5 Reasons Why People Remain in Abusive Relationships


Does this sound familiar? Perhaps names come readily to your mind or better still you can identify with this. Matters of the heart sometimes are difficult to deal with especially when deeply hurt by the one you love and eternally adore. A relationship whereby one party preys on the love of the other is common place nowadays. The love expressed is taken for granted and the sincere desire to please and show affection is seen as a sign of weakness, desperation and need. In a heterosexual relationship the man, is more often than not, the culprit and the loving woman the prey.

When a Relationship Isn’t Godly, Should You Break Up?

How many times have you seen or heard of a person being abused physically, emotionally, financial and otherwise but determined to remain in the relationship with the erroneous hope that the situation would improve as time goes by. Both parties practice breaking and making up every now and again, always on emotional roller coasters and intermittent cease fires playing the blame game in turns. This confused situation is obvious to everyone except the parties involved. How bad can it get?

In developed nations, abuse in whatever form carry grave penalties. However, the reverse is the case in developing nations where the man is the alpha and omega, and the woman is left at the mercies of traditions and the norms of the society. These norms and societal values fuel the depraved ego of some men to abuse women and sometimes women abusing men. In certain spheres of society this has become the de facto behaviour.

Lets look at some factors may be responsible for this.

Low self esteem

Low self esteem is one of the main reasons why an individual would be determined to remain in an abusive relationship. Low standards are set for acceptable behaviour thereby tolerating abuse. This low self esteem could be as a result of

  • Poor and dysfunctional childhood or upbringing in an abusive environment
  • Verbal abuse that have eroded every form of self confidence from the individual. To the person they deserve nothing good and are quick to accept the abusive relationship without a challenge.
  • Lack of self confidence could originate from a hidden sin that is eating away the inner man.
  • Refusal to forgive oneself for failures in the past
  • Refusal to accept God’s mercy and love for confessed sins

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We may have faced a harsh past and experienced situations that are damaging. Some of which we  may have had absolutely no control over while others were errors of judgment. We did not choose our parents or circumstance in which we were born or brought up and we may not have known any better to act in some occasions. But we have a God that heals our pains and hurts, he heals the wounded and broken hearted. He forgives our sins and remembers them no more. He gives us hope and a reason to live. We should not cast away our confidence, but rather stand in the assurance that we have a new life in Christ and old things are passed away.

Traditions of men

As earlier mentioned, society, especially in developing nations defines abuse and the penalties imposed on the perpetrators. Certain traditions ascribe the Lord and majesty title to the man, the head and conqueror of the family while the wife and children are his subjects. These traditions have beclouded the judgments of many and empowered the male species to cause emotional havoc.

Pornography also tends to emphasis this point whereby women are in most cases portrayed as sex objects and the man the abuser.These traditions have made the word of God of no effect. Leaving this school of thought requires renewing the mind and studying the manufacturer’s manual. God created man and to understand how we should live, we need to consult the bible, be transformed by the renewing of the mind so that we may prove what is  good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

Men and women are equal heirs and only differ in our earthly functions. We have the same spirit which is without gender. It is important that women understand who they are in Christ and stand firm in that assurance and confidence. An abusive relationship is not from God. His blessings make us rich and adds no sorrow.

Peer pressure

There is a saying that goes: at the age 20 a single lady prays seriously for a husband, at 30 she fast and prays but by 40 she say the grace and lose hope. In a way this mentality abides in the minds of some single women especially in Africa where marriage is revered, fornication is a forbidden practice and divorce is a disgrace to the family. While a lady may have set prerequisites to be met by intending suitors, as she grows older and more of her peers get hitched, this list shortens. She begins to tolerate more and abuse becomes an acceptable behaviour.

Be careful with whom you hang out with and choose your friends wisely. In as much as you may be challenged by your peers, they shouldn’t lead you astray. Believe you are precious in the sight of God. Concentrate on building your character and in due season your prince would come riding on a white horse. A day is like a thousand and a thousand like a day in God’s eyes. Though He may tarry He would surely bring it to pass. Wait on God!

Eating the forbidden fruit

I have often heard people refer to this as soul tie. When premarital sex is involved it becomes difficult to break away especially if you lost your virginity in that relationship. First love syndrome, does it ring a bell? Sex is only permitted in a covenant symbolised by marriage. Anything else is not of God. Guess who’s involved? He would seek ways to steal, kill and destroy you emotionally and then Mr. Confusion sets in.

