Opinion: Why leaving abuse is not the end

Hands holding. Pixabay.

Hands holding. Pixabay. Courtesy—


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Published: 07-10-2024 4:30 PM

Angela Magoon lives in Hillsboro.

The circumstances of how you left don’t matter, the important part is, you are not there anymore. For many victims, this often comes as a dramatic, abrupt ending. Leaving, however, is just the beginning of a new chapter.

When a person leaves an abusive situation, whether it’s physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, the first feeling is often not relief. Some of the first feelings could be shock, fear, anxiety, grief, loss, and loneliness. According to ”What You Should Know Before Leaving an Abusive Relationship,” women develop PTSD 100% of the time due to an abusive relationship, and 87% develop moderate to severe PTSD.

The friends and family that championed and supported the decision to leave often think that the victim is out, so they are immediately better off. It’s important to remember that victims have bonded over time in what they thought was love, with a person who was heavily involved in their daily lives. Sometimes, there are children shared by the abuser and the victim. Victims may feel they are not financially able to leave. Many women hesitate to leave because they fear staying in a shelter or becoming a burden to friends or family.

The days that used to be filled by routines with a partner can now feel achingly lonely. Victims are often thrust into a world of new decisions, which can be overwhelming. Due to an abuser’s reliance on creating codependency, friends and family that one had prior to the relationship are often not there anymore.

The abuser will often seek control after the abused leaves as well. This can include searching the abused person’s workplace, friends and families houses, or other places the abused person has been associated with. This person may promise to change, in order to regain control. According to WomenAgainstAbuse.org, it can take approximately seven times of going back to the abuser before a woman finally leaves for good.

“C.A”, a survivor who wished not to be named, described her mental plan. “I would make little deals with myself in order to prepare to leave. Such as, if he does ”X” to me again, I will get my own post office box. If he behaves “X” way again, I will get my own checking account.”

It can be very difficult to understand that the person you fell in love with is an abuser and is not going to change. At this time, any hope of the abuser changing needs to be redirected, into making a better future for the survivor and/or their children.

This time in a survivor’s life is a crisis state and requires professional support. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, by text (Text START to 88788) or call 800-799-7233.