Warning signs that your male partner is emotionally controlling you

You’re dating or living with this good looking guy, maybe he’s charming and you feel wanted . . . but things he says or does make you feel bad about yourself – and you can’t really figure out why. You likely question yourself asking whether it’s something about you – because he doesn’t seem to think it’s about him . . . Somehow whatever negative things happen between you, you’re left feeling that it’s you with the problem.

Perhaps you got into the relationship quickly, maybe had sex much sooner than you wanted. Maybe you didn’t develop a friendship before suddenly spending most of your time with him and hardly, if ever, seeing your friends or family any more. Your life may have narrowed so that you’re no longer pursuing your own interests – life may seem to be all about being with him . . . waiting on him . . . thinking about him. If he seems jealous or possessive maybe you find that enticing because it makes you feel wanted and special.

Have you started changing?

Have you started changing for him, to keep him, to make him happy, to prove you’re lovable? If your old friends were flies on the wall, what might they notice that is different about you? Will they notice you’ve changed your appearance? That you’ve become secretive, dull, lost your sense of aliveness?

Has your mind started to go crazy after arguments – as if anything you thought was logical before meeting this man now seems confusing?

Have you started to feel guilty about all sorts of things? Yet deep down you know you have not done anything wrong. But then instead of admitting to yourself that you feel uncertain or unsafe, you start hiding things you do so you can feel the freedom you had before the relationship.

Or do you find yourself lying to him – yet that’s not something you usually do? But if you slow your thought processes down and explore your intuition, you may discover that you started lying because he has a way about him that makes you feel uneasy. Perhaps you started lying to yourself because he’s so sensitive you don’t want to hurt him – yet if you were honest with yourself, is something going on whereby it is you who is feeling hurt?

Do you think you’re not good enough?

If you ever had beliefs before that you weren’t good enough, something wrong with you, or you were stupid or ugly – have those thoughts become worse since being with this new man? If they got worse it’s highly likely you started changing yourself to seek his approval and to prove to him that you were good enough, that you are capable and good looking enough. But all your efforts are not working . . . is that true?

Can you answer ‘yes’ to these questions?

  1. I trust this man 100%
  2. He respects me totally without a doubt
  3. He’s always honest and I feel completely safe to be honest with him
  4. He definitely respects my privacy
  5. I feel totally free to be myself round him anywhere anytime
  6. I adamantly feel safe with him – always

Be honest with yourself

If you answered ‘no’ to these questions – it is very probable you are with a man that is engaged in a slow process of gaining more and more emotional control over you and your life. To check how real this may be I urge you to download this list of tactics that some men use to control their female partner. Go through and check if he is using any of these behaviours.

NB: I updated this list on 1st October 2014. The list now contains information about Cyber Abuse, CyberBulling and CyberStalking.

Just in case he is controlling you . . . it may not be safe to show him the list. If he is using ongoing emotional abuse, then it may be supportive for you to take the list – and discuss what’s happening to you – to a trusted friend or family member (possibly someone he has said he does not like or does not want you to see), or a counsellor. Or contact a local domestic violence agency as they are trained in helping women make sense of subtle emotional abuse and control.

Trust your gut instincts

Some aims of checking this list and seeking support outside the relationship are to empower yourself so that you have greater choice over your life and all your current and future relationships. Another aim is to do what it takes to care for yourself, and to trust your gut instincts about what’s really going on with you and your partner.

Ultimately relationships have to feel safe

Markers of a healthy relationship – whether that’s a dating partner, someone you live with, a workmate, a school friend – are when you can say to yourself, “Yes this person is honest, trustworthy, respectful, honours my privacy, is safe to be around and I feel totally free to be myself”.

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{ 104 comments… add one }

  • Lorraine August 20 2010, 8:20 pm

    This is the most succinct advice I have ever read. If only I’d seen this before I got entangled with an abusive man.

    Safe and almost back to being a “real” human being again.

    This website is a wonderful place for women in controlling relationships.

    Thanks Clare.

    • Jay December 18 2012, 10:13 pm

      I am a man who is in an abusive relationship. My wife has been telling me that I am abusive for some time now. We just got insurance, so I am going to request a psyc eval and completely examine myself and her complaints. I do not trust her, but do not restrict her freedom. I have forgiven her for the 2 affairs she admitted to having just before we were married. She used her friend as a cover. I do not like this friend because of the drug and alcohol use that goes on (every time) they hang out, even if there are children in the house (weed and alcohol). I do not know of any other time they have hung out without the weed and alcohol. This has enabled her to have an affair with her friend’s boyfriend good friend. So I asked her not to have sleepovers there anymore. Now she makes up extravagant lies to disappear for the weekend. It seems her friend has been the hub for 95% of our trust issues. The sad thing is, since I have known my wife, she has never done any girlfriend activities that do not include weed or alcohol. It’s strange to me. No shopping days, or events, a movie, or any kind of constructive activity, including just hanging out. I am having a hard time accepting blame for this, since it has been this way since we met. I didn’t realize it until we moved in together. She sent me this link, and tomorrow I am going to find out if I have lost my mind. I almost hope I am who she says I am, because then I can hopefully fix me, and find resolution to this nightmare.

