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

by Annie 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?

Sue

Hi Sue,

So,
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.

Since
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. 
 

Trust
me, you weren't. 
 

There
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. 
 

An
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
time.
 

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??? 

Women
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
second.

Warm
wishes for your recovery,
 

Annie

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