Lindsay Lohan left her fiance when she realised she was trapped in a similar relationship to the one her mother and father had.
The 30-year-old actress parted ways with Egor Tarabasov last year amid allegations that the businessman was violent toward her and she has admitted that, although she initially accepted the "safe chaos" as "normal" because it was similar to the dynamic between Dina and Michael Lohan when they were married.
She said: "I notice and I look back and think I saw my mom going through this and I get it. I stayed because it was normal for me.
"Of course, as a child, you recognise, in psychiatry it's a study, those moments become almost like a safe chaos and you just think it's normal, but it's not normal, and I remember saying to myself that moment when he ran out of my house, 'Thank God'.
" I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm not going to put myself through what my mother went through, no. This ends now.'
"My father was never physically abusive to my mother in front of me, I never saw that. Before I was born, yes. I've seen those photos."
The 'Mean Girls' star admitted realising she needed to get out of the relationship was one of the big turning points that sent her towards working with refugees in Syria as she "took control back" in her life.
Speaking on 'John Bishop: In Conversation With...', she said: "I was in a very abusive relationship with my ex, he was hitting me a lot, and I didn't know how to get out of it, and that was when things changed.
"I took control back in my life and said, 'No one is going to hurt me, I'm gonna help other people and focus on taking care of myself.'
And Lindsay spent a long period of time "praying" Egor would leave her before the relationship ended.
Asked how she would help someone if they came to her in a similar situation, she said: "If someone came to you in the same situation, what would you do?
"I don't know. I would take them with me and be like, 'Let's get you out of here'.
"It's really hard to talk to someone in that situation, you're scared but you want to be strong and you want to make it calm.
"I don't know. I just prayed for him to go, and he did, I got by with some angels It was that bad and I didn't want anyone to know, so I didn't talk about it.
"Because for me it's a whole different situation the second it's public."