How Strong Women End Up In Abusive Marriages

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2024 | Family Law

You’re the epitome of confidence outside your home, and people always tell you how much they admire your strength – and that makes bearing the secret abuse you’re experiencing at home somehow even harder. 

Despite the popular notion that only “weak” women get abused, the reality is that strong – even formidable – women can end up feeling trapped in an abusive marriage. In fact, studies indicate that certain abusive personality types, particularly narcissists, are heavily attracted to strong women because they see breaking them down and getting them under their thumbs as a personal challenge

It’s important to remember that the path to abuse is rarely direct

Abuse is something that usually escalates over time, and only after the psychological warfare has destroyed the victim’s self-esteem. Abusers often start by “love bombing” their victims with tons of charm, affection and attention. They only start criticizing and attempting to control their victims once the emotional bonds they’ve created are strong enough to keep their victims from walking out right away. 

Plus, never underestimate the power that gaslighting has on anybody. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that can have even the strongest person second-guessing their own identity, decisions, self-worth and memories. That can lead the victim – particularly if they are already in tune with social judgments that get levied against powerful women – to accept the abuser’s narrative that they are the ones creating problems in the marriage.

It can be very difficult for strong women to leave their abusers 

The narcissists and sociopaths that abuse their strong wives are great at keeping up the facade of being a “great guy” in public – and they often use social prejudices against successful women to portray their spouses as “harpies” or “emasculators,” knowing that can put some emotional heavy pressure on their wives to outwardly conform.

In addition, women who are successful in their professional lives are often very sensitive to the idea that they may seem weak and vulnerable if word that they’re actually the victims of abuse ever gets out into the public. They may feel an increased sense of vulnerability that makes them worry for their professional futures if they’re suddenly seen as victims. That makes the decision to leave their abuser increasingly complex.

If you’re in an abusive marriage, help is available

If you’re in an abusive marriage and you want to get out, there’s no shame in seeking assistance. It took a long time for your abuser to wear you down, and it may take a long time to build yourself back up. Experienced legal guidance is always going to make the path forward easier and clearer.

At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.


Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner