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Why is it that some people keep on going back to an abusive relationship? I know a couple that have lived together, 4 times. the guy is not only verbally abusive, but phisically hurts her. She has her own appartment about 30 miles away. They are both felons. Is it that their minds are fried, or is she looking for monetary support? Or can she just not find someone else? I know none of you know these people, but I'd like some opinions from a sociology standpoint.

TheGreatShadow 9 June 10

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Thank you everyone for the replies. Especially from those of you that told personal experiences! I've studied sociology in college. I also have a confession. I had a 99.9% educated guess. Now it's about 99.99%. I knew he was adopted, and abused (so he claims). She claimed she had an abusive childhood as well. The co-dependence, lowering ones self-esteem, monetary problems, and no place to live are great points!

I avoid these two like the plague. But in a village of 600 people, you run into people you don't want to see. I think this has to do more with social control than anything. I have never met one of her friends. Ever. That's probably part of it. The guy comes bashing on my door in the middle of the night. Sounds like a SWAT team is trying to break in. I know it's him, but eventually end up answering.

These two BOTH went to prison for meth! I know he has relapsed a few times.

The last time he showed up was Friday. He came bashing on my door around 10 PM. I asked what do you want (insert name here). I opened the door and I thought it was just him. No his GF and son.

I said something like "oh Christ". She said "yeah the whore is back in town". She thought I was talking about her. No, I was shocked they were back together. I think both are overly masochistic. She and him blamed ME for the last time they broke up! I knew she was going to break up with him. She came to my house one day sobbing. No I have no sexaul interest in her, nor have I ever tried to make a pass.

Going back to what lots were saying, It's either monetary support. When she came over she also accused me of calling HUD on her. Until last friday I had no idea she was under a government program for housing! Her son said that we only have a few things so we can leave if we have to. She might have lost her apartment, since she claimed someone said she two residences. Now the guy makes more money, and I think her only source of income is child support.

Sorry for making this so long. I get the theories, but can't wrap my head around it!


Codependency is an addiction just like alcoholism and drug addiction. After a while it becomes a dopamine release to get emotional satisfaction from the other person. There are groups for that but most codependents don't realize what is actually happening in order to seek help.

They have all three of those addictions.

@TheGreatShadow much therapy and counseling is the only way.

@Bagger_Vince Neither of these people would even attempt it.


They minds are so unbalanced that they can't function without each other, almost like a hard core drug addict. She can't live without his cruelty and he can't function without neglecting her. To be honest, when it comes to situations like that, I avoid them for obvious reasons. They won't take your advice for change, and the hero almost always becomes the victim. So in other words, if they had a mind maybe circumstances would be different, just saying

Qiru Level 6 June 10, 2018

Yes, both of them were hard core drug addicts. He had to give his first son up for adoption. His other son he is not allowed to visit at all. She lost custody of her daughter, but has custody of her son. It's usually pretty bad if the mother looses custody, because the court usually rules in the mothers favor. Unless it's bad. Speaking of which, that kid is going to be so messed up when he is older. He's 6, and already is.

What a fucked up situation, but only time can tell.


Neither of them can live alone, loneliness is a greater fear than an abusive relationship.

JayTea Level 6 June 10, 2018

When you don't believe you are worthy of something better, you never wait for it to come along. You just settle for whatever you can get. Also, some people don't know how to be alone - it scares them, so they'd rather be with the wrong person, than no one at all. There could also be a certain amount of comfort there, being with someone who is familiar, even if that familiarity is screwed up. Also, the person getting hit, may think they deserve it. I'm sure there is a ton to unpack for these two psychologically that would explain it. All you can do is sit back and watch, you can't save people from their own bad decisions.


Lot's of very interesting insights here. From my own personal experience it is amazing how even a fairly intelligent 'survivor' can still get drawn in again by letting their guard down due to complacency.


Speaking from personal experience you make allowances for it, for a variety of reasons, your 'normal' becomes very warped but you turn a blind eye.

Then one day I didn't want to be abused any more, I didn't know the day before that this would be the day. I paid, and am still paying, a high price for it (getting out) but I do have my sanity and my self respect back, the other stuff I'm still working on.

