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Understanding why battered women stay with their partners

Understanding the reasons for not leaving an abusive partner will give clarity as to why battered women so often react with humiliation and confusion when asked about it. It is so wrong to conclude that women who are up against real abuse, will leave the abuser. The opposite is actually true.

Battered women – The Psychological Stages


She refuses to admit, even to herself, that there is a problem in her relationship. She’ll call the incident an “accident”. She makes excuses for the abusers violence and confidently believes it will never happen again.


The stage where she acknowledges the problem, but takes responsibility for it. In her mind she deserves to be beaten and that flaws in her character is putting her below her husband’s expectations.


The woman realizes the abuse is not her fault and that no one “deserves” to be beaten, though she is still committed to her marriage and stays with the abuser in the hope to work things out.


She accepts the abuser will not, or can not, stop his violent behavior and makes a decision to no longer submit to it.

In the stages of denial and guilt, the battered woman exists in a “fog” while living with the abuser. Psychologists recognize this dangerous state of indifference in domestic abuse victims. It is usually significant of the period before a battered women is finally killed by the abuser.

How does a woman get caught up in this situation?

Why wouldn’t a woman get out at the very first sign of ill-treatment? Many women pick partners in the hope of getting the love they longed for from their parents and didn’t fully get. Subconsciously they pick duplicates of their parents and end up with a partner who in many ways acts like either of the parents. If parents mistreated them as a child, they will likely pick partners adept of similar abuse. Battered women will continually try, though fruitlessly, to get the abuser’s love and approval. The same as it was with their parents.

When an abused child grows up, for them it’s normal to get hurt by the people you love. Their self esteem is very low from childhood and they can’t give a good reason for why they stay. Only therapy can change it.