This is Why We Stay

The Charger Bulletin

Contributing Writer
[email protected]

This is why we stay.

We stay for the financial stability. We stay because our abusers have prevented us from getting jobs, and we rely on them financially. We stay because if and when we leave, we lose everything except for the clothes on our backs. We stay because we’re terrified that if we try to leave, then they’ll drain our bank accounts or cancel our credit cards or do something so that without them, we literally have nothing. We stay because anything is better than ending up on the street, even this.

We stay for our kids and our siblings and our parents and even our pets because we don’t even want to think about what could happen to them when we leave, if we leave. We stay so they can be safe and so that they will know that somebody loves them, no matter what. We stay so we can try to protect them.

We stay because we’re scared. We stay because we worry that maybe they’re right, that we are stupid and lazy and abominable and incapable of being loved by another human being. We stay because all of the yelling, the threats, and even the aggression terrify us, and we can only imagine what would happen if we even tried to leave, much less succeeded.

We stay because we love them. We stay because we crave the scraps of love they give us, the brief tastes of normalcy we get sparingly. We stay because we still want to see the good in them we once saw. We stay because we hope they’ll change, even though we know deep down that isn’t a possibility.

But instead, maybe we should stop asking why we stay. Instead, maybe we should start asking how it can be okay for these people to hurt others with their actions and words and mind games. We stay because it’s the only way we know how to survive. What’s their excuse?