I’ve noticed that when women find themselves in bad relationships that they can’t leave, it’s because they hate themselves more than their partner. They know logically that they shouldn’t be with this person, but for whatever reason, they cannot leave. Perhaps the partner is abusive. Or controlling. Or manipulative. Or the relationship just isn’t working anymore, but all of that pales in comparison to how they feel about themselves. Their friends constantly tell them they should leave, but deep down, they know they never will. When they stay, they begin to hate themselves because they know it is not the right choice. When they hate themselves and can’t live with what they’ve done, they try to cover it up by acting out, abusing substances such as alcohol, overeating, gambling, and anything else that prevents them from acknowledging their true feelings. It is a downward shame spiral that causes them to stay even longer in the relationship and hate themselves more. Essentially, they are destroying their own self-esteem and if their mate is particularly emotionally-abusive, it feeds into this narrative that they are not good enough and it becomes their normal. And many times, when these women do leave, they can only think about going back into the same relationship. They have been so conditioned to treating themselves this way that it is hard for them to see any other alternative. If they don’t desire to go back to the same relationship, they may recreate it in a new one if they don’t confront their feelings.
At an emotional level, they have stopped caring for their well-being, but logically, they still know this isn’t where they should be. What happens then is a war of wills, and in many cases, your emotions will usually win out. It’s easy to say things like ‘You deserve better than that’ and ‘You’ll find someone who will treat you right’ to them, but those phrases are appealing to their logical side. It is their emotional sides that need to be persuaded. When a woman is in an unhealthy relationship, she knowingly or unknowingly contributes to her own degradation. It doesn’t matter if she knows or not, because she always feel as if she should’ve known and places the blame at her own feet, which causes her to subject herself to more abuse. There is a lot of guilt and shame in these relationships, but the shame we need to acknowledge is the one that’s held by the victim, for it is these feelings that bind them to the past and never lets them go, forcing them to live out the same relationship over and over. Anyone can plainly see a bad relationship, but many people can never see why they stay. If you can answer that question, you can answer why they have built these emotional prisons for themselves.