Not that it makes any difference but I'm a guy who was the victim of domestic abuse, we don't have much of a voice but it is getting better.

ipdg77 Level 8 June 10, 2018

Social worker here that worked in domestic violence for a spell. Victims stay for complex reasons, but to simplify: financial independence is the biggest predictor on if a woman returns to her abuser after leaving. Fear of the unknown, genuine love and compassion can compel one to stay. Also, culture tells women to forgive and give second chances. Back in the 70s, police didn't even cuff my father after he doused his wife in gas and tried to throw her into a bonfire, it was a "private family matter". She went back to him once more after that! My mother left the church after being told her sin of abandoning him was just as bad as his attempting to kill her. Mostly though, the known evil is more bearable than the unknown for many. Sadly.

That is a sad story! As to why the police didn't do anything is terrible (not only the action itself)! I know a guy (one of the people in the OP) that got in a fight with another guy. One guy came over to the mother of the guys house to find him there. He swung a beer bottle at the other guy, he missed and the other guy pushed him away. No bruises, no punches, nothing. They BOTH went to jail that night, and they BOTH jot jail sentences. The one that I wasn't originally talking about beat the crap out of her one night, had blood all over the wall. He made her clean it up before she left. I think he is still pending trial.


There are many reasons. Perhaps her dad treated her mom that way and she thinks it’s normal. Maybe she’s afraid of being alone?

I know how easy it is to get into one, I spent a year and a half being with an emotionally abusive boyfriend when I was 19-20. I finally left when he started getting physical. He truly had me convinced that I was so stupid and ugly no one else would want me. I decided I’d rather be alone and happy than with him and unhappy. I don’t know where I got the strength to leave because I’ve never had great self esteem. Shortly after we broke up, 2 guys hit on me while I was waitressing. I couldn’t understand why they would be so mean and pretend to like be. That’s what verbal abuse does to you. Took me months to realize that they were actually flirting.

I wish your friend luck and hope she’s able to find the strength to leave.


Its more psychological... humans become desensitized to the abusive nature of being. This conditions the human to normality of outcome, meaning they become emtionally attached to the abuser. It could mean that she grew up in an abusive home, and again abuse is a state of normality. He obviously grew up learning these behaviors, or he is just a degenerate, a lower conscious being, or evil, sociopathic, narcissistic, ect... I am assuming he grew up in a rough environment. So he is acting out of his learned behaviors and environmental conditioning. I am not a psychologist by any means. But this should put you close to having a little understanding towards the human psyche or spirit. Birds of feather flock together.

Psyche= Greek = Spirit
Psychology = study of human psyche/spirit
Psychology = study of human mental cycles/circles as in relation to environment and human personality types.
Persona = from Greek term for mask

Should give you a better understanding, good luck
I am not a psychologist.

Etre Level 7 June 10, 2018

Because it’s better to have one in hand than two in the bush, no pun intended. Relationships are hard to find and they fill needs we don’t recognize until they’re either threatened or gone. Of course, often it’s best to have none, given the options.


Give your friend a copy of the book If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus. It will open her eyes to abuse, its many forms, and she needs to get out.

I could, but she wouldn't bother to read it.


I can tell you that as a prosecutor for 20 years the only thing I wasnt able to crack was domestic violence. I think all people should just be anti-pain. The worst thing that can happen is that the next guy will hit you. I understand all the low self esteem arguments. But I think just the pain should be enough. I had a first date once where the woman was going on about how her boyfriend would hit her when she came back from a night out with the girls because he thought she was cheating on him. The more she talked, I finally said, "Is there any reason it wouldnt be ok for me to hit you right now?" SHE SAID NO !!!!
I had a woman come in to the prosecutor's office that looked like a raccoon, that's how badly her boyfriend beat her, but when it came time to testify, she refused, "because he loves me." Then, in all my incest cases the wife never once sided with the children, never. In one case, after I was able to prove it without the little girl testifying, the mom called me the next week and said, "You know it really happened." I said, "yes, where have you been?" Her response was, "If he goes to jail how am I going to be able to send them to private school?"
In answer to your question, I've found in most cases, the victims AND the perpetrators were raised in an abusive home and think it's the norm.

lerlo Level 8 June 10, 2018

Very good reply! Thanks!

Thats awful. How could these women pick their husbands over their kids?

@Blindbird Many times because if they admitted it was happening they might be complicit by allowing it to go on. Almost like many of the parents of juvenile delinquents with the "not my kid" excuse.


Two gamblers at a poker table. one says "this game is rigged. Im leaving."
The other one replies "I know but its the only game in town."

That might be an understandable rationale if there wasn't another casino next door. Other partners are everywhere, same place they found the abusive one. I can't come up with a rationale that overrides pain, although as I said, I've heard all the rationales.

