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About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog

Kellie Holly was in an 18 year verbally abusive marriage. Her verbal abuse blog, Verbal Abuse in Relationships, details her experiences and what she learned.

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

Kellie Jo HollyDuring 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 her website at Verbal Abuse JournalsGoogle+, Facebook PageTwitter and Amazon Authors.

Author: kholly

Kellie Jo Holly advocates for domestic violence and abuse awareness through her writing. You can find Kellie Jo on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

44 thoughts on “About Kellie Holly, Author of Verbal Abuse in Relationships Blog”

  1. I’ve been told for over 4 years now when my husband gets upset because we are not on the same page that he’s done with us, and or to get out of HIS house. You don’t know how many times I got a real estate agent and went looking for a place of my own. On May 3rd it happened again only this time I signed paperwork on my own house. So when I told him he asked me when I was filing for divorce. He later told me that I needed to make my mind up what I am going to do because he is tired of this lifestyle. I am so used to him being the victim, never taking responsibility for his actions or behavoir. I believe that I need to move forward with my plan and go for it. This is never ever going to change. Now we are doing the dance again of playing nice like nothing ever happened. I am mentally and physically being destroyed. He takes care of all of our financial and handyman projects but this is not a healthy lifestyle. Please help me stay to my plan to move out in June. Having peace and learning who I am once again is more vital than anything else! Thank you♡♡

  2. Kellie Jo, I am learning a lot about this from your blog so thanks for providing this. I have a dear friend whom I think is in an abusive [non-physical] relationship. She won’t open up about it because she doesn’t want to “smear” him. And, by all outward standards, he is a fine, upstanding man. But, I do know he is very controlling, demeaning, and xxxx. Their family is very involved in their church and her father is a Methodist minister, so there is the very strong conviction there that the marriage vows should not be broken. She is also hanging onto the marriage for the sake of not disrupting their two teenage children [1 boy/1 girl]. I have been telling her that the vows are already broken; and that she is teaching her children the wrong lesson by staying in the marriage. I know that this has to be one’s own decision and that the severity of the abuse is a great variable, but what would you say to someone in that situation?? Hope to hear from you soon.

  3. Hi Kelly, just a follow up to my previous post in January. I built up a head of steam to finally confront my Mrs about an issue involving my family. It didn’t go well at all. At first she looked at me like I was crazy, like she couldn’t believe what I was saying but when I held my ground it escalated – it went from solicitors, to kicking me out. When I showed a willingness to leave she dragged our 7 year old into it, shouting ‘take him with you’. This obviously upset him greatly and I backed down about leaving. She kept at it wanting me to change my mind about the issue involving my family but I wouldn’t. She then threatened to stab herself with a kitchen knife. I stayed calm. Then she wanted to talk to my sister (who she blames for a lot of things) and she came over even though I warned her about the knife. Long story short – my wife and sister butted heads and my sister called her bluff ‘If you want to hurt yourself go ahead’ and she did. She cut her wrist several times and we had to restrain her. The Police and Ambulance came etc. After the hospital she again went back to the issue and threatened to do it again if I followed through. In the end I backed down and promised I wouldn’t. This caused a lot of problems with my family although I think they mostly understand I am being blackmailed. My wife went to a counsellor as part of her healing but I was disappointed to hear that he said my wife was fine, that she was obviously under a lot of pressure and maybe she should seek the advice of a solicitor!! I couldn’t believe this. I went from feeling relief that the Police and Ambulance came and finally I wasn’t alone and would get help to My God what was it all for. The Police were gone and the Counsellor saw no problems and now I was back to square one. I went to a group called AMEN but they are more about the legal side of things and are not counsellors. I have decided that I will stick it out for my son. There is no way I am leaving him with her as his sole influence and reference point. I made contact with a newly set up counselling service in my job and hope to have an appointment any day now. The hope is I can get advice on how to cope. I could see a day, when my son is older and able to understand better that I (maybe even we) will leave but that is probably only a dream.

  4. Kellie Jo, I wanted to thank you for writing this blog. They have been so helpful to me, more helpful than the books I’ve read because they are more relatable and thus easier for me to understand. I got out of an abusive relationship 3 years ago and have been in a good one for 2, but have been struggling so much with anxiety, distrust, depression, the works. I saw a therapist but that only helped me with immediate anxiety issues. I was put on Lexapro for anxiety and also given a bottle of tranquilizers for “really bad days”. I thought I was going crazy and was beginning to believe that I am simply bad person with bad personality traits, but after reading all of your articles I now realize that trauma triggers and PTSD are the problem. Now that I can identify what is wrong, I know how to get better and move on.

    Thanks again so much!

    1. Thank you for that, JC. Sometimes, the meds help me get over a hump, but I find that if I don’t do “the work” then I don’t get better. But to do “the work” I have to know what the problem is. Not knowing what “the problem” was kept me in my marriage for 17+ years. After I read something that made sense, I was able to move through it. I’ve learned that I am rarely “the problem” – circumstances are. I try to not blame others or myself because that keeps me tired and distressed, unable to move through.

      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

  5. This is the second time I’ve had to type this out as my computer crashed, so I may not sound as desperate/raw in the re-type, but believe me I am.*

    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.

  6. How do I get through to my daughter a help her to see she married a narcissist, that has emotionally compromised her, and has her believing he is smarter, and that it is her duty to stand by him no matter what he does. (She is currently be held on 4 charges of child porn because of him (he emailed her pics), he is also be held on over 20 charges of making distributing etc. of child porn). They are allowing them to communicate, via letters. His parents, both her lawyers, and anyone else you talk to says he is going away for a long time, he has her thinking he may get out’
    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…

    1. There isn’t much you can do. Communicate with her attorneys if you can – go in person. I’ve not heard of battered woman syndrome used to defend against child pornography charges, but that’s what attorneys get paid to do – figure out a defense.

  7. Thanks Kelly for a fantastic blog. Came across it while looking for info to help my spouse who I thought may have a problem, i.e. bi-polar. Thought if I could just understand maybe I could help her. Somewhere along the line and reading your blog made a light bulb go off and I realised I was in an abusive relationship and it was me that needed the help. That there was probably nothing I could do to help or change her. It was such a relief to know I wasn’t crazy and this wasn’t normal in a healthy relationship. I loved the blog about the cycle through honeymoon, tension building. Amazing. I had only being trying to explain to her how confused I was about her outbreaks when they appeared to come from no-where. Now I know that it’s not really based on just having a bad day, but occurs when she feels she is losing control. I have spoken to family and friends as you advised in your talk about being Isolated. I will now go see some group that help men in abusive relationships and see how that goes but already I am feeling much more positive and strong. Thank you very much for an amazing blog with info that just resonates so much with me.

    1. John, I am so glad my experience reached through to you. I hope you do find a group that lets you join them – those can be tough for men to find. If you can’t find a group, don’t let that disillusion you. Call the NDVH when you need to do so (or a hotline in your state if you prefer). Consider attending individual therapy to help you remain clear as to what’s happening and receive guidance as to how you can deal with the abuse while you’re still living in it.

      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/

  8. Hi Kellie,
    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.

  9. Hi kellie

    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

    1. Jenn, your comment is familiar to one I spoke to on my blog the other day.

      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.

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