financial dependency
10. Religious beliefs
11. Shame
12. etc. etc. etc.

What people don’t seem to understand is the cycle of violence pulls a person in much like a riptide does in the surf. It takes hold of you and before you realize that you are being pulled out too deep and with too much force; you are already way out in the water and over your head, exhausted, terrified, with no safety net, and no clear way out. You panic. I have seen this happen time and time again, and I have lived it. You are supposed to swim parallel to the shore and out of harms way. You know this, but yet as you get pulled under you panic and in this moment you can’t think in a straight line. Many people drown every year in riptides. Many women die at the hand of their abusers every year.

I come from an educated upper middle class family. My parents have been married for over 50 years. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to women like me or so I thought. Like I have said before, if this can happen to me it an happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter, or a friend. Domestic Violence does not discriminate against gender, religious, race, or socio-economic lines. It is ruthless and it is far reaching. Domestic violence is a generational cycle. It is taught by the parent and passed down to the child who in turn marries and repeats the whole scenario. While domestic violence can happen to all people the likelihood of it being a woman is far higher. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year and 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Social gender roles, economics, traditions, and religious ideals contribute to this perpetuating cycle.

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The recent video is a public display of brute force on an unsuspecting victim. Never forget that this is a violent act on a woman by a man who is supposed to love and care about her enough to want to marry her (or is it “own” her?) Imagine what it must be like for her at home if he is so free to dole out his punches in public like that? Too bad for him that she didn’t get right back up and that the cameras were rolling. My question to the greater public is “What did you think domestic violence looked like?” The answer is that it looks just like this and it continue to look just like this right down to her statement in the news apologizing for her part in the ordeal. It continues with her posts to social media asking why people are turning this into such a media circus and crucifying her husband. She will continue with the script and by the grace of God maybe, just maybe one day she will get out alive. Maybe she can break the cycle.

If you ask a survivor about the cycle they will not only tell you how it worked for them, but how it felt, and how it still feels years after they have fled to safety. Why did I stay? I was terrified that my ex husband would follow through on his threats to kill me, our children, and members of my extended family. Imagine that burden? Knowing that your mother and children were in harms way. Knowing that a person can hate you so much that they would derive joy from watching you suffer over the murder of your own children? This was and is still very much my reality. Yes I know it is a hard pill to swallow, however what you must know is that it isn’t always just easy to walk away. You need to have a plan. You need support, a place to go, and you need to be prepared for your abuser to not let go. Exiting the relationship is the most unsafe time for a victim. As the abuser senses that they’re losing power, they will often act in dangerous ways to regain control over their victim. Stalking is a very real part of the aftermath of domestic violence and one of the reasons that so many women return home after they have left. On average, it takes a victim seven times to leave before staying away for good. I still must live in the shadows with my children in the attempt to stay out of harms way. I had to give up a lot to survive. Freedom is not something that I take lightly. The next time you hear someone say, “Why didn’t she just leave?” Think of me and what I have written here. I hope that I don’t have to expand on all the bloody details to get people to listen and heed my warning: This can happen to you.

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1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

47 thoughts on “Why didn’t she leave?

  1. Fabulous!! So glad you published this. I was in the same situation for many years. It explains EXACTLY how I felt. Thank you so much for this. I was so happy to receive it and I will definitely share.

  2. Dear Ella, i want to thank you for spreading the word. This might be triggering for many but for others hopefully it will be a switch button. You are an example of freedom and hope. Tears of gratefulness for your words penetrate through the wall of silence and shame. Amen.

  3. Thank You for this….I too stayed…too long…having left him only last year…dv was only part of his issues…addiction to meth being the biggest…I never used but I went through terrible times when he’d come down.He was most abusive then. I even injured him fighting back and still went back after I lost my kids, went to jail for stabbing him, and lost more, I was in college studying to be a teacher. I have felony domestic violence on my otherwise spotless record. He was charming, and manipulative. He begged me back…it is only in the last few years that I really heard how are relationship damaged our daughters, their truth was mine. I just believed he would change….if only…I told myself. I am finally free from that mindset..I am taking it day by day..but 23 years was too long. I see myself in Janay, apologizing for her part.Something I used to do. Its personal she says…tell that to all the women in prison, who’ve defended themselves, tell that to the kids that grow up in the chaos of dv, tell th st to the women who’ve died at the hands of their abuser, because no one wanted to get involved. #domesticviolencesurvivor

