Mental Health Blogs

After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship

When I left my ex, my life didn’t change immediately. I obsessed over him and our marriage. I imagined conversations we might have the next time we met. I woke to his voice only to find he was not in the house. My heart raced around the time he would normally return home from work.

I was gone, but I hadn’t left him. My old routines remained. I continued to fear doing something wrong that he would discover. I cleaned the house, bought his favorite foods, and budgeted the money he sent me for four despite having only three of us in the house (our kids and me). When he called, I was afraid not to answer. When he emailed, I emailed right back hoping I met his time schedule for responding.

I continued to behave as if he would come home any second. I lived in chaos, attempting to attend to an abusive husband who no longer lived in our home.

Living Without My Abuser

About 6 weeks after we split, I began to notice how much time I spent waiting on his next move. I wrote a blog called Wasted Time, and decided that I would no longer put off doing what I needed to do just in case he decided to contact me.

This was not easy, and it didn’t happen overnight. I retrained myself to wait before answering or returning his calls and emails. I retrained myself to recognize and cut his words out of my inner vocabulary. I retrained myself to react calmly to his insults and manipulations by distancing myself from him emotionally and mentally.

The hardest part about retraining myself to not react to his antics was realizing just how many of his “antics” I’d adopted as my own.

Take for example his look of disgust when he saw the laundry basket sitting at the foot of the bed, clean clothes folded but not put away. I forced myself to leave a laundry basket on the bed for a full week. I lived out of that laundry basket pretty much. At the end of the week, the sky hadn’t fallen and no one was seriously injured. I started to feel better about ignoring housework to focus on other, more important issues (like how to support myself after the divorce).

From Retraining to Real Change

Deciding how to support myself was scary! I didn’t have clue one as to where to begin. I didn’t want to work my life away as someone’s employee, but bit by bit, I began to realize that being an employee temporarily was probably the quickest way to an income. I didn’t know how to become an employee! Truly – I didn’t.

I found out about a class at the Small Business Association and took it. I learned that I had skills and how to document them on a resume. I learned how to look for suitable work, and I followed the advice from the class. I got a job doing something I loved to do, and took it despite its drawbacks.

Abuser’s Influence Recedes

During this time I kept him out of my plans. I didn’t tell him what I was doing. I didn’t share my thoughts or plans with him. I viewed him as our children’s father, someone who shared their lives with me, but he was no longer invited to peer into the rest of my life.

I desperately missed having someone with whom to share my hopes and fears, but I knew that sharing with my ex would only end in him twisting my words into a knife to thrust into my back. I started calling my sister more often. I went out with my son’s friend’s mother. I met a man and we had lunch. In short, I broke my isolation and forced myself to find other outlets for my needs.

About 6 or 7 months after we’d separated, my ex showed up at my house at 10pm one night. He looked sad, but wouldn’t say why he was there. He wanted to come inside. I had detached myself enough to know that allowing him inside was the worst thing I could do. I told him that I had company, that it wasn’t a good time to visit.

He left and peeled out of my driveway in a flash.

Success

I felt good. I really did! I took a look around: I had a job, I had a house. I had enough income to feed myself, our boys, and my cats. I had friends and family who checked in on me and whom I called just for fun. I wasn’t all the way healed, but I was a lot closer to it than I could have imagined half a year ago.

You can be happier, too. Be patient with yourself, but don’t look back to your abuser for comfort. When you find yourself second-guessing your decision to leave, think about the crap you used to tolerate and ask yourself if you want your abuser’s manipulative behaviors back in your life.

It’s normal to want to retreat, but it’s also normal to overcome abuse. You can do it.

This entry was posted in Detachment, Leaving Abuse, Reach Out, Recognizing Abuse, Setting Boundaries, Stopping Verbal Abuse and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship

  1. Lara says:

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your brave journey. I also want to add how this is an excellent example of how we are our best “saviors”. We understand better than anyone ever could what happened, how it made us feel and, with some soul searching, the best ways to (using your word) retrain ourselves into a healthier state. Here is a link from my blog with similar experiences of my own that I shared – http://www.theloveinhereyes.com/2012/02/02/a-no-closure-situation/

  2. Yes, Kellie. You hit the nail on the head – sbsolutely consistent with the control the abuser continues to wield in our lives until long after his possessions have left the house.

    Even after so many years, I can still lie awake at night imagining what cruel things my abuser might find to say to me if I ever ran into him. Terrible how much of our lives we let them claim. Reclaiming our lives is not easy but it is invaluable, a true victory.

    You conveyed this reality beautifully.

    Cindy

  3. Kelly says:

    Kellie, I’m almost a year out and I seem to have regressed. I think it was the arrival of NEW WOMAN that sent me backward. How could he meet someone just weeks after the divorce was final that could follow all the rules and meet his needs? I can’t help but think, maybe it was me? I still do many of the things you describe, and I find my anxiety is out of control sometimes. I do have a therapist and just found a support group. I’m hoping this has just been a minor setback and I’ll be back on the road to recovery soon.

  4. Kellie Holly says:

    Kelly, think back to the beginning of your relationship with him. Wasn’t it grand? You loved him, he loved you…perfect match (or perfect enough to overlook the red flags).

    The new woman is being sucked into his world. He couldn’t begin the relationship by overt abuse and expect her to stay, could he?

    Soon enough she will undergo the traumas you did. If she’s fortunate enough to see and honor the red flags, perhaps she won’t stick around.

    I look at it this way – if my ex truly changes, then he will apologize to me no matter how long we’ve been apart. I say that because apologizing to someone you’ve hurt is natural IF YOU ADMIT YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. Until he admits he did wrong, there will be no apology and therefore no change.

    His new woman is not your concern. She is not better than you and will not fare better in the relationship. You did not make your husband abuse you, Kelly. He did not magically change because a new woman stepped into his life.

