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Florida Women's Law Group

Why Women Stay In An Abusive Relationship

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Aug 04 2021

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships

Leaving an abusive relationship is extremely difficult.  For someone who has never experienced it they may question why a victim stay.  Abusive relationships are very complicated, it is not easy to just walk out.  In fact, a victim of abuse will usually attempt to leave seven times before they leave for good.  When they leave can be the most dangerous and volatile time for the victim.  Abuse is about power and control, by leaving the victim threatens the abuser’s hold over them and their life.  It is not uncommon for the abuser to retaliate in a dangerous and violent way.

Abusers are good at manipulation and creating fear in their victims to the point that they feel they have no choice but to stay.  Here are 10 common reasons someone may stay in an abusive relationship:

  1. Fear – The abused partner may fear what their spouse will do if they were to leave. The fear of the consequences can make them stay.  Also, the fear of being alone and having to support themselves independently.

  2. History of Abuse – For someone who grew up in a home where there was abuse, they do not have a concept of a healthy relationship. To them, abuse is normal.

  3. Threats – An abuser is a bully, they use fear, threats and intimidation to control their victims. They will make verbal or physical threats to their partners to make them stay. 

  4. Isolation – Abusers like to keep their victims close. Through manipulation and mind-games they isolate their partners from family and friends making them completely dependent on the abuser.  Abusers often prevent their spouses from working or going to school to have financially control over them.  Without access to money or a support system, the victim feels stuck, as if they have no options to leave.

  5. Low Self-Esteem – Abusers constantly insult, shame and belittle their victims. Over time victims begin to believe it and their self-esteem and confidence is almost non-existent. 

  6. Guilt – An abuser is never at fault, at least according to them. Any time they act out it is because their spouse made them do it.  They use gaslighting and manipulation to make the victim feel as if they are the cause of everything.  Eventually they believe that they are to blame.

  7. Love – It may be hard to imagine but victim’s may have strong feelings of love for their abusers. Abuse happens in a cycle and after a violent outburst or argument the abuser acts very remorseful.  They make promises to be better and are charming and loving.  It can be difficult for the victim to disassociate their feelings of love from the abuse.

  8. Shame – It is difficult to admit to anyone that they are in an abusive relationship. They are afraid of being judged or blamed.  Blame-shifting is common among abusers, the victim is made to feel that they deserve the abuse or they made it happen. 
  9. Children – If there are children involved the abused may not want to disrupt the family unit and take the children from the other parent. Abusers also use the children as pawns and threaten to keep them from the other parent if they were to leave.

  10. Make Excuses – Abuse victims have been so brainwashed by their abusers that they will constantly make excuses for their behavior. The abuser is under stress, has problems at work, is addicted to alcohol or drugs or has family pressure.  There is always a reason that allows the abuser to not accept responsibility.

Abuse is a choice.  It is not anyone else’s fault, no person or situation made them do it.  It is because of their desire to have power and control over their partner’s life.  They thrive on the feeling of power that abuse gives them.  If you are suffering from any type of abuse from your partner you are not to blame.  While it seems hard, you have the strength and courage to leave.    

If you are in an abusive relationship, make a safety plan and get you and your children out of the situation.  When abuse happens, call the police and file a domestic violence report.  You can also obtain a restraining order that prohibits them from contacting you or coming near you in anyway.  You are not alone, we are here to represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.

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