    1. I am so glad that you finally got out of that prison. It’s really mind blowing to look back and see how far you have come. Take the time to dig deep and really heal. You are so worth it and your girls will see you turn it all around and that is so very powerful xo Ella

  4. thanks for posting this. My roller coaster was much less severe, but also very hard to decide to get out. My mind is still twisted wondering if I was in the wrong……..and he is always sweet to everyone else in his life.

    Do you have any posts or thoughts on how to raise our children (especially girls) to see the signs early… or to be somehow strong enough to see through someone like that? To not get involved… etc? Is it luck? Does one just teach the signs? Or is there a way to raise them to be assertive, strong and able to step out early on if they see signs?
    Thanks again and blessings to you!

    1. Oh my friend I am so glad that you got out for your sake and your girls! First of all…you are not wrong. You deserve to be loved and respected so never second guess yourself.
      As far as teaching our youth about this…YES. You must teach them first and foremost through your actions and how you allow others to treat you. You must be very open and straight with them…encourage and love them. Also, you can teach them to revere their bodies as temples and not to give them away to anyone. There are red flags to look for and I have a series on them in the Rebel Thriver album called Red Flags. Teach them to be aware. Kind and solid on their feet. Teach them that they must rely upon themselves first and foremost.
      I hope I helped a bit…pop back over and let me know how its going! xo Ella

  5. Excellent article Ella. I am one of the many; stayed for 21 years in a bad marriage that produced three children with an abusive alcoholic, then got out and chose badly a second time and stayed another 19 years with a man that was addicted to…well, every vice you can think of. Why? Because I was addicted to these two men, and I thought my love was strong enough to overcome their issues…I thought I could fix them. It took me forty years to realize I can only fix myself, no other.

  6. Thank you Ella. This is a fantastic article. I grew up in a slightly abusive family, mental abuse, and I know of someone that was in an abusive marriage. I have shared this article to get this wonderful knowledge out there to as many people as possible.

  7. (This just came up on my facebook newsfeed as I’m subscribed to various P.T.S.D pages, and in reading it, I completely understand that these words, here written, are from true experience!)

    I can relate to, and totally sympathise with everything in this article, and, to read it, it weighs down my heart to read of someone elses experiences and gut-felt emotion’s about the effects of abusive treatment from a/loved one’s. Especially the parts describing the reaction’s of those who do not have an idea of how a person can ‘put themselves’ in these situations whilst appearing to do nothing to ‘get out’!
    The ‘public’ almost become as feared as the ‘abuser/s’, and can also cause as much heart-break and mental damage as the ‘abuser/s’, so therefore, this reaction creates yet another vicious cycle of so-called ‘self-destruction’, and furthermore another layer of self-satisfying security, in the ‘abuser/s’ mind (and another ‘tool’ to use) and another layer of deep-found despair in the mind and heart of the SURVIVOR.

    (I choose to use the word SURVIVOR as opposed to victim, because to be in such destructive relationship’s the survivor has to curate ways to emotionally, mentally and physically live within such rigid and burdening constraints, for themselves, their children, their livelyhood, etc, etc, etc… And also to keep the wheels turning, in order to prevent any major catostrophic event ripping ‘the peace’ into oblivion, for the well-being and smooth-running of the lives of everyone else within our close circle’s, out of fear of effecting anybody elses ‘equilibrium’, as well as their own.)

    I am really glad that the writer found the strength and grit to ‘get out’, finally, and I also know that the effects of such tyranny and emotionless treatment, from others, can have very persistent repurcusion’s for extended period’s, way past the ‘end’ of these era’s and experiences.
    But I always say this (and know it to be the truth to situations in which the ‘public eye’ does not have any real experience within these particular constraints)…..
    “PEOPLE JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND THOSE THINGS OF WHICH THEY HAVE NOT BEEN THROUGH THEMSLEVES.”

    (Or is that just me identifying with ‘the abuser/s’ again???)

