Behind closed doors, toxic relationships are exponentially growing and becoming harder to identify. This is because the victims and predators are becoming unintentionally or intentionally clever at hiding it because of shame, regret, satisfaction and other factors that make people stay back.
Interestingly, people on the other side of a toxic relationship are curious as to why people subject themselves to abusive relationships — be it friendship, family or romantic relationships. Meanwhile, those in an unhealthy relationship cannot understand why others can’t see that it’s the only way they know love or that they don’t have a choice.
People always wonder why the victims stay in toxic or abusive relationships and are quick to advise them to leave without understanding the roots. Have you ever considered that sometimes pulling the end of a rope without knowing the status of the beginning of the cord can lead to falling? This is because the cord is not harnessed to something solid. What if you give your ill-informed advice for the victim to leave and they attract another bully because that’s all they know or they are financially, psychologically, and emotionally?
The truth is, it’s easy to have an opinion when you are not under scrutiny or abuse and in the process of showing concerns, one can come across as insensitive. The bottom line is, when next someone confides in you about being in a toxic relationship, don’t be too quick to say things like, “leave the relationship”, “why are you still with her or him?” or “just leaving or moving on.” Because it is a difficult decision that must not be made lightly.
Being in an abusive relationship isn’t just about physical abuse but also emotional and mental abuse. Experts have explained that emotional and mental abuse is dangerous — as dangerous as physical abuse. But on the other hand, the victims remember the days when the abuser was kind and calm. Even after being exposed to abuse and demeaning and psychological cruelty, sometimes the victims search for this reason for that change in themselves.
This article will explain why people stay in abusive relationships. Below are 13 of the several reasons why someone in an abusive or toxic relationship might remain with their partner.
Ignorance of abuse
There are people who are not aware of their abusive situation. Some people grew up in the same harsh environment. And it has made them more accepting of the vicious cycle. Many of them are in denial about the abuse going on. They may not be aware that they are already experiencing abuse, which is why people stay in abusive relationships.
People are normalizing unhealthy behaviour
The abusers in a relationship have normalized abuse. That they think they could get away with it. And so, they keep doing it. With a bit of reasoning, several people may even side with the abuser. They might say that your partner is just stressed out or experiencing mental health issues, etc. in the worst cases, they blame the victim for the abuse.
Low self-esteem stops a victim from leaving
People who deal with low self-esteem find it difficult to leave abusive situations. It is common knowledge that abuse strips people of their self-respect, self-love and self-esteem. Having low self-esteemed will cause them to feel scared to move on and leave their ‘comfort zone’.
The honeymoon stage
The tension, conflict, and honeymoon cycle will bring anyone into a whirlwind romance. Every time they wanted to leave, their abuser would take them back to the honeymoon stage, where they believed the lies and empty promises again. Then, the abusers shower their victims with gifts, money, vacations, etc. and the victims fall the trick again.
The self-delusion that they can change their partner
People think they can change or are obligated to change their significant other. Staying in an abusive marriage or relationship gives the victim a sense of obligation to change their partner. They believe they can change their partners if they become patient, understanding, communicative, hardworking and loving. The truth is they will never change, except if they decide to.
Fear of leaving
The abusers usually instil fear in the victim, making it almost impossible to escape. Blackmail, and sometimes, even physical abuse, is present. There could also be threats, and if their partner is out of control, their lives might be at stake. In situations like this, the victims choose to stay because of the fear instilled in them.
It’s dangerous to leave
The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is the post-break-up phase. Many times, moving on from an abusive relationship is not only emotionally challenging but can also be life-threatening. For example, women are 75 times more likely to be murdered in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time throughout the relationship.
Gaslighting and self-blame
Victims feel they are personally responsible for the abuse or their partner’s behaviour. After a conflict, some abusers will turn the situation around and make their partner feel guilty, making them feel as though they are somehow at fault or could have avoided it.
Societal pressure to be in a perfect relationship.
There is incredible pressure to be in a perfect relationship Some cultures and social media accentuate this pressure. Sometimes family and even victims put nonexistent pressure, making them stay in a vicious cycle.
Fear of how others will react
Victims in abusive relationships often feel ashamed to admit their partner is abusive. For the reason that they might be judged, blamed, marginalized, pitied or looked down on. In some relationships, victims may stay with their partners for fear of being ostracized. They stay because of what people might say.
Shared life and cycle.
Marriage and kids are often the reason that people in abusive relationships stay. However, in the case of unmarried couples without kids, their decision to stay might be because of shared friend groups and living situations. In addition, situations, where Couples have shared finances, have also proven to be why they stay.
It’s hard to leave if you don’t have a job
Victims stay in an abusive relationship when the abuser has more money. Sometimes they choose to stay when they are provided for and comfortable. Often, they don’t have their own money or a job. In a complicated case involving kids, leaving the ‘stable environment’ will be almost impossible.
Victims lack strong support when they decide to leave
Strong support is necessary if you come to a decision to pack your bags and leave your abuser. But sometimes, victims don’t have that support. And without the support, it becomes hard to make the decision. One begins to question where they would turn to. How will you start over again? It’s hard when you don’t have people who will give you the support you need.
Toxic relationships magnet the parties together and make it difficult for them to pull away from each other. The victims either experience helplessness or create a delusion that their abusive partner is showing them the love and care they deserve. Getting out of abusive relationships can only happen when the victim is ready to seek help. Until then, you can only support them from a distance they permit you.