Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?

The famous question that every women faces while in an abusive relationship is: Why did you stay?  Many people outside of the relationship cannot understand why we stay in these unhealthy relationships.  Often times, we even loose friends and family members because they disagree with our decisions to stay and they don’t want to help us get out.  Or they think we don’t want to get out.  The thing is, we DO want to get out, but we are mentally manipulated to continue on-again off-again relationships with these men do to several reasons.  The truth is, there is no straight forward answer to this question.  It is complex and can even be difficult for the victim to understand themselves.  However, the following are the most common reasons women stay in destructive relationships.

  1. She’s in love:  Abusers are very manipulative.  Even though a man may be abusive to a woman, there are good times in the relationship.  Victims often push the bad memories out of their minds and live for the happy moments.  This is what causes the “Cycle of Abuse”.  She looks forward to the honeymoon stage after a violent act.  Which reminds her “how much he really does love her”.
  2. Money problems:  In abusive relationships, many times the men will control the finances, even if it’s her money.  He might also ask of money for this and ask for money for that and before she knows it, she has no money for herself.  She has gotten so far into a bind that she feels she cannot survive by herself financially.  This is especially true if there are children involved.
  3. Children:  Women feel that their children need to have both parents in the household.  They do not want their children to grow up without a father.  They want to keep their family together, so they just endure the pain he causes. 
  4. Loyalty to him:  She feels that she needs to stay by her man and “save” him from the problems that he is having.  Something from his childhood or something in his life made him this way and it’s not his fault.  If I had cancer, he’d stay by me.  We can get through this together, she thinks.
  5. Fear:  When a woman leaves her abuser, this is one of the most dangerous times of her entire relationship.  Abusers need to be in control and by her leaving, he has lost all control.  Even if he was not physically abusive, he may have made threats to her to ensure that the idea of leaving never crosses her mind.  She may feel that there will be consequences that not only put her in danger, but also her children, family and friends.

Staying in an abusive relationship is what many women think is the best or the only way to live.  They cannot view their lives any other way, even though they know they are suffering.  Finding the courage to leave may be what we really need to ask ourselves.  After being belittled and having our self-esteem crumbled for years, it is not exactly easy to say “it’s time to leave”. 

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