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The “Fuck This” Moment in Abusive Relationships

December 11, 2011

Everyone has had a “fuck this” moment. It’s that moment in which you became painfully aware that you deserve more out of a relationship than what you are getting. Even emotionally-beaten domestic violence victims have fleeting moments where they realise their self-worth.

I clearly remember the night that I was arguing with my abuser when he head-butted me in the face. Despite him being bigger, stronger, unpredictable, intimidating and drunk, something in my brain snapped. I grabbed him by the shirt and and threatened him, instead of the other way around. What I felt in that short space of time was an all-consuming, intense, unadulterated, adrenaline-fuelled fury. For that fleeting moment, size, strength, and even danger to my own life became insignificant. I snapped back to the “me” I had been before domestic violence. Before the emotional beatings. Before being paralysed in the state of learned helplessness. It was at that moment that something deep in my soul finally cried out to me, that no matter how badly I thought of myself, I never, ever deserved to be treated like that.

I’m certainly not the only abuse victim to have reached this critical mass of emotion. Every domestic violence survivor has experienced it to varying degrees. Julia* took a knife to her abuser’s throat after being beaten one too many times. Leanna* saw the fear in her abuser’s eyes as she threatened to stab him while he slept if he ever laid a finger on her children. She would endure his relentless abuse day after day, but she recognised her worth as a mother and a protector of her children to the point that she would have killed him had he harmed them – and he knew it.

This is the “fuck this” moment, more appropriately known as intense cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs when you strongly identify with an outcome that is not yet true. In the case of the domestic violence victim, the outcome is being free of the abusive relationship.

In order for this cognitive dissonance to take place, an abuser has to cross your personal line of respect by treating you worse than you would ever treat yourself. Your brain has to be forced into a position where it can no longer rationalise his behaviour against your most deeply held values or beliefs. Once this occurs, you experience a powerful cognitive shift. In that split second, it becomes more painful for you to stay in the relationship than what it would be to leave.

Some women break off the relationship then and there and never go back. This is usually what happens when women with high self-esteem see the first red flag of trouble in their relationships. Women with low self-esteem take longer. I had rock-bottom self-esteem, and it took me another three months after my initial “fuck this” moment for my reality to catch up with my desired outcome. In the case of some women, the process takes years. Some never escape and are either abused for life or are murdered by their abusers.

Abusive relationships manifest when a woman’s internal environment of low self-esteem meets an abuser’s external environment of continuous negative reinforcement. Women with low self-esteem magnify their faults to gigantic proportions while simultaneously disregarding all of the good things about themselves – the exact same thing that the abuser does. The external conditions reinforce the victim’s internal beliefs. She becomes trapped in a state of learned helplessness as her self-image gradually atrophies.

The decision to leave an abusive relationship is not easy, even after a powerful “fuck this” moment. It is NOT simply a case of “well, if he treats her so badly, why doesn’t she just leave?” Making the decision to leave requires tremendous inner strength and courage, as she is making this decision against nearly insurmountable odds. On top of the paralytic state of learned helplessness and the same feelings of loss that everyone feels at the end of a relationship (which are magnified in the unhealthy co-dependence of an abuser-victim relationship), abusers routinely threaten to hunt down and kill victims if they try to escape. They may threaten hurt or kill a victim’s family members, friends, or children. They may threaten to take custody of the victim’s children. On top of this, the victims often have no money and no support network, as the abuser has severed their ties to the world outside of the relationship. These women are stuck in a torturous cycle of being being raped, beaten, burnt, forced to do drugs, and slashed with knives, believing that there is no way out other than to risk their abuser inflicting pain and possibly death upon themselves and everyone they love. It takes the type of courage that most people have never had to summon in their entire lives to leave an established abusive relationship, no matter what the cost.

Don’t think that domestic violence can’t happen to you or that you don’t know anyone that is being or has been abused. You do. Domestic violence is very common, but is still surrounded by such a social taboo that it is not discussed openly. Think about how many women you know personally, then consider that statistically, one in every four of those women has experienced some form of domestic violence in her lifetime. If you want to avoid becoming a statistic yourself, one of the best things you can do is to hold yourself in high regard. Make sure you have high self-esteem and high standards that you will hold yourself and your partner to before you even consider starting a relationship. Your relationship standard should never be, “well, he puts me down and calls me names and embarrasses me in front of my friends and family, but he doesn’t hit me so it’s okay”. NO! Your standard should be “I absolutely refuse to tolerate anyone in my life who doesn’t treat me with the utmost respect, love, honesty, and kindness. I deserve the BEST, and anyone who gives me less than that can take a long walk off a short pier!”