1 Corinthians 6:16-18 16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.  17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Abstinence is still in vogue, pre-marital sex is still sin. Be chaste and keep yourself pure until you say I do. You don’t need to test drive each other before marriage especially in societies where living together and raising a family outside marriage is acceptable behaviour. If he or she can’t wait, be bold enough to show them the door.

Disgraceful Role Models

Reality shows are now the order of the day. As we stay glued to the TV to watch soap operas, ‘little sister’ and chat shows that portray the heights of foolishness, we pick up wrong signals and a false impression of true living. These celebrities tend to serve as role models to people that don’t know any better. Their habits and addictions, extra-marital affairs and promiscuity lead the vulnerable astray. We may never know how much pain and emotional trauma they face off camera.

It is better to get out of a relationship at the earliest indication of abuse. The longer it lingers the harder it becomes to break away. Remember whatever you tolerate would increase. Set your priorities, identify what you want in your mate realistically and stick to it. A broken relationship is always better that a broken marriage.

It is crucial that parents, guardians and relatives affirm their children and those whose lives they can influence. Make them know that they are special and deserve God’s best. They shouldn’t settle for mediocrity or tolerate foolishness and that taking this stand is not pride but humility in accepting what God says about who we are. Institute the truth that our body is the temple of the living God and it should not be defiled.

For the culprits and those that have abusive tendencies, please don’t get into any relationship until you’ve sorted your issues outside a relationship. Seek help and counsel if necessary. Don’t mess up someone else’s life and the lives of the children that would be born into that kind of situation just because you have the urgent urge to merge.

It takes a man to go to the altar, say those vows and mean every single word. It doesn’t come by age but by maturity with a reverent fear of God and responsibility for the lives he is entrusted with. In like manner it takes a confident and virtuous woman to be steadfast and unmovable not tolerating any form of abuse to wait upon God. The Lord is our strength.

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Recommended Books

When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can’t Do Anything Right
“By reading this book I found the strength to stand up to my controlling and abusive partner, as well as, the words and approach I could take to assure my safety and well-being.

As a direct result of the message in this book I was able to end an extremely abusive, violent relationship peacefully.”

Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em
Is living in a love-hate relationship-with your spouse, children, friends, even God-leaving you feeling confused and furious? Arterburn and Stoop offer practical strategies to help you overcome your most agonizing predicaments.

You’ll learn how to sort out your feelings, protect yourself from abuse, manage disappointment and heal through forgiveness.

Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them: When Love Hurts and You Don’t Know Why
Profiles of men who emotionally abuse women and the women who are attracted to them are accompanied by advice for women who want to improve or terminate misogynistic relationships while increasing their self-respect, courage, and confidence.


About Author

Pele began his education in Nigeria before moving to the UK for a masters degree and subsequently a PhD in computer science. The sharp contrast in life and morals in the UK motivated him to start his blog, a website dedicated to sharing candid and virtuous views to enable individuals and families maximize their potentials in life, relationships and finances.


  1. I believe most people remain in bruised and battered relationships because they hope that things may turn around sometimes in the future. The christian couple is enjoined not to divorce, therefore they get stucked to the relationship whether it seems to be working or not; since they they took a vow of ‘for better, for worse’.
    As for me, i reason with the fact that there is hardly anything impossible with men, as long as they are determined. Therfore, i believe that couples have the ability to restore harmony in the home if they allow God to be in control of their individual lives. Divorce is not good for the society, and God Himself says that He hates it; that is the reason couples must ensure that their relationship are turned from an insipid water into a sweet wine as Jesus did in the marriage feast at Cana.
    He is the one that can bring sweetness into a marriage if both couples are obedient to Him.

  2. Tracey Chiwuzie on

    I dont necessarily think ‘low self esteem’ is a major reason why the woman stays. Women tend to be stubborn & believe they can change men. I think some poor women hang on to good times they have shared with the man and hope things will improve.
    Also in the mans case [speaking from experience], its a case of trying to prove ‘hes a man’ , ‘he is in control of the relationship’ & ‘he wears the trousers’……

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