Do most victims of domestic violence suffer from low self-esteem?
In some cases, women who come from homes where women are held in subordinate positions come to expect that from the men they become involved with. In that sense, they end up victims through self-reinforcing experiences.
Many experts now discredit that view as a way of blaming the victim, a pattern that prevailed in the thinking of police and even judges until comparatively recently. Low self-esteem does not cause victims to become involved in abusive relationships. On the other hand, some victims of domestic violence may develop low self-esteem as a result of being abused, since the abuser frequently degrades, humiliates, and criticizes the victim.
What has been called learned helplessness may come into play: a self-defeating pattern wherein random violence induces a kind of passivity.