Why doesn’t your friend just leave their abusive marriage?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Divorce |

There is little more heartbreaking than seeing a close friend suffer abuse in their marriage. Yet, despite all the long conversations, despite all the tears they shed on your shoulder, for some reason, they keep going back.

You and your other friends know the only way your friend can improve their life is to get a divorce. Yet how can you help them to do that if they don’t appear to want to?

First, you need to understand why they find the concept of divorce so hard

Someone who stays in an abusive relationship is clearly not thinking rationally. Not because they do not want to, but because they can’t. Abusers are very good at reducing their victims’ ability to do so.

Here are some of the reasons your friend may struggle to accept their reality:

  • Guilt: Their spouse has made them feel so worthless that they believe they are the ones at fault. Remember, those who get into abusive marriages may have already been victims of abuse by others for years. So feeling guilty may be normal for them.
  • Terror: “If you leave me, you’ll regret it.” “ I’ll find you wherever you are.” “If you tell anyone, you’ll never see your kids again.” Abusers find many ways to threaten their spouse into staying.
  • Money: Earning enough to pay the rent and put food on the table can be challenging enough for couples, let alone single people. Children make it even more difficult.

Divorcing an abusive spouse will not be easy, but it is probably necessary as few abusers change. You can not make your friend file for divorce, but you can accompany them to find out more.