THE BLOG

Why Do Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?

03/03/2014 12:34 GMT | Updated 01/05/2014 10:59 BST

There are many, many reasons why women don't leave an abusive relationship. I believe that most of the reasons stem from fear.

Most of the fears are understandable, but often irrational. For instance, fear of having no money if they leave. Because women are generally at home looking after the children, they don't have any income of their own. The fear of financial ruin builds in the mind until it becomes 'I can't survive if I leave'. And so they stay.

Fear of what other people might think. There is often a social stigma that labels women as failures if they dare to leave their partners. Usually nobody outside the home realises what is going on which adds to that stigma. This leads to feelings of insecurity. And so they stay.

Fear of what might happen to them at the hand of their partner if they did leave. Often women believe that their partner will come after them and kill them and/or their children. The threats are made to them over and over again, until they are ingrained in their mind. And so they stay.

Women often fear that they are the reason that they are abused. That it is their fault. And if they were to change their ways their abusive partner would be different. A false supposition. And so they stay.

I know how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship. I was verbally, emotionally and financially abused by my first husband. He would belittle me in front of the children and other people, always tell me that I knew nothing, that I was of no use, and he would do anything to stop me succeeding at anything. Add to that the fact that my parents believed that I should make the marriage work because I was too young, in their opinion, to know what I was doing, and I was financially dependent. And so I stayed. I stayed 12 years.

I did, eventually, wake up to the fact that it was not normal to be treated in this way, and found the courage to leave and take the children with me and started a new life in a different town. The feeling of relief was immense. Although I was threatened with all sorts of things, such as having the children removed, losing my flat etc., I discovered that the threats were empty. And this is probably true of most abusers. They are cowards and when someone actually stands up to them, they generally back off.

There are ways out of this horrendous situation. There are women's refuges who will help you so that you can get yourself out of the abusive home. Once you are out and can think about what options there are for you, there are life coaches who can help you see yourself as you, the real person, and not a punch bag.

There are various organisations who can and will help you to start your new life.

There are friends and family who may be able to help you.

If I had known about life coaching back then I would have been the very first client.

There is no reason good enough to actually justify staying in an abusive relationship.

I have written this article about women, but it applies equally to men who are often in abusive relationships. Some men find it much harder to admit to being abused than women do, but I believe they are just as justified as anyone else. There is help out there for everyone.

Do you want to remain stuck and miserable? If your answer is no, find your way to get out and start your new life on your own terms. Work with a professional coach to get yourself back on track.

Remember, the relationship failed, not you.