Victims of Abuse are not “Insecure”

I often hear a big misconception when I listen to people talking about victims of domestic violence.  They often assume these women as “insecure” and they falsely believe that the reason women are in an abusive relationship is because they have “low self-esteem.”  I cringe every time I hear this.  Some of the strongest, most persevering, resilient women are women in abusive relationships…

Very few abusive relationships start out abusive.  Abuse occurs gradually, and looking back, it is often difficult to determine how and when the relationship became abusive.  Because abusers can be very charming, it is often his charm that drew her to him in the first place…

The abuse was likely not present at that time. If abuse was easy to recognize, there would be no abused women (or men)!

Many women in abusive relationships are strong, successful, secure, compassionate women.  Many are doctors, lawyers, and teachers, and other admired members of the community.  They are caring mothers, actively involved in their children’s schools…

An abuser attempts to weaken her emotionally and mentally, as he begins blocking her access to resources that would enable her to leave once the abuse begins. Abused women often do not go into a relationship knowing that it is abusive and she very likely was not insecure when the relationship started. 

Once inside the relationship, the woman becomes trapped as the abuser attempts to make the woman dependent on him.  He begins to isolate her physically and emotionally from her friends and family, and takes control over the resources she once had that would enable her to leave.

Sometimes the abuser will even move her to another town or state to isolate her from her support system.  Through manipulation and deceit he begins to block access to her use of the car, money, the telephone, or the computer… 

The relationship quickly begins to feel like a riptide as if she is sucked in and her life vests were taken away.  She struggles from being pulled under, as she no longer has the resources she once did to get out. 

When her resources that would allow her to leave are cut off, he will often tell her he is the “victim” and if she did this differently or that differently, or didn’t do this at all, then everything would be fine. 

This is part of the cycle of violence.  He wants her to begin thinking that there is something wrong with her and soon she begins questioning herself, her thoughts and her actions.  This is the point that he begins to weaken her emotionally. 

It is important to remember, that nothing she does or doesn’t do will cause an abuser to change.  The abuse stems from his altered thought process, his own insecurities and his desire for power and control.  This is far different from the stigma attached to women that they are with an abuser because the women are insecure.

 It is the abuser who creates a dysfunctional relationship. In her own way, the woman stays, not because she is insecure, but because she is trying to survive physically and emotionally the best way she knows how, to keep her mind and body safe without angering the abuser more. 

Riptides are strong and the waters are murky.  It is never as easy to get out as people might think, but you can and victims do escape domestic violence.  Stay strong… the future has now become your life vest.  Fight for it and don’t go under!