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Abuse Codependency

Updated on April 17, 2016

The top two questions always asked by non abused persons concerning domestic violence are, why doesn’t she/he leave, and why do they go back? It is not an easy answer, the victim themselves may not even know why. There are many contributing factors to consider when trying to see through a victim’s eyes, as a victim advocate, a family member, or friend. I have consistently reflected upon my own experience as a very young and naive eighteen year old girl. Although naive, I didn’t grow up in an abusive household. I had every thought that it was not normal or comfortable. Research shows that when children grow up witnessing violence they will either become abusers, or mate with abusive people. “Witnessing can mean SEEING actual incidents of physical/and or sexual abuse; it can mean HEARING threats or fighting noises from another room, children may also OBSERVE the aftermath of physical abuse such as blood, bruises, tears, torn clothing, and broken items- finally children may be AWARE of the tension in the home such as their mother’s fearfulness when the abuser’s car pulls into the driveway” (Info DVRT, 2008).

The First Time it Happened

The first time it happened I was driving my truck, my future abuser riding passenger reached over and back handed me across the face. I instantly reacted and slammed on the breaks, grabbed the keys, and jumped out of my truck holding my burning cheek. I don’t even remember what I had said that set him off, but until that moment I thought he was the greatest thing on Earth. He automatically apologized and pleaded for me to return to the vehicle. I was shaken, and scared of him. He blamed it on having a bad day, and dealing with work stress. He promised that he would never do it again. My mother’s voice rang in my head, “the first time shame on him, the second time- shame on you.” This is the moment I should have left, listened to that soft, still voice. I now know that listening to your instincts is life’s number one rule. An abuser will try to take that from you, make you think that you cannot trust yourself, but you can always trust you more than any “man” in this world. Life’s rule number two, you cannot fix someone else, you cannot change them or love them into wellness. First of all, it is not your job to try to attempt the impossible in another human being, and although tried throughout history, it is almost certainty futile. The problem with the people who think they are in love, they do not follow these two rules. They think they are the one person that it will be different for, and it almost always ends tragically. To recap: he hit me, and said he was sorry. This led to our first honeymoon period. He bought me presents, and loved on me twice as hard as before. After the hook was in deep, he really reeled me in.

He Was My Addiction

Twenty years later, this is what I know, I was addicted to him. I didn’t like the mean, scary abusive individual that came out from time to time, but I was addicted to the loving, funny, fabulous cook that was around most of the time. A year into our relationship I found out that he was addicted to meth, and when he was coming down from being high for days on end, I was the punching bag that took the aggression he felt as a result. I made excuses because that really wasn’t him. That was him on drugs. He was addicted to meth, and I was addicted to him. I fantasized about a life with him without the drugs, and abuse. I finally realized that it was never going to be a reality. I was never going to be more important than his precious meth, that was his real baby. I found the strength and got out, I was a lucky one. Although I am still a statistic, “4.8 million intimate partner related assaults every year” (National Organization For Women, 2012). I avoided the even scarier statistic of three women are murdered every day, one third of them are murdered by an intimate partner.

Men and women need to be proactive, do not let the hook get in, do not let that man or women reel you in. Although significantly under reported, men are also victims of abuse by their partners. There are a lot less resources for men out there, and it should be acknowledged that regardless of the sex, abuse is never ok and should never be tolerated. Watch for the red flags, and listen to your instincts, no matter how much you think you love him/her you cannot change them, or save them.


Future Abuser Red Flags

Is he/she a blamer? Is it everyone else’s fault that life is not going well, and is not fair?

Is he/she a resentful? A resentful person is negative-and lives on negative energy. They have a difficult time understanding someone else’s point of view, or ever properly caring.

Does he/she feel entitled? Everyone owes them something, and ultimately their perspectives will always be more important than yours.

Is he/she superior. They are more important than everyone else. Do not dare to disagree.

Is he/she petty? Do they make a big scene over the smallest things? Does life just seem to always set them off? Eventually you will be walking on egg shells.

Is he/she extremely sarcastic? Always trying to be the funniest, or smartest person in the room. After the honeymoon is over, you will be at the center of the put down storm.

Is he/she a liar? Have you caught them in the initial embellishments that aren’t just wanting themselves showcased in the best light. Were they in the CIA, an astronaut, or a secretive military operative? They will continue to lie to you, about everything and anything.

Is he/she just a little but jealous. You may not recognize the subdued possessiveness and ownership, but it is there lurking. After the hook is in deep the real green monster will rear it's ugly head.

Is he/she rushing? Are they nonstop trying for an exclusive relationship, marriage or kids? Did they love you after three dates, and now they have to move to the next level quicker than seems normal- it is. They want to hurry and get that hook in, before you realize who they are and what they are about.

It is not love when they haven’t taken the time to know you, and they do not care what you want. If it is right, and it is love you can take your time and get to know them. You want a healthy love that doesn’t have to worry about being a human punching bag. Beyond all, trust yourself and listen to yourself. If you are already there get out. Seek peace in your post domestic violence self, get healthy, and seek a healthy relationship in that order so we can share the same statistic and maybe you can help someone else recognize what you will someday know.

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    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting~ Kimberly

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      6 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      good subject chosen and you did this, voted up.

    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Coffeesnob, thank you so much for reading and commenting- I appreciate your words, this subject has been under reported for too long! God Bless you and your as well~ Kimberly

    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Mekenzie, thank you for sharing your experience and your thoughts on this too common scenario. I appreciate you sharing my work with your network of friends, I am so appreciative that more people will see it and it may help more people. Thank you so much for your comments~ Kimberly

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. this subject is so much ignored and overlooked by so many. God bless and keep you


    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      This hub is written so well and your vulnerability will touch many lives. I grew up in an abusive home and I witnessed, heard, felt, saw the very things you talk about .. I even jumped in the middle of many of my parent's fights, breaking it up.

      I am so thankful to God that he protected me from carrying on the generational curse. My husband has never touched me in an unkind way and he is not abusive. I am very aware that he was a gift from God.

      Your advise to follow your gut instincts is invaluable. When I was younger I did not trust my own heart. I was not secure enough in myself. I have learned to listen to my gut and have found it to be right on.

      Thanks for sharing such an intimate and helpful hub.

      Voted Up, shared on FB and across the board.



    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Wow, Ang- I am so sorry. I am here for you always. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do- love you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you. I needed to hear that. Lately I have been confused "trying" to be a good girlfriend to an abuser. I already knew this, but my mind keeps making excuses. I am going to fix this.

    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Thank you Julie, it is a difficult topic to correctly write about. I didn't want it to sound like every other generic DV article. Thank you for reading and commenting~Kimberly

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      Wow....that was an intense hub, but so needed. Understanding the bonding that happens to individuals in abusive relationships is a difficult topic but needs awareness! Good job! :)

    • k2jade31 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Shelden 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      Thank you...It is true, it is very difficult to watch someone you love stay and endure, or helplessly love someone and want them back. You just want to be able to say that perfect thing that makes it click. I want all victims to know out there- they are a human being and deserve more if they are involved in dysfunction junction- please get out. I appreciate your comments~ Kimberly

    • aliastrip profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading. All too often people try and hide an abusive relationship from everyone, including themselves. Personally, I know a few people who are involved in abusive relationships, and they just refuse to leave. It is hard to deal with and hard to stand by and watch when you have done everything you can. I hope some people who think they have lost the ability to leave see this and get out!


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