    Detach from what he is doing…his personal life is not your concern. Keep going to therapy and your support group. Refocus your recovery on yourself. You will find relief soon.

  5. Kelly says:

    Thank you Kellie, I’m doing much better!

  6. Trci64 says:

    Hi Kellie thanks for your blogs I keep re-reading them. I have never lived with him but I spent 12 – 18 hrs a day with him for 7 years. I sacked him and every day he comes to my house I dont talk to him and he leaves notes and food at my door. I changed my numbers in 3 weeks he has my new one. I find it very difficult to keep the no contact going. After 2 or 3 weeks he stops me on the way to work and I talk to him because I dont want to be mean or turns up at 1 am when Im feeling week and takes me to macdonalds for a burger. Then I talk to him for a day or two because I cant find a reason not to talk to him he acts controlling or abuses my friends I sack him again. We have no reason to talk, no kids. How did you keep the boundaries you set. How do you get some one to leave you alone without the police. How do you stop feeling sorry for them when you dont hate them?

  7. Anon says:

    The “laundry basket” and fear, retraining yourself to not think of abuser reaction/ his thinking- I can relate. I would also like to write a full blog of my experience one day. It’s amazing how much influence and how integrated the abuser is in our thoughts and actions even after it’s over. I was married to a narcissistic + other personality disorder type and I was the “good” person who stayed until he walked out on me cos he couldn’t deal with me fighting to keep my identity. I was married for only 3 years but the symptoms of abuse remain even now two years on from separation. I am retraining back to my former self.

  8. Aurora T. says:

    Kellie, thank you so much for sharing yourself and your story.

    I am just getting out of a relationship that was abusive in practically every way: verbally, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, financially, and eventually physically. (I wish the physical abuse had started first, then I would have left within the earliest stages of the relationship. I had some twisted idea in my mind that if he ever hurt me physically, that would be the last straw — which is actually stupid because in my case, the physical abuse was the least severe and the easiest to heal from.)

    What really resonated with me was when you said he randomly appeared at your doorstep at 10pm looking sad, and you were recovered enough to tell him to leave. Every time I tried to get out of the relationship, I never got far enough to reach that point where I could tell myself he is just acting pitiful but once I let him back in it’s all going to be the same as before.

    This time, which I KNOW is the final time, I still made that same mistake… he really looked so sad, he sobbed in public which made me think things must be terrible, because he would never do that. So I caved… and I set boundaries (e.g. be gone by a certain date; no touching me; no taking money from me; etc.) which worked for the first day or two… and then things slowly started to head back towards the usual. I became really unhappy and knew I had to get him out… I just couldn’t think of HOW… But I am very glad he is as terrible as he is — I found out yet another of his recent terrible deeds and that was it, I told him to come and get his stuff and leave, and never come back.

    And I have resisted contact… I did cave once or twice but each time reminds me how stupid it is because it just ends up another battle, so I think I am doing OK. I’m really, really tired, though… and it does hurt…

    Well, I’m only about 2-3 weeks into this whole leaving thing, and even then it’s been so vague because of the times I tried to give him one-off help but ended up getting entangled again. But I’m very clear with myself on what I want (i.e. to leave and never go back) and I think I am learning to head in that direction and make less wrong turns.

    This post has really given me hope. Thank you so, so much.

  9. Mildred C says:

    I have finally left my abuser, but is it safe? he now spend nights down stairs at my landlord house. were the landlords portuguese sometimes stay there to but just recently I found out that Joe has feelings for me, I told him that I kicked my abuser out the house and locked the door and for six days I’ve been free.. so i’m thinking about talking Joe who I have known since over 15 years. but if that is going to put me in a dangerous situation then i’ll leave well alone and just wait until its safe to date when ever that is..

    thanks for reading and responding to my message, please if u don’t mind leave me a message and help me figure out what I should do. I want to move on

  10. Kellie Holly says:

    Mildred, I advise that you hold off on starting a new relationship until you’ve healed some from your past one. I am glad that I waited to start a new relationship. More importantly than the amount of TIME it took me were the changes in my feelings toward my ex. Although you’ve known Joe for a long time, you haven’t known him as a lover/boyfriend/whatever. The relationship changes when you go from friends to “special friends”. By the time I entered into a new relationship, I had detached and distanced myself from my ex for the most part. My ex’s nasty texts and emails didn’t hold much effect over my emotions, and I was able to see through his threats and lies.

    My ex didn’t scare me anymore. I could face him in court or run into him at the store without panicking.

    By the time I started dating Max, I was able to recognize when my emotions came from my past experience with my abuser versus “normal” relationship emotions. I mean, I could separate Max from my ex – Max wasn’t intent on hurting me like my ex was, and it’s important that I was able to talk to Max about our relationship without accusing him of doing things my ex did. I’m not sure that makes sense…

    Relationships, especially confusing ones with abusive people, leave imprints on our minds that come out in our emotions and behaviors. I am glad that I was able to recognize those “imprints” as separate from my relationship with Max.

    The one person who determines when it’s “safe” to date is you. You must be honest with yourself first. Is dating or a relationship worth the complications it would add to your already complicated recovery?

  11. Kellie Holly says:

    Mildred, I advise that you hold off on starting a new relationship until you’ve healed some from your past one. I am glad that I waited to start a new relationship. More importantly than the amount of TIME it took me were the changes in my feelings toward my ex. Although you’ve known Joe for a long time, you haven’t known him as a lover/boyfriend/whatever. The relationship changes when you go from friends to “special friends”. By the time I entered into a new relationship, I had detached and distanced myself from my ex for the most part. My ex’s nasty texts and emails didn’t hold much effect over my emotions, and I was able to see through his threats and lies.

    My ex didn’t scare me anymore. I could face him in court or run into him at the store without panicking.