      • JM September 20 2014, 12:57 am

        I am two years late. However, I hope you’re out of that relationship. She is pure toxic. I notice the abuse there and they make you feel like you’re the abuser so you feel guilty and won’t say anything for fear of being shunned. Yes, she is definitely taking you down, two affairs? You forgave TWO affairs? I’d have walked out if she did it once. She sounds like a compulsive liar, she is often out sleeping with men and you know it but don’t want to admit to it. Follow her, get proof, get a divorce and this will ensure she gets nothing from you. She is hurting you and women don’t understand that they are abusers as well, they can make men feel just as bad as men can make them feel. She wouldn’t tolerate this behaviour from you, don’t tolerate it from her. Take back your life, take back your manhood and stand up for yourself, you’re better than what you’re getting and you know it, so why are you letting it continue?

      • Stacy October 11 2014, 6:58 am

        Or maybe she IS the abuser. Gas lighting is a common form of abuse. I deal with that from my cheating emotional abuser. It’s literally maddening.

  • Autism Custody Battles September 1 2010, 1:23 am

    Men who threaten to take away the kids are engaging in post separation violence. It is common for batterers to threaten to take children away from the battered woman by proving her to be an unfit mother. For this reason, some lawyers advise women not to tell courts or mediators about child abuse or domestic abuse because, by doing so, they risk losing custody to the alleged abuser!

    • Racquel September 3 2014, 3:23 pm

      This happens to me every time because my life is not the greatest background. I’m only 21 and every single day I’m told my kids will be taken, I’m a c**t bitch s**t dirty h*e whatever you could think of. And please if someone knows what to do please tell me.

      • Clare Murphy PhD September 4 2014, 8:25 am

        Hi Racquel — It might really help you to get support from your local domestic violence organisation. To help you find somewhere near you, you could go to this link on my website http://speakoutloud.net/links and scroll down to find information in the country where you live. You can often find empowering support at domestic violence agencies. I wish you well, Clare.

      • Baron September 20 2014, 12:59 am

        You need to leave. You need to leave with your children and delete this man from your life. Try to seek help where you live and perhaps try to move areas completely and deny him contact with you at all. Remember, he is likely to persuade you to change your mind if you speak to him. Just leave and don’t look back, there is a man out there who will be pleased to love you and will even help you raise your children.

        • cindy October 12 2014, 4:34 pm

          I have left my abusive husband about three times. The first time he got us evicted from a house we were renting from my brother-in-law. I planned it so well because his brother knew it was his fault so my brother-in-law and sister-in-law let me and my son stay with them. I told him I was staying with a friend instead. Everything was okay until he started texting me and eventually I met up with him and left my son to live homeless with him. We spent 2-3 months living in motels mostly me paying. Sometimes we had to live in the limo he was driving. He eventually had a stroke while we were staying at one of the hotels. I stayed in his hospital room with him having to take showers in the hospital. He got sent to rehab thinking I was going to go with him there. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were nice enough to take me back again. But did I stay away and stay with my son. I visited my husband at rehab buying him things he needed instead of taking care of my son. When he was released from rehab he still had nowhere to go so I paid for a hotel for him to stay at for a couple of days. Then he calls his friend while I was at work to take him to the emergency room leaving me stuck with all his belongings at the hospital which I brought to him. How stupid. I should have just left to be with my son. He was eventually sent to a homeless mission. He was there for a month. I should have left him there. But I helped him get out of there, get his job back and bought him clothes and got him a place to stay. I left my son again for this jerk. All he did was abuse me again. Now I am living in his boss’s house in the basement virtually a prisoner.

          • Clare Murphy PhD October 14 2014, 12:34 pm

            cindy, can you locate some homeless support agencies? Or domestic violence agencies who might be able to give you some support? Don’t give up. You don’t deserve abuse no matter what choices you have made. You deserve dignity and the freedom to move forward. – Clare

        • Patricia October 15 2014, 11:11 pm

          I did that, and I lost custody of our daughter. He claimed Parent Alienation and because I listened to every abuse counselor and thought that it was the best thing to do was to leave and not look back – I am now fighting to get my daughter back. He claims that I found a man on the internet, took our daughter and when he came home we were both gone, that was true, we were both gone while he was sitting in jail on domestic battery charges. I got a restraining order on him but when that expired he found me and filed contempt charges against me, the Judge didn’t care that he had almost killed me in front of our toddler. She only cared that my ex gets his “father” time and because I didn’t let him know that I was taking our daughter out of state, she took custody away from me and gave him to a man that was a stranger, I only get two phone calls a week, my daughter has been living with this man since she was 2.5 and now she is 6. So, it’s not easy “leaving” a man especially if you have children. There are a lot of Father Rights Attorneys that abusers will hire to get their children back.

