About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

I am Kellie Jo Holly, and I participated in the cycle of verbal abuseKellie Jo Holly with my soon to be ex-husband for almost 18 years. I retain the relationship with him because we have two sons together who are now teens. Leaving the marriage did not end the abuse. Stopping verbal abuse has more to do with my reaction to it than convincing him to stop!
I spent years trying to anticipate and thereby control his moods (especially his angry moods) with no success. Even though my intentions were good, the outcome was very bad.

Verbal Abuse and How I Lost Myself

During the course of my marriage, I let go of myself and my own reality in the effort to understand his way of looking at things, his perception of the world, his reactions to events. With so much concentration on him, is it any wonder how I ceased being myself? Under extreme pressure to control my environment (him), I let my own soul fall by the wayside.

Now, a short time from leaving the relationship as it was, I struggle to separate my own identity from the person I came to be while living in the battleground of our marriage. Some days are easier than others, but I see dramatic progress in my ability to detach from and accept the role I played in our abusive cycle; I am healing, and I want to share that journey with you.

The Point of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

This entry was posted in About Kellie, Healing After Abuse, verbal abuse videos, Verbal Abuse Vlog and Audio and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

  1. dee says:

    Wow! You just described my last relationship…I read 6 0r 7 books on verbal abuse that couldn’t even do that. Except one, read it by myself and then a second time along with my therapist. The second I made notes in it and highlighted so I would remember when we discussed the book ( I even bought her a copy). It is called “The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing” by Beverly Engel.

  2. Angela says:

    wow–been there, done that. and i can completely relate to what you say about having “lost yourself” out of trying to somehow “become” him–after all, he’s never mad at himself (or so it would appear). and the abuse doesn’t end with the relationship, it’s ongoing. which is why i put as much distance as possible (physical and otherwise) between me and the idiot. not so easy when we still have a 9-year-old child together, but somewhat easier since i’ve been awarded sole legal custody (meaning i don’t need his approval to make decisions for our son).

  3. Mary says:

    This support is so comforting to me. It helps to know I am not alone. I relate to so many of your blogs and your insights. Thank you for your courage to help.
    Being married to a narcissist verbal/emotional abuser who goes from a good mood to enragement without warning, your experience and sincerity is exactly what I need to survive and try to stay intact. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. blondie says:

    Hi, I’m so glad I found your blog! It has helped me feel less so alone since I finally left. It’s the first blogpost I look for in my favorite feeds everyday. I thought maybe you had quit posting for, since the RSS feed hadn’t updated since April 29th, but I clicked on the title and it brought me here, where I saw new posts, and so much great archived info. Thanks for doing this Kellie!

  5. Kellie Holly says:

    Thank you for finding me, blondie! I am happy to do anything I can.

  6. Pingback: Leaving An Abusive Relationship | Radio Show Blog

  7. Like many of the others, I am also happy to have found this blog. I was married 18 years ago, and have been separated for over one year. During that one year, my true self has been emerging. I have stopped hating myself that I cannot be the image that he has created for me. I used to think there was something wrong with the way I was, but through supportive friends, have found out that I should revel in my uniqueness and not despise it. My children are slowly starting to respect me more, as they learn not to despise me for who I am. It is a long process, but will get better with time. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your journey.

  8. Kellie Jo,
    Thank you for sharing. I have been trying to share my struggle with a best friend who also lives with a verbal abuser. She’s not so helpful.I’m pretty discouraged right now. I’ve been enduring verbal abuse my whole married life,36 years.
    i don’t know what to do next. I sent you a request for a phone call but i had to go out of town for a few days and my email has gone a bit wild! I haven’t gotten
    any current, so no idea if you tried to contact me. Love to hear from u!!!!

  9. Kellie Holly says:

    Cindy, I briefly knew a woman whose husband beat her. I’m afraid we weren’t much help to one another either. At the time, I considered her “abused”, but not me. I had no idea how to help her other than be a shoulder to cry on, and cry WE did! That’s about it. We cried together. Our friendship ended when her husband found out she was spending time at my house. He whisked her away from me. In hindsight, I don’t know if we could have helped one another or not because we were not educated on abuse and had no idea what to do. Also, it is no fun to have a friend who only cries with you, so our relationship may have ended naturally anyway.

