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Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy, and it takes considerable emotional strength to get out.

What role does co-dependency play in an abusive relationship?

Codependency was when one person facilitated and enabled the bad behavior of another. In the case of an abusive relationship, the abusee enables the bad behavior by not standing up or leaving the relationship. That said, it is not their fault. Confronting someone who is abusive is not a simple matter. There is a guaranteed punishment for asserting yourself, severe enough to make you not want to do it again.

As the concept of codependency has become better understood, we now know that there are certain feelings and behaviors that the codependent person develops as a result of a helpless and oppressive situation. In an effort to avoid punishment by managing an abuser's reaction, the abusee allows the abuser's behavior to determine how they feel and behave. This is codependent. It's very difficult to live in a powerless situation day in and day out. In an attempt to deal with these feelings of helplessness, abusees develop certain coping skills in order to avoid the discomfort of feeling powerless.