    By the time I started dating Max, I was able to recognize when my emotions came from my past experience with my abuser versus “normal” relationship emotions. I mean, I could separate Max from my ex – Max wasn’t intent on hurting me like my ex was, and it’s important that I was able to talk to Max about our relationship without accusing him of doing things my ex did. I’m not sure that makes sense…

    Relationships, especially confusing ones with abusive people, leave imprints on our minds that come out in our emotions and behaviors. I am glad that I was able to recognize those “imprints” as separate from my relationship with Max.

    The one person who determines when it’s “safe” to date is you. You must be honest with yourself first. Is dating or a relationship worth the complications it would add to your already complicated recovery?

  12. hope4me says:

    Kellie,
    OMG……just discovered your blog today, in searching for information to help my teen daughter cope with emotional issues! In hoping to educate myself and improve communications with her psychiatrist, I began reading personality disorder links. The information offered much insight, gave specific examples of behaviors exhibited by my daughter, and helped to narrow the focus.

    The real OMG moment came when I linked to Verbal Abuse! Everything connected to where we are now! It was as if it was written about me, and my relationship with my husband of 25 years! Examples of verbal abuse were given that I never thought of as verbal abuse, they were dismissed as “kidding” or “oversensitivity” on my part!

    Now realizing that remaining in my marriage “for the sake of the child”, subjected her to living in a dysfunctional environment, which has caused much pain and confusion.
    The course of her life has been negatively altered, leading to the inability to cope, frustration, anger, depression, social withdrawal….medications…..psychiatrist.

    The article, “How Did He Brainwash Me”, at least explains why people like me stay in an abusive relationship. Rather than “beating myself up” over our situation, I’m choosing to feel empowered with knowledge gained. Plan to move forward in discovering how to best help my daughter, myself, and improve our quality of life!

    Thank you for your offering education, support, and hope!

  13. Kellie Holly says:

    Isn’t it funny how looking for help for those we love turns into help for ourselves, too? It is wonderful that you’re empowered to make changes for yourself and ultimately your daughter. I took my son to a psychiatrist and he diagnosed Marc with a major disorder. It didn’t sit right with me – I didn’t want to label my son. Now that we’re both away from my ex, the symptoms the shrink were so certain pointed to “disorder” have disappeared or diminished to almost non-existence. My advice: continue to get the help your daughter needs, but don’t jump to hasty conclusions that could change how she views herself for a very long time (or for life). Mental disorders (or their scary symptoms) can actually be side-effects of abuse. Only you and your daughter will know for sure, so trust your gut.

    Trusting your Self during the coming times will be of utmost importance.

    I am wishing the best for you and your daughter. Move forward on your path with confidence and security knowing that you discovered the truth; remember Abuse will try to tell you otherwise.

    Kellie

  14. Violet says:

    Kellie,

    Your blog is inspiring and it is wonderful to hear a success story such as yours. Good or you. This is where I am at in my relationship. First, it is not physical. Only verbal and emotional. But the names I get called…I can’t grasp how anyone can speak to someone they “love” like that. When we started dating I felt like wow, this is the one. It was like something out of a romance novel. But then he got mean. If I said something he didn’t like, or used a tone that was anything other than passive, he verbally abused me. And then he started embarrassing me in public, yelling at me, walking away from me…treating me like some nobody whom he was disgusted with. Then when I would cry he would laugh and antagonize me. He would curse and yell and throw things in my face. When he is mad, he uses money against me. He calls me horrible names, sometimes even to other people. He drinks and blames me. I am scared to leave. I get panic attacks. I am afraid of being alone at night. What if I get one? Then what? And he apologizes. And when he does, things are good. He is the man I fell for. But no matter what, I can’t forget all that has happened. What if it gets worse? I think about him meeting someone else; what if he is good to her? Does that make her better than me? I know someone else addressed this, but it is a real fear of mine. Am I making him act this way? I don’t know what to believe anymore. He tells me it’s me, then apologizes and says it’s him. I am scared of missing him if I leave. I have an option to move with a relative who lives far, far away, but I am scared to start over somewhere new. But I fear if I stay in this area I will take him back. Advice? Thanks.

  15. Violet says:

    Thank you so much :-)

  16. Sarah says:

    I’m so glad I found this site. For three years I suffered the push and pull of abuse. At first we dated for four months, I broke up with him because he threw a packet of coasters at me in a restaurant.

    The next girl he dated, he ended up pushing to the ground. He felt horrible for doing it, he beat himself up for months. I saw him as this poor person that just needed some kindness and guidance. I saw us as Beauty and the Beast. We dated again for a year and a half. Through that year I kept asking myself “am I being abused?” “I must be just too sensitive” “if I just acted nicer or just listened to him more, he wouldn’t be so mad and I could show him how to be a better person” But it NEVER worked. Finally I told him I felt, that I was being verbally abused. He broke up with me.

    Two months later he “saw the light”. That I helped him be a better person, he told me he loved me and wanted to try again. So we tried again. I never saw the person who said he loved me after that. He was too busy to see me and saw everything I did was something wrong. I called him on it again, and he said “he couldn’t do it anymore”.

    Now I feel addicted to him, addicted to the need to try and fix it again because I tried to fix it for years. But gosh darnit, I have some great friends and family that are keeping me strong. I now check this website every time I feel alone and want to blame myself. Thank you, thank you so much for your writings!

  17. julie says:

    I was curious to find out if there was anybody in this blog that dated someone else after they left their abuser and how did it turn out what was the outcome thank you

  18. Aleksandra says:

    Five days go my mother, my sister and I left our home and the abusive setting that we were in. After multiple affairs and constant threats to leave us and all that emotional, verbal and psychological abuse towards my mom it had to come to him putting his hands on me before we made the decision to leave. For over a year and a half i have been begging my mom to leave him but her deep rooted cultural views on marriage made her stay. I’m glad he put his hands on me on Saturday because otherwise I fear we never would have left. Except now I live in fear because I cannot get the image ou of my head of that final temper tantrum, and the doubts that exists that maybe we overreacte and should have stayed. I start to hyperventilate just thinking about going back to that house, being in a different setting now shows just how wrong the atmosphere was in that house and I would never want to go back. I try to support my mom as much a I can but I know she will hold in her pain so as not to scare us.

