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Do you believe that women stay in an abusive relationship because they seen their mother stay in an abusive relationship?

Is it possible for an abused female to believe that she is just as strong as her mother who was also abused, and feel she can stay in the abusive relationship. The thought is that she can change her significant other because the abuser loves her.

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      Feb 12 2013: Thank you Ms. Gustin for sharing a very meaningful "been there, done that" perspective on this very squeaky wheel. Have you watched the related talk by Leslie Steiner on this topic? Just click-on the red lettered title in the introduction to this post.
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      Feb 12 2013: I agree Gail,
      Fear paralyzes a person and blinds us to options. I also agree that things have changed in the last few years, and will hopefully continue to change. ALL members of our society need to send the message that violence and abuse are not acceptable. So sorry you had this experience.
  • Feb 18 2013: For me, I believe a woman stay in an abusive relationship for many reasons: her family history, their children and/or the relationship itself.

    Her family history can contribute in her decision, if she came from a broken family, she would try as much as she could to save the relationship just because she doesn't want to go through the same process again. She'd rather choose another path, which is even worse. Or she could be a part of happy family with her parents and she fears of having a failed marriage without even thinking that hers is worse than a failure.

    Her children may be her driving force to keep the marriage. It could be that her partner is bad husband but a good father and she doesn't want to break the ties. Or simply she doesn't want her kids go through the pain of a broken family brings.

    Or the relationship itself. Being in an abusive relationship can be poisonous that the woman may think of different reasons to stay in such relationship. She may blame it to her problematic parents' relationship or to her low self esteem thinking she couldn't live without her partner. And the common reason for staying is the cycle of abuse. When you're in the situation, you may not think of other ways to get out of it. You'd even think it's your fault that your partner is being abusive to you.

    But for me, you can never change an abusive partner, may it be the husband or the wife. There is no excuse for hitting a partner repeatedly and no reason should let you abuse your partner. The only way to stop it is to get away from that relationship. If the partner changes for good, that would really be great. But if not, getting out the relationship the sooner, the better.

    It is no longer about your parents history, your children nor your partner. It's about loving yourself and thinking about your safety if you wish to guide your children the best. It's never too late.
  • Feb 14 2013: I am that female, coming from a family which was deeply abusive, mentally, physically and emotionally. My first memory is my dad being arrested after trying to pull a wardrobe on my mother, and breaking her nose. I was 3. She then married another man, who was abusive manipulative and cruel - psychotic in his behaviour.

    I am now working hard to work through all of this and I've now realised that I was abused. I'm separating myself and standing back from all of this because if I ever repeat the same behaviour that the 3 adults in my life showed me, to my own children I will be a deeply ashamed woman.

    I personally don't think that any woman ever (or man) can change their partners violent behaviour. To be violent to those you love and have a home with, means there is something deeply rooted that is wrong with that person. Whether that be past experiences, depression, anger, anxiety. Something isn't right and nobody on this planet can ever change another person.

    For someone to change this terrible pattern of behaviour they have to take responsibility for it themselves. In a basic way 'you can bring the horse to water but you can't make it drink'.

    It has to be a choice. And the victims have to make a choice. Something has to give.

    Repeating your parents mistakes with relationships is quite normal, and if all you have ever known is violence and all you've ever known about how to conduct yourself in relationships is destructive and abusive, it takes seriously hard work, self awareness and the willingness to take responsibility for yourself and your future to change that.
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    Feb 13 2013: @ Colleen RE: "Yes I agree Edward...
    "Granted! I am an outsider. From my happy, simpatico world it seems incongruous that a woman would make such a choice. Do women make such a choice, the OP asks? You know far more than I about that answer. I do not think I have said anything that could be construed as "No! Women do not choose that path." I have only said that if they do choose such a path, it is probably unwise. I imagine wisdom, rationality, and intellect take a back seat to moment-by-moment survival in a tragic relationship. I suppose there is data to demonstrate the answer to the OP.Re: syrup. I was fishing for a point of agreement between us. But, alas, harmony proves elusive yet again because I have not experienced all maple syrups so I cannot agree with you that Vermont's is superlative. Meanwhile, my relentless research continues. Thanks for your service to the many suffering women in this often ugly world.
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      Feb 13 2013: You are an "outsider" Edward only because you are not a woman in an abusive relationship. You are an "insider" in our world.....an important part of our community. So, if you have a better understanding of the dynamics of abusive relationships, you can be very helpful.

