Women choose to stay in toxic relationships because they don’t see they’re being gaslighted, they love their partner, and they are trapped into the toxic and abusive cycle of behavioral patterns.
When we speak about toxic and abusive relationships, the first thing that comes to mind is violence, especially physical violence. However, one form of abuse that exists and is even more damaging to a person than physical violence because it is hard to spot is emotional abuse, or gaslighting.
Sadly, this is a very common type of abuse, but people are rarely talking about it because the victims of this kind of abuse find it difficult to speak about it out of fear of being judged by others, especially if the other people haven’t been through the experience themselves.
And it is easy to say to a woman that she needs to leave the abuser and put an end to the toxic relationship she is in. Because obviously, if she is unable to leave him, then we say it is her fault and she might be even loving being abused by the ‘terrible’ man.
But those people who haven’t gone through it cannot understand what it is like and how hard it is for some women to leave the difficult situation they are trapped into.
Why is that? Why do women have difficulties leaving toxic and abusive relationships? Below are some reasons that should be considered which don’t have anything to do with financial security.
1. THEY CAN’T TELL THEY ARE BEING GASLIGHTED
Gaslighting is a type of psychological abuse that together with emotional abuse and manipulation can completely destroy the woman’s self-esteem and confidence and make her doubt her own reality, perception, and feelings.
Gaslighting is an extremely dangerous kind of psychological abuse where the abuser makes the victim believe that everything wrong that is happening in the relationship is because of her. The woman then begins to question her behavior, her memory, and even her sanity.
The abuse is so subtle and hard to spot on because the abusive man will slowly and gradually whittle away at the woman’s self-esteem.
For example, he will start by saying how she is always overreacting and overthinking everything and obviously, she does that because she has underlying emotional issues and triggers that she needs to solve. The woman then will start questioning herself because she won’t see these manipulative comments as abuse because they are being said casually and subtly.
But, with time, the man will begin to use her insecurities as a weapon to fulfill his own selfish purposes.
And even if she calls him out on his bullshit, he will still say that she is crazy and delusional for even thinking that, and again – he will blame her for everything.
Apparently, the woman will then find herself believing that perhaps he is right and that she is the one who is guilty and is destroying the relationship.
It is at that point that the feelings of doubt will start lingering in her heart. She will then find herself in a very vulnerable and dangerous situation where the abuser who is aware of all this will start using her, manipulate her, and toy with her emotions.
When a person spends years of their life being told constantly that they are wrong and that everything is their fault, they start losing perception of reality and begin to think that there is indeed something utterly wrong with them.
A woman who is abused in this way will start hating herself instead of the man who abuses her and is the one to blame.
2. THEY LOVE THEIR PARTNER
Any person who has been truly in love can agree that love is one of the most beautiful and complicated feelings in the world. It is something that makes a person put on their rose-tinted glasses and only see the good things in their partner.
Therefore, the main question is – Can a woman love an emotionally abusive man? And the answer is: YES, absolutely.
In addition, since the abuse happening is not black and white, it further makes things even more difficult for the woman. Especially when the woman is a compassionate and empathetic woman who can feel the feelings of others as her own.
She will then empathize with the man regardless of everything that he has put her through and everything that she knows about him because during the moments when he is truly ‘sorry’ and ‘regretful’ she can’t stand seeing him hurt.
So, despite her awareness of all the ‘horrible’ things he has done to her, she makes a decision to forgive him because when he shows his vulnerable side, she is seeing him as someone who is broken who needs love and healing.
And, because she is in love with him so much that she can’t walk away from him, especially when she thinks that he needs her to be there for him.
3. ABUSE FOLLOWS CYCLICAL PATTERNS THAT KEEP VICTIMS TRAPPED
This is one popular abusive and toxic pattern that almost all manipulators and abusers use – when they sense that the woman is ready to leave them, they will start behaving like their old loving self, that makes the woman want to give the relationship another go because she is in love and wants to make the relationship good again.
She will believe her partner’s words for a better future blindly and his promises that everything will change, that he will change. She believes in his false words because she desperately wants to nurture her hopes of having a loving and healthy relationship with him.
At this point, she is reminiscing only about the good aspects of the relationship and that’s why she is so optimistic that things will change for the better this time around. (They won’t.)
This is how the toxic man gains the ultimate control over his victim – he dangles the carrot of change in front of her, but every single time it remains out of reach, making the victim feel confident and hopeful that things will improve.
Well, maybe they will, but only for a short period of time. And then they will go back as they were before or even worse.
All in all, it seems like there is really no point in trying to find out why abusers behave this way because their manipulative and twisted reality is very different than ours.
Finally, if you know a woman who is being trapped in an abusive relationship – please, don’t judge her.
We should all try to understand and support each other because this is a very serious problem. If we are brave enough to talk about this and share our own experience regarding this topic without fear of being judged, then maybe we could do something about it and inspire others to leave the abusers.
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