          • Clare Murphy PhD October 16 2014, 9:44 am

            Patricia — The system is in great need of overhaul. I attended a conference yesterday. A magistrate was part of a panel discussion supposedly making suggestions to make the systems work better. However, instead she engaged in victim blaming. She appeared to have zero understanding of Coercive Control. Every woman I counsel who goes through the court for custody issues, is experiencing the same as you. You are correct re the influence of the Fathers Rights movement. There is a pattern that many Court Judges favour father contact over and above children’s wellbeing and safety. This is in part to do with a lack of training in domestic violence issues. It is not compulsory for legal professionals to be educated in the dynamics of Coercive Control (this is the case in New Zealand and Australia – and I’m pretty certain it’s the case in most other countries). This equates to professionals acting as doctors with no requirement to be trained in common patterns of medical issues. — Clare

  • Silvia October 7 2010, 7:18 am

    I have spent the past year being verbally and psychologically abused. I thought for months, and still do sometimes, that it was my fault. I should have not told him this, I should have avoided that sentence, I could have just shut up, I should have understood his jokes….Silvia, show me your fat, oh your fat is always there, oh silvia the chubby, oh silvia you are paranoid, oh silvia you don’t have a sense of humour, oh come on you always play the victim, oh come on your projects are bullshit, oh silvia do you really believe in all the shit you say all the time? oh silvia you know that that guy has been here for the whole time we were having sex, cool isn’t it? you are so banal! oh silvia you are so superficial, I thought me and you were one thing but apparently there are many other people in between….you are so superficial because you tell everybody our problems instead of talking only to me….you are nothing without me, you disgust me because you depend on me, without me you are lost, oh that job…why did you take it? I can give you food….no I don’t feel like coming to your friends’, I have other things to do……

    You know, I realised only now, reading sources and papers, that I’ve been abused for months. I lost my self esteem, I always think I’m stupid, I even forget stuff, I cannot focus on my work and my study, and I keep thinking I don’t deserve love because I’m worthless.

    I think everybody should read this http://speakoutloud.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Tactics-Murphy-2010.pdf

    It is really interesting. Many things I thought were alright actually they are not. Sometimes you don’t realise what is right and what is wrong. In an abusive relationship you feel like what happens is ok, and it’s you the one who is making a big fuss about it.

    I realised I’m scared of saying my opinion now, and I don’t trust people who are nice to me!!!! Everything I say sort of triggers the thought of what HE would say in response. Of course something like “it’s all bullshit! do you think when you talk?”

    No women, no men, no one should feel this way. never.

    • Leah November 2 2012, 1:31 pm

      It’s so sad when one encounters this and by the time you realize it you are a bit gone and a bit delusional. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get through it but you must always get rid of the idiot who is the “aggressor” and start from scratch. It’s not easy but with each day that passes you WILL GET STRONGER. Have a great support system and lots of faith in g-d and in yourself. Sylvia, I would love to chat with you. We all need to help each other.

      • marie December 29 2012, 4:22 pm

        I have been experiencing emotional abuse, for over a year now, from a man I am dating. At first I thought I was overly sensitive and that I was doing something wrong. He gets angry if I dont say the right thing, minimizes my feelings, says cruel and hurtful things and blames me for every problem in the relationship. He does not allow me to speak or express myself freely, and when I do he often says it’s my fault why things dont go well between us. He lacks empathy toward me and says I am negative and plays the victim role. I am not perfect, but I always try to be respectful and honest when trying to communicate with him. I want out of this relationship, I can’t speak to any friends or family about this because I am too ashamed and feel they will judge me. I would like someone to talk to

        • Camille February 17 2013, 11:56 am

          Marie,

          Did you find someone to talk to? I don’t really know how these forums work, but please let me know if you need someone to talk to. Your story sounds a lot like mine. :) It gets better. You break up with that guy and realize, “Hey, I’m really happy when I’m not with him.” Day by day, as your self-confidence returns, you realize, “I’m awesome and lovable and talented and great.” You’ll get there. I hope you got out by now…

  • J November 2 2010, 5:42 am

    Silvia, thank you for sharing your story. It’s as if you told my story too. It is so exhausting there are days when I almost don’t want to live anymore. It’s nice to know that it’s not me and I’m not alone or crazy.

  • Mazzabunny November 11 2010, 7:54 am

    Dear Dr Clare

    Your 16 point list is soooooo important for victims of abuse because it helps clear up a lot of this confusion. I have just come out of an 11 year abusive relationship and am working on anger and revenge issues after several suicide attempts. The reason I got sucked in is because I couldn’t clarify what was actually going on even though it felt horrible. Thank you for the clarifications, if only I had access to this kind of info all these years ago. Please go to the link (in Clare’s post above which is also repeated in Silvia’s comment) on strategies men use to emotionally abuse women – it may save you years of pain and torture. The unprincipled narcissist who tormented me has not changed and generally they don’t. They usually search for more ludicrous ways to destroy you or pick up a new victim. On the positive side, once people are convinced that your abuser has gone for good you will be shocked at how supportive and friendly people become and all those old friends will come back so don’t give up. It is hard but you have to know that you will be happy and loved again.

