What about love?
The feelings we have for our partners and families are powerful. Love, passion, trust, responsibility and attachment can bind us as much as fear. Other commitments such as children or shared possessions and history are strong forces in our lives. You may want the relationship to continue, but the abusive behaviors to stop.
When thinking about what you can do it is important to know that people who use abusive and violent behaviors are responsible for their own behavior. Many people think that people who use abusive and violent behaviors can’t control what they do, but it is the responsibility of each of us to control ourselves.
Some people who use abusive and violent behavior, do change and stop the violence. Many do not and may use promises of change to further manipulate and control. Often it is left to the people who live with the abuse to try and improve their safety and that of their children.
When people do speak about the abusive behavior they are experiencing, it is often the emotional harm that they say is the most long-lasting. Everyone's experience of abuse is unique but it is often a combination of emotional, physical and sexual abuse with other controlling behaviors such as isolation and financial deprivation.
Recognising that you don't like what is happening to you, that it is in fact abusive, can be the first step on a road to positive change.
It is a journey that can give you back your self-respect, your health, a sense that you are a worth while person, your safety and your hopes for the future.