Breaking the Cycle: Escaping an Abusive Love Relationship

Breaking the Cycle: Escaping an Abusive Love Relationship

As a love and relationships psychology guru, I have seen countless individuals who have found themselves trapped in abusive relationships. Unfortunately, I am not immune to this phenomenon myself. I have experienced abusive relationships firsthand and understand the complexities of breaking free from them.

My Personal Experience with Abusive Relationships

Like many others, I found myself in an abusive relationship without even realizing it. At first, my partner was charming and loving, but over time, they became controlling and manipulative. I was constantly walking on eggshells, trying to avoid their wrath. Eventually, the abuse escalated to physical violence.

Breaking free from this toxic relationship was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It took time, effort, and a lot of support from loved ones. But I did it, and I have made it my mission to help others do the same.

In this article, I will be sharing my personal experience and the strategies that helped me break the cycle of abuse. Whether you are currently in an abusive relationship or have recently left one, I hope that my insights will be helpful in your journey towards healing and recovery.

Recognizing the Signs of Abuse

Abuse can take many forms, and it’s important to recognize the signs of abuse early on in a relationship. Here are some common types of abuse:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can include hitting, slapping, pushing, or any other form of physical violence. This type of abuse is often accompanied by threats of further violence, and can leave bruises, cuts, or other physical injuries on the victim’s body.

Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Unexplained injuries or bruises
  • Frequent trips to the emergency room
  • Attempts to cover up injuries with clothing or makeup
  • Isolation from friends and family

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can include verbal attacks, manipulation, gaslighting, and other forms of psychological abuse. This type of abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, and can affect a victim’s mental health, self-esteem, and ability to trust others.

Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Constant criticism or belittling
  • Blaming the victim for everything that goes wrong
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Threats of harm to the victim or their loved ones

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can include withholding money, controlling access to bank accounts, or using money as a tool of manipulation or control. This type of abuse can leave a victim financially dependent on their abuser, making it difficult to leave the relationship.

Signs of Financial Abuse:

  • Controlling access to bank accounts or credit cards
  • Refusing to allow the victim to work or have their own income
  • Forcing the victim to sign financial documents without their consent
  • Using money to manipulate or control the victim

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can include any unwanted sexual contact or behavior. This can include rape, sexual assault, or coerced sexual activity. Sexual abuse can leave a victim feeling violated, ashamed, and powerless.

Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Forced sexual activity
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Coercion or pressure to engage in sexual activity
  • Feelings of shame or guilt after sexual encounters
Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, it’s important to seek help. Contact a local domestic violence hotline or speak with a trusted healthcare provider for support and resources.

Why It’s Hard to Leave

Breaking up with someone you love and have invested in emotionally is never easy. It becomes even harder when you’re in an abusive relationship. You may feel like you’re stuck in a cycle, and leaving is impossible. The following reasons could be why it’s hard to leave an abusive relationship:


Fear is one of the primary reasons why people remain in an abusive relationship. The fear of what the abuser might do if you try to leave can be overwhelming. You may fear for your safety, the safety of your children, or even your pets. The abuser may have threatened to harm you or someone you love if you try to leave. This fear can make it challenging to break free from the cycle of abuse.


Dependency is another reason why it’s hard to leave an abusive relationship. You may be financially dependent on your abuser, or they may have isolated you from friends and family, making it hard to leave. You may feel like you have nowhere to go, and the thought of being alone is terrifying. The abuser may have convinced you that no one else will want you or that you’re not capable of taking care of yourself.


Love is a complicated emotion, and it’s not easy to turn it off. You may still love your abuser, despite the abuse. You may believe that they love you too and that they’ll change. You may even blame yourself for the abuse, thinking that if you were a better partner, they wouldn’t hurt you.


Hope is a powerful emotion, and it can keep you trapped in an abusive relationship. You may hope that your abuser will change, that things will get better, or that the good times will outweigh the bad. You may believe that if you just hold on a little longer, things will improve. This hope can make it hard to leave an abusive relationship.

It’s important to remember that leaving an abusive relationship is possible. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it. There are resources available to help you break free from the cycle of abuse and start a new life.

Getting Help

Breaking free from an abusive love relationship is not easy, and it can be an overwhelming and scary process. However, it is important to know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you through this difficult time. Here are some options to consider:

Hotlines and Support Groups

Hotlines and support groups can provide you with immediate help and support when you need it most. They can offer you a safe and confidential space to talk about your situation, provide you with information about your options, and connect you with resources in your community. Some hotlines and support groups you can reach out to include:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
  • The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
  • Local domestic violence or sexual assault hotlines and support groups in your area (you can find them through a quick online search or by contacting your local police department or hospital)

Legal Options

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services. If you are considering legal action against your abuser, there are several options available to you, including:

Option Description
Restraining order A court order that prohibits your abuser from contacting you or coming near you
Criminal charges You can press charges against your abuser for any crimes committed against you
Family court You can seek legal protection for yourself and your children (if applicable) through family court


Therapy can be a valuable tool in helping you heal from the trauma of an abusive relationship. A therapist can help you process your emotions, identify patterns in your relationships, and develop coping strategies for the future. Some types of therapy that may be helpful include:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  2. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  3. Trauma-focused therapy

Remember, seeking help is a brave and important step towards breaking the cycle of abuse and creating a safer, healthier life for yourself.

Leaving the Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship can be a difficult and scary decision, but it is important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Here are some steps to take when planning to leave:

Creating a Safety Plan

Before leaving, it is important to create a safety plan. This plan should include:

  • Identifying a safe place to go, such as a friend or family member’s house, a shelter, or a hotel
  • Packing a bag with essentials such as identification, money, and important documents
  • Having a plan for pets, if you have them
  • Changing your phone number and blocking your abuser on social media
  • Informing trusted family and friends of your plans and giving them a copy of your safety plan

Remember to keep your safety plan private and only share it with people you trust.

Cutting Ties

After leaving, it is important to cut all ties with your abuser. This includes:

  • Blocking their phone number and email
  • Deleting them from social media
  • Avoiding places where you may run into them
  • Changing your routine, if necessary

It is important to remember that your safety comes first and that you do not owe your abuser anything. You have the right to cut ties and move on with your life.

Moving Forward

Leaving an abusive relationship can be a traumatic experience, but it is important to focus on moving forward. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Seeking therapy or counseling to process your emotions and experiences
  • Joining a support group for survivors of domestic violence
  • Taking up a new hobby or activity to focus on yourself and your interests
  • Reconnecting with friends and family
  • Setting goals for your future and working towards them

Remember that healing takes time and that it is important to be patient and kind to yourself.

woman standing alone


Breaking the cycle of an abusive relationship is never easy, but it is possible. It requires courage, determination, and a strong support system. Remember, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help you.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or a professional counselor. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Leaving an abusive relationship is just the first step towards healing. It can take time to recover from the trauma and rebuild your life. But with the right support and resources, you can heal and move forward.



You deserve to be loved and respected. You are worthy of a healthy and happy relationship. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Love Is Respect Logo

Love Is Respect is a national organization that provides resources and support for young people experiencing dating abuse. You can call their hotline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “LOVEIS” to 22522 for help.

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