Battered Woman Syndrome: Is the Battering Necessary?

March 13, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Lawyers use Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) to explain a battered woman's behavior to a jury who does not understand why she "didn't just leave". After all, we all have the freedom to choose our own adventure in life, don't we? Why does an abused woman stay with a violent partner?

BWS could be called a subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder. This means, in part, that if you are abused, you may or may not show or feel all of the signs of PTSD, but you probably show other mentalities and behaviors in addition to many symptoms of PTSD. Most of the studies I've been reading compile data from women who are physically abused, but they also list verbal abuse as a precursor to physical violence - it's almost impossible to imagine that physical violence does NOT follow verbal abuse.

Symptoms of BWS: 

First Stage, "Fight or Flight"

  • Breathing quickens, heart races, it is difficult to concentrate, and a panic attack could occur
  • You can recognize fight or flight because you may try to "turn off" your emotions. You deny what's happening or minimize it to avoid dealing with the danger you're facing.
  • Later, you may repress the memory of the event and smile as if nothing happened.

Second Stage BWS:

  • Over time, you feel that you're not as smart or "with it" as you once were. Your memory can become fuzzy, so you're not really sure if you're remembering things correctly or not.
  • You may find that your mind wanders off to previous instances of abuse and holds you captive there, watching a movie you don't want to see.
  • Because of the repetitive, intrusive memories, you could respond to future abuses inaccurately - the abuse may not be as severe or potentially damaging as you perceive it to be. It becomes very hard to tell the difference between a memory of past abuse and a current abusive event.
  • You could take deadly actions against yourself or the abuser.

My Thoughts

Although research into verbal, emotional, and mental abuse symptoms and effects is increasing, most studies focus on physical violence as the outcome. Granted, the effects of other types of abuse are included by default, but I am really interested to find studies done where there has been NO physical violence to document. (I'll let you know when I find it.)

I see symptoms of BWS and PTSD in myself. There were four violent incidents (that I remember) in my 18-year marriage, and a part of me doesn't think I "qualify" under the terms of the studies. On average, battered women experience physical violence at least 3 times per year (and/or partner rape almost twice per year). Nevertheless, I feel symptoms and recognize behaviors in myself indicative of both the syndrome and the disorder. I carried them with me when I left my husband, and still exhibit and feel them to this day.

The good news is that 1.) I recognize them as symptoms instead of continuing to think I'm "messed up" and dysfunctional and 2.) the symptoms are fading.

I wish someone would do a study to include relationships in which physical violence is kept to a minimum over a long period of time. The first incident was within the first 6 months of my marriage, the second around year 7, then three and four came within a year of one another. Yet the "other abuses" were constant.

I also wonder about the finding that battered women suffering from BWS/PTSD could overestimate the severity of subsequent abusive incidents. I am finding that in my new relationship, I will feel very deeply anxious about conversations and emotion-sharing events, in part because I'm waiting for the shoe to drop. I'm anticipating abuse where there is none. My other choice in "new studies" would be one that lets me know HOW LONG THIS COULD CONTINUE.

If I have to be without abuse for the same length of time I was with it in order to overcome it, that puts me at 57 years of age. Or maybe there's a "half-life" or maybe a few years - maybe months (please!) on the moratorium for feeling crazy. I don't want my mental and biological training of the past 18 years to hinder my ability to live a fruitful and healthy life; therefore, it won't. I will overcome this challenge too.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, March 13). Battered Woman Syndrome: Is the Battering Necessary?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

chara heatherly
August, 29 2017 at 10:06 am

i will look into these books - thankyou - i sit here confused - im okay to be independant - i always had been - no isolation, no restriction, financl ok with or without sps.. but seems after looking back thru journals bout ever few mos - im grabbed - been spit on- yelled at - pushed , head butted, just recently slapped .. this time called police for intervention - he was jailed and now were dealing with legal and poss jail time - currently he is full support due to me having to stop work to care for elder fam- i am only child - parents passed also - so really only me -- no finances for care home .
but --- cant figure out if this is due to raised aggressivly -- learned behavior.. id been doing a ton of research - he seems to want to fix this , he had said this before - but really had no direction or tools -- unless he self helped after work etc - just falls on back burner -- had no consequenses really -- hes only home few mos outta year - seems home most frustrating to him - as his family is lil more demanding on him with alotta drama - i know he is better and happier on the road -- but now after the jail experience and the knowing of more jail if called again or reported - poss with charges .. he will have mandatory self work to do -- hopefullly - with tools and direction, cant tell if its anger from not expressing, no skillset on resolve - the family is all the same like that - alcholics etc,, him no drugs - no drink - just work work -- then tense bothered -- the explode -- im caught off guard .. before ya know it -- were -- him -- shouting - puching - he will throw things -- grab me back when i walk away -- grab arms hold restrain -- gets engaged and then im not sure how far he will go -- i do get scared to the point of not knowing if i will be ok in the next few minutes -- i surrentder myself to god,,, and sit quiet and wait -- and then he just stops and moves on like a normal day ---- so this time i called 911- learned the laws of dv - started doing more reserach -- and just wondering -- wed been together 15years -- slap 2x-- begenning and few days ago -- head but two times - begenning and now -- and few on off -- grabs push just angry outburts and some verbal ,,,just eggshell - grouch - huff puff - bad mooood -- what the hell -- is this normal -- my parents didnt do this with me -- his i think they got the belt-- and alotta yelling in the house -- so i dont know -- he is out of the house now working -- and aware that he may not be welcome back until i think its okay -- and aware - he will be dealing with jail again and again going forward .. and really he worx to be a good guy - and has no trouble with law.. so im just at a lossss --

June, 3 2017 at 3:36 am

Woman need to stick together & not believe what someone says to break our self esteem!