    I have gone looking for forums such as this because some moments I feel so alone in my troubles and so damage like life will never feel secure a safe again. I never even thought to put the label abuser to him before until I started doing some research trying to find some help and way to heal. But that’s what he was, he manipulated her and abused her and shot down her self esteem to bits and pieces, told her he would leave her and us and that he wasn’t her husband anymore and could do what he wants. I don’t think he ever thought that we would leave, an I wonder now whether his threats were just threats. It is the scariest decision we ever made and I can only pray from here on out that we just rise up because a he did for our family was push us down.

    Once you get the power and strength to leave dont you ever be tricked into going back, because you will just perpetuate the pain. I have to believe that these feelings and uncertainties will go away and that things will make sense again. No matter how scary and unknown the world seems now .

  19. Nanette says:

    I am in an abusive relationship and I don’t even like saying it bcuz it sounds like an affirmation. We’ve been together over 30 years but things got worse after our twins were born. They are 17 getting close to time for them to leave & I am afraid. I want to leave but I am afraid. I have a job but it is very stressful & doesn’t pay enough for me to remain in such a high cost area. I have an older daughter who lives on the east coast and I have some money…not much in my 401k. I’m afraid of starting over after being in this situation for such a long time. I have no other family I can turn to. I pray that I don’t have to wait for him to die. I already feel that a part of me has died. I want to reinvent myself though and find out who I am outside of this abusive relationship.

  20. Vicky says:

    I was with my boyfriend for 20 months. The verbal abuse began almost immediately and I was shocked. I was always so critical about people that stayed in verbally and physically abusive relationships. Then I saw myself in one. I couldn’t believe it. I was scared. Then things got physical. I didnt know what to do and I fought back. I always did something wrong. If we were out and I was wearing a skirt and moved my legs a certain way, I was flirting. If I looked at a crowd of people I was Interested in someone. If I had guy friends I must have slepped with them. I always tried to explain myself. He always went through my phone. Then This New Year’s Eve he beat me again and infront of my friends. I left him. I lost contact for three months. I was fine until he went out in public with another female to an event that he knew my whole family would be at. First I hated him and then when he called I gave him another opportunity. I don’t know why I just knew I loved him. We agreed we would take things slow. I noticed I always wanted to let him know where I was and how Long I was going to be at a certain place. I wanted to let him know before he asked and got upset. He was nice. He tried to take me out and do fun things and then I found myself not having fun with him. I was always worried about who I was looking at and watching my every move. I tried to go out with my girlfriends. Last night I went out with my sister n law and my gay friend. I got home at 11pm and accused me of being a drunk and always wanting to be out partying. He called me names. He had a girlfriend of hia insult me on instagram and other sites. She called names too. Today I changed my number. Created a new email. Cancelled my Facebook. I plan on starting over alone. I need to be my old self again. I want to be able to go out and not be afraid of anything. I hope he stays away and I hope I’m strong enough to keep him away. This website helped me alot today and I plan on reading the posts to give me the strength to move on and live a healthy life.

  21. Linda says:

    I was married for 35 yrs to an abusive man who I suspect also has borderline personality disorder. I felt like I was living with Freddie Kruger for the last 5 years of our marriage.

    I was so brainwashed and felt so trapped that it was like standing on a train-track everyday, frozen and unable to move when the train (your abuser) is coming right at you.

    I finally went to see a counselor who told me the first thing to do was join a church and become friends with as many in the congregation as possible. Those were the people that finally pulled me off those railroad tracks!

    Its been a year since the divorce, but now my ex is dating someone who was a friend of mine. I feel bad for her; she knows he abused me & our kids so why is she dating him? How can they be so happy? Why doesn’t she know he will brainwash and abuse her too?

    More important, why do I feel jealous that he was so mean to me, yet he is so good to her?

  22. Kellie Holly says:

    Remember two things… One, he was good to you in the beginning, too. Two, you are now an “outsider” and he will not show his true life to you anymore. Soon, she will hide the abuse from you, too. Unfortunately, she will find out soon enough that she’s living with Freddy K.

  23. Lady says:

    I got into a fight with him on Monday night. Up until then, he’d never really raised his voice to me even. We’d been together just one week over a year. I already had doubts about being his partner nearly 2 months prior to the breakup. I had asked him to move out…and told him that I still wanted to see him after he did. We were fighting too much and both of us had said some really unsupportive & demeaning things to each other. I was losing my patience all the time. Many things that he did/said…annoyed me. And I am pretty sure he felt the same level of annoyed.

    He was always negative and that was eating me inside. One day I just stopped wanting to listen to anything he had to say. So I didn’t. And it became wasier & easier to ignore him when he spoke about something he wanted to do…because he never followed through on his promises.

    I stopped trying to have friends or go out bc he always questioned my actions and belittled the people I was trying to get to know.

    He drank every day. Hed talk about quitting……but that would only ever last for a few days. He couldn’t leave the house without having at least 1 beer. Luckily, he’s not a mean drunk. The worst part of his drinking was his procrastination & inability to handle the daily tasks involved in running a home.

    On monday night…we tried to go out for a steak dinner…but the night ended with him punching my head and me running away from him in tears & disbelief.

    I called the police to take a statement bc u see…this isn’t he first time in my life I’ve been thrown around, yelled at & hit. He’s being charged with assault…and I feel very guilty…I don’t want him to get a criminal record. At the same time…I do. Because last time I got beat up by a bf…it was bc I was a junkie loser…living with a junkie loser.

