“The merry-go-round goes round and round never going anywhere new, but it’s safe.”

This line was in the movie “American Crime.” I thought it resonated with many of the clients that I see. Often we sit on a merry-go-round of life, staying in the place that we know because it feels safer than venturing out. Unfortunately, when we do this, it limits us in unimaginable ways.

It’s scary to get off the merry-go-round. We don’t know what’s out there and have to rely on sheer faith that what will happen next will be okay and perhaps even be more than what we could imagine.

Even if what we have on the merry-go-round is bad and we don’t like it, often we stay in it because we are fearful of what we don’t know. In this particular movie, the two girls were living in an abusive home and not leaving because they weren’t sure if leaving could be worse. If you watch the movie, you will see that they were in one of the most abusive situations you could find yourself in, yet, they were still bound to that merry-go-round. It wasn’t safe yet; they stayed there because it was what they knew.

This very same thing happens to many who are in abusive relationships. Not knowing whether you will end up alone or worse off is one of the reasons why so many stay in their current situation. The fear of being alone over rides the abuse that a person has been enduring.

Let me say that again because it’s so very important to understand this about human nature.

The fear of being alone over-rides the abuse.

This gives you a different perspective on how important relationships are to people. We fear being alone more than being treated poorly. Human nature drives us to be in relationships.

So how do you get off the merry-go-round?

You do this with support from a good therapist and with support from family and friends. Having relationships that sustain you so that you don’t feel alone is of upmost importance.

Often in abusive relationships, the abuser will work to alienate all others so that the sole dependence is on them. This is how the abuse cycle is sustained. The only way to break it is to form other relationships, so that the person in the abusive situation can feel safe enough and in relationship enough with others to leave.

If you need help getting off the merry-go-round, call to set up an appointment.

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