    Very well written REBEL THRIVER!!
    PEACE, LOVE AND LIGHT.

    I hope that eventually, when you have spent enough time to heal for yourself and your own well-being, you can lay your ghosts to rest!

    1. Emmzi,
      Thank you so much for your response and I can tell that you too have truly tasted this bitter apple. I think that the reason this is such a hard thing for people to wrap their heads around unless they live it. I think they can feel more understanding towards a captive under another circumstance. What they don’t realize is the DV is a prison and your abuser is your warden.
      I have been out for years and I am at peace. The recent events in the news just gave me a reactionary jolt and I had to write to try to get people to understand and to try to reach other women.
      You are right that it does take time…lots of time to get yourself somewhere to okay. Lots of work and lots of self love. I appreciate your comments and send you massive love and light today. xo Ella

    1. Chandra,
      I don’t know your situation, but in my experience the only way for a woman to move on and try to find herself in the midst of all the chaos is to leave him go. I know that I had to do this. xo Ella

    2. @Chandra. =)
      Hello.
      =)

      I was still ‘friends’ with one of the people who was trying to ‘sabotage’ my well-being, for a whole year after we ‘split up’.
      Unfortunately, but also fortunately, the harrassment didn’t stop. (As you see, the threats I underwent all seemed to be coming from ‘invisible enemies’; stuff happening to my house; my security breached; eveidence of activity within my house when I had returned home from being out for duration’s.) As I continued to keep a ‘friendly’ contact with this certain individual, my circumstances took a very dark turn for the worse, and I found myself the furthest out of my depth as I had ever felt, in my whole existence. This time, family and friends had begun to judge me wrongly and turn their backs on my plight and terror.
      Had it not been for this continued contact, though, I would never have been able to decipher the fact that this individual was very much involved with a lot of the ‘turn for the worse’ situations I was ever more saddened at finding myself in, during that year!

      MY ADVICE TO YOU CHANDRA, IS TO AVOID ANY CONTACT WITH HIM LIKE YOU WOULD AVOID CROSSING THE ROAD DURING PEAK TIME RUSH HOUR….
      If he is persisting that you keep contact he is only scared of losing out on the ‘inside info’ he needs to be able tyo continue with his control over your existence!!!!!

      Peace.

      1. I agree Emmzi. Ultimately if someone is abusing you why would you want to remain in contact? I know that is a rational question to an irrational situation and you might not see it clearly. SO, take our advice of hard gleaned wisdom and cut him out of your life for good.
        xo Ella

  8. i am a survivor of 30➕ yrs of multiple relationships that were abusive both phsical an more importantly emotionally!! i was reduced to A NOTHING-NOBODY!! beaten repeditively in everyway daily i stayed… being told i was nothing had nothing an never would be anything without them took root in my mind an was fed everyday….. an that turned into my belief…. its a paralizing situation, you live in constant fear….fear to stay fear to leave….fear to live….an more importantly the fear of dieing!!! u never know from one day to the next what in store. it debilitates you, i felt frozen…. i was living in a prison of their making an couldnt find the key to release myself. an when they got bored stabbing my emotions with their perverted words brought great pleasure an saticfaction….. i wasnt anything more than a possession a toy….an when the toy was so broken that it was beyond repair…..the toy got tossed… it is brutal an the cruelest form of abuse…to be disscared like a piece of garbage!!! today i have learned that it wasnt me, it wasnt anything i did to these men….. i didt pick them….they r assailants…they seek out women like myself who are easily manipulated an easily used because we are genuinely caring an they know they can get away with it for their own personal gain an saticfation….. these men are incredibly sick an i know its so hard to leave…but here is what i realized……..my fear of staying grew greater then my fear of leaving….at least if i left i had a fighting chance to get my life back an take away their power!!!!! so ladies please take that chance your life depends on it…an remember this YOUR WORTH IT!!!!!! THEY ARE NOT!!!!!!

