The manner in which we react to our spouses is often related to the attachment we had with our own parents while we were growing up.Perhaps the attachment was not safe, or maybe our parents were not responsive to our needs or minimized or ignored our needs.In those cases, when we get into a marriage, we may respond to our spouse based on these childhood attachment issues.

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Tension begins to build in the relationship when the abuser starts criticizing, yelling, swearing, and using angry gestures, coercion, and threats--often threats to kill her and her children or her family.

The woman fears that the threats will become a reality but feels helpless to do anything about it.

Something will happen to trigger the physical and sexual attacks and threats.

The woman hopes that the relationship will change, knowing that it didn't begin like this. During this "honeymoon period," the abuser might apologize, blame the woman or other circumstances, promise to change, or give gifts. Abused women experience shame, embarrassment and isolation.

In response to this honeymoon period, the woman feels a renewal of love for the abuser. A woman may not leave the abuser immediately because: Why do abusers abuse?

Why do they have such a need for power and control?

Some people will tell you that it's because they have a domineering personality, or low self-esteem, or a bad temper, or because they see women as possessions, or because they abuse substances.

And although these and other factors may be present, there is a deeper reason.

We may even have become very good at numbing our awareness of our needs and fears.