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What Makes Women Tolerate Abuse

Updated on August 30, 2016

“A little hit here or there never hurts any one”, he jokes in a room filled with his friends and associates. His joke arose from a conversation that a group of people were having concerning the physical abuse of women by men. He later added that he was raised never to hit a women hence, he will avoid any situation when he might have to. With sincere puzzlement, he then asked the question, “Why do women tolerate abuse? Why do they allow a man to physically or verbally abuse them?”

Familiarity Breathes Content

According to psychological observations, a women’s acceptance of any type of abuse stems from childhood. The abuser or the recipient observed abuse in the home at a very early age. These individuals live with this negative behavior consistently throughout their childhood. They witness a prominent male member within the household strike a female member of that household with very little consequences. In fact, the aggression excused by the victim becomes a way of life. Consequently, mistreatment of women becomes a learned norm. Even when the child grows into an adult and eventually uncovers that abuse will only destroy and not build a good relationship, this person will instinctively respond aggressively at high levels of conflict. This imitation of life brings a level of comfort to the person exhibiting the negative behavior. The familiarity of abuse from childhood provides a feeling of contentment, a defense mechanism at stressful and often hurtful times. To overcome this habitually negative behavior proves difficult for many, help comes only with counseling, group therapy and weekly visits to a church, synagogue or temple. The perpetrator of the abusive act, will swear profusely that he will never do it again but without the previously mentioned behavior modification steps, he is guaranteed to fall back into the behavior he observed during childhood. His conduct reflects the old adage, you fall back on what you know.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

Financial Dependency

Some women who remain with an abusive intimate partner do so out of financial necessity. Unskilled, with very little education, these women live in co-depend relationships. Their companions take care of all the financial aspect of the home. Women within this type of relationship feel helpless, fearful and inadequate. Their partner often remind them about their inabilities, their lack of education and to further keep them within the abusive relationship, the abusers skillfully manipulate these women into believing that they alone can take care of them. As these women perpetually internalize their companion’s negative assertions they learn to develop defense mechanism to help minimize the abuse. They deliberately agree with everything they think that will appease their companion. Their behavior becomes childlike in that they check in with their partner frequently to ensure that what needs to be done gets done in “the right way”. When abuse comes, physical or verbal, these women endure the negative mistreatment with a sense of finality and acceptance. Their world exist at the mercy of their abusers.

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CC Flickr | Source


Some women who appear to have it all, find themselves in abusive relationships. These women classified in the “fairest maiden” category allow their companion to pound on them physically as well as psychologically. They do not value themselves enough to comprehend that no one deserves abuse. These women actually think that there is something lacking in them, something that they did to force their intimate partner to behavior in such a negative manner. Consequently, when they experience mistreatment at the hand of their love one, they blame themselves and cling to their abuser asking for forgives promising to do better, to be better. This type of behavior is not limited to the “fairest maiden” it extends to any woman, fat, thin, tall, short, educated, uneducated who never understood the importance of valuing or loving themselves.

For The Children

Many women single or married embrace the reasoning, to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children. They convince themselves that these persons’ excessively aggressive behavior toward them does not matter. Their children need to have a dad, a father figure supersedes a couple of hits here or there. Unfortunately, this type of household environment raising children who think hitting a woman is okay. It is in this relationship where the boy child learns that a woman does not matter. A woman most submit to his demands or else get a beat down. The girl child observes the aggressive male behavior and as a result finds herself drawn to belligerent men. In this type of home environment begins the vicious circle of abuse. These women who choose to remain in abusive relationships express surprise when their children grow up and perpetuate the same type of abusive relationship that they tolerated. Their goal in remaining with their aggressor moves toward giving their children a good home. Hence, they often never make the connection with their toxic relationship to their children’s aggressive behavior.

What will you do if you knew someone was being abused?

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CC Flickr | Source

Convinced She Can Change Him

Most women naively believe that their love will change the behavior of their “man”. Love can be a powerful motivator in any relationship but the question arises, what will motivate this person to change when you are there at their will? No one can change any other person but that person; it must be a conscious decision and a diligent repetitive move toward change. Consequently, women who believe if they cook better, clean better, over all care for their companion better, that the persons will feel the love and change over time, do not respect the decision for change. In reality, the best kept home will not matter, in fact, the aggression increases and nothing changes. Instead, a set pattern of abuse takes form and the relationship consist of very little expression of love and a whole lot of resentment and anger.

At the close of the discussion, between the witty guy and his guests, many expressed their frustration as to why some women tolerate abuse. How can they allow someone to hit on them repeatedly and do something? These women almost appear to seek the abuse. But the discussion took another turn when the witty host wondered out loud why a man would think it acceptable to hit a woman?


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    • Flipsgeraldine profile image

      Yvette Marshall 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is so good when you meet and marry your soulmate. Good for you.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      No man had ever better lay a hand on me, for I will return as good as I get, and that will be that.. Once and done.

      Luckily, I have the opposite kind of relationship, being married to my soulmate. He would never consider hitting, and has no use for men who do so.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Abuse is a deal breaker, no second chances. That's not love, and it's not worth the risk.

    • Flipsgeraldine profile image

      Yvette Marshall 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      dashingscorpio thanks for your comment. My deal breaker is the constant yelling, what's yours?

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      You made some excellent points.

      However there are many women in (abusive relationships) not marriages. They have their own job and no children and yet they stay. Women ignore his punching holes in walls.

      There are some women are drawn towards thugs, gangsters, and volatile men. It's only a matter of time before guys like that train their anger towards their mates.

      Not long ago former NFL player Ray nice knocked out his fiancé in an elevator. She has a child by him and could have easily walked away taking a couple of his millions of dollars. Nevertheless she chose to marry the guy!

      We later learn they had been together since high school and have always had a volatile relationship. Thinking back I too recall teenage couples in my high school that hit or threw things at each other. No one calls it "domestic abuse" however it's the "gateway behavior". The only difference is the teens aren't considered adults and they don't cohabitate.

      Any mentally healthy person with a large dose of self-esteem has "deal breakers" and boundaries. No one is "stuck" with anyone.

      People stay because they want to stay or (believe) they have no options!