We all know that domestic abuse is a serious situation and can be harmful or even deadly. And knowing this why would anyone chose to remain in an abusive relationship? The issues surrounding this question are very complex.
There are actually practical reasons for staying in the relationship; however these reasons may not appear to be rational. Many abuse victims feel they cannot leave the relationship for financial reasons. Take for example, a mom who has stayed in the home to raise the children. She feels that should she leave the relationship, she won’t be able to provide essentials for her children.
Other victims stay because of religious or cultural reasons. For instance, many Catholics do not believe in divorce — and going against church teachings is worse than the abuse.
Others stay in the relationship believing it is the best for the children. However, children who are witness to these situations may be harmed far more than if they were removed from the situation.
There is also the “cycle of abuse” that prevents the victims from leaving the relationship. This is where tension begins to build in the early stages of the cycle, generating anger or rage emotions in the abuse that continues to rise. An event will then trigger a violent outburst against the victim. If this violence and physical abuse were to continue, a victim would find it easier to leave; however, it usually results in the abuser feeling and expressing remorse and sorrow. The victim may believe the abuser when he says, “I’ll never do it again.” Unfortunately, the cycle usually starts all over again. But during the period of remorse, the victim is reluctant to leave because she may believe that it won’t happen again.
Victims may also have self-esteem issues that preclude them from leaving the relationship. The may believe that they will be alone of they leave.