Why Abuse Victims Don’t Leave

People say that children who are abused by their parents or other adults will often seek relationships with others who will abuse them. I don’t understand this syndrome, but I have observed it in my own life.

I was abused by a maid when I was a little girl and my first two marriages were to men who abused me. How can that be? You would think that I would choose someone just the opposite, who would treat me nicely. But no, I chose men who were verbally abusive and one of them also hit me. Why didn’t I see it coming?

On the other hand, child abuse victims sometimes become adult perpetrators. People who have been abused as children often carry their frustrations and pain into their relationships when they become adults.

Leslie Morgan Steiner talks about her marriage to a young man who was abused as a child, and how he slowly seduced her and made her his victim. Her talk, on Ted.com, explains how she got into the abusive marriage and finally got out. It is an eye-opening story of why domestic abuse victims don’t leave. It’s worth the 15 minutes it takes to listen. Here’s the link:



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Battered Wife Seeking Better Life
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 21:52:27

    You make some interesting points. My husband, his brother and two sisters were abused by their mother. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother hit him too. The boys grew up to be abusive to their wives and the daughters grew up to be abusive to their husbands. In my own family my father did hit my mother and me but I don’t feel that I sought out the same relationship. However, when it happened I thought I could fix him and I never thought it would escalate to become what it did. Abuse is a vicious circle.


    • Nancy DeLaval Miller
      Sep 30, 2013 @ 13:30:04

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that the tendency to abuse can be passed down. Your situation sounds pretty painful. In my case, I abused my children by not engaging with them emotionally. I knew better than to sexually abuse them, but I was so confused from having multiple personalities that I wasn’t able to be consistent. What was ‘wrong’ one day was ‘okay’ the next. I am interested in your site and will be over for a visit soon.


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