Why do Some People Never Leave Abusive Relationships?


woman and man not facing eachother

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), approximately 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This number is staggering, and brings up a question that many people ask themselves, “Why don’t these individuals just leave?” As simple as it sounds, abusive relationships take a toll on a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. A variety of factors can influence a person’s decision to stay with someone who is physically or emotionally abusive. Reasons for this might include:

  • Being afraid of what will happen to them if they leave
  • Believing that abuse is normal in a relationship
  • Fear of being outed if they are LGBTQ
  • Feeling embarrassed of their situation
  • Having a low self-esteem
  • Hoping that their abuser will change because they love them
  • Peer pressure from those who do not believe abuse is really happening
  • Cultural or religious reasons telling them they are not allowed to leave
  • Fear of raising children by themselves or wanting their children to have both parents
  • Distrusting that police will help them
  • Reliance on partner for money, housing, support and more

The National Domestic Violence Hotline states that abuse is about power and control, and leaving an abusive relationship places the power and control in the hands of the victim – which could cause a dangerous reaction from the abuser. The abusive partner could respond in a variety of destructive ways, including stalking, interfering with the children, becoming violent, blackmailing, and much more.

The Institute for Family Studies has stated 4 main factors that help women leave abusive relationships: 1) facing the reality and choosing growth, 2) accepting support from friends, family, and professionals, 3) protecting children from learning destructive relationship patterns, and 4) feeling tired of being afraid and exhausted with constant chaos.

If you need advice because you are in an abusive relationship, called the National Domestic Violence Hotline number at 1-800-799-7233. There are so many resources that can help you take back control over your life. Happiness and safety is most important, and you deserve that. Seek help today.

Located in Orange County, CA, Simple Recovery is a world-renowned drug and alcohol treatment center that believes that recovery is a process, not a destination. Our Simple Recovery programs include a variety of resources such as relapse prevention and support, group and individual therapy, vocational and educational programming, and more. If you’re in search of freedom from addiction, call us today at 888-743-0490. Recovery is possible.