thought long and hard about writing anything in this thread, since there is an awful lot of ignorant crap being posted...
Anyway, the posters who say the whole thing is more complex than "if you're abused then leave" are right. Been there, not easy. And I consider myself a strong person, and thought it would never happen to me.
First of all, those relationships are not abusive all the time - otherwise, it would be a no-brainer. The problem is that if you're in such a relationship, you also have good times, the constant hope that the abuser will change and life will always be peachy - until the next bout of abuse comes along, keeping you hoping for the nice times. Plus the promises of the abuser to change. One reason to stay in such a relationship.
Second of all, as said before, the abuser will manage to reduce your self-esteem and self-worth to zero. You WILL start to think that you are fat/ugly/useless/not worth anything/won't get anyone else anyway. This process is usually slow and subtle, but effective. If you're constantly told you're fat, you will start to believe it. You will also believe that noone else wants you, and you should be lucky to have a partner, who, in his graceful air, keeps you, even though you're fat and ugly and useless. Be grateful!
Third: Leaving is not that easy. I for example, was stuck in a far-away land, with my visa depending on this relationship, and no support network (and a scary amount of pride - I simply did not want to come crawling back home and admitting that moving to this country with this guy was a big mistake).
Plus the second I was strong enough to say i wanted out of the relationship, a whole different level of abuse started - of the violent, death-threat kind. Makes you think twice, believe me. You know you want and must out, but you're scared ****less of what will happen if you dare.
sorry, running out of time here, but there's definitely more to these abusive relationships and the people who remain in it than meets the eye...Don't judge them, instead, if it happens to someone around you, offer support, and slow constant reassurance. People in these relationships have to realise themselves what's going on, but they need encourangement, and a second, more realistic opinion to help them see clear...