    I’ve been clean for 4 years. A lil more actually. It was so hard for me to even be able to talk to people. I’d isolated myself from family&friends for nearly 2 years bc of drugs. My addiction & my bf were all I knew and all I trusted.

    He was the first bf I’d had since then. And now here I am…just finished my shift at work, at home, alone crying.

    There has to be something “wrong” with me or my personality…bc its happened again. I cant quite explain otherwise why I was hit.

    Counselling? Support groups? I’m willing. But maybe there’s something in me that’s evil. I wonder if its me that’s causing me to get hurt. It probably is. The thing is, people are quick to tell others what they think’s wrong with them but won’t rarely stick by as and support change. I mean cmon….each of us can think of a million other things they’d rather do than try to help someone become their true untarnished selves.

    Right now, I know that I made the right choice. I am having a very hard time alone whwn I come home from work. All sorts of thoughts from self pity to anger to thoughts of falling back into my addiction are crossing my mind. I haven’t been truly alone iin many many years and here I am.

    Writing this. Crying. Sleepless. Anxious.

    Please someone tell me I’m not alone in he way I feel. I am hoping your replies will let me know that I’m not some crazy psycho bitch.

  24. Kellie Holly says:

    It sounds like you are very normal and loving to me, Lady. You set boundaries and had him move out. You realized he never kept promises. You saw that he belittled the people you wanted to know. You recognized his drinking habit as one that interfered with his ability to live life.

    And then that asshole punched you in the head. How could you have seen that coming?! He hit you from out of the blue. There is no reason for any one of us to EVER hit or punch anyone unless our life is in danger. Tell me, were you holding a gun to his head, threatening his life? Oh no, you were NOT. He is the one with the evil inside, not you.

    You can either blame yourself or you can learn from this experience. If/When you run into another person like him, trust your gut sooner. The next time you want someone out of your house, it probably means you want them out of your life. You can do this, Lady. You’re a good, strong person who is learning to create a life of joy. Don’t give up on the learning PROCESS because some jerk, poop-head, control freak decided to punch you in the head.

    And good for you in calling the police. Excellent – and courageous.

  25. Bonnie says:

    Thnx guys u really motivated me i have just left my abusive partner whom i have been dating for 9 yrs. We have a 4 yrs old boy, i even opened a protection order against him am tired of being beating up in front of my boy been called names. I have tolerated this for to long am tired now. Every time i tell his mother she defend him. So am done with him i just can’t do this anymore. Thnx for the motive.

  26. Pen says:

    I was able to escape an abusive relationship last week. Too late I learned that the wonderful person I had previously known in school, who resurfaced years later was not the man I thought he was. He presented to me a caring, compassionate, loving man for the months we dated…no red flags since he had been a great guy when we were friends before…if you’re reading this you understand.
    It was the best relationship I’d ever experienced. Next thing I’m doing something I never thought I’d do: left my house, packed up and moved 300 miles to live with him. The abuse started the first week. From yelling, cursing, disrespecting me, pressuring me to help him
    financially….because of course it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t find a job…then the suicide comments started…and he began abusing my little dog….then he showed me the loaded guns in the house. It was a nightmare!
    He left the house one day, I threw my clothes and my dog in the car. I have no money, no job, no home. Where I have always been able to support myself, I am now in a domestic abuse shelter.
    At night, when everything is quiet, I miss him. A part of me wants to go back. That’s my heart speaking. My head tells me I will not live in an abusive relationship. Besides losing my parents, this is the most difficult situation I’ve ever experienced.

  27. Samantha says:

    Thank you so much for this post and for sharing your stories; it’s really helpful to read about other women’s experience with this situation. I left my abusive partner almost a year ago, and he still thinks I am coming back. He asked me to tell him whether/when we are getting back together, and although the answer is a wholehearted ‘no’, I am afraid of the consequences of telling him this. I really don’t want to set him off, but I do want closure. Any suggestions?

    On a lighter note, I do want to celebrate the anniversary of my leaving – I have been feeling down/sad/depressed about it but I don’t want to give in to those feelings. Any suggestions on how to mark the ocassion? :)

  28. Tata says:

    Thanks guys, i was delighted to learn that there are other people in a similar situation as me.
    I was married for seven years. we met when we were very young and were overly in love or was it just me? i will never tell. He told me he loved me and at least in my own eyes i believed it.
    After a year the first baby came and i started to see that he was harsh towards me. Then a slap started, followed by apologies and chocolates and flowers the following morning. He claimed that i had done something to cause the anger “outburst”. He made me feel i was at fault for his behavior.Then i started to change myself to conform, made sure i did everything the way he liked it. Waited for him at the couch at night because he liked that way, went out of my way to make his favorite meal, gave him money when he asked for it etc. i didn’t want trouble an now i realize that i went too far to avoid it.
    Within no time violence was the order of the day, he yelled at the smallest provocation and his parents didn’t take it as a big issue. after all he had been raised by a very abusive father himself.Then disrespect set in: he started sleeping with the domestic workers and worse on my own bed! He solicited for sex from my small sisters when they came to visit, though my sisters being principled could only tell me about it and decline until they stopped visiting altogether.
    The physical violence was now overshadowed though it intensified and i was more humiliated by his infidelity and his show of disrespect.
    I changed baby minders too often because they became rude after having affairs with him.
    His behavior was like cancer, something new every time. He became lazy, didn’t pay bills, school fees, or even buy food. He lost or quit jobs due to laziness or rudeness and spent time in bed or at the living room seducing the baby minder while i worked my head off.
    He became worse and jealous and i realized i would soon be maimed or dead in the name of “making it work” after i was treated in hospital twice with a back injury he had caused me.I started saving more and prepared my exit plan. but before it was complete i had to leave prematurely because he raped a baby minder who didnt want to cooperate.
    i had had it! I parked up and left and had him thrown in a police cell.Father of my kids, yes, but i didnt care. To me he is the sadist who didnt deserve my pity any more.
    Its now 10 months and i feel so at peace after alot of counselling.
    He still shows up at my door with “the familiar” flowers and chocolates but though i dont hold any more bitterness now,my heart shut and the key is lost!
    If i quit, anyone can. Do not try too hard, it destroys your esteem. it really does. He is the abuser, he is the problem, not you , i have few friends so far and am still looking for a support group to cope. could anyone out there recommend any?