September, 26 2016 at 2:11 am

How do we get our daughter to wake up from an Ethnic Family Cult? Our daughter married into a situation were her husband is manipulative, controlling and verbally abusive. She gave back the ring twice and moved into a condo where he stocked her. The only reason she went back to him was her younger sister was getting married. She went back and moved her wedding up 7 weeks ahead of the younger sister.
His parents live two doors away from them. They are in the process of reducing her work schedule to a day or two weekly (nurse practitioner). They have her busy with another business. The in laws have no friends and only family. They occupy her time with business and family weekend events. She believes my husband and I have something wrong with us. Two years ago we were best friends and now she doesn't want us watching our granddaughters. One day our three year old told us "her mommy n daddy aren't nice." She was very sincere with her comment.
The sister of our daughter's husband has left the cult and married a woman three years younger than her mother. She told us how her brother, my daughter's husband, at the command of Italian mother dragged her up the stairs by the hair and throw her into her room, lock the door. She went to a neighbors house after getting out of ropes to escape to a Battered women's Shelter. The neighbor has confirmed this. The neighbor is scared of these people.
We are concerned for our daughter and granddaughters. How do we get her to wake up? He tells her lies about us and she seems to be taking up his personality. She has bought into everything along with having money. Help!

August, 10 2016 at 3:42 pm

The comments make me re live the abuse and my heart is aching for everyone. It has been 8 years for me. Married 7. There has always been both physical and emotional. I try to be grateful because the physical could be worse. A bruise a lump there. The emotional I believe has ruined my career as I am self employed. Dum Who$#% this liar that. There is no way it took 38 minutes to go to walmart. Ugly, fat, big P&^^y wh(*$ old mass kids stink dirty etc. Today he put a gun to my head twice. That is a feeling I can not stop feeling, That hard metal pressed against my skull. I can not imagine sticking in this for 20 30 years but time goes by. I have help. SO much, I need to use it take advantage of it and get on my feet. its just those incidents are so draining....can hardly function.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
August, 10 2016 at 10:42 pm

Take advantage of the support you have today. TODAY. What's worse than a gun to your head? That is what will happen next. Get out now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 3 2017 at 3:27 am

Hi! Hope you are feeling better!

July, 21 2016 at 2:08 pm

I'm so sorry for every one posting here. I stayed with my husband for 40 years. He mostly pushed me but I found the verbal abuse much more damaging. I stayed in the begining because I had no education and wasn't allowed to learn to drive. I was 14 when we got together. My dad also beat my mom pretty bad. But she would wait till he went to bed and then start nagging him to death. He cheated ad well. As time went on i could tell when he was getting agrivated and I would keep my mouth shut. That saved me from the beatings. I caught him cheating and refused to sleep with him anymore so there were times he forsed himself on me. When our 2 girls got older I went to work with him. He was a self employed house painter. Then he suffered brain damage from the paint fumes. Things got bad again. I got an inheritance from my grandmother at 30 at took driving lessons, bought a car, fixed my teeth and put a down payment on a house. I started private housecleaning and had very important clientel. Lawers, judges. We had no intamincy but became best friends. As years went by his health coined to decline. Eventually he started to go blind and the violence really excelled. We had adopted our newborn granddaughter who was now 10 and he started being verbally abusive to her. That's was the breaking point for me. I had him put in jail when he choked me saying I stoled his cigarettes. He had burned all our furniture including the bed. Smoked 4 pks a day. I can't count how many times my child and I ran to our neighbors to hide us. I got an injunction but the day of my hearing my windshield had been broken and my car wouldn't start. So the judge thru it out and he came home. I cannot being to tell you how bad it was then. He knew not to touch me so the mental abuse went wild. He would wait till late at night and come to the garage door, that's where her and I stayed. Only door that locked. And put his fist thru it screaming he wished it was my face. So I finally provoced him to the point of grabbing me and put him in jail again. When my hearing came up I slept in my car the night before. But was told by my neighbor that 2 days prior they seen my brother in law go in my home , was only there 2 mins top. So I thought nothing of this till the hearing and my husband accuses me of being on drugs so the judge sent me for a test which came back positive for meth.. end of story I got my permanent injunction and after being kicked out of several nursing homes he passed away 3 years later. I found my first love from 43 years earlier and I'm messing up what could be the happiest time of my life because of the damage it has done to me . There was no one to help me then or now. I just want to be normal and happy. I'm hoping he can help me achieve that. Irony to the story , right after my husband passed I was contacted by his lawyer that a lawsuit he had going had settled for a half a million dollars. Only wish it could but my sanity back.

June, 28 2016 at 8:50 am

Right there with you. For those who wonder if they're really being abused, I recommend the book by Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship. She spells out pretty clearly what is abuse (even silence can be), why you feel like something's wrong but everyone else tells you how good you have it, how to respond to verbal abuse. Another good book is Beverly Engel's The Emotionally Abusive Relationship. She helps you understand why it happens and how to get out. Both books are very empowering to the woman who has no other support.

June, 5 2016 at 10:34 am

My heart aches for every person here and it's aches for myself. so much resonates, sounds familiar.
I'm in the process of a divorce. My soon-to-be-ex has been occasionally physically abusive and always emotionally and verbally abusive. Each comes with its own horrors.
Though apart for 3 years I still wrestle with seeing myself as a battered woman. I have some kind of weird pride that won't let me truly acknowledge it. Nobody I've talked to really understands what I mean. I know I get pissed when others minimize it but I also get uncomfortable when others ask me why I have a hard time owning how it hurt me.
Does anyone else feel this way??

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Shaon Pawid
July, 8 2017 at 9:25 am

We're in the same boat. Ita been 2 and a half years since I left, and am still in the process of filing the annulment papers. I keep wondering how come the memories and the emotions that come with it do not stop coming back. Most of the time, i feel that am losing it. I got surprised myself when the paych said i had BWS. And yes, i still cant understand why i was diagnosed as such. Am searching for ways to train my mind to stop all the bad memoriea from flooding in. ... takes practice...

