Why it's so difficult to walk away from an abusive relationship

Leaving isn't always as easy as outsiders make it sound.

And despite their good intentions, people who ask why victims don't exit an abusive relationship can do more harm than good.

Furthermore, clinical psychologist Jeanie Cave says outsiders should avoid giving unsolicited relationship advice or making comments about the bottomless dating pool.

Cave explains that abuse in relationships is often insidious and can become dangerously addictive over time.

An abusive relationship relies on a power differential between the two parties and the abuser is typically a narcissist or sociopath.

In the long-term, victims of abuse can end up craving affirmation from an abusive partner who has seemingly taken away their self-worth.

According to Cave, these relationships tend to start with "love bombing" or an abundance of affection, approval and love.

Thereafter the gaslighting starts, where one partner becomes manipulative and creates self-doubt in the other party who then begins to accommodate the toxic behaviour.

Abuse relies on inequality in order for it to be abuse.

Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

The power differential is used to one party's unilateral benefit and the other party's detriment.

Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

It's highly insidious, very difficult to identify and highly addictive.

Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

A relationship isn't abusive if it's not hard to leave.

Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

Callers shared their touching personal experiences, while Cave shared her expert insights and spoke about an "exit strategy" for abusive relationships.

I love her. The abuse is not a daily thing but when it does happen I feel worthless.

Terrence, caller

I was unwittingly involved in an abusive relationship. I couldn't make sense of the behaviour... You don't know what they're going to do. You don't know what's next.

Tracey, caller

I've been in an abusive relationship for the past 7 years. It's not physical, but it's emotional and mental.

Wendy, caller

Listen to the discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


This article first appeared on 702 : Why it's so difficult to walk away from an abusive relationship


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