Don’t we all wonder why do women stay in abusive relationships? We already hear about it. Gossip from our friends, family, and in the news. Women stick with some loser that uses and abuses them until one day, it gets out of hand, and authorities need to get involved.
People wonder why anyone in their right mind would let something like that happen to them. But it does happen time and time again. It happens in all demographics of women, regardless of social status, race, or anything else.
Whether it is physical abuse or verbal abuse, millions of women are victims of abusive relationships.
In this article, we delve into why women stay in abusive relationships. Why even self-respecting and intelligent women get involved in such a troublesome scenario?
What are abusive relationships?
Before we understand why do women stay in abusive relationships, we need to understand what abusive relationships are.
An abusive relationship includes dominance and control over a partner. The abuse can be emotional, physical, psychological, or sexual. It can frighten, humiliate, hurt or traumatize a partner, so much so that they fear moving out of it and staying in it.
It is almost impossible to identify if a person is abusive at the beginning of a relationship. After a period of time, the warning signs and abusive traits are visible. Abusive relationships usually happen when there is no way out of the relationship for a partner, as the abusive partner takes advantage of the situation.
Women getting abused is a common scenario as, many times, staying in an abusive relationship is the only option for them due to family or societal pressure.
We keep questioning why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship without understanding the situation’s depth of the situation. Let’s dig deeper into why women stay with abusive men.
Watch this video to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy love:
10 reasons why do women stay in abusive relationships
It is easy to judge from outside the box. We are not here to judge women in abusive relationships; let’s put ourselves in their shoes.
The moment we understand women’s thought processes in such abusive relationships, we can be more understanding of their situation if we wish to help.
1. The value of the sanctity of commitment
Some women believe in keeping their vows through hellfire and brimstone until death.
In all honesty, with all the rocky relationships, rampant divorce, and blatant infidelity, someone who sticks with their partner through thick and thin is an admirable trait.
Too much of a good thing is not always great. We know that there are women who stick with insecure partners. Abusive husbands who do what they can to break the self-esteem of their partner.
2. Hopeless romantic
There are still people, mostly women, who believe in fairy tale endings. They convince themselves that their Prince Charming will make a miraculous change.
Every relationship has ups and downs; women in abusive relationships lie to themselves and justify their actions with love.
The couple creates a “you and me” versus the world scenario and live in a delusional world. It sounds romantic but juvenile. The woman justifies their relationship or their man as “misunderstood” and defends against criticisms from the outside.
This is one of the most common reasons why husbands abuse their wives, as they know their partner will stay in the abusive marriage rather than walk out of it.
3. Maternal instinct
A little voice in every woman’s head makes them want to pick up homeless kittens, cute puppies, and abusive spouses and take them home.
They want to nurture every “poor soul” that crosses their path and comfort them. These women cannot stop themselves and make it their life goal to care for every unfortunate creature, including abusive men, who messed up their lives.
4. To protect their children
This is one of the most common reasons why do women stay in abusive relationships.
Unlike the other reasons where women constantly lie to themselves, believing everything is just a bump in the road on their long journey to happiness, these women know that their man is heartless.
They stay because they act as a shield to protect their children. They sacrifice themselves to prevent their partner from abusing the children instead.
They sometimes think about leaving an abusive relationship but consider it will put their children in danger, so they decide to stay.
They feel trapped and know how bad things are at home. They keep it a secret because their decisions might provoke the man to harm their kids.
Many abusers use verbal, emotional, and physical threats to prevent the woman from leaving. They traumatize the family and use fear as a weapon to keep them from defying his will.
The woman knows that their partner is dangerous. They fear that once the man loses control of the situation, they will take steps to prevent it. It could end up going too far.
This fear is justified. Most extreme cases of physical abuse happen when the illusion of control is lost, and the man feels they need to “punish” the woman for her misbehavior.
6. Low-self esteem
Regarding punishments, abusers consistently make the woman believe everything is her fault. Some women end up believing such lies. The longer the relationship lasts, the more likely they are brainwashed into believing it.
It is very effective when the woman and her children depend on the man to pay the bills. They feel the moment the relationship is over, they won’t be able to feed themselves.
This is the primary reason why feminists fight for empowerment.
They know that many women stick with their physically abusive husbands because they do not have a choice. They (believe) are unable to go out in the world and make enough money for themselves and their children.
It’s a common reason why women stay in abusive relationships. They feel that it is a better choice than starving in the streets.
It may sound like a petty reason why do women stay in abusive relationships, but this is also a common reason women choose staying in abusive relationships.
They strongly consider what other people would say once they learn of their predicament. Women are raised with a cultural and religious upbringing that prevents them from leaving their partners.
Women who grew up in dominating patriarchal families frequently fall victim to this vicious circle of domestic violence.
They grew up with submissive mothers and have been taught to stick to their husbands because it is the “right thing to do” as a woman.
9. Constant control over their life
The man wants to control their women and their entire lives. They break down their individuality and mold the woman into a submissive, enslaved person.
They do this for various reasons, but mostly to stroke their inflated ego and feed into their delusions that women are their property.
Such thinking may sound stupid to modern humans.
If you look at human history, all cultures and civilizations started this way. It is not a stretch that men look at women as objects and possessions.
Some religions and cultures still hold on to these traditional practices. There are even women who believe it themselves.
10. They start believing they deserve to be treated like this
After being fed that they are the reason why the abuse is happening to them by their abusive partners, some women start to believe this lie. They lose their sense of reality and start thinking something might be wrong with them.
They identify the abusive behavior, but they try to understand what they did wrong instead of blaming their partner for his wrongdoing. Instead of analyzing what’s happening in reality, they tend to look at the situation from their partner’s perspective.
All of the above-listed reasons are responsible for so many women going through the trauma of abuse. The disappointing part is that many women mental health organizations and women’s shelters are working towards this cause, yet women are afraid to come out and accept this problem easily.
There are plenty of reasons. They are complicated and cannot be solved by merely walking away. If you are looking to help, make sure you understand the entire picture and take it to the end. The dangers are real, but you can spread awareness and save someone.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.