How To Not Pick An Abuser Over And Over Again

Picking The Wrong One

The story we hear often. The girl who has finally made a break away from the abusive chaotic man, only to have fallen in love with his twin brother. The question is what causes a woman to find another abuser, and another, and another.

Some say it’s what she knows. Her childhood was abusive and chaotic. Her dad was unpredictable, her Mom complacent and shut down. She might have been passed around.

That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes these women have not grown up in abusive addictive environments. Then what’s the draw?

The draw is the first abusive relationship. Even if the first one was with a teacher, a sibling, a boyfriend or husband.

The first thing I will say is that when we are harmed, say a slap in the face, its not just the slap that causes the harm. It is the element of surprise. That being the case, times of calm because frightening. The body has learned that experiencing calm and feelings of saftey is a dangerous place to be, because calm is where the shock of abuse occurs. Therefore being with someone who is volatile feels almost safer than with a man who is always kind and caring.

Another aspect to this is that when we are in relationship with someone, and when we are close to them, our body produces a chemical dump in response to that relationship. When we move near the one we love, our body responds by dumping hormones into our body — driven by the brain. Research shows that the juices dumped into the body for bonding are significantly stronger in an abusive relationship that in a safe healthy relationship. That means the sparks are much stronger with a dangerous man if you’ve been abused before, than with a good solid man. If you’ve been abused and bonded with an abuser, teach yourself to RUN when you feel the strong sparks. Then teach yourself to slowly bond with a good kind man. The healthy relationship takes time. Take the time. Love that is deep is amazing. The sparks will come, they just won’t be there the first minute you meet him. Or the first couple months, either.

Picking the wrong one is what you’re use to. Fight what you’re use to. True love simmers slow. Life is short. Don’t waste your precious short life on the roller coaster.

In conclusion, bullies are triggered by weakness. The more someone is harmed, the weaker a person presents in relationship. Work to tap back into your compassionate strong self. A bully looks for someone he can push around. Try out the word ‘no’ on your first encounter. Try it out again and again. How ‘no’ is tolerated is telling. Make sure you have a strong group of friends who are truth tellers. Most of the time, abusers are sniffed out by strong types right away. Listen when a friend cautions you.

Change is possible. You can do this. A gentle safe life awaits you.

By; Lisa Boyl-Davis, LICSW


First posted on Medium on a Publication called Better Marriage 


  1. A man is attracted to one type of woman. Certain men choose weak, vulnerable, abused women that they can abuse. It’s very sad. Women can empower themselves by getting counseling if they’ve been abused and then gain strength and confidence, etc. This will attract them to a different type of man.


  2. Good info Lisa! Are you familar with Sandra L Brown’s book How to avoid a dangerous man before getting involved? Also her book Women who love Phychopaths I think Every young women should read the first one. After my second marriage I beat the info into my head for over a year repeat repeat repeat.


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