  29. Amber says:

    I was in an abusive relationship 2 months ago that devastated my life. I was until now in college doing decent and getting better and adjusted to the life being away from family. I have always had low self-esteem about myself and found it hard to find positive things about myself. I had always been “overweight” and “fat”. I was into online dating because I was shy and normally stayed in my room or dorm to study. I met him online, and soon we met in person. He seemed nice and he seemed to like me. I wasn’t use to this so eventually I just wanted to be with him. I didn’t realize at the time how abusive he was, but after being in a good relationship I understand how unhealthy the relationship was. I remember him calling me when he got drunk and insulting me and my sister calling us fat, telling me I was this way because I ****ing ate too much. Everything was sexual with him and there was never a day I remember spending with him that he didn’t belittle my family and the female race. He said countless times that women can be fat, that no one would want me if I was fat. When he would make me cry he would say it was because I know it was true. He would tell me about all the other women he was with and how they had good bodies. I wanted to be his girlfriend but he didn’t want to be mine until I weighed 95 pounds because it makes him look bad if he’s with “fat” women. There were so many times I helped him out with projects and after he got a DUI I drove him around, but no matter what I was never good enough to be more than a friend. We didn’t do much outside his house, but when we did he always told me to put make up on and nice cloths. This was after I lost 20 pounds. He also got me into drinking as well. I was doing pretty well in school but after I met him it went downhill. I always try to do the best I could, but still seemed to fail. He would use that against me when he got drunk and mad at me. I would tell him not to call me a name and he would turn around and call me it. He was so controlling to he was with other women all the time, but he couldn’t get a hold of me for the night and flipped accusing me being with other guys and telling me to f off. After a drunken night of hell I decided to move back home to get my life back together, but now I’m having all this anger toward him. I’m so hurt and angry that someone could say such horrible things to someone. He belittled me and made me feel like the only thing I had going for me was my boobs and pretty face. It hurts knowing I put up with that, and the anger and sadness is so bad. I’m not sure what to do to get over the pain.

  30. valvenian says:

    I was with a man for 14 years and I had been abuse by him and did not know it .he beat me,control me and also my two oldest kids that was not his.im mother of eight I have six kids with him ,I left him 18 months ago and im still in pain behind it.by grace of god I was able to support my eight kids and him ,he never held a job long even when he did we was last he was first and whatever he gave me he took it back but im in so much peace ,im literally happy but im scared and alone hes still threatened me n I got police involved n it seem everyone is a far from me instead of callin sayin how u doing family know whats going no support at all this is hard for me and the 14 years was like walking eggshells it was horrible but were do I go now not to many friends

  31. Marvin Kellyman says:

    I have a friend that just got out of a very abusive and controlling relationship. I have noticed that she has picked up alot of his abusive ways. She is in her healing process now. However, I don’t believe she is practising the right method necessary for a healthy recovery. Nevertheless, I believe God will help her to be completely healed as long as she continues to try.

  32. Cheryl Arthen says:

    I am not a blogger but found this site in my attempt to gain clarity. I am up at 1:30 in the morning because my bf of three yrs decided to psychoanalyze me and tell me how disconnected and warped I am, via a 5 pg text message he sent me late tonite. I work and have children to manage every morning. The text is just a small example of his manipulation.

    On a positive note, I wanted to reply to Samantha: How about making a really cute purple heart out of any material you might like (ie cardboard, fabric, jewelry beads–anything). Wearing a purple heart to me would symbolize the courage you have and continue to have everyday you dont give in. It is truly hard.

    I have not officially left my bf. I have to though. He sends me to a very dark place with his verbal abuse. As I have read many of the posts here I realized that my experience doesnt involve beatings or children abuse–so I am grateful on the one hand. But because it is more subtle it is more pervasive and powerful. I begin thinking something is desperately wrong with me. I second guess myself. I had image issues before meeting him and now its so bad I dont even like leaving the house anymore. I am not myself and in an effort not to become comletely swalloped up I have to break off our relationship.

    I have been unsuccessful in the past and i am not sure how to do this in the most healthiest way. He is unemployed now and having financial challenges. No matter what I do I will be tagged as the insensitive detached bitch who just kicked him to the curb when he was already down, as he calls it. He really doesnt see the pain he causes me. When I hurt him, I feel every bit of his pain-but he says I am the detached one.

    If anyone can offer practical ideas on how to stay away, I would appreciate it.

  33. Anon says:

    Dear Tata,
    Reading your post I was overcome by how strong and courageous you are first for putting up with so much and second for leaving him and trying to get counselling to get your life and self back.
    Your story inspires me at a time when I am second guessing myself although I know deep in my heart what I need to do. I feel sorry for him for my son, I feel that I still live him now that we are apart but I know that he wont take responsibility for any of the things he has done and is not ready for change. I am going to start counselling soon to get the help that I need.
    Thank you for sharing and I am sure you will find a support group to help you through.
    Praying for all those women who need the courage to leave

  34. Kelley says:

    Wow! I so needed this today! I too dealt with a verbally and emotionally abusive husband. For 13 years I walked on eggshells worried something would set him off or go wrong. It was always something…the laundry wasn’t done, or the house was always a mess (according to him-he never pitched in to help one bit, not even with the yard and we BOTH work full time), the kids weren’t dressed right, it was my fault their room was a mess, the cooking wasn’t up to his standards, grocery shopping wasn’t either, etc. I could never measure up and we were all a reflection on him. If we didn’t look perfect while out, he would put us down, including the boys. I could see it in their faces. So what if they had kool aid stains on their mouth….they’re kids! It was a constant struggle to please him and I was always drained. We did have good times. He focuses on that now – he is desperately trying to get me to come back, crying, promising to change, wanting to go to counseling, etc. I do miss the good times and feel guilty for being happy without him while he is in so much pain without me. I am lonely when the kids are with him and its hard at night when the sun goes down, and when I crawl in the bed we shared for 13 years and have to sleep alone. That is how I came upon this post this morning. I really needed this. Thank you so very much!

