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There are four stages many battered individuals go through before leaving. Some go back and forth from stage to stage. An individual cannot be pushed from one stage on to the next. They will, through their own experience, move on to each stage as they are ready.

Denial: The Abused...
  • Does not admit there is a problem.
  • Will excuse the abuser's violent behavior.
  • Believes that each violent incident will be the last and it will not happen again.
Guilt: The Abused...
  • Begins to acknowledge there is a problem but believes they are responsible.
  • Believes they deserve to be beaten.
  • Thinks if they had done this or hadn't done that, the abuser would not have hit them.
  • Believes something is wrong with them.
  • Works on changing her/himself, not the abuser or the relationship.
Enlightenment: The Abused...
  • No longer assumes responsibility for the violence.
  • Realizes no one deserves to be beaten.
  • Is still committed to the relationship - believes if she/he stays they can work things out and the violence will end.
Responsibility: The Abused...
  • Accepts that the abuser will not change.
  • Accepts that violence will not stop.
  • Decides not to put up with the abuse.
  • Leaves the relationship to start a new life.
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