May, 20 2016 at 7:12 am

I was in an abusive marriage for a long time my Husband mentally and verbally abused me . He is an alcoholic who worked during the day full time job and drank Jack Daniels at night he would become verbally abusive. We did have a good marriage with two beautiful kids but after he lost a job he thought he would be in that company until he retired but part of the company closed down. unemployed for a year he hit the bottle hard oh poor me he would say. I told him their are people worse off then you. I asked him to get help he did not think he has a problem. Every time I tried to talk about the bills or other things about money he would get mad shut me out call names. Never wanted to talk about things thank god my kids are old enough and moved out. Took me along time and people kept saying your husband is a jerk and an alcoholic I said no he just drinks beer and has a couple of shots. My Mom kept telling me yes he is an alcoholic I would say no she knew because her own father was one. My Mom moved in with us for about a year he was nice about everything until after a few months he became really abusive calling her names that I can't even repeat and doing sick things like taking the toaster and putting it in water so we could not us it , taking her belongings and throwing them out. she has a heart condition and is on special food and he would throw it unplug the cable so we could not watch T.V take the controls off of washer and dryer and other crazy stuff. I called the police several time their were police reports on him the last straw came when he called the police and said she banged into my car and damaged it got money for it and never fixed the car. He was trying to get her for fraud. I called senior housing they got her out on a protective order, shortly after that I moved out and filed for divorce domestic and verbal abuse and I cane now say my husband is an alcoholic and is a lose cause he put his drinking first before his Family how sad!!!!

Val Lenear
April, 2 2016 at 3:07 pm

I was married at 16, he was 21. He started abusing me soon after. His attacks were brutal, he punched my back until it was completely black and blue. He punched me in the stomach when I was pregnant at 17. He punched me in the eye in front of my 3 yr old son soon after my miscarriage. He kicked me repeatedly in the privates in front of your young son and said I could never take our son away. I called our religious friends over, they told me not to make him mad. As the years went on, the physical abuse stopped, but not the emotional or financial. I would get in trouble if I over spent. I had three more children. Two boys and two girls. As the girls got older, they too emotionally abused me and continued to say they were through with me. This included taking my beloved grandson away from me. That was all I could take, and I left their "wonderful father" I always lost at everything in my life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 3 2017 at 3:32 am

Hi! Hope you are feeling better! I just got out of the hospital. Beyond embarrassing, we should start a support group! 412-952-9039

March, 16 2016 at 11:45 am

He's never physically harmed me. However, he's driven me so mad that I've thought all kinds of terrible things. He tells me I'm messed up, I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for him, the only reason I have anything is because of him. I've tried to break way so many times, I'm losing count. Filed a restraining order once, he got me to take it back. Calls my work to make sure I pick up, if I don't, he calls my cell to see where I am. If I say I'm going somewhere, he will show up. He turns people against me, and tells me that my friends are no good. I've lost my drive for creativity. I use to draw, scrapbook, paint, etc. I can't seem to do it anymore. Seems like a waste of time. I'm trying to get away again, but afraid. Not really sure of what. We're not married, but he has a serious hold over me and tells me my choices are all bad, of course I believe that now. I don't think I'll make it without him. I'm getting fat, and sick among other things. No one but someone fatter and sicker would want me. Wish there was some better help out there for people like me who feel that counselors can't see the bruises and therefore think it's so easy to get him to leave. It's not.

January, 14 2016 at 3:14 am

I have been in a part physical but most verbal abuse for 15 years. I am trying to get out permanently. But I'm scared one of us won't make it out alive. We have some dogs and he always throws up I can't leave them. But I am presently staying with friend for a day or 2. But feel bad to have to burden her. Not sure what's going to happen. If I go back. I'm sure something bad will happen. Fear keeps me there. He threatens me with doing things to my family and friends or my dogs. Really scares me cause he tears up or breaks everything. Never have anything. No phone to even call for help. My cousin hung himself because of abuse. Not a lot of men have that happen but it does she was really mean to him. Made him choose her or his family. He chose her and his mother never got to see him again. So sad. But I contemplate suicide everyday I am there. The thought of him harassing makes me want out of this world. I'm scared I'll go back.

December, 18 2015 at 11:54 pm

Hi Ladies,
I've read all of your threads and I jus felt like I had to speak my thoughts. I too was involved in a very physically abusive relationship. Well two to be exact. My first marraige was unbelievably abusive. At first he was the best man a girl could want. He was sweet, loving, and charming, but then he started using drugs & thats when the abuse started. He gave me multiple black eyes & numerous knots & cuts in my face. He choked me & even put a gun to my head. No matter how bad the abuse got, I still stayed. Why? I still don't know. His brother used to threaten me & tell me that if I left his brother, they would find me. So I decided to enroll in the US Army for protection. I got my divorce and never looked back. Two days after I discharged from the Army, I saw on the news that his brother (the one who threatened me that he would find me) had killed his wife then himself. All I could do was thank God for protecting me and leading me away to the Army.
Years later I started dating another guy, and like before, he was the perfect guy in the beginning. I told him of my past abusive relationship & stressed the fact that I wasn't gonna tolerate it & he aasured me that he doesn't believe in putting his hands on any woman. Well like 7 months into the relationship we had an altercation. I hit him first bc I thought that he was about to attack me so he hit me back. I left that at that & didnt think anything of it bc I took the blame knowing that I hit him first. After a year of a normal relationship less the baby mama drama, he hit me again and caused me to hav knots on my forehead. I immediately told myself that I was done and that I wasn't gonna tolerate it at all. I left the house and my mom went talk to him. He apologized & unfortunately, I believed him so I went back. Things got bad for him job-wise so he started trying to make money in the streets and the drug use came shortly after. He started verbally abusing me along with the physical abuse. He would take my car & not come back for hours. He had a vehicle but it got stolen & he blamed me for it. He thought I paid someone to steal it. Stupid, right! I realized that we needed to go our separate ways. When I brought this up to him, he hit me so hard in my mouth that I couldn't even close it. What I didn't know was that my then 14 yr old son witnessed this and he attempted to fight my then boyfriend. That's when I realized that I had to get my kids and I out if that situation. I put him out but everytime I did, he found a way back into my house.
One morning I came back home from going out to celebrate, bc I had gotten hired on at the place that I did my clinicals, and he jus started beating me for no reason. Well atleast I didnt know it. As he was beating me, I tried to call the police, bur he took my phone from me & proceeded to beat me. He choked me to the point where I thought I was gonna pass out. I got away and he chased me. I was afraid bc I never seen that look in his eyes before so I felt as if I needed to protect myself before he killed me. Its hard for me to type this but the worst part is that I shot and killed him. I really didn't believe what had happened for a couple of days. I was in shock and in disbelief. I'm really not understanding why I don't remember clearly some parts of what happened that morning. It all jus happened so fast. I've been trying to make myself remember, but I just can't. I'm not sure if those are symptoms of BSW or not, but I know that something is causing me not to remember.
All I really want to tell you ladies is to please leave before it gets to that point. Especially if you have kids bc the judicial system is not designed for women. Although I acted in self defense, they charged me with 2nd° murder and I was thrown into a dorm full of women I didn't know for 15 months. I missed out on 15 months of my kids' lives. So many hearts were broken that morning. His family & my family were both horribly affected by that incident. Nothing good can come out of staying in an abusive relationship. At the end od the day someone will eventually get hurt. If you're in an abusive relationship, I hope that my story motivates you to take a look at your situation and decide that you don't want your situation to end up like mine did.

