Resource Library

Why it May be Hard to Leave

If you have been coping with abuse for a long time, it can be hard to finally stand up and leave. Here are some reasons why it may be difficult to leave:

Fear of losing children. Your partner threatens to take the kids away if you leave

Fear of harm. You fear that if you do leave, the threats of physical harm will get worse (including threats to family members and children)

Love. You love your partner, and believe and hope things will get better

Denial. You minimize the abuse and tell yourself things are really not that bad

Economic dependence. Lack of financial resources or few choices and support for living independently

Fear of not being able to survive. You fear that the abuser will find you and might retaliate by harming you or the kids

Negative impact on children. You believe that children should be raised with two parents and not just one

Fear of being alone. You fear of being without a mate or partner; coping with children and/or life alone. You may also believe that no one else could want you (and your kids)

Loyalty. You made a commitment and feel responsible to keep the family together

Shame/guilt. You fear of embarrassment and humiliation and are fearful that someone will know

Rescue complex. You believe you can change your partner if you stay with him

Low self-esteem. Your partner has convinced you that you deserve the abuse and, if you leave, you would not find anyone who would love you

Immigration status. You may be threatened that you will be deported

Disability. You have a disability that does not allow you to work and are financially dependent on your abuser for assistance

Fear of partner suicide. Your partner threatens to commit suicide if you leave

Male privilege. If you partner is male, he may believe that men should control the household by enforcing the rules and constantly make demands of you for sex, food, etc.

Fear of unknown. You fear of change and fear of not knowing what to expect

Substance abuse. You may use alcohol or drugs to cope with the abuse and numb the pain, and as a result you may tolerate the abuse

Religion. You believe you made a commitment to God to keep the family together

Lack of support. You feel pressure from family and friends to stay


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