Relationships 101

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

For someone who has never been in an abusive relationship, it may seem very strange why an abuse victim chooses to stay on in that relationship. “Why don’t they just come out of it?”, many of us have asked this question. But what most people fail to realise is that leaving an abusive relationship can be a very complicated matter.

There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. These can range from financial dependence to low self-esteem, and even being in love with the abuser. Let us have a look at some of these.

1. Fear of partner

This is one of the most common reasons that will make an abuse victim stay in the relationship. They are afraid of the consequences of deciding to leave the relationship.

2. Embarrassment of splitting

Shame or embarrassment in admitting to being the victim of abuse is a top reason. Social taboo and fear of judgement by family and friends can also make a victim stay.

3. Their low self-esteem

Prolonged emotional and psychological abuse can result in very low self-esteem in the victim. The abuser makes the victim believe they are worthless and deserve the abuse.

4. Manipulation by the abuser

Usually, abusers are skilled manipulators and can make the victims of abuse stick to the relationship. They can threaten to commit suicide, and blame the victim, or even pretend to be the victims themselves.

5. Financial dependence

Financially abusive relationships are common. In this case, the victim is largely dependent on the abuser for their finances. The abuser tries to control the victim’s financial situation and causes problems if they try to become financially independent.

6. Concern for children

When children are involved, an abuse victim has a harder time coming out of the toxic relationship. They consider the future of their children and wait for them to be grown up enough to deal with the trauma that they may face when they eventually come out.

7. Religious/societal barriers

Many abuse victims are forced to stay in an abusive relationship because of their religious or social norms. They may fear to bring shame on their family in the community if they choose to walk out of the relationship.

8. Love for the abuser

As unlikely as this may seem to an outsider, many abuse victims have genuinely expressed being in love with their abuser. The victim and the abuser may have children together, making the victim want to make the relationship work out.

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