Domestic Abuse Misconception #29: Once the victim leaves, she won't go back. That would seem logical, wouldn't it? It is so hard to leave you would think that once a victim got up the courage to leave that she would run far, far away, never to return. Sadly, that is just not the case.
A victim leave her abuser and then returns to him on seven times on average before she leaves for good. Why on earth would she do that? There are a lot of reasons, really.
Lets start with fear. Fear for her and her children's safety. There is financial need. There are the promises of change from the abuser. There is the pressure from others to return and reconcile, especially if the abuser has enlisted Flying Monkeys (Misconception #18) and/or the victim is part of a church that believes that reconciliation is always the desired (or required) outcome.
Sometimes victims return because the abuse is all they know. They are, in a way, addicted to the adrenaline rush of the up and down. They don't know how to function without it. Some say that the victim suffers from Stockholm Syndrome and identifies with and has an unhealthy attachment to her abuser. And many victims have such a low view of themselves that they don't believe anybody else will ever love them. That the abuser is as good as it's gonna get. She will endure Mr. Hyde if she can only have Dr. Jekyll every so often.
It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch a victim that you love return to her abuser. The discouragement and helplessness are overwhelming. Yet remember that this is her decision and she will leave for when she is at the point of being ready to do so.
Here a victims explains her reasons for returning to her abuser before she left for good.
(Note: In all of my posts I use "he" for abuser and "she" for victim for simplicity and because, in the majority of cases, the abuser is male. But it can be the opposite with a female abuser. Dynamics of abuse can also happen in same sex relationships.)