“A life that has for so long been controlled by manipulation and fear, So many times left broken and in tears. Broken bones and bruises followed by promises allowed to heal,
Names and accusations, confusion at the appeal. Was its appeal, or just a distorted view?” (Ashley P.) This poem exhibits the act of an abusive relationship showing how the victim feels all of these toxic feelings, yet still has a love for their abuser. Society views relationships as a private matter and believes that the party should know whom they’re dating, but what society fails to realize is that the relationship was not always toxic from the beginning and filled with unpleasant things. Instead, the start of the relationship was filled with a strong connection, love, and being able to trust the partner. Within this relationship the partners build a history, this history might not be the best but still, they’ve always been together making the victim have a sense of comfortability in the relationship. After this has been established the abuser would start exhibiting toxic/abusive behavior which the victim dismisses because the partner is “just having a bad day”. Which staying in this phase can affect their mental state whether it’s depression, self-esteem decreasing, and an abundance of other states. When your mental stability is unhinged the victim could be in more danger than if they were in their right state of mind. What now takes us to co-dependence in these relationships the abusers usually try to get the victim fully depending on them whether it’s money, shelter, or if they have children together. Now while some victims finally build up the courage and the strength to leave the situation that does not mean that’ll stay out of the relationship. People who have endured toxic relationships might go back to that partner/situation because of the following: love/history, co-dependence, and mental stability.
History of Domestic Violence Relationships
In 1641, it was made legal for a husband to strike his wife for whatever reason he sees fit whether if it was for walking a certain way or not doing as she was told. It was not until the mid-1800s the act was made illegal with Tennessee being the first state to ban the act. Even though the action was illegal after that point, alike other laws it was broken since the cycle of abusive and toxic relationships were already embedded in the generations before that. This was the beginning of the evolution of abusive and toxic relationships, with this standard set and it began to be shamed on so people in those relationships would try to hide that it was happening to keep up an image. In America 1/4 of women and 1/9 of men are in a domestic violence relationship making this a very common act. In these statistics, some would ask why are women most likely to be abused than men? And the answer to that is for one man are generally more physically stronger than women so it gives them the advantage of taking over them. The ages are primarily 18-34 but ages 20-25 are the ages that are more likely to be in a domestic violence relationship because of them being young, gullible, and naive. Additionally, to them being such a young as and for most of them this is their first real love this is the standard for their dating life. Making it that even if they do get out of that relationship they might return to either that partner or the same situation because of that being their norm. Some reasons why the male abuser may want to abuse is according to Domestic Violence the author concluded that male abuser usually comes from a violent family, low self- esteem, and low self-confidence. Yet, on the outside, he seems like an outstandingly great person, and he takes all of his frustrations out on his partner. (Chenes 30)
Just like any relationship, there is love and there is history which makes the connection stronger and the partners want to make their relationship last. On the contrary, the love in an unhealthy relationship differs in as their love usually builds at the beginning of the relationship where the victim thinks it’s a “honeymoon phase” and they do not see the bad in their partner yet. This makes the connection strong between the two making them seemingly unbreakable, but this is only a part of the abuser puts down roots. After the abuser has established that he/she has the victim hook they start showing the victim little signs that they think they can just ignore. This constructs the victim to first doubt themselves and believe that it’s just the feeling that way. This is where the abuser starts taking the victim through the phases of an unhealthy relationship. The of these relationship phases according to an article are: The cycle of abuse is listed the first phase is the tension broils as the abuser starts to argue with the victim and threatening the victim. The second phase is the physical violence starts and the abuser hits, kicks, and chokes the victim. Lastly, the apology the abuser promises it’ll never happen again until the victim upsets them again. (Chenes 30-31) Once the abuser has the partner trapped in love it is known that the partner is most likely to always return to that love. According to the article in Bert Show “As stated before, it takes an average of 7 times to leave an abuser…Victims love their abusers. They have a life with them. Abusers do not start a relationship being abusive. In a lot of cases, the victims’ abusers are all they have. They have been manipulated and isolated from friends, family, and reality. They do not see any other option but to stay. Eventually, the manipulation causes victims to believe they do not deserve better and couldn’t even get better.” Through this, all the victim builds a lot of history with their partner this history can be whether the two have children or have been together for eternity. Studies show that victims who have children that are in these relationships are more likely to stay or return because they do not want the break up their family. If the victim does build up the courage to leave the abuser the effect that it could have on the family is that the children might feel like it was their fault that they could not make the abuser happy and stop abusing their parents so they could have stayed together or they feel like something is missing. Within all of this, this could bring the victim guilt and go back for the sake of their family.
