Let’s put our cards on the table: some women are stuck with men who don’t deserve them, yet we often fail to take the necessary steps to leave them.
Talking from personal experience, what used to comfort me was realizing there are many out there whose situations were just like mine, friends and strangers alike.
Let’s take Frida Kahlo for instance. She willingly stuck with Diego Rivera, yet everybody knew that he didn’t deserve her. Their story used to be my inspiration, back when I was stuck with a man I wanted to leave, but never felt I could. I tried to speculate: why did she stay with him, and how did it feel to stay while feeling miserable?
The reasons for staying are many, and each woman can only acknowledge her own. Still, I think we usually stay with men who don’t deserve us for four main reasons—and we won’t admit these to anyone but ourselves:
1. Fear—It can be fear of leaving and not finding another man we can profoundly love, or fear of leaving when there’s a chance he will change.
2. Attachment—Not only attachment to him, but attachment to the history together.
3. Hope—Believing that the man we love doesn’t deserve us can be devastating, so we keep hoping that things will get better.
4. Giving Up—Being with the wrong man depletes a woman of her energy.
Rather than taking the below crucial steps to fix my situation, I simply accepted my reality.
We know that leaving isn’t as effortless as some may think it is. Talk is easy, but when it comes to taking action, it can be the most complicated process, ever. We will have guilty thoughts accompanied with emotional loss. And the worst is being stuck with a man who manipulates us into staying every time we try to leave.
One thing I won’t say is this: “Leave, he doesn’t deserve you.”
I’ve personally heard that quite a lot, and frankly it never helped me with anything. As a result, I unconsciously stayed with my partner when I saw the whole world was against him.
Today, I will tackle the steps that helped me leave. Attachment to my partner and to my suffering blinded me then, but with great introspection and courage, I was finally ready to take the blindfold off my eyes.
1. Use the statement “talk to the hand, because the ears aren’t listening.”
Keep this in mind when people tell us why we should leave. Gently ask them to keep their opinions to themselves, or simply turn a deaf ear to them—maybe fantasize about an exquisite Martini on the beach while they’re talking. This can be difficult to do, especially since the people talking will mostly be our family and close friends, but it is crucial to develop our own opinions on the matter.
As long as we listen to what other people are saying, it will be impossible to prioritize our thoughts. Our actions will be based on other’s perceptions and not ours.
2. Be a recluse.
Once we’ve succeeded in doing step one, now it’s time to form our own line of thinking. In order to do this, we should stay away from everyone, including our man. Take a vacation for a week, if you must. We will get nowhere attempting to find our own thoughts with our man next to us. In other words, we shouldn’t be influenced by him.
Space is critical to know what we should do. Perhaps after spending some time alone, we’ll figure out a new way of dealing with him, other than leaving. Whatever the decision, it cannot be shaped unless we take space.
3. Introspection followed by making a decision.
Now it’s time to make a decision. But for us to take this step, we should pay a visit to the past. Sit quietly and go back to the beginning of your relationship. Note the good times, as well as the bad ones. With this introspection, we can come out with a decisive conclusion: If the bad times outweighed the good ones, it is a clear sign that deep inside us lies a whole lot of pain and it’s probably time to leave.
However, when going back to the past, our mind might draw the good times and hardly recall any bad ones. If this is the case, maybe it’s better to reconsider our decision.
4. Find stability within you.
Once we’ve decided to leave, we should find that place inside ourselves where we can lock our emotional stability, which is pivotal to sticking with your decision. Our man might try everything possible make us stay. If we aren’t emotionally stable, we will fall for the trap—just as I did, many times.
Remember: your emotional stability is your weapon, without it you can’t go to war with your man. He will fight you with all the beautiful words in the world and all the unforgettable history you both had. Fight back with your stability and you shall win.
5. Don’t push yourself.
Now that we know we want to leave, it is better not to draw a time frame—we can take all the time we need to do it. Maybe we will be ready in a week, and maybe in a year. Some of us might stay longer, to get over the relationship while staying with him. This way, once we’re not together anymore, we won’t suffer as much.
Take for instance people suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction. To refrain from their habits, some might slowly cut back before they are ready to completely stop.
6. Plan your future.
One thing we don’t want to happen after leaving, is to regret what happened. In order to prevent this, we should plan our future ahead of time. Maybe plan a trip, register for activities, programs, even meditation classes. Never leave yourself without any plans, at least at the beginning of your journey alone.
When a relationship ends, we should use our time wisely. To prevent feeling lonely or bored—and particularly regretful—we should keep ourselves busy so we don’t drown in negative thoughts.~
When using this guide women should keep in mind that they’re the only ones responsible for their own happiness. There is no such thing as “accepting reality”—we are the creators of our reality.
Love shouldn’t make us miserable or doubtful. If it does, then it’s not love. It’s only a false image of love that is controlled by ego, attachment and neediness. Never be weakened by fear. Fear is a liar. Follow your intuition, be strong, and remember: everything looks hard from a distance.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) & the 4 Phases of Leaving Abusive Relationships.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Catherine Monkman
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