There are several different reasons why beautiful, loving, smart women stay in abusive relationships. More times than not, this gravitational pull towards their abuser is based more so out of fear.
Fear of being critically hurt or killed. Fear of not having any resources to take care of herself. Fear of having to always watch her back.
But one of the top fears for women who have children with their abusers is the concern that he will get some form of custody (whether full or split) or even unsupervised visitation. In this situation a woman feels that she can best protect her children from the abuser if she is there with them rather than them being with him alone.
As a mother who would go through any extremes to protect my children from physical harm, here are 5 reasons I think staying for the kids is not a good idea:
1. The future is now
If you are concerned that he will abuse the children in your absence, then that must mean he is already abusing them now. In other words, if your house is currently engulfed in flames, you’re not going to sit there and worry about whether your next house will catch on fire. Absolutely not, you’re going to grab your children as quickly as possibly and run out. Once you’re safe and settled into a new home, that’s when you put plans in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
2. It’s better to be from a broken home then in one.
This is one of my favorite Dr. Phil quotes and it makes perfect sense. Being from a broken home means that things didn’t work out between two parents. Being in a broken home means that things aren’t working out and unless the problem is fixed (which cannot be) then you’re only prolonging the inevitable. The kids are just being dragged along for this turbulent ride.
3. This relationship is damaging your kids
If this relationship has you walking on eggshells all of the time, nervous to speak up or to say the wrong thing, imagine how your children feel? School becomes a safe place for them to exhale and get away for a few hours but they’re always thinking about what may happen once school is out and they return home. This could be the reason they are not performing well in school. The consequence for bad grades is more violence which will be a never-ending cycle.
4. You can’t protect them if you’re dead
While you’re busy protecting your kids by being a human punching bag, whose protecting you? What’s going to happen when his anger goes too far and you don’t survive his rage? Whose going to take care of your kids then? Even worst, what if he gets away with murder and ends up with sole custody of your kids? Wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened.
5. A tiger doesn’t change its stripes
There’s absolutely nothing you can do to change your abuser. Yes, continue to pray for him but don’t sit around holding your breath waiting for a miracle. Your prayers may actually benefit another woman he get’s into a relationship with down the line, but even that is sketchy. Abuse should never be accepted, no matter what your worldview, religion or social status is.
If you know a mother who needs to get out an abusive relationship, send this article to her today. If you’re being abused, you need to get out! Reach out to (trusted) family and friends. Please leave a comment if you have additional advice for someone in an abusive relationship.