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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Why Battered Wives Remain Married

Why women who experience repeated threats and physical assaults from their spouse remain with them seems inexplicable yet is readily understandable.Through their experiences they have been programmed to be submissive, enslaved by their husband through a paralyzing terror of continuous agitation, anxiety bordering on panic, and psychosomatic symptoms, these creating passivity and feelings of hopelessness. Only rarely does their deeply repressed rage become homicidal.
Studies have revealed that many of these women had alcoholic fathers and had married as teenagers when pregnant. The husbands drank heavily and kept their wives isolated, accusing them of infidelity and beating them after their return home, causing the women to live in constant fear and unable to meet with supportive female friends and keep medical appointments. Their low self-esteem, lack of safety and financial resources, and feeling of shame cause them to stay with their battering husband.

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