  • Silvia December 7 2010, 8:41 am

    Hi there again,

    It is December now, another month passed and I feel GOOD.

    My ex boyfriend kept abusing me even after moving to another house and saying we were not together anymore.

    He left but he kept behaving as if we were still together, of course only when HE wanted me. But if it was me asking to meet and talk, oh my god, I was suffocating him. He kept making me feel like it was my fault if the relationship ended. But all of a sudden I thought, ‘why would I want someone like that?’ Also, ‘what if it is not MY problem but HIS?’ Furthermore, ‘why does he think to have the right to make me feel shit? no way!’

    A few days ago we met and as he started abusing me again I laughed so much, but so so so much that he got annoyed! and I said, ‘you know what my dear? the point is that I really love you while you never loved me, you just wanted someone to project all your anxieties to… You should look after the person you love, you should appreciate what she does and the way she is. That’s love. And yours is not love. I don’t want to see you anymore.’

    He got so shocked at first, then angry, he said he would delete my phone number. ‘YES YES DO IT.’ He never did, he texted me over and over again saying I was ridiculous….and why? because I said I don’t wanna see him anymore!

    I can’t stop laughin’.

    I cannot believe it that I let him do this to me. Everyone is special and everyone is amazing, and everyone should be with someone that sees that!

    I don’t have anyone now, I’m happy as I am. Many friends are filling my life again and I started reading and drawing again.

    I wish you all such happiness!

    I feel so good now.

    • John February 4 2013, 11:06 pm

      Good for you, I am a man and have just done the same as you, the last time she put me down really was the last time she put me down.

      • Cheryl July 24 2013, 8:46 am

        Good on you. I’ve just ended a 7 year nightmare yesterday. I never get told I’m loved. No hugs, no days out. No treats no nothing. I have never lived with him. It’s just me and my 11 year old son. I’ve tried so hard. I would have walked on water for him. But he doesn’t love or respect me. He shouts at me like I’m daft. Talks me down, just disregards me. I’m very loving. I feel so alone. . . . . They’re all mind players. They drag everyone else down with them. We carry the stress for them and we suffer and it hurts.

        • edwina July 2 2014, 3:22 am

          Hi I know how you feel. I spent nearly 10 years with a guy who would put me down and beat me and my children up. But when I stood up to him he didn’t like it.

          He was so controlling and blamed me for everything even though I was controlled and abused emotionally (“You’re fat”, “No one will ever have you”, “You smell” etc.) Physically broken bones and beatings. He doesn’t love me but still cares and misses me. Oh and takes pictures of me. He still had to talk to me every night and day as he was keeping the lines of communication open. (So he says.)

          They hate it when you take back control and hopefully it will get better and you will find someone who does treat you amazing. No he never cuddled me and in the end I got pissed off about it. I felt like he was using me to see our daughter and for me to stop him from pressing charges.

  • Cindy.... December 9 2010, 11:04 pm

    I’ve just finished reading all the comments and I sat here and burst into tears knowing that I was staring at what I am going through again for the second time. It took my family and friends 6 years to get over the last abuse I coped with and for 1 year have felt soooo good till now. I thought he loved me.. he says he doe, I think he does. This is a new relationship and he was soooo good to me in the beginning but I now feel helpless and worthless I can’t sleep or eat I lay awake waiting for him to text or call or to tell me I can call now .. he used to make me feel like I was the only special person in the world I felt so wanted and loved but then he changed he didn’t want me to help my family no more or lend money no more .. Then he said he wanted to live with me and told me he wants to live in Darwin omg that is really soooo far from all my family and my son… he is supposed to love me not hurt me and make me feel like crying all the time because I’m online or not texting him or calling him .. so I gave in and gave my friends online up but kept a few hidden on facebook .. He is now searching for a new victim and has found her but how do I tell her coz he will threaten me. I know he will coz he has told me about the threats and I’ve witnessed his anger in numerous situations… Then he says why do you always question my love for you how many times have I got to tell you ..? Then I feel like he is treating me like a child. . and I’m helpless becoz love is strong .. grrrrr. I’m so mad at myself right now for thinking like this and guilty… He wants to see me Sunday night but I’m afraid :( maybe I have done the wrong thing coming here I don’t know .. but I NEED to BREATHE again and stop SUFFOCATING …. I want to live again not feel like I am nothing .. I’m so depressed right now.

