So often, when we are in toxic/abusive relationships, we believe there is something "wrong" with us. After all, we know better. We know it's wrong to get hit. We know it's wrong to be manipulated and abused. So what's wrong with us that we stay or keep going back so many times after leaving?
Trauma is very bonding and can make a relationship stronger. There is a mutual comfort in trauma. Violence can increase attachment before decreasing it. We stay or go back because they are sorry. "It won't happen again"; "Things will get better, I promise." They just had too much to drink or a bad day at work. The kids did something or didn't, and the list goes on for days.
We stay because of hope. We hope they mean it. We hope it stops. We hope they see how much we are hurting and hope they care. We hope our love can heal and fix them. We hope our love will be enough. It’s ok to know there isn't anything wrong with us, and it's not that your love isn't enough. The abuser needs help, but they need to see that and believe that. There is a pain they are also feeling, which we often know, and both parties will use the abuser's pain to justify the behaviors. We see the person's heart more than we see their fist and believe the very person abusing us can also heal us.
Domestic Violence is more than physical; it's also mental and emotional. The key elements are in the intention of their behavior, such as to intimidate, control, manipulate or injure. Abuse begins very subtly with testing boundaries and love bombing. Its an inconsistent cycle of heavy emotions from intense love to intense anger.
If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship, please reach out to a professional for help.
Florida Toll-Free Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-500-1119