Why I Stayed And The Memories Of Abuse I Wish I Didn’t Have

Why I Stayed And The Memories Of Abuse I Wish I Didn't Have

Abuse comes in many forms to many people. Today I share Why I Stayed And The Memories Of Abuse I Wish I Didn’t Have. If you have looked at social media, watched the news or even tuned in to your favorite sports broadcast or radio show in the past week, you have surely heard about the incident with Ray Rice and his fiance. The video and press release will show you that this so-called celebrity not only beat his fiance, but dragged her from an elevator while on video. In the statements made, she actually apologized for her actions that caused his behavior. This has incited quite a bit of flack on many levels, but for me personally has brought back Why I Stayed And The Memories Of Abuse I Wish I Didn’t Have. Reading the comments and viewing the interviews makes me hurt for other women who have been in this place in their lives. Abuse isn’t funny. Abuse isn’t easy. Being a victim changes who you are.


As a woman who has been in that figurative elevator with the abuser, I understand both the apology and the fear that leads it. That fact rips me up inside. To watch another human being, albeit one I don’t know personally, going through what I have struggled with myself is painful. Knowing until she reaches her breaking point she will stay, it frightens me. What will her breaking point be? Will it be too late?

Why Do Women Stay?

They Have Been Emotionally Destroyed And Feel They Have No Options: This is something that I personally feel only victims can truly understand the extent of. When you are being abused (verbally, physically, sexually) your abuser works hard to make you feel you are unworthy, unlovable and without options. They will tear down your walls until you are nothing like the person you use to be. You are left without confidence or self-esteem. Any help or outside options available are torn apart by the abuser to make them seem unavailable and irrational.

In my case, all of my friends and family were systematically alienated from my life. I was controlled to a point I no longer did anything without my abusers permission. This left me in a place where I had few people to call on. Those I had remaining in my life my abuser convinced me would be unable or unwilling to help me should I go to them.

Fear: The resounding factor in these situations is fear. Even the strongest woman you know can shrink in fear at their abusers threats and actions. You truly don’t know unless you have been there to witness the threats, just how far an abuser has gone to create a cloud of fear over their victim. The number one reason women will stay is fear. Fear of death. Fear of more pain. Fear for their kids, friends or family. Fear is the residing factor in all of these situations and it is not easy to dispute with a victim.

Abusers use many tactics to create the element of fear in their victim. They can physically harm them repeatedly as was my case, but they will also use the emotional tactics of above to remove their safety of friends and family. Threats of physical or sexual violence are often enough to keep a victim in place. Sometimes however, the fear comes from the unthinkable threat of death to themselves or those they loved.

In my case, I lay awake on many nights as my abuser described how he wished to get back at those who had hurt him or caused him pain in his own life. The descriptions of torture and eventual death, as well as the descriptions of what had been done to others prior to my appearance in his life were enough to put a steady stream of fear in me. I truly feared for my own life, but that also of my family and a few friends who had attempted to help me out in the past. Fear goes much farther than encouragement will in a victims mind.

How Can We Help Victims Of Abuse?

Provide True Compassion & Help: There are many instances where your offer of help may not seem safe enough for a victim. For my personal situation in years past, there was one individual who offered repeatedly for me to come live with them and be safe. I however, knew that they could not protect me from my abuser. He would stop at nothing to control me. That meant he would come to their place of safety and hurt them if necessary to control me.

When you make an offer of help and the victim says no thank you, always follow that with your love and support. Let them know that if there is another way or another place you can help them get to then let you know. I knew if I could get out of the area, to a place he wouldn’t know to look for me I would be safe. I however had no means financially to make that happen. Having someone genuinely offer to help get me out of the area to a place of safety where he wouldn’t look would have been the window I needed to leave the situation.

Sometimes it is difficult for outsiders to understand and accept why a victim (male or female) would stay in an abusive situation. While we can look at it from our standpoint and know what we would do in those shoes, we cannot know the full extent of their suffering emotionally and physically. There may be much more to the situation than meets the eye. Having a heart of compassion and truly being the friend who will help them, not just if and when it is convenient to us, is the best difference we can make in their lives.

I wish I could always put the now popular hashtag #WhyILeft with all of my stories. Instead I have to admit Why I Stayed is much more common in my vocabulary. I spent many years in an abusive situation I wish I could go back and leave immediately instead of lingering. The memories of abuse I wish I didn’t have linger years down the road. They have shaped who I am. Regardless of the place I am now, I wish I could go back and never have lived through them at all.  While this incident between Ray Rice and his then fiance (now wife) happened some time ago, it leads to fear and speculation about continued abuse in their marriage.  I hurt for this woman and pray that the abuse has indeed stopped.  If not, I hope she finds the strength to leave this relationship and be free and safe.  Everyone deserves to have safety.  

Do you have a story of “why I stayed” or “Why I left” to share?

11 thoughts on “Why I Stayed And The Memories Of Abuse I Wish I Didn’t Have”

  1. This made me stop and think…. and it has been a while. It made me sad and almost brought a tear to remeber my own struggle now 14 years ago. It hurts still with am ache in my chest but on one point for me personally I do not agree. As hurt as I was, as scary as it was to endure the physical and mental abuse, as much as I can still feel it, feel the anxiety and dread throughtout my body at just the thought of being in his presence. I would not change it. I left 3 months pregnant with my son. My wonderful amazing child who is now 13 and one of the two greatest joys of my life. He would not be who he is were there any other circumstance. Genetically, he is the product of that marriage….of everything I endured and untimately what led to my escape forever from that abuse. I would change nothing about him, he is perfectly made and worth enduring it all over again if I had to for this child of mine. Thank you for your story…. thank you for advocating for more to get away. Thank you so much for your story of why you stayed. It was so much more thought provoking to me. It is good to remember how strong I have become in the years after and what helped shape me into this strong woman.

  2. My parents were fine for the first 10 years of my life. Then things started to go downhill from there and the last 5 years until they separated were the worst years of not only my parents lives, but their six children’s lives, aging from 11 years to 20 years old. There is a lot to learn from this, it was not abusive, although there was some verbal abuse. It was never explained to us so we just went on with our lives and hid it as though nothing was happening behind closed doors. The secrets will haunt you for a lifetime if you don’t get them out and not feel so ashamed. :)

  3. You are so courageous for sharing your story and believe me you are not alone You were brave enough to leave and that is what is important..Many friends of mine are still living it but no matter what I am there when they eed and let them know that it may be hard buteveryone deserves better and to be happy . No matter woman or man

  4. I too experienced abuse in my past and know sometimes there is a cycle that women have to go through before they are ready to leave. Feeling stuck is a horrible feeling and it is best to have supportive friends that keep with you and not judge you.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that it will help others who are where you’ve been. Abuse is such a viscious cycle and it reacher more people than I think we can even imagine. I know many who are in abusive relationships, in some form or another.

  6. You are amazing for sharing this story with so many people. I am sure it is extremely difficult, but many people can relate. It is wonderful that you provide information for people to be compassionate to others about it because many times people do not know how to react.

  7. How brave of you to share you story with us and relive those horrible moments. I am a survivor myself but i don’t like talking about it much.

    It’s been over 20 years and there are still some triggers that give me flashbacks. I hate those.

    Definitely sharing this post.

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