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Why Do Abuse Victims Stay?

Friday, April 07, 2023

Recovering With Grace/Domestic Violence/Why Do Abuse Victims Stay?

Post By:

Sarah Grace

Migrated Article - Original Post Date May 20, 2020

Many people do not understand why an abuse victim doesn’t “just leave” their abuser. There are many reasons why abuse victims stay, mainly linked to a strong psychological hold on the victim. In short, abusers play on a person’s emotions, fears, and codependency to force their victims to stay.

Why Abuse Victims Stay

Victims feel stuck and like they can’t leave for various reasons. For example, they don’t have the resources, they may have been threatened, they may be physically restrained or locked up, they have nowhere else to go, they think they can help or change their abuser, they are afraid of what might happen if they try to leave, they believe they are protecting their children, etc.

It is rarely easy for a victim to leave. As abusers will threaten suicide, self-harm, even harm or death to the victim or their children. Thus, some are physically trapped, others are psychologically trapped. Victims are manipulated over time into becoming dependent on their abuser.

Sometimes leaving the abuser isn’t the goal for the victim. They don’t want the relationship to end, they want the abuse to end.


Leaving the Abuser

Leaving an abuser doesn’t simply guarantee safety. Instead, it usually escalates violence. If a person knew without a shadow of a doubt they would be safe and protected, they would probably leave. But there is only so much even the police can do. The abuser will use every method to reach out, harass, intimidate, and coerce the victim to come back or reveal their location. An abuser will stalk the victim, find out their location, etc.

An abuser will promise to change and many times a victim will return to them even after they’ve left. Abuse is not an event, it’s a process. If an abuser isn’t locked up, a victim doesn’t feel fully safe.

Some people grow up in an abusive home and it becomes the only thing they know. They are easily drawn to abusive relationships. Often, they feel worthless and like no one else would want them. They feel fortunate that their abuser wants them.

Abuse & trauma can change the shape or chemicals of the brain. Victims end up with crippling PTSD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, etc.

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Hi, I Am Sarah Grace

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Hi, I Am Steph

We are domestic violence survivors, co-authors of Relationship Detox, and Abundant Relationship coaches.

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