Power and Control Wheel

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?

The abuser exerts Power and Control over the victim combined with the Cycle of Violence to keep women in abusive relationships.

Barriers that Prevent Her from Leaving

The victim of domestic violence also faces many of the following barriers that prevent her from leaving her abuser.


  • Fear of physical harm
  • Fear of threats
  • Fear of harassment
  • Fear of making abuser angrier
  • Fear of living alone or being alone
  • Fear of losing children
  • Fear of losing house, car
  • Fear others will blame you
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of financial problems without him
  • Fear a change in standard of living
  • Fear of deportation
  • Fear no one believes you
  • Fear of the court system


  • Still loves the abuser
  • Commitment to the relationship
  • Sex, affection, and kindness during non violence times
  • Companionship
  • History together
  • Hope it's going to improve
  • Hope he'll change


  • Low self-esteem
  • Being emotionally exhausted
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt
  • Self-blame for the abuse
  • Feeling like a failure
  • Feeling defective
  • Feeling unwanted by others


  • Not wanting a divorce
  • Not wanting to be a single parent
  • Not wanting to look for someone else
  • Not wanting to leave pets
  • Not wanting to grieve
  • Not wanting to start over
  • Not wanting to change life style
  • Not wanting to lose his family
  • Not wanting to be excluded from social functions


  • Uses mind games
  • Uses crying
  • Uses threats of suicide
  • Uses his power and his family's power
  • Uses his Mr. Nice Guy image
  • Uses promises
  • Uses apologies


  • Pressure from children who want their dad
  • Believes it is best for children
  • Custody issues
  • Need childcare


  • Nowhere to go
  • Unaware help is available
  • No support system
  • Isolated from support


  • Need insurance
  • Need financial support
  • Have health/disability issues


  • Not identifying abuse
  • Normalize abusive behaviors
  • Abusive cycle is familiar
  • Others accept violence as okay
  • Pressure from others
  • Preserve abusers reputation
  • Religious beliefs
  • Social status
  • Security
  • Having hopes and dreams
  • Same sex partners
  • Knowing its okay to leave

For Your Safety

Erase internet Footprints - prevent abusers finding where you visit online.

Escape Site for a quick exit to google.com

1-800-892-8900 24 Hour McHenry County Crisis Line
1-800-799-SAFE National Crisis Hotline