I am pretty sure you know a friend or someone in an abusive relationship and they just won’t leave because they love this person for one reason or another.
Many a times family, friends and even colleagues intervene especially when such relationships are violent but again in most situations many women choose to go back.
You may not be able to understand it but as explained by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a psychologist and marriage/family counselor, these are the reasons why women choose to stay in abusive relationships.
Because being someone’s everything is intoxicating stuff – at least at first. When you met, he only had eyes for you. He called to say good morning, “I love you”, and he wanted to be the last voice you heard before you went to sleep. In exchange, he gave you attention as no one ever had before, wined and dined you and made you feel like a princess. Sounds like any romantic beginning, doesn’t it?
If your guy is so insecure that he needs control, his attention gradually becomes claustrophobic. Over time, his demands for all your attention all the time hemmes you in. You find yourself frantically explaining your every move that doesn’t involve him. What started out as wonderful attention becomes not so wonderful control.
Charming – You didn’t fall in love with your boyfriend for no good reason. He can be charming, romantic, sweet etc. He seems to feel genuinely terrible after the two of you have had a big fight, and he brings apologies and flowers. He says all the right things to make you want to give him another chance. Things are wonderful for a while, then it starts all over again. You come home a little late and his eyes look stormy. You make a phone call and he has to know who you’re talking to. Pretty soon, you’re feeling hemmed in again and you know that there’s going to be another blow-out.
Because you don’t feel you deserve any better – Maybe growing up you were told that you were a no good, ugly, clumsy, or incompetent person. Maybe you’ve had a series of disastrous relationships or no relationships at all. Your self-esteem is in the cellar. You’ve become convinced you should be grateful for any sign of caring your boyfriend provides – even if it is painful.
Because you don’t know any better – All the women you grew up with were in abusive, difficult relationships. Lacking role models for positive, loving relationships, you think good relationships only happen in the movies. Although you can agree in theory that women deserve to be treated with consideration and respect by the men who love them, you’ve never seen such a relationship up close and personal.
Manipulation – There are men who aren’t a bit subtle about their need for control. Try to leave and they threaten to hurt you or your kids or other people you care about. When he goes into a rage, there’s no telling what he might do. So you do everything you can to prevent it including staying. The manipulators are equally effective in trapping their women. They say they will commit suicide if you leave – and it will be all your fault. They are masters at making you feel guilty even when you don’t have a clue what you are guilty of. Fights inevitably shift to all the things you’ve done wrong. You end up staying to make amends and make it right or because you can’t bear the idea of living with the guilt if he hurts himself.
You truly believe you can change him – Because the relationship started out so wonderfully and because he can be so terrific after a fight, you hold onto the idea that you can bring out the best in him. All you have to do is find the right words and behave in the right way, and you’ll have the man of your dreams. Love conquers all, right? Wrong. No one can make another person be anything. He has to want it and be willing to work on it. He has to want to change because it will make him a better person, not because he made an insincere promise in order to make up after a fight. Even though you know all this, you convince yourself that you’re an exception. You’re going to find a way.
Fear of being alone – You’ve been alone and it’s lonely. You want someone to talk to in the evening, to cuddle up to at night, at least once in a while. Fighting with him is more appealing than coming home to an empty house. If he does help pay the bills and do a few chores (and especially if he pays most of the bills and can be counted on to do some of the heavy work), it’s even harder to think about going it alone.
Because you love him – The most common answer I get when I ask women why they stay in bad relationships is “because I love him.” Love isn’t always rational, it’s true. There’s no accounting for chemistry. But the fact is that love, especially one-sided love, isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. It’s like one hand clapping.