Ladies – please don’t wait for an abuse-induced “fuck this” moment before you start to realise your self-worth. You absolutely do NOT have to tolerate men treating you badly. There are plenty of good men out there who would be honoured to date you and treat you with the love and respect you deserve. Have your “fuck this” moment right now. Dump the losers who don’t respect you and hold out for one of the great men who will.

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18 Responses to “The “Fuck This” Moment in Abusive Relationships”

  1. Here here. Women do NOT have to put up with insecure low lifes who respect you LESS then they respect themselves. Their twisted minds do not reflect reality, they reflect the insecurities of their own worth.

  2. Exactly. It’s easy to see this from the outside looking in, but very difficult when you’re the victim caught in the middle of the situation.

  3. Leaving the relationship was hard for me. My ex had manipulated me so bad that made it hard for me to leave because my ex had made me feel worthless. My self esteem lowered. People that cared about me told me that I needed to leave the relationship when they found out that I was abused by my ex. So when they told me that I needed to leave, I tried so hard just to get over him but I couldn’t. So it made me still want to stay with him. My parents have only made it worse because they told me that it was my fault since I chose to talk to him. It really wasn’t my fault at all, I didn’t make the choice to get into the relationship,my ex was very charming at the beginning when I met him and I had the romantic feeling that it was too good to be true. I really wanted to take things slow so I can decide if I wanted to be with him or not. But instead he started showing signs of controlling behavior too quickly. Two days after I met him, he asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was doing something for a friend and then he asked me to hang with him but then I told him that I couldn’t and then he said that I was no fun. After that day he started showing more signs of red flags that made me become a puppet but soon things got worse where I was loosing my self esteem more and more. My parents told me that I had only controlled myself. It was tough healing because I had to do it myself with out my parents support, but I do understand that my parents don’t understand what its like being in an abusive relationship. It takes a lot of work to make yourself heal. But this experience has made me a stronger person, I now know what to do when someone else experiences it.


  5. I left my abuser at the end of August in the year 2011. I have days when I wish the same as what you do.

  6. It is good to see and read many of these replies and lierature about Abusive relationships; however the bias clearly illustrates that women are the higher percentage of victims in domestic violence. On the other side of the same coin, many men are the subject of doemstic violence from their spouse / female partner and suffer just as much if not more based on public perception of a man’s reaction or behaviour (i.e. reactin with tears, and emotional pain is seen as weak). While also on that note – there are significantly higher percentages of females with NPD, or BPD, Bi-polar than men yet these women in particular are a part of what is no doubt the genration gap we are faced with from a significant feminist movenment since the late 1970’s. Any anuse (both male and female) is intollerable yet men are still potrayed as the abuser allowing more and more females to justify their abuse, and reactions to situations that they themselves create even moreso than those male partners who are being labelled as abusive. I hope there are more case studies that are actaully being done from clinicians the world over to restore balance and the perception of equality within these situations. I have been the subject of both abuse and the one doing the abusing. Hence, I in no way condoen or even remotely believe I am perfect (far from it !). Whatsmore, forgiveness is not a negotiable quailty to have or exercise – but a necessity to rebuilding trust, fellowship with our spouse / partner, and more importantly upholding those vowes some of us took the day of our union before God (or whatever religious denomintaion / faith one has). Loving someone is one of the hardest things we as human beings will endure – I agree physical violence is beyond wrong; but it does take two to tango. I have never struck my partner; however there have been monets of pushing and shoving which I believe can be far worse physcially than being hit. Given I am only touching on the surface of this topic both people need to fight for one another and have each others backs during such a negative dynamic and work out their differences – marriage is about commpromise – and love is about sacrifice. If two people can make TIME to spend with one another without any excuses then domestic violence and abuse within any relationship would be significantly less than it has currently reached. The greatest gift one can give their partner is THEIR TIME ! By giving one’s time to another (attention that is undivided), jealousy, insecurity and any other negatives are signifcantly reduced to appear sooner or even later during a couple who want to be together. Its the old school mentality of ‘you watch my back and I watch yours’. When this fails all hell breaks loose.

  7. Hi John,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Domestic violence is grossly misunderstood in general – not just domestic violence against men or domestic violence against women specifically.

