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Why do women stay in abusive relationships?

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People, particularly women, remain in an abusive household for a variety of reasons: economic, parental (to protect the children), and psychological. But the objective obstacles facing the battered spouse cannot be overstated.

The abuser treats his spouse as an object, an extension of himself, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs. Thus, typically, the couple's assets are in his name, from real estate to medical insurance policies. The victim has no family or friends because her abusive partner or husband frowns on her initial independence and regards it as a threat. By intimidating, cajoling, charming, and making false promises, the abuser isolates his prey from the rest of society and, thus, makes her dependence on him total. She is often also denied the option to study and acquire marketable skills or augment them.

Abandoning the abusive spouse frequently leads to a prolonged period of destitution and peregrination. Custody is usually denied to parents without a permanent address, a job, income security, and, therefore, stability. Thus, the victim stands to lose not only her mate and nest, but also her offspring. There is the added menace of violent retribution by the abuser or his proxies coupled with emphatic contrition on his part and a protracted and irresistible "charm offensive". Gradually, she is convinced to put up with her spouse's cruelty in order to avoid this harrowing predicament.

But there is more to an abusive dyad than mere pecuniary convenience. The abuser stealthily, but unfailingly, exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological makeup of his victim. The abused party may have low self-esteem, a fluctuating sense of self-worth, primitive defense mechanisms, phobias, mental health problems, a disability, a history of failure, or a tendency to blame herself or feel inadequate (autoplastic neurosis). She may have come from an abusive family or environment, which conditioned her to expect abuse as inevitable and "normal". In extreme and rare cases, the victim is a masochist, possessed of an urge to seek ill-treatment and pain.

The abuser may be functional or dysfunctional, a pillar of society, or a peripatetic con artist, rich or poor, young or old. There is no universally-applicable profile of the "typical abuser". Yet, abusive behavior often indicates serious underlying psychopathologies. Absent empathy, the abuser perceives the abused spouse only dimly and partly, as one would an inanimate source of frustration. The abuser, in his mind, interacts only with himself and with "introjects," representations of outside objects, such as his victims.

Answer Some women, A LOT of women, get addicted to abuse. It is just like anything else. It is a cycle of violence. They feel like they can love the abuser like no other and it will change that person. They believe it will make them better. That is a delusion, and that delusion kills. Women tend to want to "fix" things. We want to mother them and make them do better. Its the instinct in us to be the momma.
 Answer There are a lot of reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. I stayed because it wasn't all bad. If it was all bad, no one would stay. When he wasn't blowing up on me, he was very loving. But I recognized the abuse, and got out. I tried to save it the best I could, but he needs to want help to get helped. Other reasons why women would stay could be that the abuse is familiar to them, and they fear change because they're not used to not being abused. Many women that stay for this reason could have been brought up in an abusive environment, or had previous abusive partners/are co-dependant. Other women stay because the love the abuser has for them is so strong that they believe they're the only ones that can change them, and others are in denial that abuse is even taking place. Still others may stay because the abuser threatens her life, the lives of their children, or his own life. It's tricky, and always painful.
 Answer The most common reason why women stay in abusive relationships is because they are scared. Most don't say anything to anybody. Most women feel insecure and unprotected. When I was in the 7th grade my best friend was in an abusive relationship and it cost her her life. I was there. Her boyfriend kept beating her up until one day. He just kicked her and punched her so much that she died in the hospital.
 Answer The Cycle of Violence is the main reason. 1) Honeymoon Stage: apologies, romance, pursuing 2) Tension Stage: nitpicking, abuser gathers his defense to stroke later emotional and or physically. Complains a lot, feels like you are walking on eggshells. Calm before the storm feeling. 3)Explosion Stage: Abuser feels justified and ready to give you your punishment. Lets loose, cold, angry, mean, distant.

This cycle repeats itself over and over. The victim holds onto hope with each cycle. She has little time to really gain perspective on her situation when she is waiting for the other shoe to drop. She lives in survival mode.
 Answer Simple, they are either in love, scared, or feel compelled to give chances again and again.
 Answer They stay in them because they are most likely scared to get out. they feel that if they try and leave that this person will try and hurt them even more. also, sometimes they stay in them because they don't know any better. they have never been in a relationship that is good so they have nothing to compare it to, some women believe that it's as good as it gets.
 Answer Because they think they deserve to be treated like crap and they have no self esteem! Even when they have friends and family that have helped them to start over and have another chance, some still would rather talk to their abuser rather than take a big girl pill and do it on their own. When given an opportunity, they would rather take free easy money from an abuser.
 Answer I was in a abusive relation ship for 4 years. Its very hard to know that there is a problem in the first place. It feels like its "normal." I don't come from an abusive home, and no its not normal, I just got "tied" into it. It's very, very hard to realize its not okay. He took me away from my friends and family. Well, I should say he assisted me into growing distant from them. He was very sweet at first. Then it started with a simple scream, then a punch into the wall, then a shove, then a slap and then a black eye. That's when i had enough! I put a stop to it and left. I'm still not fully recovered from it. I guess I thought I could help him change to a better person. All I seen in him was what could of been not what was at that point.
 Additional insights Perhaps some are vulnerable to abuse because of a need to control others. If a woman's self-esteem is damaged or built on an unfounded basis, she may look to broken men so she can change them and gain an ego boost. The more broken they seem, according to her own beliefs, the greater the ego boost. Often, the men have their ego tied to what she considers brokenness. So each try to control the other, where she tries to fix him to gain control over him, and he feels threatened and stays "broken" as a means to control her. Excessively high standards or needing others to do things your way can actually make you vulnerable to abuse as you feel a need to try to seek out people to force your way of being onto. But it doesn't work because the other person wants to be as they already are. Despite their stories, they had a mother, and they likely had other partners, so what would make you any more special or successful? The thing about human nature is that people are most likely to change if they are allowed to fall on their own, hit rock bottom, and be forced by situations to change, with nobody in the way.
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