The friends and loved ones of a battered woman often wonder why she stays in the abusive relationship. The psychological state of an abuse victim is complex, and abuse is often cyclical. There are a number of possible reasons for staying with an abuser, and each situation is different. Understanding why women stay in these situations is the first step toward helping a loved one get the help she needs. Abuse often occurs in cycles. After a violent episode, the abusive partner may be extremely apologetic and often swears that the abuse will never happen again. For a while, the abuser is on his best behavior.
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The therapist needs to validate the victim when the victim is detailing the abuse. The therapist should help her to see that it was not her fault. They should facilitate empowerment.
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The therapist should also evaluate for other mental health conditions and factors that may have contributed to the woman not recognizing the abusive relationship in the early stages. Anxiety and depression can result from battered woman syndrome.
The therapist will use a combination of anti-anxiety medications, antidepressant medications, and talk therapy to help the woman regain control of her life. In some cases, the therapist may recommend interpersonal therapywhere they help the woman establish stronger relationships with her support system.
These supportive relationships may have been damaged due to isolation caused by the abuse. Reach out to your support system as soon as possible if you feel comfortable doing so. You can also go to a therapist or call a domestic abuse hotline, whose numbers you can find on the following pages:. The therapist and hotlines can help provide you with resources and information, such as where to find a shelter. They can also help you develop a safety plan to get away from the abuser.
If you believe that you are in immediate physical danger, call and ask the police to come immediately. Domestic abuse can be life-threatening, and women are often murdered by abusive husbands.
Why would she let this happen? Help them develop a safety plan to get away from their abusers.
If you can, give them access to transportation and information about shelters. You should never force someone with battered woman syndrome to do something, however.
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Battered woman syndrome is often accompanied by legal issues. Women who press charges against their abusers, for example, need to testify against them in court.
Women leaving abusive relationships may also file restraining orders to keep their abusers away from them and their family. Many states recognize battered woman syndrome as a serious mental health condition.
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As a result, many of these states have laws that account for violent outbursts from battered women who injure or even kill their abusers.
Legally, it can be argued and won that these instances were the result of severe mental distress or done in self-defense. Battered woman syndrome is a serious mental health disorder that comes as a result of serious domestic abuse, often at the hands of a romantic partner. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, get help as soon as possible.
The following resources can get you the help that you need:. You've heard of fight or flight, but have you heard of 'fawning'?
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Relationships may be heterosexual or same-sex. Many agencies and organizations exist to help people who experience IPV. Read on to find out more about abuse in relationships and how to get help. Psychotherapist Lenore Walker developed the concept of battered woman syndrome in the late s.
She wanted to describe the unique pattern of behavior and emotions that can develop when a person experiences abuse and as they try to find ways to survive the situation.
Walker noted that the patterns of behavior that result from abuse often resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
She described battered woman syndrome as a subtype of PTSD. The person may also behave in ways that can be difficult for people outside the relationship to understand. The impact of an abusive relationship can continue long after leaving it.
For some time, the person may:. Physical abuse can also lead to injuries such as organ damage, broken bones, and lost teeth. Sometimes, these injuries can be lasting and possibly life threatening. For this reason, it is important to understand that help is available and to seek help if possible.
Abuse can happen on a single occasion, or it can be a long-term problem. It can happen most of the time, or only from time to time.
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It can also occur in cycles. The list below details some potential stages of an abuse cycle:. This can make it hard for a person to leave an abusive relationship. In fact, the impact of abuse can last for years.
On average, a person who leaves an abusive relationship will do so seven times before they make the final break, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult to do alone. However, support groups and advocates are available to help those concerned about their situation and those who have decided to leave an abusive relationship.
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The CDC note that a number of factors and characteristics may be present in a person who abuses in a relationship. In time, scientists might find an effective way to help a person who carries out abuse to change their behavior. However, most research so far has focused on people referred by the criminal justice system, which means that they already have a conviction for a crime against a partner.
Overall, there is not enough evidence to support any specific intervention to help people who carry out this type of abuse.
One suggestion is that carefully designed cognitive behavioral therapy CBT for couples might help by enhancing communication and problem-solving skills.
However, experts do not currently recommend this, as undergoing experimental therapy while in an abusive relationship could increase the risk for the partner who is experiencing the abuse.
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Help is available. There are organizations that specialize in supporting those experiencing or trying to leave an abusive relationship.
They can offer advice, help a person get medical assistance, and assist with finding accommodation a person can stay at until they feel safe and their situation becomes more stable. These organizations can also put a person in touch with an advocatewho will stand by them as they go through the process of recovery.
Advocates play an important role in coordinating care for survivors and their families. When a person is in immediate danger, calling the emergency services may help protect them from serious harm. After leaving an abusive relationship, it can take a long time to deal with the emotional and physical impact of the abuse, and the person may need a lot of support.
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Group CBT can give people the chance to share what they have been through with others who have had a similar experience, and to join with others in finding new ways to cope. It is essential to create an atmosphere where members can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. Health problems are not the only consequence of abuse. There can also be legal implications. If there are children involved, the court may need to decide on custody arrangements.