I often hear survivors blame themselves for not knowing better, but how could you know when you are placed into a psychological trap that is disguised as love. Victims, who are often characterized as empaths, will go to great lengths to help those in need; but in doing so, they can forget about their own well-being and fall into the trap of victimization. But, you, the survivor, must never blame yourself for your past actions. The only one who should blame themselves is the abuser. There are biochemical reasons why we as victims cannot rationalize. No one can if inflicted with chronic stress. Chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period over which an individual perceives he or she has no control. It involves an endocrine system response in which occurs a release of corticosteroids. While the immediate effects of stress hormones are beneficial in a particular situation, long-term exposure to stress creates a high level of these hormones that remains constant. This may lead to serious health issues and damage to mental health. Thus making this type of infliction by abusers totally inhumane and nefarious! When our fight or flight system is activated, which is most of the time when living in an abusive relationship, we tend to perceive everything in our environment as a possible threat to our survival. We are constantly focused on simply surviving. By its very nature, the fight or flight system bypasses our rational mind—where our more well thought out beliefs exist—and moves us into “attack” mode. This state of alert causes us to perceive almost everything in our world as a possible threat to our survival. As such, we tend to see everyone and everything as a possible enemy. We may overreact to the slightest comment. Our fear is exaggerated. Our thinking is distorted. We see everything through the filter of possible danger. We narrow our focus to those things that can harm us. Fear becomes the lens through which we see the world. We can begin to see how it is almost impossible to cultivate positive attitudes and beliefs when we are stuck in survival mode. Our heart is not open. Our rational mind is disengaged. Our consciousness is focused on fear, not love. Making clear choices and recognizing the consequences of those choices is unfeasible. We are focused on short-term survival, not the long-term consequences of our beliefs and choices. When we are overwhelmed with excessive stress, our life becomes a series of short-term emergencies. We lose the ability to relax and enjoy the moment. We live from crisis to crisis, with no relief in sight. Burnout is inevitable. This burnout is what usually provides the motivation to change our lives for the better. We are propelled to step back and look at the big picture of our lives—forcing us to examine our beliefs, our values, and our goals. So, if you are now independent and free, enjoy it. And don’t ever blame yourself for not leaving sooner or knowing better, because there are biochemical reasons, beyond our control, which have shackled us to this unhealthy environment.13528846_1068088926618608_9132420336573647691_n