How do I walk out of an abusive relationship?

By Chris Hart | Thu,Dec 02 2021 07:30:00 EAT

 Which signs indicate that I absolutely must leave? (Photo: Courtesy)

Hi Chris,

In the recent past, I have had several relationships that were great in the beginning but then went wildly wrong.

What really bothered me about them was that each time I found it astonishingly difficult to leave. One guy gradually became violent, while another became manipulative, yet I stuck around.

In fact, I became thoroughly confused and indecisive, which is unlike me. Which signs indicate that I absolutely must leave?

When should I leave?

Chris says,

Hi when should I leave?

People often stay too long in failing relationships, hoping things will improve. It is not easy to make a decision that impacts a romantic relationship.

Whatever decision you make, you worry that you may be making a mistake and that later you will be full of regret.

Here are signs that say you MUST end a relationship quickly.

The first sign is the presence of any form of abuse, whether physical, emotional. Even if your partner is remorseful afterwards, and offers to get counselling, leave if he abuses you, because nothing you do will help.

Note that it is not your fault, despite what your partner might be telling you, and that if you stay you could get badly hurt.

The second sign is if your partner has a dramatic, emotional or erratic personality disorder. Such people rarely seek help and instead blame everyone else for their behaviour.

They will idealise you one minute and criticise you the next. They are impulsive, manipulative and lack empathy.

You find that you are constantly walking on eggshells to avoid starting an argument. The whole relationship feels weird, and you are probably convinced that it is all your fault.

It is not. And trying to make the relationship work can be incredibly self-destructive.

Thirdly, you should also leave if your partner is an alcoholic who is denying there is a problem and refusing help. Alcoholism can be overcome, but it takes a serious amount of work.

Even if your partner is willing to tackle the issue, it might not be the right time for you to be starting a relationship with them.

There are many other reasons why relationships end, of course, such as infidelity, neglect, and other flaky behaviours.

Most couples discuss such issues for some time before they finally admit defeat. But abuse, personality disorders and alcoholism are simply non-negotiable.

It will still be hard to make the decision to leave. You will feel confused, and afraid of being alone. Or wonder whether things are really that serious. This is because being the victim of these behaviours MAKES you indecisive and confused.

See a counsellor if you are unsure. They have witnessed such situations many times before, and will instantly recognise the signs.

All the best,


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