    I got your email – I’ll be in touch!

  10. Ginger Bychoice says:

    Just want to say thank-you. I am reading this site and just shaking my head. How does an intelligent, confident, outgoing person end up in this? I have been beating myself with that question for the last 11 months. I am finding answers and validation. My relationship was only for a year and a half, but the damage that was caused is HUGE! I managed to get to a women’s shelter and have started on the road to healing. I am blessed to have supportive friends who have helped. Again, thank you for this site and telling it like it is, and validation that it happens. I lost a home, a job and my son through this process, however, my son is back and a home and job will work themselves out in time. The most important thing right now is healing and moving forward.

  11. Kellie Holly says:

    Ginger, you’re asking the wrong question. Abuse can grab up anyone, anytime. It starts so small, then grows so strong BY DESIGN. Do you think that your abuser could have fooled you if he started off acting like he did near the end of your relationship? Heck no. They move slowly, stealthily, sneakily until you are hooked into them one way or another – then they turn.

    There is a great book that answers your question more in depth called “Women Who Love Psychopaths” by Sandra Brown M.A. (Site at or purchase it from Ms. Brown looks at the traits that draw us to abusers (and they’re not what you think!). As you heal, work on letting go of the self blame, Ginger. It will not serve you well, and it could point you toward another disastrous relationship. I don’t want that for you, and I know you don’t want it either!

    Resume your confident, outgoing personality and remember that through it all, you WERE and ARE intelligent. <3

  12. C says:

    Kelly – I found your site because although I have been abused by my ex husband for several years and have known it, I’ve never really noticed how much he continuously abuses. The last year that we were married, it was at it’s climax and got to the point where he was continuously being physically abusive as well as verbally, especially since he began to be unfaithful. Catching him in the act gave me the courage to leave but I still consistently put up with his verbal abuse because we have two children together. How do you do it?

    Currently, he is with the woman that he was cheating on me with and insists that I bring her into our co-parenting relationship and I will not yield to his (or her) wishes. He sees the children every other weekend with limited time in between and blames his strained relationship with the children on me, stating that I’m the reason that they don’t respect him and his girlfriend when they are with him. Whenever I try to communicate with him about things, big or small, I try to be as cordial and polite as possible but he always manages to end conversations with me in hostility. He spews out all of his nonsense and then hangs up and leaves me feeling defenseless. I’m just so tired of feeling like I have to explain myself to him, that I have to defend myself against him, and worrying that everytime we talk that he’s going to just bring me down.

    Because dealing with your ex husband is something that you are going to have to do because of your children together, I want to know how you do it. How do you combat his attacks? My life is affected by all of the stuff that my ex husband says. I feel like it strains my relationship with my husband, my children, and it distorts my perception of myself. I, too, feel as though I am completely lost. I don’t even know where to start. Do you have an suggestions? I just want to heal and feel good about myself again.

  13. Kellie Holly says:

    C, you hang up first. As soon as he starts, hang up the phone. Better yet, text him and tell him you will no longer speak to him on the phone. Tell him to communicate through either text or email. Let his calls go to voicemail. Be forewarned, this will really tick him off. He relies on his verbal attacks to get what he wants from you. Verbal abusers can’t control the conversation if they cannot talk to you.

    Send him emails about concerns for the children, schedules, or anything else. Expect his responses to be nasty, especially at first, if he is a true idiot. If he is smart, he’ll realize that all electronic communication can be introduced as evidence for things like restraining orders and custody hearings, and your communications should become less drama filled.

    He will always blame you for every problem … you are his enemy because you got away and decided to make decisions for “HIS” kids without him. He has not changed. You made the right choice in leaving him. Now you must sever the cord between the two of you. Yes, you have children together and he will always be on the periphery of your life, but he no longer has the right to live in your head. Being polite doesn’t work. Being rude doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because he is setting the “rules of engagement” and gets to change them at will. Set some boundaries for yourself. Protect yourself from him in every way you can.