      You are absolutely on target Edward, and I hope our little exchange has helped with that understanding...perhaps we have even reached "a point of agreement"?
      Absolutely my friend....."wisdom, rationality, and intellect take a back seat to moment-by-moment survival in a tragic relationship". Well said Edward:>)

      I have not experienced all maple syrups either....I just KNOW that Vermont's is the BEST....LOL:>)
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    Feb 13 2013: Though there is no "normal" when it comes to victims of domestic abuse, there is a clear pattern when it comes to the victimizers.

    Most abusers (by % of occupation): Judges
    Next: Doctors
    Next: Military, Police, & quasi military (prison guards).

    I found this telling.

    this survey was done in the 80s- before many women held positions of authority over others.
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    Feb 12 2013: I offer this not so unusual case which is evolving locally. A state trooper has been charged with raping 3 women....all known to him. The news releases say that the evidence seems to be "painting a picture of domestic violence against women". He is an authority figure, who has apparently taken advantage of his position. The good thing is that he is being charged.....that may not have happened years ago. So far there are 3 women coming forward.....and they suspect there may be more.

    http://www.wcax.com/story/21128787/ny-trooper-faces-additional-rape-charges

    One thing I observed while volunteering in the women's shelter, is that even when one women breaks the pattern and leaves an abusive relationship, the offender finds another woman. Many of the offenders, we knew by name because he had abused more than one woman.

    Another thing I observed because of the shelter, the family center, my involvement with incarcerated offenders, and SRS (the agency which oversees children in state custody), is that we see many of the same families going through these systems generation after generation. If the cycle is not broken somewhere along the line, it continues.
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    Feb 12 2013: http://www.domesticviolence.org/violence-wheel/

    Frederick,
    There are many influences which keep people in abusive relationships. The one you mention can be one of them. Having abusive parents does not provide very good role models for children, and they may grow up accepting that abuse is part of a relationship. It is common for victims of abuse to believe they can love the abuser enough that s/he will stop abusing, as you mention. If you read the stories in the comment section of Leslei Morgan Steiner's talk, you may learn more about the dynamics of violence and abuse....there are similarities and differences in all cases.

    It is common that an abuser was abused as a child. Most abusers AND victims have low self esteem and lack confidence in him/herself. Abusing another person provides a superficial feeling of power and control. Many times, families, religious leaders advise the victim to stay in relationship no matter what, so there may be societal influences. Financial considerations may keep a person in a abusive relationship. Isolation is a major factor with abusive. If a victim does not have any family/friends, or support, s/he may feel "stuck" in the situation. To say that abuse is caused by any one factor, is not realistic. Every person's story is different, AND there are similarities.

    There is also a recognized cycle of abuse.....take a look at the violence and abuse wheel....link provided at the top.
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    Feb 12 2013: Doesn't an uninterrupted physically abusive relationship almost always end badly(permanent injury or even death)? If a woman witnessed the pain and ugliness her Mother endured as an unaided, unprotected battered wife, how would that motivate or encourage her to try the same tactic? It seems the opposite would be true.
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      Feb 12 2013: Edward,
      I do not believe a person consciously tries "the same tactic". It is common that people are often attracted to a person who is like their opposite sex parent, and abuse has many different levels. A person could witness horrible abuse and violence, leave the house of origin with the intent to NEVER participate in an abusive relationship, and because of other dynamics, not even recognize abuse in a new relationship. Been there....done it.

      For example: My father was violent and abusive. He was not an educated man, and his level of education was below that of my mother. When I was young, I thought that was a factor contributing to abuse. I believed that an educated person COULD NEVER abuse another person. That turned out not to be true.

      While volunteering at the shelter, I was aware of the partners of professionals... doctors, lawyers, judges, etc., who were abused. We used to think it was only in a certain socio-economic segment of society where there was abuse, and that is a myth. There are many factors, which contribute to abuse....all of which we need to be aware of.
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        Feb 12 2013: You absolutely must write a book young lady! You have been many places and done many things. Jot it all down somewhere. Am I misinterpreting the OP? Isn't the question asking if a woman in an abusive relationship might choose the same tactic their Mom did in a similar situation? If that is the proper understanding of the question then I will stick to my original opinion. Thank you!
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          Feb 12 2013: I'm jotting it down right here Edward! LOL:>)

          Your original opinion is..."If a woman witnessed... pain... ugliness her Mother endured... how would that motivate or encourage her to try the same tactic? It seems the opposite would be true."

          Logically, your conclusion seems reasonable.

