Why Dont They Leave an Abusive Relationship
Have you ever known anyone in an abusive relationship (of course we see it in the tabloids all the time) and wonder why they stay? You think to yourself and wonder in awe (somewhat disgusted), “What are they thinking, why don’t they leave? Why do they keep going back?” The answer is never as simple as the question itself. My favorite, yet utterly repulsive, response, “They deserve whatever they get, it’s their choice to stay…”
Why Don't They Leave #1
An abusive relationship always starts with little signs and symptoms that are not readily recognizable to someone who has fallen in love with the ever so charming and manipulative abusive partner. However, once they do start to recognize that something is wrong, either (1) they leave, (2) they think they can help to change this person, or (3) they are so blinded my the manipulations they can’t even see what is coming; and so the cycle of abuse begins.
The “happy couple” ends up getting married and having children. The man takes control of everything (being the respectable male that he is; I use the man as the example of the abusive one but we all know women can be abusive too.) Sometimes the wife stays home with the children. How is a woman who has kids, no job, and no money supposed to just leave after he starts to abuse her?
Why Don't They Leave #2
She is dependent on him for everything and she is not going anywhere; the abuse gets worse and she begins to think she is stuck and worthless because he made her this way. She tells herself she has to stick through it for her children. How can she possibly put them through the horror of running away to nowhere and with nothing?
Why Don't They Leave #3
He controls everything. Even if she does work outside the home, he has worked on her for years. Telling her what to spend her money on, “they” need to save “their” money for something specific. Manipulating her to believe “they” are doing this together. Until she does something that he doesn’t approve of and it all hits the fan. She could leave, but with what? All of her extra money is tied up in his account that she conveniently, unbeknown to her, has no access to. What if she has no family or friends to go to?
And if she does, he has surely caused there to be bad blood between them and completely isolated her. She’s now too embarrassed and afraid to ask for help fearing she will be rejected. So she sucks it up to try to devise a plan and in the mean time he continues to beat her down. Maybe gives her a black eye and she misses a few days of work; would you go to work with a black eye? Maybe she loses her job. Now what?
Even single women and men without children fall into this (usually younger). Of course, the younger they are the more “trainable”, more vulnerable. I had a friend in her early twenties stuck on this guy who treated her like crap and got arrested all the time (misdemeanors for now). She refused to ditch him for quite a while. The Bad Boy attraction; usually these relationships start because she already has a lack of self esteem, daddy issues, or she just thinks he’s “cool” (I’ve been there myself, more than I care to admit).
Why Don't They Leave #4
Unfortunately, her self esteem will continue to diminish because she can’t figure out what she’s doing wrong; why he doesn’t love her like she loves him. Her friends relentlessly tell her what an ass this guy is and she can do so much better. When she does decide to stay away from him, he calls her and insists that he can’t live without her and he wants to see her. The sweetness overcomes and she tells herself “he’s finally realizing!” One day, hopefully, she just snaps out of it. Or she will, more often than not, end up in a horrible relationship that will be impossible for her to just walk away free and clear.
No matter what the reasons are as to why they don’t leave (and there are many different situations) it is never their fault. They have been manipulated and literally brainwashed. Hopefully, one day the light bulb will go off and they will get the courage seek help and break free. And the next time you ask yourself in disgust, why don't they leave, remember that you will never know what truly goes on behind closed doors and keep your “disgust” to yourself.
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