    The feeling that you must explain yourself to him is a common one. I mean, you spent so long trying to get him to understand you that “explaining yourself” is second nature. This habit may have rolled over into other relationships, too. Don’t worry, the habit will disappear if you consistently remind yourself that it is no longer his (or anyone else’s) business WHY you do anything. He is no longer entitled to the inner workings of your mind. He blew it. You are entitled to make your own decisions; it is his job to deal with them.

    I wrote a post tonight dedicated to you at It doesn’t address your comment specifically, but I hope you find some value in it. Hang in there, C. It gets easier in time.

  14. Sherley says:

    Hi kellie,

    Found you on pinterest and haven’t stopped reading your blog. It’s like I have woken up after a long long hibernation. Everything in my life seems so good, good job, wonderful 2 kids. But stil there is something amiss. Me and my husband don’t get along so well all along till now I felt I am not what he expected after marraige and somehow it’s not his fault for the ugly spats we have. Last 10 yrs I have been reacting to everything and now I am tired. Nothing I ever do can make things better. If only I could change myself we could be happy, is what used to go on in my head. After I read your blogs I actually went back to one of the draft email I had in my email box. These are things I had put in the list over the years which I thought if I changed things could get better.
    1. Do not raise voice and talk
    2. Do not get irritated and talk
    3. Do not get angry
    4. Do not disagree in public
    5. Do not make fun in public
    6. Do not chew food with open mouth
    7. Do not talk when mouth is full of food
    8. Avoid BO or bad breath
    9. Do not tell any work, do as much as possible yourself
    10. if you get angry or irritated, calmly tell cannot talk right now and walk away
    11. When in a group, be a courteous host and do things for yourself last
    12. Keep things in house at designated places. Avoid too much clutter

    But thank you for everything you are doing, I am so relieved to know its not me, I am not sure what my next steps are, my case is not as extreme to the ones I read here, I am hoping I can salvage something out of it. But for now I don’t want to think about all that. I am just relived when I say, hi I am a verbally abused wife and now I know it.

    Once again thank you for all the good work which has helped me and thousands others.


  15. C says:

    You made me cry! My name is Casi (pronounced Cassie) by the way. I’m not haughty when I say that I’m proud that I’m a strong person (I think that anyone who survives these things is superhuman) and I have a pretty good head on my shoulders, but in those moments I felt like the lowest and weakest person in the world. Trust me, when I sobbed to my husband about how my ex husband was treating me, I was mad at myself for even letting mt ex make me feel that way and to give him the notion of his control and ultimately his satisfaction. I’m a debater by nature. I don’t know how to simply hang up but the more I read of your blog, the more inclined I am to seek outside opinions and all of the words I read and hear remind me that I can do this. Sometimes, however, isolation sneeks up on you. I didn’t know I was even doing it until now. I’m blessed to have been led in the path of finding this site.

    Thank you so much for wanting to help others. God has blessed you with a heart of compassion and the ability to help others in such an amazing way. I know I’m not the only one who has said this or thinks this about your blog but you (and anyone who comments on here with words of encouragement or who shares their stories) allows for healing on so many levels. As someone equally interested in Psychology and counseling and pursuing post-secondary education pertaining to it, I know how truly beneficial it is to become educated and find people who will support you and remind you of the truth. I suppose being the person in the “mess” makes it a little harder to see the roads I need to take in order to navigate through all of the chaos. Thank you for reminding me of that…because I definitely needed it.

  16. Kellie Holly says:

    Dear Sherley, thank you for sharing your list. To have earned a spot on the list, I imagine that “something bad” happened that caused you to want to remember “your” transgression. It feels so liberating to know that it’s not you! There is a sense of calm after figuring it out, and I hope you enjoy the bit of peace. Learn to recognize the types of verbal abuse so when you hear them you do not spend one second considering if they’re true or not. Patricia Evans writes wonderful books on the subject of verbal abuse. Because you mentioned salvaging your relationship, I recommend you read “The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?” as soon as possible. That book will point you in the right direction.

