In abusive relationships, the devil you know seems better than the devil you don’t. We go back and forth over leaving our abusive mate, wobbling between fear of them and fear of the unknown. It’s a tricky balancing act, especially when our partner seems to know just when to put on their nice mask. The sweet phases of an abusive relationship add to the confusion and indecision about just what kind of devil we know.

What kind of devil can be so sweet one minute and so nasty the next? And why can they act kind for long stretches and then turn back into monsters over meaningless situations or words? Why do they hurt us? Why do we stay? Will this relationship hurt the children? Can this relationship last? Should I stay to see if it gets better? Should I run and not look back?

Unfortunately, I am incapable of giving you those answers. And honestly, the longer you take contemplating what those answers could be, the longer you’ll be stuck with the devil you know. Keep reading »

So many people beat themselves up over the question “Why can’t I just leave?” You want the easy answer? You aren’t ready to leave yet.

You

  • haven’t been convinced that the abuse warrants you leaving, or
  • you lack financial resources, or
  • you’re in business with your abuser, or
  • the kids are too small, or
  • the kids are almost out of school, or
  • the abuser needs you, or
  • fill in your reason here.

Notice I said fill in your reason here. These are not excuses. The reasons you stay may sound like excuses to someone else, but don’t let anyone belittle your decision to stay. I really want to end that sentence with “to stay for now” but truth is that you may never leave. You could be 70 years old and wondering how your spouse is managing to exceed life expectancy, them being so miserable and nasty and all (lots of people are doing this right now).

I want you to be okay with choosing to stay, because making decisions is empowering. Staying is a choice you can make. Keep reading »

Last year, I did a top ten list of the most viewed Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog posts, so I thought I’d do something different this time. The posts on this list earned the largest percentage of comments per times viewed. If you missed them, perhaps you want to add your two cents. Readers tell me all the time they get as much from the comments as they get from the post, so share your experience so we can ALL benefit!

Many of these posts do not have many comments, but don’t let that deter you. This post isn’t about the largest number of comments. It is about the most comments per times viewed, or the most engagement from readers based on number of views.

Happy New Year and may 2014 be the beginning of something GREAT in your life! Keep reading »

Over all, coming out of my abusive marriage has been a wonderful, empowering experience. However, not everything in my recovery from domestic abuse has gone as planned. Some things have been downright crappy and this year, crappy is beginning to outweigh happy. Thank goodness the year is almost over so I can reset the scale.

I know this is the season for cheer, angels and reindeer and magic. But God help me, I think you have a right to know that the initial high of being out of abuse dissolves in time. After the abuse is over, there are some broken pieces that must be picked up and repaired or tossed in the trash. (read: Denial Was My Biggest Mistake After Leaving Abuse)

For the purposes of this blog post, the italicized him is that loathsome entity who wished to erase my soul. You know, the Abuse Demon, the presence that kills independent thinking. Okay, let’s not be overly dramatic. He, him, and all other italicized words refer to my ex abuser. Keep reading »

I tried to write this post earlier today, but evidently there were some comments and stories I needed to read first. Stories from addicts, ministers and other abuse survivors reminded me of how much I used to fight my abuser. I fought with my ex-husband so often that I accepted some isolation to spare myself the embarrassment of fighting in front of his friends. At the end, I think every one of the people my ex hung out with knew that I couldn’t stand to look at him. (read: 5 Ways of Dealing With Verbally Abusive Relationships)

No wonder they believed his stories that I was miserable and unstable. I couldn’t open my mouth without something negative about my ex sliding out. My feelings for him surrounded me like a prickly heat and they made me seem like someone I was not. Ugly. Hateful. Mean. My feelings for my ex made it easy for his friends to feel sorry for him, give him a place to stay, and believe his side of whatever story he told. Keep reading »

Boy oh boy. Have I ever made some mistakes after leaving my abusive husband. I know that from a distance it looks like I’ve got my stuff together. I mean, I write this blog and give tips on how to heal from abuse and have a really good grip on the dynamics of abuse.

You would think I’d be off making new kinds of mistakes, having new kinds of adventures. Ha! Double ha! Oh no – now I’m really laughing at myself…hold on a second while I remember what I was talking about… Keep reading »

A domestic abuse survivor writes:

I was in an trapped in abusive relationship for 9 years, been out of it for 4 years, and I have remarried. I’ve come to the realization that I feel residual effects of abuse on my ability to make friends. Isolation was part of the abuse. I notice this problem more when my husband wants to go out with friends …[and] I get very jealous of his sense of independence. I see it as something I still don’t have. It puts a strain on my marriage because of the jealousy that comes about. Keep reading »

I miss sharing my personal life with you all. HealthyPlace gives me a fantastic opportunity to educate about verbal abuse and domestic violence, but because I no longer suffer under those oppressions, I find it difficult to “go there” on this blog.

During my recovery from domestic violence and abuse, there have been many ups and downs. Life can be quite confusing when you use your OWN inner compass instead of relying on someone else to tell you what to do! So, in this post, I’d like to share some of the revelations and problems I’ve encountered since leaving my abusive husband. Keep reading »

Some abusers honestly want to change. I don’t know how rare those types of abusers are, and there’s no way to know if your partner wants to change by listening to what they say because it is so easy to lie. Proof of change is in their consistent ACTION and BEHAVIOR.

Abusers want you to pay attention to their words, not their actions, because their words can be so sweet and convincing (causing you to stay) or so hateful and mean (causing you to doubt your perceptions and abilities). Diverting your attention to what they say over what they do keeps you under their control – that is how verbal abuse works and why it is so effective. Keep reading »

Is The Abuse In My Head?

So often, people ask me the question “is this abuse just in my head or is there a problem with my marriage?” Sure, sometimes things are just in our heads. Psychotic minds “see” bugs climbing out of walls where there are none (at least, no bugs that we non-psychotics can see), and the experience is as real to them as NOT seeing bugs is to us.

I suppose you could be imagining problems where there are none; you could be imagining abuse. But if you have no psychosis and, for example, do not see bugs climbing out of the walls, and outside of your relationship your judgments seem pretty sane, then I really doubt you are imagining the abuse. Keep reading »