  35. EALC says:

    My husband first abused me – first guy I moved in with I must have been smitten! We were together 8 years and married for 1.5 years. After I had my daughter he wrote me a letter which I ignored as I knew it wasn’t right I was being blamed for not listening to him but yet he never listened to me. He was the bad father, headworker and liar. He still pretends to want to see his daughter he took me through the courts for access. Even CAFCASS believed his lies. He threatened both myself and HIS daughter. CAFCASS don’t believe it because the way he said it can be taken different ways and if they were there they would have known. Unfortunately CAFCASS do not seem to have the interests of my child at heart they just say it is my feelings getting in the way. I don’t care what he did to me as I can get away it’s what he did to his own daughter who cant get away that disgusts me!
    Anyway, two and 1/2 years later back at my parents who take over (my mum always stuck by and agreed with my ex he had her where he wanted her and still speaks to her through me)I met someone who I thought was nice and helpful and saw a pattern of behaviour that gave big red warning signs after 5 1/2 months. This was a guy whose family live close by, whom I knew of from school, they are well liked or appear to be. Everywhere I went his brother was around/following me, he persuaded me to tell him things, leave things at his house (not that I left anything important there thank goodness), he cried about being lonely, had sob stories about his brothers girlfriend, she even gave me a funny look when I first met her, he bullied me into continuing with the relationship, had a temper, made mountains out of molehills. Told a friend (who I thought was), I was with her when I met him, she thought he was lovely, then she started telling me how my parents are controlling etc and I digested this and now think I could do with out her. Trouble is I told her quite a bit about it, she says she will never have this experience and that I shouldn’t avoid where he will be and its just another failed relationship! That really disgusts me how she has no idea. Know I’m worried she will go on her own and tell him everything. I’m not too keen on going know she treated me like that to be honest!I would rather be with friends and socialise with people who make me feel good about myself but it is hard.

  36. EALC says:

    Just struggling to get over the anger from this 2nd guy especially as my parents don’t believe me and think that I am at fault if I think every guy is abusive. That makes me f**ing angry!

  37. lena says:

    I’ve left for a year living with my mother right now, but I find I still have a lot of racing thoughts, day and night. I never had this before I was with him, but being with him four years, it started and now even after i left, it still continues. It affects me so much. i feel sad and break down crying for no reason. My ex still tries to insult and break me down if he runs into me and his words just cut into me so much.

  38. Brigette says:

    Ah, thank you for this. I just got out of an abusive relationship and googled “how to get over abusive relationships” to deal with all the anger and trauma I feel, and this came right up. We weren’t married but I can definitely relate to the manipulation tactics. When I came to the bit that said “I desperately missed having someone with whom to share my hopes and fears, but I knew that sharing with my ex would only end in him twisting my words into a knife to thrust into my back”, I re-read it at least 3 times to really make it sink in because loneliness is the main reason I kept taking my ex back. And each time, he would pull the same old crap, and I’d regret getting back in touch. Anyway thank you so much.

