Or for those with poor self-esteem, the rationalizations may be thoughts such as “I don't deserve any better” or “this is the best relationship I've had in my life.” Victims may have any number of low-self-esteem type beliefs that also keep them paralyzed and willing to accept something that is merely "good enough." They may believe that they will be alone forever if they go out on their own.They may believe that they are so damaged that they would only pick another abusive partner anyway so why not stay with this one?
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.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.They may believe that they don't deserve any better than to be beaten or raped on a semi-regular basis.
Abusers may reinforce this lack of self-worth by saying that abuse is normal, that they are over-reacting, etc.
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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).
Victims that do try to break away from abusive partners may find that abuse escalates to dangerous proportions.