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Why does your friend stay even after realizing that he/she is being mistreated? There are hundreds of reasons why your friend doesn't "just leave" or break up. The following are some of the barriers to leaving an abuser:
- Love - "I love him/her and sometimes he/she is kind to me."
- Fear of not being popular anymore
- Fear of not being in the inner circle anymore
- Fear of not being loved
- Fear of what others will think or say
- Fear that the abuse will get worse
- Fear that all the secrets shared while cuddling will be exposed if I end the relationship
- Some victims think the abuser will change
- Threats of suicide
- After the abuse there may be "sweet talk" - this is part of the cycle. (One stage of the "Cycle of Abuse" is called the "Honeymoon Phase." This is a common tactic abusers use to "make up" after they are abusive in order to keep their victim from breaking up with them)
- Victims blame themselves for the abuse because the abuser has told them "you make me act this way"
- Victim has been isolated from family and friends and don't feel like they have anyone to turn to for help
You can see that it's not that easy to leave, it's complicated and that there are many reasons. The best way to help a friend is to be there for him/her, no matter how many times they break up and make up. Never blame your friend for staying in the relationship and listen without placing judgment.