Posted by: Lea | June 1, 2008

Why Abuse Victims Stay

It’s hard for people who haven’t experienced abuse in a relationship to understand why the abused doesn’t just get out when they know their partner is abusing them.

One aspect that’s difficult to understand is how an abusive person can act loving and caring. It’s like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behavior pattern. One minute they can be considerate, tolerant, protective or loving and then without warning inflict horrendous verbal or physical attacks. This behavior pattern of opposites affects the victim psychologically, creating mental and emotional confusion in them and sometimes self blame. Abusers are also very manipulative. Manipulating others through intimidation, sympathy and distortions of the truth is a skill they use very well.

There are people who, despite their complaints and fears, actually love their abuser and will not consider leaving them. I have known such a person. For the victims who want to leave, there can be issues of finances as well. For example,  abused women have difficulty keeping jobs. Even if the abuser allows “his woman” to work, often times his actions will cause her to lose her job. It doesn’t look good on job applications or resumes to have had several jobs where she was employed for short periods of time. Some might have longer employment, but their abuser’s constant phone calls and visitations to the work place strains relationships at work, causing job security concerns or the wages are minimal. This makes financial security an issue for women who might want to leave their abuser, especially if children are involved. If minor aged children are involved, there’s also the fear that the abuser will manage to get custody of the children. The mental and emotional health of abuse victims are often too damaged and weak to be able to cope with thoughts of going through such a struggle and fight.

Another consideration is fear that their abuser will track them down after they leave and doing harm to them and/or family and friends who are helping them. Statistics show that the first year after a victim leaves their abuser can be dangerous. There was a story of an extreme case while I lived in Texas. My husband worked for a moving company in Dallas. One day he came home from work and told me that he had just read a news story about a doctor who had just left her abusive husband. My husband had been part of the crew who moved her the previous week. He read in the newspaper how this doctor had been killed by her husband the night before. The story said that she went into the bathroom to bathe. While she did this, her bodyguard went into the kitchen to get a snack. This her husband entered the house, walked into the bathroom and shot her.

There are those who successfully leave an abusive relationship and I am one of them. I admit, I was scared to death after I left my abuser with my toddler.But, there are far more who are too afraid and are convinced that they’re unable to safely escape their abuser.

Contacting a domestic violence agency for help would be a wise choice. These agencies staff professionals who have experience and are knowledgeable in domestic violence. Their concern will be to help you find the safest way out and can direct you to a safe place to stay.



  1. Hi Lea,

    Thanks again for a great post. What you are talking about is so real and on target. It can be so hard to believe these things can happen (even harder to understand how or why the “relationship” continues). You are helping to dispel the myth that all victims are simply nuts or co-dependent.

    I like that your blog gives information to help others manage these situations.

    Btw, I like the new layout and wave color.

    Kind regards,

  2. Hi SpiritFree

    Thank you so much. I appreciate the feedback and glad the site is pleasing. I feel atmosphere is as important as the information and articles. Its a challenge to project love and warmth through such a medium. Thanks again for you comment. 😀


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