    1. Terrie, Thank you so much for sharing your story. Everything you wrote is true. They are assailants and they prey on women who are givers. Couple this with a low sense of worth on the woman’s part and it is a recipe for disaster. I am so sorry that you had to suffer for so long, but you have made it out and now by sharing your words you can help another woman get out. The ” fear of staying grew greater then my fear of leaving” was the turning point for me too. So often that moment comes in an instant with no prior warning or preparation. If you feel it then you have to follow your gut, find the closest exit sign and run! The core is to know your self worth because there are people who will feel much better about themselves to make you feel bad and day after day of being told you are shit you will start to believe it. Sending you love and light. xo Ella

  9. Hello my sweet,
    Your timing could not be better love, thank you thank you for this. My heart is full of hope today because of your words of strength and wisdom. I love you more than words and miss your amazingly beautiful soul. I am trying so very hard to find ME again, fighting not only for myself but for my incredible children who deserve to have a life full of joy.
    Thank you again for your words.
    You are absolutely MAGICAL and so loved more than you will ever know.
    I love you!
    Carrie

    1. My sweet sweet Carrie!!!!! I have missed you so very much!!!! Please Please contact me. I want to talk and I want to make you smile. Your message seems a bit cryptic to me and I am praying that everything is really okay. You know I am ALWAYS here for you…any day, and time…I love you so very very much!!! xo

  10. You are right on every level – both men and women fall into this category. I feel very strongly about this and the furor of opinions that prompted this blog post. I’ve typed my opinion and erased it several times, thinking I don’t want to get involved in this mess of opinions. Violence in any form is a huge trigger for me and I’m sick to my stomach remembering my childhood. What I have to say has to be said, and it is a very minuscule piece of the whole emotional, physical, and mental baggage of what I and many others have endured. ~~~~~~~~ My mother had many relationships and each one was abusive in some form or another – physical, emotional, mental, financial, etc… My mother never learned from it, she didn’t change her behavior, she didn’t grow, she gave up, she quit on herself and thus her children. She died an alcoholic. I heard things a child should never hear, I felt the electric emotions whirling around me like snowflakes in a blizzard, I grew up witnessing and absorbing the abuse. I became the maid and doctor. Cleaning up the mess of the violence and fixing my mother. It was a horrible living nightmare. I remember it all and vowed to never become involved in a relationship like that – I vowed to never behave like my mother – she was the instigator, the abuser, and the victim all in one. She was the victim because she always ended up with broken bones or blood gushing out of some cut on her face, but mostly because she was a woman. I remember every time a situation escalated to violence it was partly because of my mothers behavior. For no reason a child could ever understand she would begin to nit pick her significant other and it always started innocently – as a joke – that as we all know is really just a cover. But none the less, she would start with the nit picking, then the finger in the face, then the poking of the chest, then the pushing and then the yelling, and him trying his best to get out of the way, but eventually ending up fighting back with as much vigor as she was putting out, and then it would end with me calling the police because she had just gotten the crap beat out of her. It was the only way HE could get it to stop – he needed to walk away from the relationship, he was just as much a victim and abuser as she was. The video that has prompted so many emotional opinions also shows the woman assaulting the man. We need to be cognizant of the roll she played in her attack. We don’t know if what was caught on video was the first time she assaulted him that day or week for that matter or the 50th, the only thing we know is that it is the last one that has gotten so much attention. Her abuse of him didn’t end up with him being knocked out as it did her so I wonder – would we react differently if the roles were reversed? That woman played a HUGE role in her attack. I will never ever condone violence in all its shapes and forms – nobody no matter who or what they are, man, woman, child, or animal ever deserves to be assaulted. We can’t gloss over her roll in this situation – we just can’t. She may be like my mother – instigator, abuser, and victim all rolled into one…..

    Sending love to all of you….

    1. Dodie,
      First of all I want to say sorry to Little Dodie for having to endure a childhood like that. It is nothing any child should have to live through. I have children, but I left when they were very young.
      I do hear what you are saying and there is no way I condone violence. I have watched that video many times and no one will ever truly know what went down btw. the two of them. If you go back and watch it look at her body language as she walked in to the elevator.
      In the end I will say that any man who is bigger and stronger that hits anyone less than them is always going to be wrong. Whatever she may or may not have done, she didn’t deserve that. Not everyone is like your mother, please keep that in mind. What we saw in a public place was beyond the pale which lead me to believe that that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am glad that you got your opinion out here where it is safe.