    Thankyou for taking the time to listen to me …

  • Kara May 15 2011, 1:52 pm

    I can absolutely relate to EVERYONE here (and Silvia, if you read this, leave your email as I would love to chat with you. It feels like we’re going through the same thing). And that goes for anyone else who’d like to talk this out. I am still in the “confused and hurt” stage. My ex and I have broken up numerous times, but this time it’s been 3 months – and, though I hate to admit this, I would have taken him back, even though he is emotionally unavailable and distant and yes, an abuser. There was just something about him I felt I loved and wanted. I know it sounds strange. And I absolutely hate the thought of him with someone else. And yet I caused all my own suffering. I told myself after my last relationship that I would LISTEN to my intuition but I didn’t. It should have been enough to know he’d had YEARS of failed relationships. NONE of them have worked out. All of them have been 2 maybe 3 years. That’s it. This time, I just don’t know what happened. I’d had enough and told him I was done. We had done this before, but I had (haha) hoped that since I’d shown him what a nice and honest person I was he would fight for me. He didn’t. I got a very cool and well thought out email from him 2 weeks after we broke up. I replied with my honest feelings. I got back what I thought was – I don’t know – a lot of excuses. All talk no action, as my sister would say. She would always tell me that he made little effort. I didn’t reply to his 2nd email and thought once again he might fight. WRONG. Not only did he not fight, I came across him at one of OUR favorite bars with a new girl!!!!! Oh, he called the next day and told me all sorts of things, but then – as usual, when I was hurting – he wasn’t there. It was ALL about him. I want so badly to be over him but he haunts me still. My sister thinks she’s consoling me by telling me he’ll find someone BUT he’ll never keep her. But it doesn’t make me feel any better. I worked SO hard in this relationship. I gave SO much. And now he just gets to move on? Leave all this damage he created and go his merry way? Where’s the justice in that?

  • heart broken July 30 2011, 1:26 pm

    Kara. …I really hope you get to read this. I feel exactly how you felt when you wrote this. I actually think it might even be the same guy. EVERYTHING you wrote is like I wrote it…including the other girl I caught him having lunch with. Hope we can chat. I do not understand why it is SO hard to let this man go; even though I know he doesn’t fight for me enough if at all. This time we have broken up for 5 days now, and it is the hardest thing for me!…He uses internet sites to meet women and I found out once. I confronted him, and all of a sudden it was me at fault. That I should trust him by now, and he can’t believe how I am and snooping around the internet. He said what he always said when he didn’t like something I said or did: “I think it’s best if we don’t date anymore”. I always came back knocking on his door. I disliked myself, and at times I still do. I have NEVER been this way. I don’t know how to forget about him. I ask God to give me courage. Hope everyone in this forum found it! heartbroken

  • raJI August 29 2011, 1:00 am

    Hi, I have been in an abusive relationship for 10 years. Even after knowing that the relationship was toxic, somehow persuaded myself that he will change, that even an abusive relationship is better than no relationship. Somehow I convinced myself that I have seen his innate goodness which is not obvious to my parents and that with patience and kindness, I shall overcome it all. I know now that all I had done has been cruel to myself and my child. It was an insult to my intelligence and breeding to have taken the shit routinely thrown at me. After every episode, every unkind remark or barb, I assured myself after “counselling” him that this was the last time and that he will somehow turn into a man I deserved. I have broken free now but still feel lost as how to regain my lost self-respect and self-esteem and get back to be a healthy, balanced person who will not be taken for granted nor take anyone for granted.

  • judy August 31 2011, 1:52 am

    Hi, I am the mum of a 19yr old daughter. My daughter got with this young man when she was 15yrs old and was her first boyfriend, he is 4yrs older than her and has alot of experiance, whereas my daughter has none!

    She has been with him for 4yrs they never did hold hands out in public or even sit next to each other in the house, but he was a good laugh, but only if he wanted, they fall out everyday.

    My daughter moved out of home 3 months ago, she has to pick him up from work at 3am. If she falls asleep god help he has to walk up the road to get home. She has a full-time job herself – shifts, and already has two warnings for being late.

    Last weekend he got a warning off my husband. We were lost as to how to help our daughter, so now we are not allowed in to see her if he is in. Referring to myself as “her” when I went down for a quick visit.

    This is breaking our hearts. We hardly ever get to see her or even her 13yr old brother.

    It’s all a lot of small things — calling her names, abusive to the max, being unfaithful. It doesn’t matter what this boy does she takes him back. Then the next time I see her, tells me he had her a bubble bath with candles waiting for her getting back from work. That’s her letting me know he’s not that bad. But then suddenly she dashes into my house to get something and I shout “stop” because I haven’t seen her for a few days, she pauses until I get to her – when I see what is left of a black eye. I ask over and over “what is that?” She rubs and rubs but of course it stays. “I don’t know” she says!! Again recently he has slapped her round the face.

    Now she tells me she is selling her beloved car and is going to cycle to her work bearing in mind 6am starts. We live in Scotland very rural with the kind of weather only cows and sheep are out in. She is a personal trainer and needs the car because of distance and weather.

    I am so worried for her what if she comes off the bike the route is through a forest then work. She will not hear a word of my husband and I.

    Please please does anybody know how I can help her without it being obvious to my daughter?? Before something terrible happens. I have left so much info out or it would be a book I was sending. Please help us. Judy

    • Clare September 1 2011, 8:05 am

      Dear Judy – Your plea is such a common plea – yet continues to be a dilemma to answer. I think part of this dilemma is the lack of a cohesive consistent community outrage at such abusive and controlling behaviours. Meantime until everyone in our communities stands up against this dynamic it continues to remain a private secret with victims who are dealing with fear, shame, self-blame. I have two suggestions. One is to contact some family violence organisations and discuss options with them – I’ve put some UK contacts here. This includes some free helpline numbers to call. Another idea is to read through the series of blogs I wrote on stages women go through in making sense of being controlled – you might find something of use in there. You can click on the following to read about each stage – Stage One, Stage Two, Stage Three, Stage Four, Stage Five. With warm support, Clare.