  39. Becky says:

    I was 18, and a senior in high school. He was 20, and worked at a law firm. We dated for awhile and I just knew he was the one. I moved in with him after a couple years.. After 4 years of being together, and thinking everything was fine, we decide to move out of state, to his parents house. His parents did not live there, but it was still in use. It was fun at first, but I grew depressed because I knew no one there. Only his sister and her family still lived in town.
    After a couple months I became pregnant. I think at the time I thought it would settle him down, and force him to find a good job, and become responsible.
    Around this time is when things started happening. He would become mad if he didn’t have any clean work clothes. I only had a working washing machine, and had to air dry everything. He would get upset if I didn’t have something made for him for lunch, and was on me about cleaning the whole house. I remember wanting to move back home because I was depressed, and not knowing what to do. We finally got married when our son was 4 months old.
    After a couple years, and a couple jobs, I got pregnant again. We made the decision to move back to my home state, so I could be closer to my mom and dad. He got a job offer. We move back, and our 2nd son is born 3 weeks later. All this time, he is going on about my not cleaning enough, his clothes not clean on time or clean enough, about my not cooking good meals. After a year his birth mother contacts him (he was adopted), he loses his job, and his car is stolen.
    This next bit had been going on, but it increases.. I need to squeeze harder when he’s inside me, I need to learn to “deep throat” better because his ex-girlfriend was so good at it, that I’m no fun in bed, that he’s thinking I don’t find him attractive because I’m not attacking him. He claims he knows that other women are going after their husbands constantly. He also says he knows other women that would love to be with him. Then he says there other women out there that work more, harder and do a much better job than I do on housework. And he still goes on about his clothes, his food, and so on. I really truly begin to think he’s right. That I am what’s wrong. That I am not good at anything. I try harder and it’s still not working.
    So I begin to ask my friends, and mom about certain things. I ask if this is normal, if their guys get mad about things. Their answers are no. And it’s nearly everyday. I try to “attack” him more, I try new recipes, I try cleaning more. Eventually I tell my mom. She’s upset, and says maybe it’s verbal abuse. She says she’s seen how he acts… We live with my mom and brother because it was the only way to afford living where we do.
    She begins to help me. We try to keep the house in order, I try a different birth control to see if that changes my hormones so I’ll want him more, we try to cook more so he’ll eat, she helps with laundry..
    He used to slap/tap the back of my boys heads, and ask what was wrong with them. They’d get upset. I told him to stop, and left for a couple days with the boys. He stopped…
    Well… we’ve lived here now for 5 years. So, one night he brings home a puppy that he found. When it looks like he plans on keeping it, I tell him I don’t want it, he blows up. Says I’m a stone cold bitch… We keep the dog. I take care of it.
    Then school is over, and everyone gets sick. My oldest is sick for a month. My husband is getting angrier, and says the boys wouldn’t be sick if the house was cleaner.
    One night I tell him something about a meeting I had for food assistance, and it makes him mad. He slams things, and throws an egg into sink, and leaves. When he comes back, he says he left because he felt like slapping me. Because I kept him from hanging out with his boys. Now all of his complaining is about not seeing the boys enough because of work. He wants the boys to stay up so he can see them, but wants them up early before he goes to work.. I suggest counseling for the hundredth time, and he agrees.
    A couple days after our argument, he hears our boys hitting each other. He grabs the older one, spanks him a couple times. He pulls him aside, and is going on about not hitting. Then he punches my oldest in the upper arm. And says “how do you like it?” My oldest cries about everything, so he cried. I didn’t know how hard it was, but I saw it. I say “that’s enough” and take him to his room. The next day there’s a bruise. I tell my son that dad should not have done that.
    These two things happened before our first counseling session. There was no mention about it at the first meeting. So, a week before our 2nd one, I call the counselor and tell him about the physical things. He says I need to call CPS, and the police. I don’t want to, but I do. The police come, talk to boys. They think it’s a disciplinary problem. The detective calls the next morning, and talks to my husband. He asks “what’s going?” I tell my husband what I did. He says “I hate you. Bitch. Slut. Whore. Go suck on a ****”. He left for work. He came back to get clothes, and the dog. But he stayed away that night.
    He says he can no longer trust me. He does not want to continue marriage counseling. He is pursuing his counseling for the adoption issues he has. He goes from hating me, and saying I betrayed him and broke our marriage vows to being sorry how he treated me.
    I was walking on eggshells. I would clean everything: the apartment, his clothes, our room. He’d come home and see that I forgot to get more eggs, and he’d blow up. I believe everything he said to me. I believe that I’m stupid, that I don’t clean enough, that I’m not good at anything, that the boys got sick because of me. I don’t know how this happened. We have been together nearly 14 years. We have been parents for 9 years. Were my boys abused? They would ask me “why is dad always mad at you”. Was I abused?

  40. Jessica Ann says:

    Well every day since I lived with him then I would say everyday, I wanted to leave him because he terrorist destroying girlfriend’s relationship with their family because he likes to have control of what his girlfriend does, so he will beat her with out caring about them. He punched me in the stomach one day because he was mad that I was late from church one day. He has beat up on every woman, he has been with, he has beat on animals before,he has put all of his woman down with his words and that sad to me. He is a Narcissist and he needs help too, I wanted to leave him, but I could not leave him because he threatened to kill hiself, if I left him and he would of made me watch him kill hi self and I should of done that so every women’s pain can go away without him here, sorry. His name is Buddy K Harris that lives in Woodward, Oklahoma and he works for the City Of Woodward, so be careful and stay away from him too. He threatened to get me in trouble and he said if you get me in trouble then I would punch myself in the fave so I can blame you and you would go to jail too.Well you know since, I took to my boyfriend to court I feel like I am free from the abuse and live my life with happiness. You know you living with a man that calls you are no good hooker that sleeps around then it does not make you feel good. Then you are secretly get beat in behind closed doors does it make no better. He is secretly talking to your cousin telling her that he would break up with me to be with my cousin and he never said he wanted to break with him. I secretly wanted nothing to do with him after the six days I was living with him because he was drunk one night and made a dent by the door by my face and he threw stuff at me. Now, he has restraining order on him for a year. I told the judge that his little girls saw him hit me in the stomach and they saw the bruises their dad gave me the next day. He got in my face, I kicked him, pushed him and I told him to get of my face, but he wouldn’t do it Then he came after cornered me between the bed and hit me in the arms too. He corned me in closets.

  41. Mike says:

    Well said. It took a long time to recognize where I was for a couple of reasons.

    #1- I am a man and even though I am familiar with cycles of rage and then calm, I didn’t see it in my wife for the longest time.

    #2 She doesn’t fit all the criteria. Until the very end right before I had already planned an escape and she kicked me and threw/stomped on/kicked my clothes down the stairs after I said no to her about something, I didn’t see all the signs or downplayed them. I kept thinking I could love them away if I didn’t fight back.

    I think it important to say this falls within a continuum of behavior.

    That said I now realize that:
    * I moved 500 miles away from the bulk of my support system to a place where she has more local support than I do,
    * She regularly told me I was the entire reason the relationship had problems,
    * I was told on a regular basis I was inconsistent with our child (which used to confuse me since I have been really consistent with my behavior)
    * I was a failure
    * I have lived with a large income disparity and was increasingly financially stressed which made it harder to contemplate leaving
    * Became increasingly scared about what she might do if I did leave
    * Was ashamed because I allowed her to verbally abuse my child at times (like my wife buying our child so many toys she couldn’t fit them in the bedroom then calling our child a spoiled brat)
    * Allowing my wife to yell at me in front of our child which was really upsetting to the child more than me.
    * She refused to go to marriage counseling.

    And this was enough.

    I am writing this because it feels liberating to write it out in public and so anyone who may not think their situation is dire enough to be really abusive and/or is a man can understand if your life is feeling shut down and you are feeling afraid of your partner, that can be enough. You don’t have to wait until it gets really horrible. A month before I got kicked I said no for the first time and my wife tried to rip something out the wall in my office. Violent behavior is violent behavior and once it starts, it will NEVER stop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>