Venus Pasco
November, 5 2015 at 10:42 am

If you all get the chance, punch in 'Power & Control'... because this is what your husband or s/o is doing to you. You deserve to be valued because you are valuable, important and special. And it will take take a process to build yourself up again. Get in support groups with others who understand what you are going through. Most of all stay safe and build your self esteem and confidence up again.

October, 8 2015 at 8:15 pm

I never thought I woul f be writing th oeh s, but my husband verbally abuse me to the point where I am conxstantly crying because I have no one to talk to. I am alone and ashamed. Right now I am on disability due to back. Surgeries...four in total. I have reached out to get housing of my own, to get away from this horrible situation.
He curses me, degrade s me and basically makes me feel like nothing. When I try to stand up for myself , I am slapped or pushed around. I am hurt, tired, and ready to CHANGE MY LIFE.Thank God my kids are adults. I have a feeling they know as well and dont care.
I need help and I have reached out to many resources here in Mobile, AL. Please help.

September, 27 2015 at 2:44 pm

I have been married to 2 men who are both physically and verbally abusive. My 1st I divorced at the age of 28 I marrried him at 18 and had two sets of twins w/him (there now 28 & 23) Beautiful children but because of his jealousy and the fact that he was 16 yrs older and liked to play w/guns I left -then meet asshole #2 promised me he would never hit me understood lol now 20 yrs later he is but the funny thing is he tells me I make him do it and if I yell for 911 he hits me more I'm stuck cuz he controls all the money I'm 48 yrs old and know I deserve better tired of being spit in my face, food thrown ay me and ect and he always says its my fault haha like I asked to b hit it's real and thanks for letting me know I'm not alone

September, 26 2015 at 3:54 am

I'm in a verbally abusive relationship. I know I am but I can't seem to make my self leave. Every day I think about suicide is better then living with him. I'm so confused one day he hurts me then the next he buys me things and says nice things. Any ideas.

August, 31 2015 at 12:14 pm

Well I've always knew I was a victim. The question was what was I a victim of? Sounds crazy right? Well marrying a man at 17, with a family who was glad to send you off because he provided them with money isn't a good thing. Then learning that a hit every now and then "is sometimes the price you pay for a good life" as my mother called it was worse. Reaching out telling someone is hard when your asked " what did you do to make him angry?". So I began to question myself. Do I say too much? Am I not saying enough? To just saying I'm here, and I better get use to it! Bracing myself for it to learning how to heal myself on the outside. What I didn't know was I could never seem to fix the inside. I just began reading blogs when I can. LEAVE? everyone says that. Easy to say, I have no access to money to leave, no friends that want to get involved. Those who are afraid to get involved and the ones he ran off. I've called shelters for victims and sure they give you a place to stay for all of a month or so. Then what? I'm more afraid of the then what. It can sometimes be difficult. I was even to a point where I knew I couldn't live this way. Any life I had in me was beat away, or scared away. I feel lost. I don't think people know what it feels like to loose yourself. Just to not know who you are and wake up every day in a body and in a place that makes you wish you stayed asleep. I sometimes sneak and talk to my neighbor. Well she sneaks to me. She noticed everything I couldn't say. Today with her help we started a GoFundMe account. I'm optimistic about it. But its worth a try to get out of here. I don't know much about the internet or blogging so I emailed you. If nothing else I want people to know my story. How before you can leave, you MUST realize its wrong. I thought all women got hit for years. And God knows leaving is like trying to cross the street on a busy highway. My link is If you do blog more on domestic violence please give insite on a married woman of ten years who lives this way by confusion, fear, and low spirits. Maybe they can understand

anthony greer
August, 22 2015 at 6:06 am

I have a daughter that is in jail becauyse the man she was with beat my grandson and her, yet the courts are saying they dont believe in brainwashing and they are trying to put her in prison for child neglect and assesory to child abuse and i need help to save here

May, 6 2015 at 10:48 pm

Sorry if this is not the right place to leave this type of comment.
I don't have a normal life at all. I am divorced, but we have minor children so I have to deal with my ex on occasion and he is not a nice person.
I don't know of resources, but I need help. If anyone can point to associations that can help me I would appreciate it.
I had a severe PTSD episode yesterday and am still having the effects.
I am located in central NJ

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 7 2015 at 8:01 am

Sandy, start with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at They will direct you to the nearest domestic violence agencies. You can attend group sessions even though you're no longer married to your abuser. Also, get to a doctor to treat you for the PTSD. Your local domestic violence agencies may have information on low-cost healthcare.

S Campbell
March, 22 2015 at 4:26 pm

I can not seem to leave "disassociating " behind. 1992 was the last year of 27 years of verbal abusiveive marriage. A rager. Family members who practice it with me today still inact this behavior in me. I can not hear what is being raged at me. I am not around this family member much but it never leaves me. It's as if it just happened. I have no defense except no defense. No participation. Depression. I live a lively loving life, yet it remains.

