Why Am I Afraid To Let Go Of An Abusive Relationship?

by Annie Kaszina on August 5, 2010

Hello Annie,

Why do I have "the fear of letting go" of the
relationship?  I have stopped all contact with my abuser, however I still let
him leave messages on my cell phone.  I do not return the calls, but I'm afraid
to just cut him off.  I'm afraid of not knowing what is on his mind, what his
emotions are and what he is thinking about me. I have this horrible fear of letting go
of the one constant in my life, his abuse, for the fear of the unknown.  I
know it sounds crazy, maybe not to you, but what is really holding me back from
letting go?  Is it the thoughts of the good things?  Is
it the fear of him sharing the parts of him I loved with someone else?


Hi Sue,

what is the fear of letting go really  about?  

Your abusive relationship has defined you for some time, so you may not know quite who you are without it.  Especially since an abusive relationship, inevitably, undermines your sense of identity.

he was an abusive partner, the good things were probably in
short supply by the time the relationship ended…  But the fear of 'cutting him
off' as you put it, may be about your anxiety that if he rebuilds a life for
himself, that means you were the 'one to blame'.  Also, if he finds another
partner, and is, as far as you know, happy, that could also make you feel that
you were making a big mistake. 

me, you weren't. 

is also the fear, I'm guessing, that he may be the best thing that has ever
happened to you, and will ever happen.  Now, that is seriously scary. 

abusive man is never the best thing that will happen to you. 
Most likely, he is the worst thing.  But denial is a weird and wonderful thing,
and abused women tend to forget just how vile an abusive partner really is – a lot of the

final part of not wanting to let go is fear of losing the dream: you had a dream
that you could be happy with him, that one day he would make you happy.  If that
fails, you may feel that you are unworthy/incapable of happiness with anyone
else; or you may feel, as he has doubtless often said, that nobody else would
ever put up with you.

How would he know??? 

struggle to let go of their abusive relationship.  They have invested so much
that it is tough to say: "The relationship was a disaster".  Even though it
was.  Admitting it, letting go, and looking at what went wrong is the start of
building a healthy, relationship with yourself, first, and other people

wishes for your recovery,


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni November 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Hi, my name is Jenni and I was in an abusive relationship for 11 years. My husband was abusive in every way a person could be abusive–physically, emotionally, verbally, sexually and mentally, and he was extremely good at it. Recently I did leave him but I am an emotional wreck since and I don’t know how to get past it. First he calls and asks me not to divorce for a year so he can get help thru AA, which I agreed to, but now he seems to want the divorce and I am in such termoil because of this. And honestly, I don’t think I want him! I don’t understand myself or why this hurts so much and I cant let go! Please help me figure out what is wrong with me and how to get past this and to not let it bother me how he feels—God knows he has never cared how I feel. Thank you———–Jenni


Cathy December 23, 2011 at 6:16 am

Listen to your inner voice, it’s telling you plainly you don’t want him. You are like a bubbling pot of conflicting emotions, but the less you have to do with him and see him, the more you will calm and feel centred. I used to drive past my ex’s house to see if his car was there, check my mobile for his messages, this behaviour feeds the dysfunction of making HIM important and reducing you further. Don’t go on drivebys, force yourself to leave your phone off sometimes, make space for YOU, take care of YOUrself. Once you stop these behaviours of watching his life, and make your life a priority, the pot of bubbling emotions calms. If he leaves messages or calls, you don’t have to read the message right away, maybe read it with another person there to dilute any impact he will have, don’t pick up if he rings, let him leave a message. These are things I did which helped me, and I was a sorry state for a very long time. Now I’m achieving high self esteem, it’s making me happier than any relationship.


abeer June 29, 2013 at 4:14 am

What happened to me, im just as confused as my child is. I lost something can you help me find it?


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