There are many forms of spousal abuse, some of us our unfortunate enough to have to deal with all types. I don't know that I would say that a person can actually stay in an abusive relationship because I was someone who had to leave mine. The forms of abuse range from verbal, manipulations, cheating and continue through violence but those are not the only ones we deal with on a daily basis. It is difficult at times to realize that you are indeed in an abusive relationship. We are all programmed that marriage is for life and that is what we want so we find excuses for their actions. If you often find yourself on pins and needles and you know it is because the person you are in a relationship with is so unpredictable then it is possible they are manipulating you. This is indeed a form of abuse.
Another form is of course verbal abuse. This is one of the most psychological damaging forms of abuse and takes help to overcome. Don't get me wrong there are degrees of verbal abuse and if taken to the severest form it causes damages that make you miserable and therefore the people around you miserable. Living with abuse can cause a person to become a self abuser as well. When a woman or man have no self esteem they lose the will to care what happens to themselves and they become reckless in the things they do therefore putting others in danger as well.. This is a lethal form to future relationships.
One of the most common and well known forms of abuse of course is physical violence. It can start out with something as simple as a slap and eventually lead to broken bones and could even result in death. From my experience, this begins when the spouse feels threatened that they are losing control of a situation and it shows they have control issues. Often it is also due to a feeling of inadequacy on their part and they find that they get an unnatural satisfaction that there is someone that they can overpower. Then of course there are those that grew up in an abusive relationship and follow that pattern because they really don't know or aren't willing to try to find a better way of conducting a relationship.
Dealing with an abusive relationship can be very difficult when the abuser doesn't want to face the fact they have a problem. It is also important to realize if you stay in an abusive relationship you are indeed giving them the power to continue to be abusive and they don't feel the need to seek help. My advise is to get out of the relationship and don't look back. I do realize this isn't easy and that there may be other ways to deal with the situation. Maybe first you want to try talking to the abuser and letting them know you love them and want to help them but you can't allow the abuse to continue. If your lucky they will go to counseling, and allow the counseling to help. I had to get out of my situation but I was one of those who remained until things escalated to the broken bones point. I realized finally that he was not going to change as long as I empowered him to continue.. I also found I had issues of my own to work through because of allowing the abuse I no longer had any self worth or esteem and had to work to rebuild it. Unfortunately, there were children involved in my relationship and when I realized that the abuse not only affected me it affected them as well I knew I had to go. My children saw things I wish they had never had to see. Removing myself from the equation has actually been the best thing I could have done for myself and for him. Since we split up he has sought counseling and is doing great in another relationship and I myself have overcome my demons and am about to marry the most amazing man I have ever met. My point is there doesn't have to be a sad ending, if you take action you can find your happily ever after.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA