Psychology of the Battered Woman Syndrome

Psychology of the Battered Woman Syndrome

FOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL STAGES OF THE BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME

DENIAL

The woman refuses to admit–even to herself–that she has been beaten or that there is a “problem” in her marriage. She may call each incident an “accident”. She offers excuses for her husband’s violence and each time firmly believes it will never happen again.

GUILT

She now acknowledges there is a problem, but considers herself responsible for it. She “deserves” to be beaten, she feels, because she has defects in her character and is not living up to her husband’s expectations.

ENLIGHTENMENT

The woman no longer assumes responsibility for her husband’s abusive treatment, recognizing that no one “deserves” to be beaten. She is still committed to her marriage, though, and stays with her husband, hoping they can work things out.

RESPONSIBILITY

Accepting the fact that her husband will not, or can not, stop his violent behavior, the battered woman decides she will no longer submit to it and starts a new life.