The death of Dr. Tasila Tembo came as a great shock to almost everyone in Zambia. Her death was gruesome and had lots of citizens sympathising with her family and friends. It is believed that she had been in an abusive relationship with Lt. Nigel for a while and allegedly met her death by his hands when she decided to up and leave him.
Hearing about the suspect’ s arrest on Saturday surely made everyone happy in the country although everyone had one question when this incident took place ” Why did she stay in an abusive relationship?” Why didn’t she report him to the authorities the first time it started? And these questions prompted me to look into the reasons why people, whether men or women stay in toxic and abusive relationships despite the green light of it not being right.
While leaving an abusive relationship is a logical response to the problem, there are obstacles that hinder this action. In life, I have learnt that it is easy to judge and give advice when you aren’t the one directly or indirectly affected by a situation and that is the problem here.
We often look down on women and men who decide to stay back and work on relationships that are broken and marked by toxicity and abuse but, truth is everything is easier said than done especially when you are not fitting the shoes. For this reason, it is important for us not to judge our friends, family members and colleagues going through such a phase rather, it is imperative to help them so that the chain can be broken.
This is why I’m going to share reasons why people stay in abuse relationships in order to sensitize everyone in view of focusing on solutions instead of blame games.
Moving on from an abusive relationship is hard for many reasons and if you managed to get rid of such an unhealthy lifestyle, you are one tough cookie that the world needs at this point. Thumbs up to you!!
Below are reasons why an individual, male or female may stay in an abusive relationship with their partner.
- Maleness as a norm
We live in a world where patriarchy is a norm. Patriarchy on its own is not a bad system but, over the years, we have seen a breed of new patriarchal structures that are unhealthy. Nowadays, it is society through culture and tradition that normalizes toxic behavior towards a partner. Mostly, women are victims of this trait as they are taught to believe that a man is always right in his actions, cannot be questioned and should be obeyed no matter what. This kind of relationship is normal for them; hence, most women do not understand that they are in an abusive relationship and if you cannot identify your relationship as unhealthy, how then can you seek for help to end it?
- Lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
People that are victims of abuse especially emotional abuse face challenges of low self-esteem and low self worth. Since emotional abuse has no element of physical violence in it, many people dismiss it as not being abuse and continue being in an emotionally unstable and toxic relationship. This way the abuser will always make the victim feel worthless and that no one else apart form them can accept them in their worthless state. This is like telling someone “No one else is going to love and accept you the way I do and have because you are nothing” and many people believe this and stay back.
- Leaving can be a life threatening decision.
Moving on from an abusive relationship can also pose a threat to life in that the abuser may be infuriated that you are breaking loose from their grip and hence, make them more aggressive than usual. This is the time when people commits crimes of passion like murdering their victims. According to Onelove foundation, the post break-up period is the most crucial time in a toxic relationship as women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time during the relationship.
- The from abuse to romance cycle.
Every abusive encounter in an abusive relationship is followed by remorse. The abuser will be repentant and often vow to never commit such an act ever again. They become more loving and caring and romance is often in the air as they engage in acts of affection they never indulge into regularly. For instance, breakfast in bed, romantic candle light dinner, show of physical acts of affection like cuddles, kisses, sexual intercourse, gift giving and the list goes on. However, once the victim forgives and forgets this incident and assumes the partner has repented and changed their ways, the abuse returns. It’s a repeated cycle!
- Pop culture influence
Pop culture, short for popular culture normalizes and glamorizes being a ride or die type of person. In Zambia, this phenomenon is referred to an “Shipikisha club” translating to” endurance club” often referred to when people are talking about marriage in terms of its ups and downs and that one who endures it all is a member of the endurance club. This is society perpetuating a ride or die mindset in people hence, giving them the urge to forgive abusive partners and stay in unhealthy relationships.
- He or she will change.
This is the most common reason why people stay in toxic relationships. Love is a strong emotion that overlooks the mistakes of others whether trivial or grand. Look at it from this perspective, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” yet, God still loves human being to the point where he gives his only son to death to save us from that very death. Due to unconditional love, God overlooks our mistakes when we repent and this can be likened to when one is truly in love with another. A person in love will always find reasons to get back to their partner no matter what they do. There is an urge that makes them believe ” if I stay, he or she will change or I can change him or her”. Well, such is possible but, on a rare day.
- Symptom of Disorders
Battered women Syndrome is one of the reasons why some women stay in abusive relationships. I wrote an article on this topic few months ago and if you read it, you can recall that blaming yourself for being abused is a symptom of BWS. In short, victims always feel they are at fault. Holding themselves responsible for the abuser’s abusive behavior towards them. When you feel that something is your fault, there is always an urge to stay and rectify your mistakes except, it is not your fault in this case as you just feel that way because you are suffering mentally and emotionally.
- Society’s views on relationships.
People that move on from relationships regardless of the reason why are deemed as misfits in society. For instance, a woman who has just been divorced from her husband is likely to be judged and gossiped about in society as she is unable to hold her home. Issues of parental guidance and nurturing will arise and if not everyone, some people will cease to associate themselves with that person; children will be told to keep away or they will learn manners that may cause their husbands to divorce them later when they are married. Hence people are socially pressurized to stay in unhealthy relationships to avoid societal judgment.
It is often easy to give advice to people when you aren’t the one facing the challenge at the moment. Toxic relationships are indeed supposed to be ousted but, it takes courage, bravery and will power. People that are in such situations go through alot; emotionally, socially and physically and ill- talking about them and suggesting what they should or shouldn’t do is being insensitive.
It is important to find out what people are going through first, give them the freedom to confide in you by being loving, courteous and not judgmental. Who knows, you might just rescue someone from an abusive and life threatening relationship.
Let’s be each other’s keepers. We owe it to humanity and it is one of the ways in which we reflect the good character of God almighty as he is love and filled with goodness.
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any questions? If so, please leave a comment for me below. I would love to hear from you!
Happy Monday! I hope you have a productive day ahead!!