    • Rachel February 14 2012, 2:51 pm

      I did that to my mum – didn’t talk to her for 6 months. Sadly she passed away. I had only just begun talking to her to be honest. My ex hated my mum and I didn’t talk to her as it was easier than getting him angry with me. She was a dragon and I stayed away, coz if he knew he went over and threatened her. My advice is never shut the door on your daughter and know she loves you but it’s hard.

  • jennifer September 7 2011, 7:29 pm

    My name is Jennifer. I’ve been married over 16 years to a man 9 years younger. I think he is an emotional abuser he is calling me names; like stupid, ignorant, ridiculous, the he could be a better cook than me if he wants to learn. He doesn’t want me to tell anybody about any of our future plans. He doesn’t want me to have friends. He says that could lead to future problems. Finally he wants us to move far from my kids and family.

  • jojo September 24 2011, 7:43 am

    I’m JoJo, Ive been in a relationship for two and half years. He, my so called partner, is controlling and emotionally abusive. When I tell him what he is doing he turns it round and says it’s me doing it to him. He is also an alcoholic. Says that he can’t take anymore of what Im doing to him, acts the victim. I tell him he is scaring me and he says I scare him. I have spent many nights sat at my kitchen table with my head down whilst he has told me about myself, how old I am, how wrinkly I am (only 45!) to look at the state of me, who do I think I am, do I think I’m better than him? He has a one-sided conversation and answers for me. I moved him out in May this year as the kitchen thing was doing my head in. It is so infuriating I feel sometimes I am going mad and don’t understand why I keep putting up with it, I’m giving him the green light to carry on, oh I know all this stuff. I couldn’t even go to work today after the barrage of abusive texts he sent me last night, all because I wouldn’t see him. He is absolutely relentless and borders on psychotic at times…walking past my house looking in the kitchen to see if I’m in, noticing if my car has moved from one spot to another. He blames me for everything and then buys me chocolates/jewellery and tells me to put the past behind us, that no one will love me like he does (hope not). My sons hate him, they have heard the kitchen episodes. I hate myself for putting up with it, and yet at the moment find myself sitting here on a Friday night wondering what he is up to. What a joke eh? What is my problem. He is jealous but accuses me of lying all the time. He questions everything I do or say if I bump into anyone I know. He constantly asks me if I have bumped into friends and if I’m going to go out with them, then when he buggers off as he does about once every two weeks, he sends me texts saying he is with a much younger woman and they are having sex etc… I feel like I’m on a rollacoaster, I know everything and yet I still take him back. These unbalanced relationships we get ourselves into are a passionate love hate torture. It is draining the life and soul out of me. I cry more, feel isolated and yet can put my mask on and go out there and pretend it’s all fine. Crikey the more I type this stuff the more depressed I’m getting. Maybe as I’m reading all these sites on the computer could mean I’m looking for a way out, some help. I wish the rest of you well, I will get out of this I know I will, seems I have to sacrifice myself till I’m ground to the floor first. x

  • gooshimin November 18 2011, 8:19 pm

    I am flat out in a state of shock from just reading the other Comments. What strangers we all are yet you are all telling my story. I actually have not suffered the brutality and cruelty a couple of others have but that don’t mean I won’t. Now I have been warned! I have been married to my pro mental abuser for 10 years now. To be honest today is day 1 of really seeing that he indeed is abusing me. I actually apologized to him a few months ago for me abusing him. Ha ha ha. It is so hard to leave him. I am so dependent on him for everything. I don’t work and have no friends and not any family around and we live out in the sticks. A dear Chat Friend proved to me that he was indeed abusing me mentally this afternoon and now after reading you alls Comments. Last night he proceded to masturbate in front of me saying he was just airing it out. I asked something about us having sex and he grabs a bottle of tequilla with a long neck and holds it up on my bed and smiles his evil smile at me. He has never done this cruel of a thing about our sex life. It was the best part of us but now it is clear I was not seeing things when I saw him letting a woman in our front door a month ago. Nope I definately mean nothing any longer to him and all those questionable actions from the past are clearly telling me he never loved me and we were held togther because I wanted him soo bad. It was my love cause he does not care. I think these people are incapable of true love. I don’t get it but I have much to read here at this site and I hope to learn. I think I will get a women’s abuse group to help me with divorce because I just tremble when he is upset at me and I cannot in anyway defend myself. See you all in other Comments and emails and Chats. Thank you all for speaking up here.