February, 20 2015 at 1:55 am

I know generalizing that all men are weak and cheating assholes isn't right, but when I decided not to date or engage men in a relationship at all, my life got better. Sometimes I sleep with a man I'm attracted to, but I've found, consistently, that men will begin almost immediately to lie, cover up their whereabouts, often use drugs, get angry, become distant, and realistically, they lose interest. At first I thought this was personal, but the men I"ve dated haven't been the best and have treated other women equally as disdainful. I'm pretty, intelligent, and have a nice body, so men seem only to see this, even as there are many good things about me. However, I do have a jealousy, but it's justified, as in my experience, almost every man cheats. They don't want to stay, they lose interest in their wives after she has a baby, and they immediately begin looking at other women, feeling stuck. There are far too many men who behave as I've described above. I don't mean to generalize, but when I see so many women 1. beaten 2. raped 3. driven to suicides in love triangles 4. dissed 5. disrespected for having a period, etc. or even a normal odor to her vagina, I have decided not to share my intimacy with men. I also am not homosexual. I have cats, friends, family, and no room anyway for a burdernsome male. I know good ones are out there, but they don't like me. I'm drug free, smoke free, wrote a book, have college degrees, and most men feel threatened by me, so they enjoy pushing my buttons rather than having a satisfying, real relationship. I gave up on men - and I'm free and happy as a result.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 5:57 am

Rhea, to each their own. God speed on your journey! You only need yourself, but if you feel your desires changing, bring a therapist on-board. Sometimes keeping men out of our lives and then deciding to let them back in (not that you will) restarts the trauma you mentioned in your post.
If sometime in the future a man piques your interest, go to therapy to help resolve any unneeded emotions associated with past relationships. Men are not all bad, but not all women need or want a man <3

crystal. Graham
January, 1 2015 at 1:55 pm

I was married at 16. Have 4 Children. Lost a baby full term during labor because he rammed me with his truck into my car when I tried to escape. I was living on a farm 1.5 he's away from help. I was stuck. Memories still haunt me. He used to put a gun to my head, and play mind games by " one of these days, it will be the right click" . He tortured me... I tried to get away....He lit me on fire, and after I got out of the hospital, I had members of the community to help me hatch a plan, so I could escape. Back then, violence against woman had no safe nets... I did get away, and changed my kids and I last name, etc. I did not take anything.I am writing a book . Not for revenge, but to help other woman on how to get away safe and fast. Even if he takes your bank cards away..... Many years kids grown and gone from the nest....I still smell my burning hair, and have lost hearing in my left ear. And suffer PTSD. The verbal abuse was worse than the physical abuse. Its hard to trust and feel safe. Each day is a struggle. But I know that through grace I am ALIVE! And I am thankful to all those who helped me to get does not control the other. Love is feeling lived and feeling safe for you and your Children. A family unit. Many hugs and know....that prayers got me through, and so did secretly getting members of the community involved.... I thank them for always.

November, 26 2014 at 8:35 pm

Hi ladies. It kills me to read that this is what a woman has to go through in this day and age, im none the better though.
I been dating this guy for just over 2 years now, there's no kid involved or a pending marriage or anything of the sort, yet i find myself feeling the exact same way many of u do. I worked my way up, got the 'dream' job, traveled, laughed, enjoyed every last detail life offered me. The one aspect of my life that i was never privileged to find was love. So this guy came along, first 6 months i felt like i was on cloud 10, i loved being in love, i never had the opportunity to challenge myself in that department, and with the flip of a coin, everything changed.
From the perfect love to the lowest form of human being. This guy brought me down and i believed every word that came out of his mouth. There aren't many people i can talk to out here where im from, BWS in South Africa is fairly new and many people dont actually understand all that it entails. Im struggling to pick myself up, i have been for a while now, i let go of myself, my self image, my emotions, my independence.
I thank u all for your wonderful stories of hope and courage, you have helped me to understand that there is actually a rainbow at the end of this dark and dreary tunnel. The only thing i gotta do is physically take that step and get out.
As women, we sometimes forget all that we are worth. We are great, we are leaders in our own right! We are caregivers and nurturers, we give birth to the child and then we raise them to be the best they can be, we are smart and only a MAN can ever understand our worth. It's not said that all is lost, time is lost, the most valuable of all, we can get everything else back but that, but not all is lost. We are strong, women are strong and we forget that.
This is our life, best we start living it!

Paul Williams
October, 14 2014 at 9:02 am

I have friend, a lover whom I cared about deeply but she goes thru this shut down mood and her expression changes and attitude until she feels worthless and closed in. She sleeps most of the day and stays up at night on to the break of day. She pulls thins out of the closet and throws things across the room, she feels that medication will help her situation but I believe that it is much more serious that. Recently. I put my financial status on the for her and find myself homeless while she taken over the living resident we were sharing. Crazy hah? It I'd the truth, I wish she gets the help she needs before she hurts herself and those that. Really loves her. HELP ME HELP A FRIEND BECAUSE I DON't know how to help her.

September, 20 2014 at 12:12 am

I read a poem on Thursday posted on a health teacher's wall that was titled The Batter. This poem described to a Tee my husband's verbal barge. I've looked on the internet without success to find it.

July, 30 2014 at 6:55 am

I've been reading up BWS. I'm in an abusive relationship, been dating this man for 18 months. He was abusive 3 times. The 1st time happened within 3 months & then 2 & three happened in months 7 & 8. I loved but not anymore. Besides the physical abuse, I have to endure emotional abuse on a daily basis. He insults me, calls me horrible names on a daily basis. Nothing I do is right. Everyday I'm explaining myself; why I have male colleagues, why I have visitors at my house. Why my friends live their lives a certain way
He tried to isolate me from all my friends. But didn't succeed. In my entire life I have never had anyone calls me names he has called me. Most of the time I keep quite & ignore, that way the insult lady 2 hours at most.
I tried living him. He comes to my house unannounced, jumps my wall, bribes my security guard with money so he lets him in. He says things like he would kill for me. Or kill any man close to me. He's asked to marry him & have a baby with him. I refused. He says I'll marry him whether by force.
I'm beyond exhausted emotionally. I want out. I block his calls he comes, jumps my wall. Today he brought the cops under falls presence so I could talk to him. I wish I had someone to help me with this. Everyone (including my friends) are on his side. Cos he goes running & crying every time we fight. He manipulates them emotionally; he's sweet & generous with everyone. Yet with me he's rude, insults me & did I mention that HE LIES about EVERYTHING!!! And he cheats on me with many women.