@lerlo I hear you but when your in that kind of relationship. Your self esteem is so undermined that you do think its the only game in town.


It happens to men as well. Women are actually more cunning in their abusive methodology because most don't have the physical capability to intimidate. So they resort to other psychological means until the the male is completely submissive. (no matter what his size) It's then that the war of words and physical violence begins. I've witnessed this through friends and family over the years. Women can be monsters too.

I would agree, physical pain heals eventually. Mental pain takes infinitely longer and sometimes never fully heals.

Yeah men can be abused as well, but it is ungodly uncommon, and police hardly will do anything. Last Xmas eve I was at a friends house. She started beating on him a couple times. The police were called TWICE that night. The second time they showed up they wouldn't file charges. They wouldn't press charges, and the exact words from one of the officers was "everybody just had too much Holiday Cheer". She was removed from the house, and went to some government shelter. A few weeks ago I saw her on the Platte County's most wanted list. For different reason tho.


We all choose relationships that are familiar to us...the ones imbedded in our psyche from childhood! At first glance, people can’t see how a smart and capable person (as myself), would choose a partner that was abusive! But, I never connected to partners that were loving and emotionally there for me! In the first place, that is a concept that is only in my mind...not in my experience! I had to rewrite my emotional experience (with therapy and experiences), in order to accept anyone that truely is loving and supportive of me!

That is a good answer! My last ex actually pushed me away because she told me she didn't know how to deal with someone so nice. One day her ex came to her house. Yes she did invite him. I recommended to stay away from him. Surprise! He tried to strangle her. She was very worried at that point. From what I gather, he got mad because I was doing leatherwork, and gave her a promotional piece from the guy I worked for. She put it on the wall, he asked what that was about. The rest you can figure out. When I was at her place she always wanted me to stay, and was constantly worrried about him coming over, but she said she felt safe around me. This guy stole a pistol from his grandmother, and would send her pictures with it against his head threatening that he would kill himself if they didn't get back together. It took her weeks to file a restraining order. I tried like hell to help her, but you can't be helped if you don't want to be helped. I myself was raised in an abusive household, but I didn't pick up those traits. I must be the exception rather than the rule.

@TheGreatShadow interesting account...but did you not notice that you PICKED an abused person? I was somewhat abusive to my children when they were preteens, but I learned better and have worked hard to correct myself! However, among people that know me personally, no one would say now, that I would abuse anyone. But, out of three marriages, all were alcoholics! During the second one when I found AA, I learned that people keep repeating pairing-up with alcoholics. So I stopped choosing until I developed my self! I still find connections to those personalities, but I am just supportive toward them and nothing more. I know better...

@Freedompath I didn't find out until it was far too late. She cheated on my last new years with a friend, and I found out she was a cutter. She's also been hanging out with a guy I can't stand (former friend). Can you walk down the street and say "this is a good person", or "this is a terrible person" without even knowing them? I can't. That relationship ended VERY quickley!

@TheGreatShadow most people are not necessarily good..,a lot of people lead lives of quiet desperation! If we have not made friends with our sub-conscious mind, we want catch ourselves when we are goofing up (going against our best interest). Years ago before I had therapy, I would make a decision about something, but then I would DO the very opposite! It took a long while to get that silent voice that misdirected me...stopped! It takes a fearless search of our deeper selves, to become fully functioning and even then we aren’t perfect! Lol

@TheGreatShadow it seems to me that you have some hurt that has not healed yet? Make a new life for yourself ASAP, because, long lingering hurt makes changes in our brain, that hinders us...weakens us! You deserve to be happy, claim it!

@Freedompath Thanks for the concern, but I am fine. I appreciate it tho.


One of the first things an abuser does it to tear down their victims confidence. The idea is to convince them that they're so awful that no one else will want them and that they deserve the abuse for whatever "sins" the abuser deems deserving of chastisement. Abusive relationships are very intense physically too . The hormonal rushes from the extremes of love/anger etc.can be addictive. So likely,yes, in her mind, she can't get anyone else.


He only hits you because he likes you ....woman are taught this at a very young age it sticks with some of them. Plus there's the " my love will change him " or he has shitloads of drugs and I like drugs ....lots of reasons only the person doing it will truly know

Simon1 Level 7 June 10, 2018

They both went to prison for meth. I guarantee after the last time he got out, he relapsed a few times. Otherwise, it's alcohol.


It sounds like a co-dependent relationship.

Came here to say this.

In simplest terms, I guess you're right.

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