    Men face different and equally real social pressures as women who experience abuse. My site is aimed specifically at women who have been abused, however there are many sites out there with domestic violence information and stories pertaining exclusively to men which address the specific issues that abused men face.

    Some marriages are worth saving. Abusive marriages are not. The person who proceeds to hit, shove, punch, rape, demean, or otherwise abuse their spouse has already broken the covenant of marriage by violating their pledge “to love and to cherish”. As you say, it takes two to tango – and it takes two to hold up both ends of the agreement.

    In healthy relationships, issues can usually be solved by partners making the time to spend together, communicate effectively, and work on a relationship and whatever problems it may have. Healthy relationships, however, are based on trust, love, and respect. Abusive relationships are not about love; they are a game of power and control. There will always be some compromises in a relationship – that’s a given. But a person’s dignity, freedom, independence, and happiness should never form part of that sacrifice.

    Climb the Rainbow

  8. I like this.

    I’ve had a few ‘fuck it’ moments lately, as I shared in my story – I jumped on him and told him to ‘fuck me you weak prick’. I’m not proud of that. I was just driven to the point of being crazy for him telling me he is abusive to me because I don’t have sex enough (when I do its not ‘right’ anyway), but being called fat and ugly and a slut on the other hand. Being treated cold and ignored for weaks on end. Sleep deprived because of his questioning and accusing me if I had a cold that I must have cheated. When he accuses me of cheating it doesnt take much for me to be scared of him. He has told me stories in the past of people who cheated and were killed by their partners.

    I just want to leave. I am at the point of hating him. I wont hate him when I leave. I just hate him now for being such a controlling selfish prick and for the abuse. i just want peace. I want to leave but I am scared if he doesnt find me he will hurt my family. They keep saying though that they will look after themselves and not to worry about them…its so hard!

  9. I had such a moment recently. Thank you for this article now I have the proper term to describe that fine moment where everything changes…..forever. Like a switch he loses what he didn’t care for anyway.

  10. My moment was 16 mos ago. 19 years after his first punch…much damage, today much recovery and freedom. God bless each person who passes the message of freedom, recovery, safety by putting the spotlight on the issue of domestic violence.

  11. As I read this I realised the day I had my “fuck this” moment, it was the the second time my ex physically hurt me he threw me aroundthe house, pinned me up walls and at that moment I realised this was not ok, after this I had to tell him I loved him and he was so sorry, saying it wasn’t him, I had to promise not to tell anyone and he put me to bed. As soon as he felt the house I went to the police.
    I never thought this would happen to me, it’s been to weeks since that night, but it’s so clear in my head the fear that he could of easily killed haunts me. I have left that relationship and am trying to not look back, I still love me ex and that is would makes leaving so much harder, I constantly think that I let him down, that I should of helped him, I know he loves me dearly and he was my best friend.
    But it was come to a point where I have had to realise that enough is enough, love isn’t always enough, and I can’t solve he’s issues when he can’t take responsibilities for he’s actions.
    I want to talk to him but I know I can’t, this is the right thing for both us even tho it is hurting me so much.

  12. Thank you for this. I had my moment a few days after I married. Something evil in the tone of voice. I ignored it. From there it’s the predictable story … Increased control, humiliations, dishonesty, holding down, pushing, threatening, throwing me on bed … On floor … Choking … Slapping. The memories are haunting. I tried to fix it … Counseling, leaving and returning, involving the law. After 9 years and a final threat I had THE FU moment. I packed up 3 trash bags and my children and left … All material behind. It wasn’t easy but 4 years later I am a mom of healthy kids and safe. I
    rediscovered myself … he is no longer my abuser. We communicate regarding children. We are civil. I wish him the best …. Advice? Follow your gut with the first moment and leave. Face the shame and connect with people who knew you prior to this abuse and disclose. Careful about advice that tells you to stick it out …. Don’t be psychologically hostage to threats – much of his power is reinforced through your learned helplessness. Be strategic. Never disclose your fears and needs to an abuser believing that he will change. He is incabable. He is a manipulator. He will use it against you. Happiness is possible. Happiness is a choice.

