When people think about an "abused woman," they probably don't picture a strong, smart, intelligent, and sassy kind of person. I'd guess they'd picture a housewife wearing Mom jeans crying into her apron over her latest black eye.
Couldn't be farther from the truth. ANY woman can get caught up in a bad relationship - be it the executive down the hall or the janitor who sweeps up after you in the ladies room.
So let's break down those stereotypes and figure out why women - all KINDS of women - stay in bad relationships.
1) Fear of being alone. I know in this day and age, we women are supposed to be tough and fearless, but it's not always the case. We can behave as though we're tough and fearless, while inside, we long to be wanted by our partner.
2) The devil you know versus the devil you don't. There's something comforting in staying with your partner - bad relationship and all - because at least you know what's next.
3) Fear that this is the best there is out there. A lot of people - women who have been in bad relationships, especially - have their self-esteem eroded slowly by their partner (and life) so much that they honestly believe their current partner IS the best they'll ever get.
4) "It's not that bad." I don't know how many times I've run across those words on my non-profit site, where we get a great number of domestic abuse stories sent in to us. Women believe erroneously that because their story isn't as graphic or as horrible as someone else's, it's not really worth it to talk about their partners who really only get upset when they "do something wrong."
5) You're a perfectionist. Everything you do is the BEST out there. Therefore, your relationship must not be broken, it's just facing "challenges." The idea of failure is so tremendous that leaving never even crosses your mind.
6) He has some sort of leverage. Often men who are truly abusive threaten a woman, saying he will hurt her children, her pets, or her family if she leaves him.
7) You love him - plain and simple.
8) You believe he will change. He says he will. He's TRYING to change. You just make him SO MAD. If only you STOPPED making him SO MAD!
9) He makes you feel special beyond compare. Even if you're not quite good enough (his words), he'll manipulate you into feeling grateful that someone like him could be with someone like YOU.
10) You can't see how truly bad it is. Whether it's because you've been isolated from friends or family or you don't want to see how bad things are, you don't have any idea things have gotten this dire.
How do I know all this? I've been there, too.
What are some other reasons women stay in bad relationships?
Image via anathea/Flickr