There are many reasons people stay in abusive relationships and a terrific blog listing all of these reasons, with a special section on women is written here at Psych Central by Dr. Toby Goldsmith.
Smart women make bad choices in partners most often when their family of origin included a father whose behavior wasn’t predictable and included an abusive element. This sounds like this may be at least partially why you would be drawn to someone who is abusive and difficult to leave. While I don’t want to make it sound formulaic or simple by any means, there is an unconscious attraction to what is familiar. The root of the word ‘Family’ and ‘familiar’ both come from the Latin ‘familia’. This is important because our family of origin — good or bad, is what we know. Even though we may technically know what is right and wrong, the more reptilian part of our brain believes if we stay with what is familiar we’ll be okay. This can be true even when we “know” better.
The way to make the break is through support. I’d check this resource to find the most helpful programs near you. To make the break you need people who understand, have compassion for your situation, and know-how to help you break the cycle. Until you can make this connection here are five tips from Your Tango Experts to help you get ready to leave.