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Why do women stay in abusive relationships? Most people say, “Just leave!” but if it were that easy, all abused women would do that. But it’s not. It’s hard to comprehend the complexity of deciding whether to stay or leave.

Most people think it’s as simple as packing your bags and walking out, but for most women, it’s not. There are emotional demons they battle with daily that prevent them from just leaving.

It’s not that women want to stay in their abusive relationship; they would love to leave, but they struggle constantly with the issues listed below.

As a woman who has been in and out of this abusive cycle, I find it exhausting and mentally draining. Though I feel I’ve healed from most of my trauma, the healing work never ends.

There are always triggers you have to deal with.

Lifetime Pattern

What many people don’t understand is that abuse is a pattern, meaning women who were abused as children grow up attracting abusive partners. It’s a distorted perception of love.

Until the cycle has been healed and ended, women keep ending up with these types of partners.

Working on building your self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love, and self-worth is crucial in order to help you heal, grow, and release this pattern of abuse.

Check out my course here to help you move on from your past and thrive in life.

Abuse in Not Just Physical

There are many forms of abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional/mental, verbal, and financial. Each and every one of these forms of abuse is extremely damaging to the victim.

Oftentimes, women will stay in abusive relationships that aren’t physical because they don’t think it’s ‘that bad,’ but nothing could be further from the truth. All abuse causes long-term damage and must be stopped.

For those who have a hard time understanding why women stay in abusive relationships, here are 8 reasons why it’s just not that easy for them and one way you can help if you know a woman in a toxic situation.

8 reasons why women don’t leave abusive relationships

These are the 8 reasons that I can think of why women don’t leave abusive relationships. These were all the reasons I couldn’t leave. If you have more reasons, drop them down in the comments below.

1 Love

Despite the abuse, women love their partners. She will hold onto the memories of how wonderful the relationship was in the beginning and hold out hope that one day it can return to that. It’s important to remember, also, that abusive partners are not abusive all the time.

They have many loving moments that can confuse the woman who feels trapped. The abuser may even apologize for his behavior and promise ‘I’ll never do that again.’ As a result, women may still experience feelings of love and affection for their partners.

2 Fear

She’s afraid of him; she’s scared of the world outside her home; she’s scared of what will happen to her in the future; she’s scared of a lot of things. Fear is very crippling and will leave you stuck somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Many women don’t have enough confidence in themselves to leave and make it on their own. Many women also fear for their safety and the safety of their children. They are too terrified to leave.

For someone looking in, it’s hard to understand this level of fear and rationalize it.

3 Hope

Women may stay in abusive relationships because they hope that their partner will change. They may believe that things will get better if they persevere, even though the abuse continues to happen. We’ve been with him so long we can’t imagine our life without him, so we hold on to the hope that he will get better.

People change. Surely, he will, too.

We’ve convinced ourselves that one day, he will recognize his hurtful behavior, apologize, and improve himself.

4 Nowhere to Go

Many women have nowhere to go. They don’t have family or friends close by that they can run to for help. It’s also important to understand that some women have been with their abusers for many years, which makes it even more difficult to leave.

Their partner has been supporting them for years, and leaving them is terrifying, especially if they don’t have jobs or their own source of income. They rely on their partner’s money, making it hard for them to leave.

5 She has Nothing

They have relied on him for everything. They don’t have jobs, money, savings, belongings, or anything. Most women have been stay-at-home housewives all their lives. If they leave him, they will be broke and homeless.

What are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to live?

Especially if they have children still at home. They have no answers—only fear. It’s hard to leave when the future is so uncertain, especially when facing the daunting chore of starting over with nothing.

6 Fear of Being Alone

Sadly, for some women, being single and alone is terrifying. They don’t have enough self-worth or self-confidence to feel they can survive on their own, so they cling to our partners, no matter how toxic they are.

Women think that no matter how toxic their partner is, at least they have someone in their lives. This thinking leads to toxic co-dependency, and this is the trap that keeps them stuck.

7 It’s Not That Bad

There are other women and people who have it way worse. The abused woman will convince herself that he’s not that bad. She can handle it. Besides, he does have some good days. He’s not bad all the time. At least he hasn’t tried to kill me yet.

This sort of survival thinking is damaging. She will put up with the abuser and the abuse because she believes that she is way better off than some.

8 Emotional Manipulation

Most abusers will use emotional manipulation to make sure their partner doesn’t leave them. Some will threaten suicide or make them believe that they can’t live without them and that they are better off with them.

Others will warn you that if you leave, ‘such and such will happen,’ which is usually something really tragic that will cause the woman to fear for her or his life. This is bullying and controlling behavior.

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How You Can Help

There are many ways you can help. Reach out to her and let her know that you are there for her to help in any way you can. She needs to know there’s a safe place for her when she finally leaves. You can give her some emergency numbers to call in case she feels her life is in danger.

Let her know about women’s shelters in the area (most women don’t know where they are or that they even exist). Abuse is everyone’s business.

But most importantly, just be there for her, even if you don’t quite understand what she’s going through. She needs love and support.

Author: Iva Ursano

Title: Writer

Expertise: Anti-Aging, Mental Health

Iva is a 60-something woman, originally from Northern Ontario, Canada, who now resides in sunny Guatemala. She helps women over 50 love the skin they're in and empowers them to live their best lives ever. When she's not blogging, she's out on her scooter feeding and rescuing street dogs.  

You can also check out her amazing eStore here. It is full of powerful self-help eBooks, personal development courses, and so much more—ALL at affordable prices!

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