  11. I used to ask the same question. And then one day, after being with him for years and years, it dawned on me that I stayed. I went to a therapist who didn’t think I was being abused, I was just bored with the relationship. Never went back to that therapist! My boyfriend convinced himself that I was having an affair and kicked me out. I took the brass ring and ran with it. He spent years trying to convince me that he had made a mistake by letting me go. I went from being ignored to being adored. The new boyfriend had trouble adjusting to my insecurities. I asked permission to go to a friends house, or make a phone call. I was amazed at how brain washed I had been! I am single now, so its just me and my kids. I’m scared that things won’t work out and worried about not having a man around. And then I look around and see what I have done without a man in the house. I think I got this! Thank you for sharing your story, its nice to know that I am not alone in the world, and someone understands. And the “man” who abused me has passed away and I still look over my shoulder, the scars run very deep!

    1. Dorie, you are where you need to be right now. Don’t worry about having a man. I know we all want companionship, but your soul is free right now. Take this time to do the deep digging into your soul. Understand and love what you find. When you are ready the stars will align. Yes, the scars so run so very deep…thank you for sharing your story. It’s so important to connect with other women who really understand you. xo Ella

  12. This is the most riveting, hitting-home, true, heart breaking truth that I have ever seen written on domestic abuse. I don’t usually get involved in political or so social issues. But this hits home hard for me. I got out of a 12 year abusive relationship. I’ve been out now for 12 years and then I found out that that common-law spouse died suddenly. I have been grieving his death for over 6 months. I sort of know why. But it seems to be taking a lot longer than I thought to get over his death. I’m also currently in a long term relationship (known him for 12, lived tog for 7). And I am still wondering: could this too be an abusive relationship or am I paranoid and blaming him for all my mental troubles that I’ve been dealing with. But it’s different. It’s quiet, it’s sneaky, it’s psychologically making me wonder and wonder. So have I not learned my lesson or am I really imagining things due to mental breakdown? I know you can’t answer this. Only I can. But I wanted to share my thoughts and experience because I am sad and furious that she is stuck with this dead end NFL angry man.

    1. Claudia, thank you for speaking up. First of all your reaction to the death is not abnormal…I think you are probably finally grieving the death of that relationship. That is something that so many women don’t do. When an abusive relationship ends it is truly like a death. It is the death of the vision that you had for your life. It can feel like a limb was severed. I know that I grieved for years. It’s good to grieve and then move on. I understand your current partner isn’t thrilled to see you losing it over the abusive ex…however such is life and if he truly loves and supports you then he will do just that. If you are beginning to suspect that your relationship isn’t what you thought it was might I suggest you seek out some counseling? Maybe someone who specialized in DV. It’s a great thing to have someone help you put all the pieces together. Good luck and stay in touch. Love and light to you! xo Ella

      1. Thank you for replying. Your answer was helpful. I am “Liking” your page. I will keep in touch. This has been the most truthful and intelligent Page I have found so far, on healing, etc. thanks

      2. Please do keep in touch and join me on Facebook where we have amazing discussions daily! It really is a community there and I look forward to seeing you…holla at me! xo Ella

  13. My sister lived in an abusive relationship for years. It was just as you described for her. She was stuck with nowhere to go with four kids. Unfortunately she did not make it out. She was murdered by her abusive husband’s oldest son from a previous marriage. No, she didn’t die by the hands of her husband but it was from him whom her killer learned to be abusive.

    1. Oh my heart just hit the ground. I am so so so sorry to read this post. Every time I read that a sister doesn’t make it I am crushed. Yes, she did die by her abusive partner. It was his hate that fueled his son to hate as much as he did. So tragic and so unnecessary. May she rest in peace. God bless her kids…I am so sorry. xo Ella

  14. Reblogged this on Red Dirt Alley and commented:
    Wonderful article Ella! Thank you for opening your heart and your life story to help others! You are a true inspiration sweetie! I lived this nightmare also. For those of you out there who are still hiding from the truth or for those who are searching for an escape, still hoping you’ll survive if you leave, read this and know there’s a way out of the nightmare you’re living! Be strong and do it for yourself and your children! Life is so much better NOT walking on eggshells 24/7! Believe in yourself and know you deserve so much better!! Thank you Rebel – you inspire me to be a much better, infinitely stronger role model for me and my children! 🙂 t

