Granted, it’s been a long time since I’ve been asked, but I absolutely hate when someone would ask me why I stayed with my abuser for so long. It makes me cringe thinking about all the times someone has asked me why I didn’t leave after the first time. The sad truth of the matter is… I can’t answer those questions. I still have no idea how I let a mere man control so much of me. How I allowed myself to descend into the darkness so easily. Don’t you think that there is a huge part of me that wishes I had left? Of course there is. I couldn’t. For one reason or another, I couldn’t bear to imagine my life without him. That’s what abusers do, I’ve learned. They make you so dependent on them for everything. Money, love, attention, affection. They are manipulative and quick to learn just what makes you tick. They figure you out better than you can, and they do not let go. Even when it seems like they don’t want you, they find a way to keep you wanting them, questioning yourself day after day after day. Abusers may not know the term, but they are masters at gas-lighting you- making you think you are in the wrong, or you are to blame for their problem. You’re not. The problem never started with you, and unfortunately it won’t end with you either.
I thought for a very very long time, up until yesterday in fact, thought my abuser was capable of change. I see the truth now so clearly, I pray I can just hold onto it. You see, he will never change. Not for our children, not for our family, not for me, and most importantly not even for himself. I can see now that he doesn’t truly believe he has a problem, constantly blaming others for his issues. Instead of thinking about things that matter, such as our children, their lifestyle, their education, our family– he thinks only of himself and of money. That used to make me so sad but now I’m just angry and disappointed.
Domesticshelters.org says there are some signs an abuser can change. I think they are full of shit but I will list the signs anyway.
Signs an Abuser Can Change
- Admitting fully to what he has done
My abuser is incapable of admitting to any of his acts of violence, not even to himself. He shies away from talking about it. He has never admitted to hitting
me. Last year he admitted to his sister he hits me, in a Facebook message, yet
I truly believe he still blames me anyway.
For our most recent incident, he claims he punched me in the face because he was defending himself. It makes me sick to think that he probably actually
believes that. Doesn’t matter. I know what really happened in that car. I’ll
- Stopping excuse-making
He tends to stress the fact that in each instance, I did something to provoke his
anger, his hurtful words, or his fists. I’ve said this before and I will say it
forever more. There is nothing, as a victim of domestic violence, that you did
or did not do to cause your abuser to hurt you. It is never your fault. It took
me years to realize this. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I still struggle with it. At the end
the day I know the truth. Abusers are sick, and there is nothing you can do to
- Making amends
I don’t know where I stand with this one. Making amends with who? Me? Our
kids who have witnessed his incorrigible acts? No. He hasn’t made amends,
nor has he tried.
- Accepting responsibility and recognizing that abuse is a choice
This actually made me laugh out loud. Didn’t we just go over this? Accepting
responsibility for their actions and recognizing it is a choice they made? Ok.
Maybe he may finally realize that abuse is a choice but I do not believe in the
least bit that he believes he made that choice on his own.
- Not declaring themselves “cured,” bur rather accepting that overcoming abusiveness is a decades-long process
No comment, considering I do not believe abusers are capable of change.
- Demonstrating respectful, kind and supportive behaviors
This pisses me off too. Abusers are manipulative. They are amazing at faking
their emotions, their actions, everything in order to get the outcome they
- Not blaming their partner or children for the consequences of their actions
Didn’t we just go over this? My abuser would blame stress, me, money,
- Changing how they respond to their partner or former partner’s anger and grievances
Again. Manipulation. End of comment.
- Not demanding credit for improvements they’ve made
Fortunately I can now see through my abusers so called improvements.
I feel strong for the first time in weeks, and it must be because my blinders are now off. The sad part about being a victim of domestic violence is you never know when you will finally be a survivor. The road ahead of you is long and tumultuous, filled with dips and curves and thorns. You go from happy to sad to depressed to mad to glad, sometimes all in one day. You think about them, miss them even– and it’s completely normal. Do I still love my husband? Very much so. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could forget him, but I never will. And though one day I won’t feel the love for him anymore, that day is not today. It’s not tomorrow. It’s not next week or next month. It’s probably not this year. But one day, my heart will catch up to my brain and let go of any love I have for him now. It’s not easy to let go of someone you feel so much for. But keep going. Keep trying. Keep fighting. Because you may love him today, but you never what’s around the corner. I wish I knew what I knew now ten years ago, but I know it now and all I can do is to stick to my path and stay far far away from him. No matter what he does to try to finagle his way back in to my life… I can not allow him to. I won’t say I won’t. He is a master manipulator and knows exactly what to do or say to make me fall for him all over again. I just hope I am strong enough to recognize and see him for who he really is. A selfish, manipulative, dead beat dad, pathetic, lying SOB who is incapable of change. Maybe if I tell myself this enough, I will keep to my path.