About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog
I am Kellie Jo Holly, and I participated in the cycle of verbal abuse 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
Jo, K. (2011, January 18). About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/01/about-kellie-holly
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
I hope you are well!
I have previously had two experiences with coersive control and I am writing my own research into the prevention and recovery of domestic abuse.
The thing is, I am able to find a number of blog articles such as your own but very little in the way of evidence backed research.
Firstly, please could I quote your article to back up my experience which was that the begining of an abusive relationship begins like a fairytale?
Secondly, as someone else who is clearly interested in the subject, might you be able to point me in the direction of some useful research?
Thank you for your time and have a lovely day!
I finally realized I'm in a abusive relationship but still hard to believe it because I've been manipulated over many years of, "I'm sorry, won't happens again, things will be different". I am still scared, can't sleep, hear his voice in my head and scared to leave the house I'm staying with family. It does still come to my mind that I'm the wrong one and doing things wrong and should go back to make everything better. But I don't know if I should do that. He wants to meet to speak to me and ask for forgiveness but I am a lol nervous and don't want to be brainwash again. It's a horrific feeling. What should I do? Should I stay away until I seek help?
Thanks again so much!
I truly appreciate your comment. In answering it, I realized that I'm flatlining right now because I've blamed myself for something I couldn't control. Life truly works in a cycle, doesn't it? In reading your thank you to me, I find that you're the one to thank. <3
I really need help on this one as I am isolated, severely depressed & physically ill.
I have a chronic medical condition that has become a disability over the years. I have never been able to work full time or continue studying. I say this so you know I am financially & physically in bad shape.
I'm in my late twenties now, and have always struggled with depression & agoraphobia on & off my whole life as a result of invalidating & emotionally abusive family.
As well as that the agoraphobia was created from being sick in the bed & house often. I have become so used to staying inside, as well as finding it overwhelming & physically draining to get out & about alone.
I have issues with my immune system, and extreme fatigue. I get sick all the time.
Through study when had better health, I made friends here & there, but never been able to keep up with them & never had a lot of people in my life. In the last five years my family has completely cut me out of their life, and always washed their hands of any responsibility towards me.
When I became physically ill, even with infection, they are the invalidating type to pretend I'm being dramatic. That's how that always has been, so I can't rely on them. It also leaves me feeling insecure, because I've never had the family safety net.
I met a man who seemed to be a huge help to me, I didn't doubt him as I met him during an "up" streak for me (I didn't look pathetic!), some relief in physical symptoms I was studying part time & started making friends. People consider me intelligent & attractive, many don't realize how much I struggle.
Going back to study was a good idea at first, but soon became taxing on my body, and I had aimed for too much too soon. I ended up bed bound & reliant on my partner as my carer.
At first I thought he was the most sweet & patient man, but as time went on he started taking advantage of my isolation when we fought. Even though sometimes he may have good reason to be angry, I know he is under a lot of pressure- he always goes too far, being disrespectful, humiliating, loud & smashes things. He does not hit me, but sometimes he self-harms.
Sometimes he is just being crazy, other times I have said/done things that would make anyone mad/under pressure as I'm also very sensitive & emotional--however what I kept trying to tell him is nothing justify the extent of his reaction. He will apologize, but it means nothing as the behavior doesn't change.
The worse "loophole" when I've tried to get help for us at councilors both together or him alone, is that I AM depressed, and needy sometimes.
He points at the burden I am as an excuse, and is very adept at having people understand where he is coming from. They still tell him breaking things is inappropriate, but mostly they feel sorry for him or even demonize me. It's so hard as he can be very controlled, whereas I'm very honest & emotional so it can make me look like the mess of the two. I do get mad & frustrated at the constant disrespect & onslaught of bad treatment. This came out in therapy as I was so relived to be able to tell the truth without an explosion. However I could never do that at home without him yelling, cutting himself or twisting the conversation to make him into a victim somehow.
I did not know he self harmed or even had an angry side until I was debilitated again and relying solely on him as the only person to bother in my life as one thing having a chronic illness teaches you is it's very hard to keep friends if you can't come out to play & they have to visit you.
I often want to leave, but I both can't & won't because I physically rely on him to get out & about. Whenever I think of leaving I wonder "who will help me cook?" "who will take me to the doctor?" "who will hold me when am all alone?" as I'm often stuck in bed & have no friends or family to call.
It's essentially a huge choice between stuck in my bed, house & illness (mental & physical) or tolerate being yelled at, things broken and mood swings. Even though he is terrible, from experience trying to care for myself alone has been all consuming & overwhelming. So staying with him has been the better of two horrible life paths.
