Welcome to my eight part series of ‘Why Women Stay’ in abusive relationships. For part 1, I’m focusing on manipulation and isolation. I’ve combined the feelings of isolation and manipulation because these work together in keeping a victim with the abuser longer. When she’s manipulated and feels responsible and guilty, she’s also isolated from people who could tell her these feelings are misinformed.
Abusers often isolate the victim by controlling her whereabouts and time spent away. They will call or text and find out where she is when she’s not at home. She has to account for every moment spent away from the home. Some abusers don’t even allow their partner to work outside the home.
Abusers can also make it difficult to get together with friends and family because the abuser acts inappropriate or rude to her support system. They can be difficult to be around and this further isolates the abused from her supporters.
Sometimes the victim feels like the abuse is her fault. She’s told by him repeatedly that her actions cause his harsh words and violence and she may eventually believe it. Abusers work on their partner’s self-esteem and make her feel less and less worthy of love and respect.
Sometimes abusers play the ‘guilt card’. He makes her feel guilty and responsible for his behavior and sometimes threatens to do harm to himself if she leaves him. He may convince her that he’s sick and she feels like she is the only one who can make him better.
An abused woman is dealing with many conflicting emotions and often loses the support of loved ones around her.
We can be her rock—her sounding board. We can assure her that his behavior is not her fault and she is not responsible for his actions. We can be there for her to talk to—not judge—and give her information about organizations that can help her.
Emotional, psychological, or physical abuse—it doesn’t matter. The wounds run deep in any type of abuse and the victim needs our love and support.
Remember, if we can help just one woman suffering, we’ve done our job.