When dealing with an already emotionally charged and difficult relationship, cheating is just another way to break down resistance. I am not talking about garden variety cheating, although it is certainly its own special hell, but the in-your-face “I’m going out and you are powerless to stop it” kind of cheating.
When physical violence (or the threat of it) is already present, it is just one more piece of “proof” that the abused is truly worthless, unlovable, stupid, unattractive, etc. He is counting on her not feeling worthy (or foolish enough) to expect fidelity.
“I’m going out” does not necessarily mean that he/she is going to visit a lover. It is, however, a definite indication that the person who is left behind has no control over the actions of the person who is doing the leaving. Like rape, it is about power, not love.
The absolute choke-hold that exists is almost impossible to understand if you haven’t lived it. Don’t be too harsh if she is your friend, or your sister. She is utterly alone in her own mind. She has been through enough mental cruelty to believe that she is completely worthless. She has no one to turn to but him.
The cell phone may be a lifeline, but it is also a house-arrest monitor. What can you do? Run. But first change all of your passwords and wipe anything that you have to leave behind.
What most of us who escaped needed was just a little time when we absolutely knew the abuser would not come back. Prepare. Expect that you may have only minutes to get away. Do not ask your friends or your family for a place to stay. It will put them in danger. Call the Domestic Violence hotline, 800.799.7233, find them on Twitter, Facebook or http://www.thehotline.org. They can help you make a safety plan and they can help you to believe that you are worth saving.
If you or someone you know is living this life, please get help! Please love yourself enough to get out. If she is not you, please offer to help her get to safety. She will likely turn down your offer, but she will remember.
If she is you, please believe that you are not destined to live like this.
But then do something.
Don’t wait for lightning to strike.
Please, don’t wait to leave until the day after he kills you.