Religion and Philosophy

Revolution, Awakening, And Leaving Abusive Relationships All Happen In Unexpected Ways

By Caitlin Johnstone

People don’t generally leave abusive relationships in egoically satisfying, Hollywood-friendly ways.

I point this out because those of us who are watching the people’s abusive relationship with predatory power structures and hoping for revolutionary change often tend to envision the status quo ending in an epic way that will make for a good story and let us feel good about ourselves and how right we were. And that just isn’t how these things tend to go.

One of the most shameful things about being in an abusive relationship is how much longer you’ll let it go on for than an outside observer would expect. How much brutality you’ll put up with and the ways you’ll justify it to yourself.

The shame of this can be soul-crushing. A friend once said, “The worst part wasn’t when he raped me, it was having to make him breakfast afterward.” The shamefulness of the abuse and degradation you’ll put up with because of where you’re at in your mind is why people don’t discuss this aspect more, which is why the loved ones of people in those relationships often have such a hard time understanding it. People don’t talk about it, so many don’t understand how common it is.

Generally when someone leaves an abusive relationship it’s not really because they were hit one too many times. It’s not because it got worse than it used to be. Sometimes it will be because the abuser started to assault the victim’s child, but even that will often happen in ways that are a lot more complicated and shameful than the victim acknowledges when telling the story later on.


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