July, 10 2014 at 7:28 am

Thank you for sharing, I can understand your situation. The scary thing out of it all is how far love can deep that we the victim, we are willing to scrarifice everything especially ourselves for him.
Stand up strong woman out there and believe you are worth so much more than this.
Free and healing

July, 9 2014 at 2:18 pm

Okay...I'm uncertain what I want to say here. As I just now encountered one of the instances. Except this one got violent. Happens about once a month, recently anyway. We have a 3 year old and have been together for almost 3 years (yes your math is correct). The first two years were FAR from paradise. Mostly verbal abuse if any at all. I knew he was warped by his upbringing but I hadn't even scratched the surface. This past year has been torturous. I can't keep a job because of it, and we'll you know of course that adds fuel to his engine and oxygen to the flames. I can't win for losing. And when I try to leave to do something productive for our family or,huh, AT ALL he is out the door immediately. Leaving me with children and explanations and anger. My family and friends have abandoned me because I won't leave and I don't know why I don't. I think I'm sick mentally most days anymore. I've turned my anger (physically and verbally) more than once toward his other daughter and it makes me cringe to think about, much less blog about. I need help. What do I do from here??

leah dickson
July, 9 2014 at 12:50 am

I to have been in a relationship with very little physical abuse in recent years but all other signs well evident. I have four children ranging in age from 11 to 22 only one of which shows definite stress disorder signs not only because she is ADD/ODD But because she tends to get the brunt of the verbal garbage when I'm not getting it. They need to do a study on add children and the Correlation between abusive parents not physically mind you but emotional and verbal. Any place you can point me would be most helpful.

L. Smith
July, 3 2014 at 4:02 am

I am an example of ongoing verbal and emotional abuse. Physical abuse occurred when there was a crisis , culminating in a suicide gesture with a gun as I prepared to finally leave the marriage. My ex is a medical doctor with an image at stake so the coverup and lies continue. Five years after divorce, I am trying to learn and treat the after effects with therapy and healthy lifestyle. It is a process but I am getting better. Self awareness and spiritual support has helped me most as very very few people can understand this. God bless all the ladies who are caught up in the prison of abuse.

June, 23 2014 at 10:54 am

I have experienced verbal emotional and several physical incidents over the years and finally left when my twenty three year old son challenges me and said how long will you take this and why. It made me wake up to the fact that this is a terrible example of a relationship. I left after 38 years. Its very challenging and I still speak w my husband but am getting clearer that people do not change unless they try very hard. When they live in what I call a blind spot of not being awake the possibility is next to nil. The feeling of freedom is wonderful and after eight months I'm feeling better and healthier. My sons are happy that I'm on my own... we must take responsibility for our own direction. Never give up never surrender....

June, 3 2014 at 6:11 am

what is one supposed to do when they ask for help and nobody wants to help I have went to the ywca several times I had got turned away because I have 6 kids not only from there but from church from even the homeless shelter my mom even signed for his papers knowing I was sleeping in a car with A newborn and 5 older kids I have no trust left from or for anyone for the 33 years abused as a child abused in the only real relationship that was long term I cant even hold down a job between my spouse and my 16year old son amongst raising a child with disabilities I'm afraid of even talking to the therapist most of what it is that he calls me a puta or tells me you will not have the kids or you'll end up on the streets when I was a kid it was my mom with physical and mental abuse my dad was mental to how do you trust anyone to ask for help when you're afraid

Broken Wings
May, 11 2014 at 11:48 pm

I don't know where to start. I'm into my 4th year of marriage to an alcoholic who was going through the motions of recovery-as stipulated by his then probation when I met him. On the surface he appears to be be charming. In general in our relationship he's usually very loving and kind to me.
But then when he drinks-which has increased to his drinking every time he has a day off, there become these unpredictable instances where he targets me with such awful verbal abuse-that I don't recognize him as my loving husband.
I used to try to basically stand up to him to tell him that this verbally abusive and degrading behavior was not acceptable! That didn't do any good, he hit me. Once sober the next day he'd be very remorseful to the point of crying and begging my forgiveness. Stating it will never happen again. I've lost count on how many times its been since... I changed my strategy of standing up to him, meaning to diffuse the situation I walk away to another room and say nothing while he's in his drunken rage-hoping my silence will let it all pass without it escalating. This doesn't seem to work either...he follows me into different rooms degrading me to such ugly levels. Again, once sober he seems to not remember all of what he's done...he sees the bruises on me and hangs his head in shame. I have come very close to calling 911 but he'd yank the phone out of the wall or destroy my cell phone or convince me that he will tell the cops I am crazy and have me arrested. I also fear having him arrested. because 1 I love him and don't want to harm him, 2 he has a multi-felony background and such

April, 28 2014 at 6:44 pm

I was a battered wife for many years. I never felt I had an out. It was a time when the police did not help you. As I was told many times by them what did I do to cause this abuse. If I don't calm down they will arrest me. The abuse got worse because we were both drug addicts. I felt the only way out was if he died. And I told him so. He did die and I got sober and clean. After many years I decided to have a relationship with another man. Not know what was wrong with me and not being able to explain my behavior I totally destroyed this relationship with very little hope of repairing it. I now know I have BWS/PTSD. I start therapy tomorrow and am doing extensive step work. All I know is that I have got to stop letting him rule my life. And he is dead. It's time for healing for however long it takes.