  • Carrissa February 8 2012, 1:18 pm

    I just left my husband of twenty years because of the secret and very damaging psycholgical abuse. It shows me just how complicated this issue is. For another person to abuse you in such a way means that you have to play the part and agree to it and for a manipulative person this is all they need as permission to take control. I was emotionally abused as a child so I was “ripe for the picking” by this man who proceeded to demean me little by little over many years. He is in the public eye and is seen as a selfless hero which I now believe is a strategy to hide his extreme emotional cruelty behind closed doors.

    After some time I began to get abusive towards him and very angry. It was my counsellor who first used the word “abuse” to me in terms of what my husband was doing to me. At first it rocked me and confused me because I couldn’t believe I’d been abused. I really thought I was the abuser.

    I was also very confused about what was going on. He had told me so many alterations of the truth and I really relied on him for my own identity. He told me over many years that he knew me better than I did and I believed him!
    It was hard to recognise and admit because he also complimented me to other people and built up a picture of the doting husband although he never really gave me too many of these compliments. He complimented me a lot about things that made him happy but rubbished what made me happy.

    He manipulated me, isolated me geographically, physically and emotionally.
    Towards the end of the relationship the sex was getting weirder but I complied with that too.
    I have trouble now accepting what I endured for so long – the secrecy of it all is hard to live with.

    These people do not care about their partners – hard to believe, but true. They will do anything to get you to believe what they do but you are really a support mechanism and a shield for them.

    I would like to say to gooshimin that people told me we all have options and I didn’t believe them. I thought that’s all I deserved and I even regularly contemplated suicide but I have survived and many other women have too.

    You have a community of people here who can support you and the more information you get like Clare’s work the more you will be able to take care of yourself.

    • Janice August 12 2014, 1:36 pm

      Josette, your story is the closest to mine I have read so far. I am 65, but look quite young. I have been married 44 years. He gave me pure hell when my parents were alive and I thought when my Mom died last March he wouldn’t stay so mad all the time. My Mom was 88 when she died and lived 20 years after my Dad died. Being the only daughter, we spent a lot of time together. My husband refused to step foot in my parents home and for years, there were no family Christmases, etc. My alcoholic brother brought a lof of pain to the family. Because of problems between my brother and my husband, I even had a 2 year period where I didn’t see my parents. One day I woke up and told my husband I was going to see them, and he said “Oh, you are picking them over me.” I told him that if he made me choose, he would not win. I never hear any noises about divorce, but he made it clear every day how much he hated my family. Aside from the family, he puts me down about my housekeeping. I still work (i own my own business) and my housekeeping isn’t the greatest, but my house is no sty either.. I cook nearly every night and I have no friends that I go places unless I sneak off during a work day. My Mom and I used to go to the casino together on Saturdays or Sundays. He complained about that big time. After she died, one of my lady acquaintances asked me to go with her. He balked a little and out of his mouth before I left was, “Don’t let this be a habit.” I have not been back with her. I find myself lying about the silliest stuff because I get the third degree on where I have been during the day. I may tell him I am going one place to work, but really I am going someplace else. When I get a new client, I don’t tell him unless he is in a really good mood and I may have them as a client for weeks before I mention it. My way of coping is to hole up in my office till all hours of the night working just so I don’t have to listen to him fuss at me about something. I hate to upset the applecart as he does a lot of work outside in the yard, maintaining the house on the outside, feeds the cats, etc. And, believe me, he never lets me forget how much he does and how little I do. He also retired 10 years ago, which I thought would also make him a happier camper. Wrong. He is unhappy most of the time. Nothing I can do or say changes that. I have just made a life for myself from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F – weekends come, I stay at home, cook, wash clothes, work a little, etc. He has some friends that come over when I am not at home during the week – but we do not interact socially with anyone. He has sisters and brothers who live close, we do not even go visit them – Holidays, he stays away. I cook for us and our only grown son who is not married.

      I have become so accustomed to this life – that I don’t know if I could live any other way??? He doesn’t drink or smoke (neither do I), he feels like he is the perfect person (I can tell this by his admonishment of others)
      and no one can do anything like he can – Lord, help the drivers out there as no one knows how.

      Sometimes, I just want to say – please let’s just end this. You are miserable, you make me miserable. But I just haven’t been able to do it.

      I said when my son turned 18 I was going to leave him (Mental abuse was really bad then). But now he is 31 and I am still here.

      The thing today that got all this ruffled up again is that he asked me to call someone I know to give us a bid on some work. The person called me today and said they were on the way. I immediately called my husband, and I got chewed up and spit out because it wasn’t convenient for him. He was home, I was 60 miles away. If the person would have just showed up and I hadn’t called ahead, I would have been in trouble for that. I cannot win. He said that what I was supposed to do was make an effort to be here when the man showed up. Now, please know this person is someone I work for and whatever work he does will be at either no cost or a very, very low cost. But somehow, this is not even taken into consideration because my husband was put out because he had to stop what he was doing, put up his tools, etc. In the mix of the conversation about this is that “I just like to dress up and be seen and talk to my ‘little’ friends all day long while he is out in the 105 degree weather ‘working his a– off'” – well, you get the picture.

      Anybody out there have to deal with this, ever? It is a tough situation.