    Sherley, please don’t compare experiences with others and judge yours “not as bad”. All abuse causes the victim to doubt themselves, become weakened versions of who they were (at least for awhile) and suffer feelings of depression, anxiety, and all kinds of horrible thoughts. Underneath it all, our experiences are the same in more ways than they’re different. Don’t ever punish yourself because you “don’t have it as bad” as someone else. It’s ALL bad.

  17. Old Junior High Friend says:

    Sorry to read about your struggles. I remember the kittens on Shelbourne. Best regards. I wish you well.

  18. Susie says:

    It was like I was reading about my life. I try to pre set up life so that nothing will set him off. We have been married 9 years. Anything that ever goes wrong is always my fault. I have been told everything from I’m the worst mistake he has ever made to he wish I was someone else’s problem. Then the next day he will be fine like nothing happened. He has refused going to therapy. We do have children. I just shut down every time b/c if I cry I will get cussed out. Am I right to finally understand that although I do have my issues, people still don’t deserve to be treated like this…

  19. Melody says:

    Hi Kellie,
    My name is Melody and i was in a brief verbally abusive relationship when i was younger. (4 years) i have found your blog and information very helpful. I am writing a fiction book about an abusive relationship geared for young adults and was wondering if i could cite your blog or website for information. Just let me know and thank you for your blog. Reading through it, i see how paralleled my own experience was. i had no idea that what i went through was as intense as it really was until i started doing research. i have come to see how things that i do or say or how my life is now, years later, are a result of my own experience with an abusive relationship. your blog and info has been therapeutic for me. Thank you,

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your story in this blog. My wife got involved in a very emotionally abusive affair which we are both recovering from (slowly). I still can’t believe she got caught up in a situation like this, and allowed herself to do things she would never do under normal circumstances.

  21. l. says:

    I need some help. I have no family/friends and am very ill. I can’t leave and need to. No social worker will help me, the womans shelter only says “Call the Police” and wont house me as I am sick so no shelter for me and I’m stuck where I live. I want to leave the state. 20yr relationship, very codependent, very good looking and smart, in wheelchair now, most of my organs are not functioningwell, no money or car left. still love him, fighting 24 hours a day for 3 yrs, can lose my vision if continues, no help here from community, not even church, people don’t want involvement in, need someone to talk to, to help me, guide me, 3 years of daily hell, please talk to me and help. I just feel like dying everyday. I am scared.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I think this K Holly person has lost a sense of healthy self.

  23. Jan says:

    I’m a student in high school researching about the cultural and social norms affecting wife battering. I’ve gone through your website and I can’t imagine the hardship you’ve been through. You’re an amazing women, having gone through all that abuse and yet still having the strength to share your story and insight. Thank you for that! I was just wondering if you could possibly help me out with my research assignment and complete a survey relating to cultural and social norms affecting wife battering?

    -Thank you!

  24. Grace says:

    Hi Kellie. I was excited to see your blog. I went looking in continued preparation of a support group I will begin next month for abused & battered women. I was married for 31 years. It wasn’t until I left & began counseling that I was aware that I had lived all those years in verbal abuse. I left the evening he tried to take my life. I am not one to stay around for the physical abuse. I have an awesome testimony to share. I left on that Friday & filed for divorce on Monday. That has been 18 months ago. I immediately placed myself in counseling. Getting your self esteem back I believe is the greatest hurdle. I have been so blessed to have awesome women in my life the last 18 months to encourage & support me as I have walked through this. I want others to know that verbal abuse is real and it is so crippling and damaging to ones self esteem. It also leads to physical violence. I would never have believed that had I not experienced it first hand. But I always said a man would only get one time to put his hands on me that way but never would he have that opportunity again. I walked and I haven’t looked back! I hope to maybe get to speak one on one with you at some time. I believe it would be beneficial to the path of ministry I am going. I too don’t mind speaking out and letting others know that you do not have to remain that there is a way out. There are people who care like us!!!

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