Do youHow can many battered women forgive their abuser? again and again? This question has multiple answers, most of them already being extensively studied in psychology, sociology and other disciplines.
The reason is deeply linked to the education received by women throughout history, to the secondary role imposed by society over the years and to the shadow of this behavior “marked in the cultural DNA”. But there are also reasons closely related to behavioral learning, which have a clear and obvious cognitive explanation.
Abused Women Who Forgive: Learned Helplessness
Today, to better understand the why of some behavior of women victims of gender-based abuseLet’s explain one of the many reasons why a woman may not respond to an abusive situation, as most of us think we would. Let’s talk about learned helplessness.
The helplessness learned in an abused woman is nothing more than an alteration in the cognitive function of the woman which generates passive behavior in the face of a series of events that she perceives as uncontrollable.
This makes it very difficult for the abused woman to find optimal ways to end an abusive relationship, primarily because her cognitive function of care is focused on keeping her alive.
a person learn not to defend when he reliably believes that tackling this situation of abuse will fail to stop the aggressions of the other. Therefore, the woman stops trying to curb this situation and unconsciously creates coping strategies to live “safely” in this abusive situation.
When a woman suffers from learned helplessness, their behavior is based on reducing the pain, but not on stopping the aggressionBecause he feels that the cause of events is totally outside of his control, and since there is nothing he can do to curb this situation, he simply waits for it to happen.
The role of attribution style
One of the risk factors for learned helplessness is attribution style. these determine the way we usually explain the different things that happen around us. In general, people with a positive attribution style tend to appreciate the environment as predictable or controllable. This sense of control makes us maintain our level of self-esteem.
However, people with learned helplessness, as we have seen, they have a negative attribution style, Perceiving the situations around him as unpredictable and uncontrollable, thus seeing his self-esteem underestimated.
People in this situation underestimate how much control they really have.
The emotional repercussions
On the other hand, the consequences of learned helplessness, among others, are negative emotional states characterized by high levels of anxiety, depression, Frustration, lack of confidence in their abilities, lack of initiative, demotivation, negativity, social isolation, etc.
For a woman (and a man) she never and in no way likes to be subjected to a situation of abuse. This premise is obvious and must prevail over any value judgment we may make, however incomprehensible the situation may seem. There is always a reason to live in this kind of toxic relationship.