  15. I left when my daughter was less than three months old. I spent the majority of her first year running and ducking from place to place, couch to couch. I spent her 2nd year battling in court. When he failed to negotiate unsupervised visits after a year of supervision, he left. I’ve been led to believe he left the country fleeing charges (unrelated to me). For six years I’ve lived in peace, believing we were separated by international boundaries. Last week, I’ve found out he’s here, 20 minutes away in a county jail, due for release in October. One sweeping moment and it’s all back. The hyper vigilance, the low grade constant adrenaline pump, sleeplessness. I don’t know how I did this for as long as I did, it’s unsustainable and swallows your whole life. I’m sitting in a coffee shop now, reading this, avoiding going to the court house and gathering all the paper work. I have a plan of sorts, and I just started EMDR which I think is going to be tremendously helpful. But this IS a bitter pill it’s not okay to make women prey and the world’s slathered in it. Thank you for the stop victim blaming post. Amen. These men are terrorists. People don’t get how exhausting and mentally draining it is to be on guard, you can’t think about ANYTHING else when your immediate survival is threatened, and 6 years later I’m triggered and my primal instincts believe my survival is in jeopardy. You don’t “just leave” or just think or rationalize your way out of this shit, and I’ve done a TON of healing, and growing, and living in the interim. I get so conflicted because I know I can’t live in this fear, but where’s the line between fear and a real threat?
    This is a great article, thank you for it. Thank you for being a voice, were all in this together I think. World wide women, and their children are living under such horrific unfathomable terror, it’s well past damn time we stop sweeping it under the rug, and blaming the victims. I don’t deserve this, nor did I ask for it.

    1. Juliana, Peace to you sister. I understand your situation more than you can imagine. I am sorry that he is so close and that he is getting out of jail? You have been away from him for 6 years without any contact? Does he know where you live?
      STOP. You see what happens? I just read your post and jumped into hyper vigilance mode myself. It’s what I do. I help women navigate these waters because I have been there. There is no letting go of these trauma bonds. They are there and get ripped open by various triggers. Not all wounds are visible…most of them aren’t and yet they are debilitating. So many women. So many children.
      You will need to come up with a safety plan. You know this already. Hopefully, he will not come near you. Hopefully. You need to be ready though. Please join me on Facebook. Rebel Thriver has a great community forum there and I would love to see you there.
      Love and Light and remember that you aren’t alone in this. xo Ella

    1. Hi Laurie, Thank you so much for reading and sharing. The response that I have gotten from women about this piece has been amazing. I am so glad to see the conversation starting to happen. What social media channels will you be sharing it on? Ella

  16. Thank you so much for writing this! I like you lived this for 15 years (started when I was 16) and even though I left him 7 years ago, I can still feel the fear and uneasiness just by thinking about him. This explains it all so perfectly. I will be reposting for everyone I know to read. Thank you!

    1. Jamie, I am so glad you commented here. You are not alone. So many women have come to me as a result of this article. It doesn’t end when you walk out the door. The scars are there and the fear is hard to shake. Come join me on Facebook if you are on that platform…or twitter. xo Ella

  17. I escaped four yrs ago…after being with him from 16….im now 52….my family has been torn apart by my brave decision to leave. It wasnt easy to leave..still isnt easy living without havin any part in my 3yr old grandsons life…my husband is still controlling an manipulate two of my sons..they cant see it…but how wud they?? Cuz I didnt know how bad the abuse was till I left..I refuse to use any of my kids as an emotional blackmail tool….unlike he has…its been a very lonley traumatic 4yrs since I left..but I did the right thing for my peace, health, ,happiness…I dont say “my future” because I live day to day…too scared to think about what my future holds.

    1. Kath, Thank you for being so brave to speak up. I know first hand how hard this transition time can be and yes, it takes years. My suggestion to you is to get involved. Seek out a group here on FB that is for survivors of DV. Look in your area for a support group and even volunteer at the dv shelter to take care of kids while their mothers get help. This is how I turned my life around. It gave me a purpose. You have been through this and now use it to educate other women if you can love. xo Ella

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