A co-dependent relationship is a relationship with two people but is only focused solely on one person. This relationship is more than just a person being clingy but the person has wrapped their entire life around their partner. In this relationship there is only one partner “who has needs and wants” and the other partners do not matter typically the person whose needs are important is the abuser. In situations like this, the victim typically has no life, no money, no house, and feels like they only exist because of their partner. These relationships out of all of the different types of domestic violence or toxic relationships are the hardest to leave because some partners have nothing to go to. The victims get to this state because yes, at first they were their person with their things and needs bu then the partner slowly starts cutting off their world. The abuser controls them and makes them cut off friends and family, makes the move in, lose their job, and so many other things. This way the victim is trapped and has no way out with no help, but what most do not know is that there are foundations and groups out there that will help with those victims to get out. For example, you have the “Battered Women’s Justice Project” where they help people in these conditions to find a way out and this organization has been successful with some victims. Yet what these foundations do not tell people is that even with them claiming to help victims of domestic relationships, but if the victim goes back to there partner for whatever reason they will no longer offer help. This might make it harder for the victim to leave a second time because this time they’ll no longer have help. Also, a toxic relationship where the two partners have been together for 15+ years, live together, have children, and make money together or rely on one partner for the money tend to try the hardest to make the relationship work even though the abuse and when the partner leaves it’s even harder to not return. In situations like this, the foundations do not put account that the victim is human and still might have feelings for that partner or it might just be hard to break that cycle.
Through love, history, and codependency in a toxic relationship, this can take a lot on a person’s mental state. Being constantly put down, abused, and mind being toyed with it is draining and can affect a person drastically. It has been proven that people who are victims before the relationship they’re healthy and after they leave it has been reported that 87% are mentally unstable. Some of the most common disorders are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and antisocial personality in the victims during and afterward. For an insight into these types of relationships here is an example, “I had no idea I had the option of leaving. I got married at 14 and came to Australia [from Afghanistan] about three days later, so I had no family or friends here. The only people I was allowed contact with his family. I wasn’t allowed to go to school and have a job, and the story he was feeding me and the children was he could do anything he wanted to us because he was the one working, the husband, and paying the bills, even though we were on Centrelink.” (Atmar) This is a story from a victim and she experienced first hand this domestic relationship and how she had to move her entire life around and this would be a lot just for an average person to move to another place but just imagine being forced to. This also shows how degrading and humiliating it is to be in these situations. This gives the details of how the person’s behavior starts to change and the mind is manipulated. These toxic partners have a partner first, they will show you nothing but love but only subtle toxic signs. Then, the signs start to increase and become more powerful. As a result of this, you are already hooked on to the person and is not willing to leave the person so easily and also because of your mind not being able to make good decisions. With the mind being affected his usually leads to a majority of victims feeling like last straw when they decide to leave come from seeing that this relationship is not working. Then, the woman leaves and goes through this stage of depression shortly after they find a smidge of hope that the relationship could work again. Sadly the woman only enters the relationship again to realize everything is still the same.
Overall, mental stability plays a huge factor in domestic relationships and why the partner may return.
Finally, toxic/abusive relationships are very difficult to leave because of all of the obstacles they have to go through but some of the victims who do leave may return because of love/history, codependency, and mental stability. From the article Students need help coping with their emotions you can get the youth’s perspective and how this affects them. Research shows that the cycle of abuse starts early and this affects the upcoming generation emotionally, physically, and mentally. As a result of this, domestic relationships are created at a very young age. This again starts the cycle for and domestic violence relationship and set the norm for the generation and the ones that come after it. This love plays a big factor in why the victim may go back because over time the partners have built a history, connection, and trust. Some victims see the abuse as normal because that is the kind of background that they grew up in. So to leave that kind of norm is just unnatural to them and will continue to ruin their lives with their toxic mindset. This could result in some very unhealthy mental behavior for the victim since they’ve already started on a bad mindset. There was also research found that drugs and alcohol are one of the main reasons for a toxic relationship to keep going, so after the relationship, the victim’s way of coping might be with alcohol or drugs. These influences then lead them to get back with those toxic partners. (Walker 77) Additionally, this behavior damages the victim’s mind and health. Lastly, the victim could also not able to leave because solely rely on their partner for everything and could not live their normal life with being controlled.