Why We Tolerate Abusive Relationships

When you’re on the outside of an abusive relationship it seems crazy that people put up with it, but when you’re the one in the relationship it’s a whole other story. Being in an abusive relationship, and tolerating it, often has more to do with ourselves rather than the other person. Here are some of the common reasons why we tolerate abusive relationships:

·        We stay because we have low self-esteem. We get into relationships with abusive people and stay with them as a result of having low self-esteem. When we don’t think very highly of ourselves we attract people that confirm our beliefs by treating us badly.

·        We think we can change them. In abusive relationships we tend to take on all of the responsibility and burden ourselves. Instead of thinking that the abuser needs to make changes on their own, we think it’s up to us to change them, and we believe that if we were good enough we would be able to. We think if we could just be better ourselves it would make them treat us better. We don’t think we are good enough as we are to motivate them to change.

·        We blame ourselves. Even though the abuser is the one doing the hitting or the name calling, we blame ourselves because our self-esteem has become so diminished. We make excuses for the other person and think that it’s our fault, such as “he wouldn’t hit me if I didn’t make him so mad”. Over time in an abusive relationship our self-esteem can get so low that we assume that everything is our fault.

·        We don’t think we can do better. People often stay in abusive relationships because they don’t believe they could get anyone better, or that they deserve to be with someone who treats them better. It all comes back to the low self esteem that people in abusive relationships have – they don’t believe that they are good enough and don’t deserve to be happy.

·        We think we need to improve ourselves. Another way in which we shoulder all of the burden is by thinking we are the ones that need to change, not them. We believe that if we could only be a better person or better partner, we wouldn’t cause them to act the way they do. This is our way of internalizing the abuse and turning the blame onto ourselves.

·        We isolate ourselves. In abusive relationships we tend to isolate ourselves from our family and friends and other people who believe that we deserve better. Their belief that we deserve happiness is incompatible from our own when our self-esteem is that low. People in abusive relationships often cut themselves off from other people so that they don’t have to justify why they are in the relationship and why they stay. It makes them uncomfortable to be around people who want something better for them because they don’t believe that they deserve it.

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It’s strange, isn’t it, how the idea of belonging to someone can sound so great? It can be comforting, the way it makes things decided. We like the thought of being held, until it’s too tight. We like that certainty, until it means there’s no way out. And we like being his, until we realize we’re not ours anymore.
—  Deb Caletti, Stay
Abusive relationships

Friendly reminder to anyone out there who is/were in abusive relationships, whether that be friend, family, spouse, or other type of relationship…

Someone can seem very “perfect” and “nice” on the outside and be absolute shit some/all of the time when other people aren’t around.

No, you are not crazy. I promise. People are not going to see what you see because abusers are insanely good at putting on a show.

Everyone else, please keep that in mind before making assumptions about the inner workings of someone else’s relationship.

Abuse. We tend to think of abuse only in terms of physical acts—someone physically violating us in any way. We make laws to punish those who have taken abuse to this extreme level and we forget that abuse is not limited to the physical act itself. Abuse can be silent. It can take form as manipulation and lies in which somebody who is passive aggressive gradually imposes and controls their victim psychologically: lying, promising things that never come to fruition, delivering words from a place of aggression with no consideration towards the feelings of others involved. I know physical abuse, trust me I do. But I have also been tested in the silent power of the abuse that is passive aggression, what I consider a disease of our society that has been overlooked. I am standing up right now to say that abuse is not only confined to acts that are physical in nature. Those who insult, manipulate, control, and blame others for their actions—showing no compassion or consideration towards others—are abusers, too.
Staying in a relationship where I know I’m the only faithful one is so detrimental. Little by little each new girl or unsaved phone number tears me apart a little more. I’m not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not loving enough. Not enough. It makes me strive to be more when I should be walking the fuck away. I justify it by telling myself, he always comes back to me. At the end of the day he still settles for me because I won’t go anywhere. So he must love me right? Wrong. He doesn’t love me. He probably never has. People that can’t stay committed to the one person they claim to love probably have no idea what real love is. But god dammit I love the way he laughs and the way he gets so excited about little things like tai food or tv shows. I love the way he calls me baby in the morning when we’re both still half asleep. I love the way I can always tell what he’s thinking just by the look on his face. I love the way he sleeps next to me, back to back with even our feet touching. I love every beautiful lie that falls through his lips. Because even though I know he doesn’t really love me, even though he often tears me apart more often than holds me together; he makes me feel something. He’s one of the only people that’s stuck around for so long that I’ll do anything to keep him. Maybe that’s what an abusive relationship is. Loving someone regardless of everything they do wrong to you. Or maybe I’m just to pathetic to be alone.
—  Late night thoughts on why I hate myself.

Anon asks:

You are absolutely not being too sensitive.  It’s important to remember that a friendship is a kind of relationship, and any form of relationship can be abusive or have aspects of abuse.  Your “friend”, if she’s still in your life, needs to not be.  You deserve friends who value you and don’t ever do anything with the intention of hurting or manipulating you.  Platonic friendships. can absolutely be abusive.

You are absolutely not being too sensitive.  It’s important to remember that a friendship is a kind of relationship, and any form of relationship can be abusive or have aspects of abuse.  Your “friend”, if she’s still in your life, needs to not be.  Cut her out for good.  You deserve friends who value you and don’t ever do anything with the intention of hurting or manipulating you.  Platonic friendships can absolutely be abusive and you deserve better.

Dear dad, this Father's Day, I want to say...

Finish the sentence with what you would say to your abusive father if you could tell him the truth.

“I feel bad for saying this, but I don’t hate or dislike Hans. I actually kinda like him. It’s not that I’m making excuses for his actions, as nothing excuses his abusive behavior. And him being a decent villain isn’t my reason either. I just like how he was before the reveal, how sweet he was to Anna. I know it was all a ruse, but I can’t get past that point. When I watch his scenes, I tend to enjoy him as the good guy and see him as a prop during his bad guy moments. I kinda feel ashamed of this, that I would focus on an abusive person’s good traits and ignore the abusive traits. Especially in contrast with everyone else who hates his guts. Like, I WANT to hate him because I know I should, but I can’t.”

No fucking apologies. Seriously. It doesn’t matter what cowardly, weak, inhuman abusers say. Your life isn’t theirs; it’s YOURS.

I just want to send positive thoughts and prayers to those who will be spending Father’s Day with their abusive fathers, I know how emotional, complicated and confusing it can be. Please remember that you are not alone. You are strong and brave. And in absolutely no way is any form of abuse your fault. Stay strong and be safe.
—  Posted by Anonymous.