April, 16 2014 at 4:32 pm

Stumbled upon this my 1st marriage was abusive over course of 7 years there were 3 occurrences before I ran out in the middle of the night with our 3 sons 6 5 and 3. I met my night in shining armor and he married me with my 3 children. He emotionally and verbally abused mostly my children for years with a very explosive disposition he terrorized our brains. I had a child with him during first year of marriage. I thought he was safe because he was in law enforcement. The first three children moved out for college and rarely look back. Now after 17 years together I took my daughter and left called domestic violence hotline started fresh and felt great aside from the Facebook threats of violence from his sisters and female friends. Right after Christmas we got back together and it was the happiest week of my life. The following Mon he took out an unfounded restraining order against me and filed for divorce. His grown son and our teen child witnessed the alleged incident and they decided that he was definitely losing his mind. After a month he sent our child into my house requesting to talk I fell for him again this time he moved all our furniture into my house pledging his undying love. His extreme paranoia multiplied 10 - fold I could no longer talk on the phone visit with friends stay up after he went to bed without his accusations of my constant infidelity that now my daughter was helping me cheat behind his back. I had been trying to come up with a way to get him out when bam! He came home from his counseling and said he had to leave even though he loved me he didn't like my pets. Now he stalks me calls 4 or more times an hour accuses me of cheating has tantrums. He screwed me financially by agreeing to pay part of rent but is on a monthly pension and was broke by the 3rd of the month expecting me to buy him cigarettes daily and feed him everyday. Since I've been with him I was diagnosed with bipolar but the longer I'm away from him the more my psychiatric no and I believe that it was battered wife syndrome with ptsd. Our daughter doesn't want him here and I'm just constantly afraid with anxiety and depression. Write me if you choose

April, 9 2014 at 7:22 pm

It started with him going to bars after we married. I got married while I was pregnant and felt I had to marry him. He said I changed. He refused to let me know anything about the money because it was his. He left me virtually penniless and told me if I want money I should get a job. I raised 4 children and put up with all kinds of verbal abuse, his rage, is wanting to punch me and sometimes he did attack me violently. The years go by and things get worse. I am not able to laugh or even talk to him. He gets mad if I even hint at complaining about anything. He moved me far away from friends and family to live near his family. His family, he told me, was his real family. He more than likely cheated on me. He had women's numbers in his wallet. I have had to stand between him and my kids when he was enraged with them. They are teens now and my youngest is almost 14. I think my kids fear him. They placate him by hugs and talking in a lower tone to avoid his anger. As do I. I have really been ripped apart mentally. I do have PTSD when I am in a car with him. I lose my mind and cry and he yells at me and tells me I am just trying to be controlling when I beg him to slow down. He only attacked me physically like 4 times and then the last year or so he choked me. I am a wreck and all everyone tells me is to leave but no matter what I try - i dont have money. IF I make money he is assigning me bills to pay so I cant save any. I finally got to the point that I do recognize I have been abused all these 21 years. And now all I do is shake where before i was completely numb. Just walked on eggshells. Tried to be civil. I really want out now, but i know my kids won't go to a shelter with me. They think this is normal. After all, i said for years 'That's your dad.' to them so they wouldn't hate him. He didn't beat them because I always stood in the way. I don't know what to do. I can't leave them and I can't stay and I can't afford a place of my own. I even opened a business and it is not doing well in this economy. I feel doomed like i am trapped. Anyone with advice?

January, 12 2014 at 6:22 am

Hi and thank you for article. You see i've been married for quite a while now and i'm myself a product of emmotional/verbal abuse. I was never able to have a open communication with my husband. Because of certain situations regarding our finances every time I spoke to him about it he got into a rage . So really early in our marriage I learned not to say anything....that's including everything. My husband got himself into alot accidents that left him unable to keep a job. And stupid me instead of talking with him and tell him about the finances, I just borrowed from credit card to the next, remortgage out home; get myself into situations that are very serious. It seems i'm letting every I know down. Even my kids. I don't know what to do please can you direct me?

December, 19 2013 at 6:56 am

I'm that instance you were looking for where physical abuse is kept to minimum. He uses threats of taking my child. Put downs, ridicule, antagonism, constant judgement, anger, denial of his actions which leaves me confused and questioning myself. Our case is really screwed up because he was stabbed 6 times by my daughter's father and I was too weak and still infatuated to leave. I thought we would all get past it and he a happy family. I got pregnant with our son 3 months after the stabbing. And its been hell every since. He has both my daughter and I isolated from everyone we've ever known or loved and says I sHould agree with him because of what happened to him. Which by the way, he and my daughter's father got all hopped up on testosterone and decided to meet and fight each other. But my ex brought a knife. So my abuser isn't exactly the innocent party in alll that. I'm finally ready to leave but left feeling and knowing it's at the expense of my new baby. My abused state left me weak and borderline insane so I've had some incidents of my own where I medicated myself and wentcrazy. I'm really going to have to defend myself in court seeing as I have no witnesses to his abuse other than his own mother whom we live with. And I think everyone knows she isn't going to stick up for me. If you would like to talk to me or anyone thinks they can help me I would appreciate the email and being in contact. Good luck ladies. God bless.

December, 3 2013 at 7:51 am


November, 13 2013 at 4:05 am

You should leave because you has to know your self worth. A life without love isn't life, it's a slow death. Stay strong and know that you deserve better.

September, 16 2013 at 5:34 am

How do I escape without this turning into a sh*t show? How can I get him out of the house when he has no where else to go? That seems so mean to do to someone. If he did leave how could I keep him from breaking into my house? How can I reconnect with my friends after years of being absent from their lives? How can I apologize for that? How could I tell anyone what has really been going on? How can I stop loving him? How could I love someone else? Or even myself? I have so much self hatred I know it is wrong and I still feel like its all of my fault like i did this to myself. Like I am the bad one. What thoughts are mine and what are the ones he put in my head? The worst part is, my friend is a psychology major and told me 2 years ago to not move
Forward with this and get out now. I didn't listen and now we're not friends anymore. I did this, it was my mistake. My fault. I love the dr. Jeckyl not the mr. Hyde. There is not a peaceful moment in the day. Even walking in the woods my mind races. I thought I was the only one who knew before I read all of these comments. I hope
Reincarnation is a real thing cause I want a re-do. I feel like I'm too broken to fix in this life.

