The second question, "Why Do Adults Stay In Abusive Relationships? Partners in abusive relationships have varying reasons for remaining in them.A first layer of the reasons for staying in an abusive relationship is practical, even if they are not always rational.In a parent/child abusive relationship, guilt over abuse may be expressed as special privileges or gifts for the child victim.Following the guilt and making up stage comes a "honeymoon" or latency period during which things are good for a while between the partners.In this context, victims often rationalize that they aren't really being abused, that their partner really loves them despite being abusive and that makes it okay, that the abuse really isn't all that bad, and other similar statements.Victims are motivated to generate excuses their abuser, to think of each abuse episode as a "one time" thing (even when it isn't), and to focus on the good aspects of the relationship (particularly those positive things that during the guilt/latency phase of the abuse cycle) and convince themselves that the relationship is really a good one and that everyone has some problems in a relationship, i.e., my partner just occasionally loses his/her temper when really stressed at work, etc.However, regardless of the truth of any of these rationalizations, the believe that they are true is more powerful than whether or not they are really true.A second layer of reasons for why people stay in abusive relationships is uncovered by learning about the so-called "cycle of abuse." In a typical instance of domestic abuse (where one partner is abusive towards the other), abuse tends to occur periodically (cyclically), rather than constantly (all the time).
Abusers may reinforce this lack of self-worth by saying that abuse is normal, that they are over-reacting, etc.
Every time a victim forgives an abuser, that abuser is reinforced for being abusive, and it becomes that much more likely that the abuser will become abusive again in the future.
The net effect is that the abuse tends to continue forever until the victim finds the courage to leave or is abused to death (e.g., murdered, in the most serious, violent cases).
Inevitably, in truly abusive relationships, the latency period ends with the beginning of another abuse episode; the abuser again feels angry, disrespected or treated poorly in some way and the cycle starts all over again.
Though such cyclical abuse is repetitive and predictable, it is also intermittent, and the rest of the relationship might be perceived as good enough or even loving.