It's easy for people on crisis lines, or who don't know me well to say I need to leave, but then when I ask about my options, they don't really give me anything feasible. I feel so trapped & miserable.
We both know if I were healthy I would leave, sadly & with hope of staying friends in time, but I would have to leave as he is far too disrespectful & taxing on my energy that is already drained.
I just don't know what to do & just think my self into anxious circles. I just feel so lonely & helpless. It's truly embarrassing that my life ended up where I'm in a spot where I feel like my only help is this man. It's sad in every way.
She thinks she was a spoiled wife,
He cheated, then convinced her to have an open relationship.
He pressured her into having two abortions, by telling her he would leave, she had to choose.
She gave him most of her pay checks and he would send her to the store almost every night, to get him dinner (mostly steak and shrimp) and then give her a hard time for using the credit card to buy it. This is off the top of my head, and I am praying for some way to help her...
There's a website that you may find useful. Here's one page from it: https://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/10-lies-men-tell-themselves-in-order-to-stay-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-with-their-wives-or-girlfriends/
I first started learning about verbal abuse from you in 2012. I read Patricia Evans' excellent book "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" more than once. It was so helpful!I am so glad to have found Healthyplace.com and to see you are still committed to your goal of helping others understand verbal abuse.
You said that some women will choose not to leave. Well, that is me. I have worked on it with my husband. He has changed a little, I believe mainly because I set boundaries, but he likes to think there is nothing wrong in the way he relates to me. He wants to be free to be "himself".
It's hard to be in a marriage like this, but I have my own interests and activities, and my self-worth comes from God, my creator. I draw strength from Him daily. And I keep my boundaries in place. My greatest regret is that my son has seen this behavior modeled by his father his whole life. He is 34. He doesn't seem to act like his father, thank God.
I recently went to FL to see my nephew get married. For a whole week, there was no verbal abuse of any kind in my life. How refreshing! But I came home and my husband did it without even realizing it, just being "himself". I refuse to let it shape me anymore.
Keep up your good work, Kellie, and be assured it it valuable.
The past couple months where very tough in my house with an outside stress that did not release my husband was in a bad place. He blamed me for the whole ordeal called me names and raged at me .there where so many ups and downs he never apologies even when I approach him I could be met with anger or he doesn't want to talk about it finally after two months was able to talk to him and he realizes he was wrong but won't get help . I think this has been ongoing in our relationship but this opened my eyes . Now he is acting normal but I don't trust him. He has raged at me in the past and has said hurtful things then we go long periods with nothing . Is that normal? Is that still abuse? I find I forget alot of things from the past but I do remember feeling sad and wanting to leave . Is it normal to forget that stuff and just remember feeling sad. I'm at a cross roads as wether to stay or leave . I have to children 9 and 13 . It's not always bad . Did you find long periods where things were so called normal in your relationship? If he was always his bad self my answer would be so clear but he isn't and that confuses me because he does have good qualities . Any advice appreciated kellie . You are dry inspiring and things that you say connect with me
He realizes it is wrong, but he won't get help. That is a sign that the abuse will continue.
There are sometimes long periods between abusive episodes. Over time, those "honeymoons" get shorter and the abuse gets worse.
Many people DO have very long periods of "quiet time." The problem is that the quiet time is only for the abuser. YOU are just waiting for the next abusive episode to come along. This walking on eggshells and waiting creates anxiety and depression.
I think it would be great for you to talk to your family doctor about depression and anxiety. And although difficult, open up to the doctor about the abuse in your marriage. You never know when you'll need documentation that you sought help for abuse. PLUS, the doctor will be able to better understand your health needs if s/he knows you're living with abuse.
I also think it would be a good idea for you to see a therapist on your own. I don't think there is anything "wrong" with you! Therapy offers an environment for healing and seeing things clearly. (No marriage counseling! It won't work with an abusive partner.)
Before all of that, call the NDVH (http://thehotline.org). The volunteers are very good about getting to the heart of the matter and can tell you where to find local DV organizations.
Your doubt that this is abuse is natural, too. No one wants to believe it. No one wants to say it out loud. But you have to, as you said, open your eyes to it. Once you accept abuse is there, it is much easier to decide what to do about it.
<3 Be careful.
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?
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/12/coparenting-with-an-abuser/. 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.
There is a great book that answers your question more in depth called "Women Who Love Psychopaths" by Sandra Brown M.A. (Site at http://www.womenwholovepsychopaths.com/ or purchase it from Amazon.com). 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
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!!!!
I got your email - I'll be in touch!
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.