          However, it is often NOT a conscious, logical choice. There are so many different underlying factors with abusive relationships, that people act and react differently. Some people will follow the pattern established by their parents, some, may choose something totally different, and some may THINK they are choosing something different, but because of the underlying subconscious programming, may be following some of the same practices.......make any sense?

          Some people insist that alcohal or drug use causes abuse. Those who have a tendency to be abusive may be triggered by drugs or alcohal, but we know that some folks DO NOT abuse under the influence of drugs/alcohal, so it is simply one element to consider.

          Some folks insist that financial insecurity causes abuse. We know that there are lots of people who are financially insecure and are NOT abusive. That factor may contribute to abuse if there is a tendency to abuse.

          There are many factors like these, so we cannot say that witnessing the parents abusive relationship will, or will not cause one to be drawn to an abusive relationship, or to move totally in the opposite direction. See what I'm saying? To understand, we need to look at the whole picture, and it is different for everyone, although there are some connecting threads of information.
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        Feb 12 2013: You are correct that no two cases are identical. But I don't see how that changes the fact that to not oppose an abusive husband simply on the basis that you are following your Mother's example seems unlikely, especially if hers ended tragically. I do not disagree with your comments, but my answer stands.
        (So, I have to go onto your profile page and read ALL your comments to get the whole novel)?
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          Feb 13 2013: Dear Edward,
          Your comment is amusing!

          You asked a question.
          I provided information based on 60+ years of exploration of this topic, research, and years of interacting with victims of abuse and offenders.
          You now say your "answer stands"!!!

          You didn't really provide any "answer" my friend...you asked questions....did you not?

          To answer another of your questions regarding "the whole novel"...

          You are welcome to read the comments in my profile, as anyone is.
          I suggest it is not a "novel" because that "literary type" by definition, has an element of
          "invented prose". Most of my comments express experiences I have had and/or lessons I have learned throughout the life experience. There is nothing that is "invented".
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        Feb 13 2013: Interesting word you use there, "amusing". To muse means to ponder, think, contemplate. To add the prefix "a" means to not think, not ponder, or not contemplate. Isn't that amusing?
        The only two questions I have asked (other than about your upcoming novel) was, " Isn't the question asking if a woman in an abusive relationship might choose the same tactic their Mom did in a similar situation?"; and, "Doesn't an uninterrupted physically abusive relationship almost always end badly(permanent injury or even death)?". My position on the OP is that it makes no sense for a woman to mimic a behaviour which she knows from experience leads to a tragic end. I am not commenting on whether women do, or do not, mimic their Mothers, I am commenting on the rationality of such a choice. I yield to your 60+ years of experience as a counselling professional and make no claim about your comments. I did, contrary to your assertion, answer the OP and I stick with my answer. . . to stay in an abusive relationship because your Mother stayed in hers is an unwise, irrational choice. Let's not give-up on someday actually agreeing on something. Is real Vermont maple syrup good? I say it is.
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          Feb 13 2013: Yes....I agree Edward....amusing:>)

          I am aware of the questions you asked Edward....thanks for clarifying.

          I agree...."it makes no sense for a woman to mimic a behaviour which she knows from experience leads to a tragic end".

          What I try to share with you, is the idea that a person who is in an abusive relationship is not often reasonably, logically, rationally making "sense" of her situation. Because of many different factors, (threat being a common one), she often doesn't realize that she has choices.

          I'm not disagreeing with you on this, and in fact, it's good that you have presented it. I'm simply looking at it from the inside out....while you may be looking at it from the outside in (rationally, logically, sensibly). Your perception from the outside looking in, is not unusual Edward:>)

          I've heard your perspective and other statements many times...."staying in the relationship doesn't make any sense"...."why don't they just leave?"..."she is crazy for staying with him"...."she LIKES to be abused"....etc. etc....Please understand that I am not attributing some of these statements to you....only the one about "making sense". But, do you see what I'm trying to express about seeing from the inside, as opposed to seeing from the outside?

          Real Vermont maple syrup IS THE BEST!!! Do you think/feel it is only "good", or the "best???
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      Feb 12 2013: Agree Kate...low self worth, fear, control issues, lack of finances, isolated from family and friends and any support.

      Also agree that there are men who are abused, and there are people in same sex partnerships who are abused as well.
  • Feb 12 2013: Which women? which relationships? Sad to say there seemed in my experiences as a lawyer who used to do divorces that a great deal is going on in these marriages and who is behaving badly and in what ways is not obvious.Not all mariages are made in heaven, and not all victims are equal in innocense. Want laughs - talk about abused men even though there are a number.