Working as advocates for domestic violence victims, we often work with clients who do return to their abusive situations. We understand the reasons why and continue to offer support when they are ready to leave again. However many people ask “Why in the world do they go back? Why don’t they just leave?”
On average, a domestic violence victim will return to an abusive relationship up to seven times. It is important that we are able to recognize the “why”, so we can aim to intervene and break the cycle of returning to an abusive situation.
Why does a person return to an abusive relationship?
Unfamiliarity: Stepping out of everything a person knows can be scary. This can mean leaving friends, family, your home, and everything you know behind when leaving an abusive
relationship. Sometimes this unfamiliarity is too much and scary.
Manipulation: Abusers will continually try to persuade an individual to come back. This manipulation is often filled with empty promises, sweet talk, or even threats.
Love for the abuser: Even though a person may have been abused, they still feel a sense of love for their abuser, and return hoping that things will change.
Lack of Support: If a person doesn’t receive understanding from loved ones, and does not have access to vital resources they can often feel as though it is just easier to go back.
Fear of being alone: For some people the desire to feel a sense of belonging, even if its abusive, overtakes the desire to leave the relationship.
There are many more reasons why people return, but there are things we can do as individuals and as a community to help break this cycle.
-Support victims and speak encouragement into their lives.
-Provide access to vital resources and other support services.
-Involve them in activities and let them see hope beyond their abusive relationship.
-Continue to offer support, encouragement, and help even if a person goes back.
-Help them rediscover the things they loved before their abusive relationship (hobbies, activities, etc.)
Want to learn more about why people go back to an abusive
relationship or what you can do to help victims become
survivors? Call us today at 402-375-5433.
Haven House has been providing free and confidential services to
domestic violence and sexual assault survivors since 1978.
This includes everything from providing a safe place to stay in our emergency shelter
to helping survivors reestablish their own households.
We can only do what we do, because of the support of great people like you.
Would you help us to help survivors and consider donating $5, $10, or $20?