If we listen to men who abuse their wives, what we hear is how terribly inadequate these women are for the men. At the same time, we know that abusive men are tremendously dependent on their partners. Fear of rejection, emotional withdrawal, and/or abandonment are major factors that actually cause these men to be violent. Men who batter women are often psychologically incapable of leaving the relationship.
A cycle of abuse occurs in some families. The family’s life becomes a cycle of violence. Life begins to revolve around anticipating violence; coping with actual acts of violence; or recovering from the violence. Ironically, a family can become tremendously close in the recovery phase. The man who was terrifying and intimidating turns into a remorseful, needy, and dependent man. The woman who was battered then will feel sorry for the man and recommit to him in a fantasized hope that the abuse won’t happen again. But the cycle of abuse will begin again, often becoming worse. The cycle of abuse can only be broken with awareness and professional help.