The news that R&B singer Chris Brown physically abused songstress Rihanna placed domestic violence in the spotlight once again. The drama that is playing out in front of millions of people between these two young celebrities is lived by millions of people around the world. This is not just a phenomenon of men abusing women. There are many men that live with abusive women. This is also not just an issue for heterosexual relationships. There are male and female same sex partnerships that exist on the foundation of abuse. The logical question to ask is why a person would stay in such a relationship. Yet, some people in these relationships will actually defend their partner’s abuses. Here are just some of the reasons why people stay in abusive relationships.
History Of Abuse
Some people were abused growing up or witnessed it first hand. Either way, abuse can become a part of what we consider a normal experience. The younger the abuse is experienced or witnessed, the more normal it can seem. Even when we know it is wrong and an experience we no longer want to have, we can find ourselves attracted to abusive relationships over and over again.
The cycle of abuse is not only prevalent for abusers. It is also prevalent for abuse victims. It takes an extraordinary effort to recognize this pattern of returning to abuse and then finding help to resolve it. This often involves therapy and belief analysis. It involves understanding those past experiences and seeing them as the really are. It involves forgiveness of our abusers, those that allowed it to happen, and ourselves.
Wanting To Help Your Partner
There are people that will actually defend their abuser. They make excuses for them and genuinely want to stand by their side to help them stop abusing. So they are willing to endure physical abuse themselves in the name of loving their partner through their abusive ways.
This may seem strange to many of us, but consider the following situation. A person that was raised by an alcoholic may become involved in relationships with substance abusers, and then try to save them. They couldn’t save their parents, so they instead try to save another. Similarly, a child that loves and respects a person that abuses may grow up to become an adult that subconsciously wants to help a love partner to stop abusing.
Again, there is a considerable amount of help and self-realization required to change this thinking. Without it, this individual may stay in this relationship and endure abuse after abuse in the name of love.
Some people feel that they deserve to be abused. They feel that their partner is the best person for them, and that they would be the loser if the relationship ended. The pain of abuse for them is not as devastating as the pain of losing the one they love.
This devolved state of self-esteem will make this person feel as if they are responsible for being abused. They will feel as if they provoked the abusive response, and even apologize for it. They want to be in that relationship, regardless of what they must endure.
Mistaking Abuse For Passion
There are those that confuse the rage of abuse with passion. They rationalize that if their partner was able to get that angry, then they must love them. Sometimes, these individuals may attempt to purposely provoke their abusers to strike them. For them, the abuse is a warped validation of care and love.
This is a violent version of “break up to make up”. The make up that follows abuse creates the illusion of love and care. It seems sincere and powerful. The belief that this is an expression of love has to change.
Many people try to hide their abuse because of the shame they feel. They feel others may think it’s their fault. Men that are abused by women believe others won’t see them as men. Same sex couples that are still “in the closet” are afraid of being outted.
For others, it may be the shame of possibly breaking up their family to leave. Religious and social beliefs can create the stigma that a person being abused caused the relationship to fail by abandoning it. There are also some places in the world where a spouse is considered property, and abusing that partner is unfortunately thought to be a right.
Those being abused will need to get passed the shame in order to let others know what’s taking place. Living in silence will not bring help. The shame causes the silence, which only allows the abuse to continue.
Afraid To Leave
Sometimes the most dangerous time of the relationship is when the abused person is ready to leave. The fear of loss can cause an abuser to escalate their violence to new levels. The person trying to leave can easily imagine every nightmare scenario after living with violence. In a way, leaving feels more like escaping.
Leaving safely will require help and planning. Reach out to the people you care about. If need be, contact a safe haven for those leaving abusive relationships. Have a plan for a safe place to stay where you ex-partner cannot find you. Alert the authorities and change your cell phone number.
The Bottom Line…
No one deserves to be abused. One hit leads to another. Abuse only escalates, and the triggers of the violence grow more plentiful. Get the help you need to free yourself of the relationship and the patterns of thinking that might lead you to another just like it. For more information, go to www.domesticviolence.org, or use your favorite search engine and type in “domestic violence” along with your state. You, or the people you love, do not have to live with violence anymore.