It can be astonishing to those close to them, and even to the women themselves, but high-achieving, powerhouse women often fall victim to emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive men.

And you’ll never know… because many are sure not telling you about it, because of the shame of being seen as “stupid” or “weak.”

And that only serves to perpetuate the cycle, since, without someone who understands, these strong women are likely to keep going back to their only source of support—their dark abusers.

Who slowly and surely tear their souls apart.

Now, it’s important to note that usually, the relationship doesn’t start off abusive or emotionally turbulent. Successful women are successful for a reason and are good at keeping their standards high. They are logical enough to stay away from such obvious men.

It’s the slow build-up of abuse that truly catches these women unawares. The first incident is a surprising one, perhaps a sudden burst of anger that is out of character for the normally sweet and calm man.

The man then apologizes, and, the woman, her heart filled with love, forgives him, and then everything is right with the world once more.

Till the next time he berates her for coming home late because she “doesn’t care” that he has stayed up worried about her.

And that’s how it starts. Subtle, methodical, and deliberate acts that chip away at her self-confidence, worth and dignity.

Word by word. “Joke” by “joke.” Day by day.

By the time she realizes something is deeply wrong, she has invested too deeply into the relationship to turn back.

And here are key reasons why:

1. Just like their careers, high-achieving women give their best in relationships.

A woman who is a perfectionist at work also tends to be a perfectionist in other areas of her life. The belief is, if they work hard enough at something, they will eventually succeed.

Failure is not an option, and these women also tend to be very stubborn about seeing things through.

Unfortunately, while grit regularly works in other cases, it doesn’t work when that’s precisely what the other person wants you to do. These men take and take and take while you give and give and give.

2. They are deeply compassionate.

Not only do these women feel the emotions of their men strongly, but they are also quick to justify, dismiss, or forgive quickly.

“He’s having a bad day,” they’ll say.

“It’s nothing.”
“He didn’t mean it.”
“He’s not normally like this.”

Which the abuser manipulates by first opening up to his victim about his behavior, showing a rare, vulnerable side of him.

He then withdraws that connection, ensuring that the woman is constantly in a state of pursuing and sympathizing to get that back.

After all, all she wants to do is help this “beautiful, tormented” man out of his pain.

3. Suffering is familiar to them.

Due to beliefs that arise from a turbulent childhood or in other relationships with men, a woman might actually feel more secure when she’s in a state of agitation.

Similar to her work, she can feel validated when she’s constantly challenged. In other words, it feels good to be actively fixing something—and in this case, it’s the man.

If the love that we first experienced in childhood wasn’t stable, then we are predisposed to seek out instability in adulthood to feel assured that this love is real.

A healthy, stable man isn’t going to make her suffer, so she unconsciously chooses and stays with the man who is.

4. If it’s too easy, they don’t trust it.

When an emotionally whole man freely gives his love without any drama, these women cast suspicion on it.

They feel like they have to do something more, something worthwhile, in order to deserve such free-flowing affection.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling when the hard-working woman suddenly doesn’t have to fight for her relationship anymore. Sometimes she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.

If it’s too easy, it isn’t earned.

If you recognize yourself in all of this, then the first step in breaking the cycle of abuse is to get real with yourself. Acknowledge that there is a real problem.

Then, understand the reasons why you stay in relationships with these toxic men and take responsibility, not blame, for all of them.

It is important not to berate or blame yourself. I have many smart clients just like you, so you are definitely not alone in this phenomenon.

It is not your fault, and you are not stupid or weak. You are simply someone who has fought too hard and too long.

It’s time to halt this never-ending cycle of hurt now. It’s time for you.