  13. Thanks for sharing AMichelle, and good advice to those who are still going through this torment.

  14. thanks for this post. thanks so much.

    i remember my fuck this moment. i was on the floor of my ex boyfriends bedroom (our bedroom) and crying because he’d just beat me up and left me there. and I’d already used up all my “resources” (friends who’d half-tried to help me leave but who barely had enough for themselves to get me out and safe). all the sudden, i thought to myself, in so many words and not these, fuck this (lol). i got up and stormed into the living room where Phil was eating on the couch and watching tv and i kicked him as hard as i could. in fact, i kicked him so hard that i broke my foot. we looked at me like I’d lost my mind and got up and actually broke up with me for the first time. while i felt bad on one level, on another i did not. and that’s how i still feel. if I’d of never stood up to him, I’d of never got out…but who wants to be *that* person? a violent person…a person like him. i don’t like what i became.

    but then, i think i like it better than what i was for the year and a half before it. looking at myself in the mirror with a huge, ugly black eye will never leave my memory. losing all my friends won’t either.

    ..and i am still trying to rebuild, but starting fresh is tough. its been almost a year and a half and my life is pretty much still in shambles. i have no car. i have no friends.

    but i do have a little hope. i was just accepted into a four year university. and i have support through websites like these. and that’s enough in this moment.

    thank you again. your post gives me strength.

  15. Yes. It would have been much better for me to leave before that “fuck this” moment. My NPD abuser used my “fuck this” moment to his advantage and had me thrown in jail for assault, thus giving him more tools to manipulate and threaten. Over all these bursts of emotions of who i once was gave him the opportunity to manipulate police officers and the courts into believing i was the abuser. Of course, after having me arrested,he withdrew and declined to show up in court so charges were dropped. This same scenario repeated itself four more times. It had become easy for him to call the police on me. . Manipulate and twist truth to lie and they believe him every time. One of these times i threw a clayflower pot on the ground he picked it up and cut himself andtold the cops i threw it at him; i went to jail for assault. He would tell me he was not going to prosecute but wouldnt until the day of court so he could use that “domestic terrorism” to keep me “in line”.
    I still can not believe our “system”! Seriously, these officers believed that a 5’2″ female weighing no more than 120 assaulted a 6’2″ 260# male!! Yes. . They did.
    So . . Yes ladies be very careful of that “fuck this” moment. I know from experience where thus outbursts come from and it takes more than you can imagine to hold it back. The absolute best thing to do is get out and away as soon as you realize that you are in an abusive relationship because it is as they say. It will only get worse.

  16. I have been abused since I was a child by family at first as went into my teenage years no one knew about it. My mom raised me too the best of her ability, but our relationship was rocky from my secrets of the abuse. I have been in 3 long abusive relationships. I am 28 years old and I have 7 month old son. His father has a alcohol problem and some mental issues thst stemmed from his abusive childhood. I tried to see the Good in this man for 2 years. In the mean time he tore my self esteem and my physical appearance down everytime his mind would wonder. Before we had our child I tried reasoning with him about fight and forgiving him for hisbehbehavior but my FUCK THIS moment was after we came in from a night.Baby free and all. He instantly starts rambling about things that really didnt make sense. Turned around and told me he is tired of me and pushed me down on the bed started chocking me. He pulled knives on me. Then after he jumped on me he kept get up evertime moved to different part of the house saying he didn’t trust me HUUUUHHH! The next morning when he woke up and tried to act like everything was ok I told him it was over snd that he needed to leave. He immediately start trying to intimidate me. I went outside to shovel the snow (trying to get my thoughts together) when I came back in he jumped on me a again. That was it. I walked to the corner called the police and waited freezing for 20 minutes until they arrived. His face when I walked in with police officers was priceless. I just wanted him out of my life. Forever

  17. My female partner of two years constantly accused me of cheating, spit in my face three times, smacked, choked me and finally broke my nose and sent me to the hospital which I needed surgery to fix. Two incidents cops where involved and both incidents cops took her side for some reason. Even the last incident where I was rushed to hospital with shattered nose the cop allowed my ex girlfriend and her family to press charges against me but would not allow me and had me arrested. The system failed me and I realize reading these post I realize this happens obviously to others. It’s a disgrace. Phoenixville, PA cops are awful. One cop even joked around that day with my ex saying she should have been a professional boxer ……what is that? What is going on with cops. The hardest this is leaving someone you love….even when they are evil. All I can say is I pray for victims of domestic violence and I pray laws will be stricter on domestic violence and I really pray cops are held accountable for failing victims.

  18. I recently read a law that basically says that you’re not allowed to say anything negative about the police or law enforcement which violates freedom of speech and what happens if the person with the badge is abusing you?
    Do you think that a PFA works?
    Maybe just maybe abused people are like a kidnap victim held captive, did you ever think maybe stockholm syndrome could apply to them also?

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