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Why Won't She Leave Him?

5 Reasons Why She Would Rather Live a Life Of Hell

By Michelle T Green

National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)

Have you ever wondered why women suffering from verbal or physical abuse stay with their abusive partners?

I can't speak for all women who put up with such treatment, but I can speak from my own experience and it's not as simple as just leaving.

My former husband verbally and emotionally abused me for about nine years. It wasn't constant, but it was enough to push my self-esteem to such a low level that many times I wondered if I would be better off dead. What a horrible way to live!

So why did I stay?

There were a number of reasons (and yes, if you may question my intelligence here), which I will cover now:

1. I felt I had nowhere to go (despite the fact that my parents lived nearby and would have been there for me no matter what).

2. I didn't want to admit I had "failed" to myself or anyone else - pride was a huge factor. I didn't want to air my dirty laundry because then the world would know I had failed. I didn't want to have to deal with that.

3. Financial reasons - if I left, then there would be a huge financial mess to clean up - my husband wasn't very good with money. In fact, on many occasions I fought off calls from debt collectors demanding payment because yet again he had spent money we didn't have. I was worried that he would stop making the house payments and then I would be up for a huge debt.

4. I was afraid of the unknown: my self-esteem was so low that I really wasn't sure I would be up to surviving on my own.

5. I didn't think I would cope as a single mother - around six years into my relationship with this man, I gave birth to my daughter. I never stopped to think how many other, less capable women there were out there who were doing just fine.

There were plenty of other "excuses", but as you can see, the reasons above were either not justified or they were just plain lame.

Looking back I know these excuses were lame but at the time, they were very valid and a strong reason to stay. In fact, the thought of leaving scared the life out of me, so that's why I stayed for so many years.

I used to wonder if I was being silly when upset about the way my husband spoke to me and how he treated me. He didn't hit me, so what was I so upset about?  It took a long time for me to realize that what he was doing was in some ways worse that being physically abused, because he left me with no "tangible" reason to leave.

Before you start to wonder why women put up with terrible treatment, give a thought to the reasons why they do so. She probably doesn't believe in her abilities and is afraid of the unknown. Her self-esteem is very likely at rock bottom too. That's the stuff that needs to be worked out before she will finally do something positive for herself and possibly leave.

See our article on Dating Violence for more on this prevalent situation.

Remember the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the USA is 800-799-7233

Michelle is a Life Coach who understands how debilitating it can be to suffer from low self-esteem and to come out of it much stronger, smarter, and happier.  Visit for more information.

* Thank you to a very brave woman (K.S.) who shared her personal story with me via email. I commend your courage and I'm glad you are alive and safe now. Warm regards if you read this, Amy

You ARE worth it, make a call.

More Resources and Organizations:

1. Love is Respect - National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline - 1-866-331-9474

2. Choose Respect

3. Office for Victims of Crime

4. Office on Violence Against Women


6. National Center for Victims of Crime

7. National Domestic Violence Hotline

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