Dare to Create – Why did you stay so long in the abusive relationship?


Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month we’re exploring making a fresh start. Today’s article focuses on loneliness and will be dedicated to this amazing being chris, a narcissist abuse survivor, he will be portrayed in our first survivor portrait series the 25th of February.


Dare to Create – finish the quote

Inspired by Chris’s honest interview,  consider the question below and finish the quote.



So, how would you answer the above statement?

Perhaps thinking about when or how you left your abuser, will give you the answer. If however, you are still in the situation, why not share your reasons for staying in the abusive enviroment?

The circumstances of abuse are never straightforward and there are so many reasons why a person might choose to stay or can’t escape. With this in mind, it’s time for the challenge.


The challenge

Okay, are you ready to get creative? On a piece of paper write the following:

I feel a lot of people stay for so long because… “

Now complete the sentence.

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram.  Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.


Survivor Story and background for this challenge

Allow me to introduce Chris, a loving father of two young daughters, an ex – serviceman who’s experienced domestic abuse in his marriage, for 12 years.

98E28924-B6AC-4B9A-99BA-0EE05D210278“I used to be a professional racecar driver into my 20s, very confident. Joined the military and felt invincible but after those years of being put down and almost tortured, I became a shell. Depressed, sad, always putting myself down. But when I got away it was a total 180° turn for me. I remember after the divorce I felt extremely lonely. I couldn’t talk to people. I pushed everyone away. But with time and after opening up and being honest I could hold a conversation with just about anyone. At this time, it’s extremely lonely. I focus on the good things, like my kids for example. I think about that day I’ll see them and how ecstatic we’re going to be.”

Hearing Chris reveal how traumatic and far-reaching the abuse has been in his life, it was hard to take in how this quiet, almost submissive personality could be the same man he described with such animation, prior to the abuse. To say the change in his demeanour and life situation has been dramatic, would be an understatement. One question this raised, which is a common one, was why did he not leave earlier? – or rather, why do people in general not leave sooner? Which is what inspired this week’s creative challenge.

The reason why I’m challenging you on this is that through creativity we can often find answers to things. It gives us a chance to pause and reflect. In doing this, we can better understand who we and recognise what it is we most need and want In our lives. With reflection on what has happened we can gently dissect the situation and gain clarity of mind, which is very important on our journey to healing from

Chris’s story opened my eyes to so much. I’ll touch on just a few things. His account helped me to grasp just how much self-esteem and self-confidence is lost when a person is physiologically and emotionally abused – and how long the road to recovery can be. Secondly, his courage in speaking up impressed me greatly. It’s never easy to share a personal experience about abuse, and this is extremely difficult when the abuser is also a woman. The stigma attached to male survivors of abuse is very real and damaging, which is another reason I admire Chris’s decision to share his story. Also, as someone who  identifies with being physically disabled and requires a wheelchair to cover distanc, as Chris does, I recognise the degree of danger Chris was inwithin his abusive marriage. It’s scary how easy it would have been for his wife to keep him dependant and trapped through her abuse of power and control, and understand how isolating and tough that must have been.

You will be able to read the full interview with Chris, on Sunday 25th February. I hope you’ll return to read it.

Thank you for sharing so openly with us Chris.

Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

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