September, 16 2013 at 4:38 am

Hi. I am not sure what to say. I guess this information is helpful. And others stories, i feel so alone with a big sad secret. everyday I wish I woiuldnt wake up, its a struggle to go about daily activities walking on eggshells. I never know what kind of day its going to be depending on what mood he's in. I am a 25 year old living with my parents and also my boyfriend. He's a bit younger than me but incredibly smart. He out smarts me at every turn and analyzes everything I do. Thats how he got me to fall in love with him. He remembers everything I say, and he pursued me until I was his. We're not married. And we don't have kids, but I feel just as responsible for him and trapped as well. I can't figure out if I love him or hate him. He will admit to his wrong behavior and build me up, complimenting me and saying how I don't deserve someone like him then days later it starts all
over again, and i hate him again. My parents don't know a thing. They like him and he's always helping them around the house. I just started seeing a therapist behind his back. I've lost all my friends because of him, and i hide my phone and keep it on silent just incase someone happens to call me. I often can't attend family events because I am guilted out of them. He is from the west coast and We live on the east. He has no one else here, no where to go. He blames me for us not having anywhere to live because I can't get a better job to make more money for us. He constantly insists that I don't love him because I won't do ANYTHING to keep us together. Although he doesnt hit me, he has strangled me before. I can't tell if it's my fault if we get in an argument because i usually dont understand what the hell he is talking about or remember it afterwards. I am usually confused and I can't cry when he's screaming at me and i curl into a ball because im scared hes going to throw things at me or hit me. he says I am so lucky to have a nice family and somewhere to live so i have nothing to cry about. So i have learned not to show emotion. He doesnt want me to lose weight because he thinks I'd leave him and his new thing is talking about breaking up all the time. If i don't smooth things over he goes crazy and smashes & throws tables and chairs. But its always when no one is home. Sometimes he threatens to kill my cat because he says i love her more than him. I am just a regular person in a regular house. I try to do the right thing and be a good person. I feel so embarrassed that I'd let
Someone treat me this way. He's also a sex adict and has to have it all the time. He's always talking about other woman, we can't watch certain shows or movies because of it, and he makes me feel like if I don't want to have sex I am treating him wrong. He admits to all of his behavior and says he's sick of me making him out to be a bad guy. Sometimes he's a great guy. He says I can't make it on my own and constantly reminds me that I havn't accomplished anything. I am an artist and I can't draw or paint because he criticizes it. I am so depressed but I won't end my life because I couldn't do that to my family. He's the kind of person that would do anything to get what he wants and will stop at nothing. He has commited crimes. He has hospitalized people in the past. Of course he hid all of the bad until we were already involved for over
A year. Sometimes if we talk about the future and if we ended up staying together he said he might get so mad he'd kill me and that he worries about himself hurting me. I think he is capable of anything. He is someone that doesn't give a hoot if you know what I mean. I thought I could handle it, I thought I was strong enough. Now I just feel pathetic, and like I'm a loser. He's made me feel like I can't do anything good. I feel behind all of my peers and frozen in time unable to tell the difference between right and wrong. Unable to go back to school, unable to work on anything because it is never good enough or the right thing to him. Unable to remember what has happened a day ago, a week ago, sometimes a minute ago. I have such bad anxiety everytime he gets home from work. I can't drive over bridges because if we're on a bridge and i am driving he will jerk the wheel to scare me. Now everytime i go over a bridge i feel out of control. I am not even in control of my body. I stress eat and he thinks he has the right to put his hands on me ANY TIME because i am his girlfriend. And he always threatens if i don't give it up he'll cheat on me. It's been 3 years of this. I miss my friends i feel so guilty for not being there for the people that i love. It's like no one gets it unless they had been there I guess. I can't talk about normal girl things I feel like everyone is full of it. I am finally realizing that this is not the way i pictured my life to be. It's not what I want for myself. I want to be free. But i don't know what will happen because of it. Sometimes the bad in people is too bad to love. I am always wondering about the meaning of the word "unconditional".

September, 15 2013 at 3:30 pm

Wow. I just decided to google battered women. It has never occurred to me to do any research on battered women and I cannot explain why? I am being told to get out of my house every day now and being screamed and yelled every degrading name I have ever heard and some I have learned. This has been going on for 7 years now and I really cannot explain how. It doesn't seem that long. I have been so head strong until the birth of my daughter in September 09. I remember wanting to go ahead to the hospital the night before my then boyfriend was going back to work bc I was more than likely not going to have a way to the hospital if I went into labor the next day. So so so many instances truly seemed not as shocking as before I met my husband. My mind seems so warped now. This is not the person that I used to be. I would have never thought that any daily activity of mine today would ever exist. I have read some threads and honestly was relating to every single of them. The religious views of his parents have made things even more horrible. They r in another country doing mission work so that helps. I could go on and on explaining his strategies of manipulating me but my reason for posting this thread is to find help for me and our daughter. I have left before only to have to come back due to finances or no support emotionally or simply not having a better situation to reside in. I want to protect my daughter. I want her to have a chance to be happy and not be around abuse all the time. I have always thought that if he would just get help or find a friend or just wake the hell up??? But I am insane! The situation is remaining the same with not one different result. I am tuckered out. I am so scared I cannot even begin to express my fear. I am not able to have friends or family bc they are not perfect basically. I have been home with our daughter for 4 years now and I have a bachelors and am currently obtaining another degree so I am penny less and everything seems to be in his control from the house to the vehicles to the bills and you name it. I do not know where to begin I just feel so useless and damaged. I am such a wonderful and giving and compassionate person always have been and he has not changed that about me, but I just do not feel like I have it in me to continue this way. He tells me that I try to play the victim and that has really had me thinking bc I know he is only trying to manipulate me once again. I know I am a victim and I know it only makes my situation looks even worse bc I am aware of that. He has been physically abusive in the past from time to time but would never be honest w himself ab it. It's like he convinces himself of his lies and he does not start at all. It's unbelievable. I am very emotionally detached from everything and everyone except my daughter. I have never loved anyone as much as I love her. She is my only reason for living.

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