      • crazyness August 27 2014, 7:29 am

        Janice — I call that “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” syndrome. I hear crap like that all the time!! I’ve been with this guy for the better part of 10 years, have one elementary school aged child. I’ve been playing that game plus more the whole time pretty much. Now I constantly second, third, even fourth guess my decisions. Inevitably I’ll always hear I’m choosing the wrong thing while at the same time being lectured to trust my instincts. Really!!! Maybe next time I’ll tell him if I did that from the beginning I’d have ran screaming in the opposite direction and maybe, just maybe, we’d be happy now. Too bad I can’t see myself without him now without having panic attacks.

  • Josette March 29 2012, 9:18 pm

    Hi, I am 58 years old, and after a 26-year marriage, I kicked my “husband” out of the house. I caught him cheating on me with a 38 year old Thai “masseuse” (a prostitute). He had been doing so for more than a year. Then I realized he had been frequenting brothels for a long time. It was all my (and the children’s) fault. Apparently the house was not welcoming…. Everything was always our fault… Now that he has been kicked out, I realize what a fool I was for so many years. The guy had been controlling me, an intelligent, independent, fun (but not necessarily party-loving) person, to the point I became a shell. He sucked the life out of me (us). Now that he has been kicked out (happened 3 months ago), we are so happy. Why is it that what he did/does (because he will do it to someone else) is not regarded as an offense? No marks, though I ended up with breast cancer 5 years ago, throughout which he kept on visiting his “pros” (supposedly golf pros). Please tell me what can be done to expose such predators…. Josette

  • Waste of space May 12 2012, 6:29 am

    I have been with my partner for 10 years, we have a beautiful daughter who is 9 years old. We have argued for years, he has called me names in front of our child like I am horrible, I am a whore and a c….t and he’s now even hitting me in front of her and it’s all my fault because he tells me it’s because of me and the way I talk… I am a nasty person because I talk horrible to him. He’s lied and cheated on me and denies it. If I am all these things he says then why do I have so many people that like me? I know this is all wrong, but I just don’t know where to turn any more. I have no family and no money to leave and I don’t live in my own country. He tells me I don’t earn enough money with my work, I work 5 days a week do all the cleaning and most of the cooking.. All he tells me is that his life is hard and I should go to work with him for the day and then I would stop moaning. He screams at me if I confront him with anything and then he has put holes in all our doors either by punching them or because he’s thrown something at me and it’s missed me. He’s hit me quite a few times, never is really sorry for it and when I bring it up, he gets so mad… What a waste of space I am to allow all this to happen to me… I so wished my angel would help me as I am so scared and my head is so done in… I am so desperate, because I actually think it’s me and my fault, because my head is so messed up!!!

    • moonbeambeth June 27 2012, 12:57 pm

      For ‘Waste of Space’, I can’t sleep after reading about how you are living. This page has many women whom I’m sure will communicate with you, to give you advice or links to services, but real advice to get out of your relationship. There are organizations to help with the hard facts, safe shelter and provision for your daughter. The upheaval is immense, it is physically, financially, and emotionally the most difficult journey many women, now you, will ever undertake. You will be so fearful for your daughter that you will convince yourself it is better to stay until she has grown, you will find a thousand good reasons too. You are a working mother, the only waste is your quality of life. Your daughter belongs to women of our future, you can do right by your soul, teach her, train her, show her by example what it takes to stand as a woman in this world. If you really can’t leave, please share why? Is your location really so remote? Are there really no services to support you? After 9 years there is not a chance that your situation is getting anything but worse. What is in me, is in you, is in all the women who slept in dirty hostels, friend’s sofas, relatives that don’t want them, even homeless with their children, no money, no housing, no work. We all have one life, we live. Please, are you really different to us? My heart hurts I cannot be your angel, or supply you with what you need, but between all the women on this page, the internet, the women where you live and work, I really believe you can be your own angel, and after the trauma of getting out is over, you will find not an angel but a goddess, you. And that will live on in your daughter. I wish you both well on your journey, and sincerely hope only a disconnect with yourself is standing in your way and not where you live. I write and say goodbye with peace and light to reach you.

    • Cheryl July 24 2013, 8:55 am

      You deserve better.

  • Me May 15 2012, 10:26 pm

    I just left my husband and I am in the process trying to define what has been going on, what is my fault and so on. Found this page so thank you.

  • Lorena May 24 2012, 5:00 pm

    I believe it is hard to determine how bad it is until you find yourself looking for a way out. Most will assume that all will be okay and things will get better but it doesn’t. It takes years to get over and to find peace but you do, be patient and all will follow.

  • Sissy July 3 2012, 5:31 am

    I am finding out that the worse thing you can say to the behavior is “it’s ok”. They disrespect you then apologise – “it’s ok” – then it gets worse. They start yelling at you then apologise – “it’s ok”. I am sick inside, my stomach hurts all the time. I know it isn’t ok and I am not ok. I ask myself how did I get here again. This has been my cycle of life my entire life. Excusing my father’s terrible behaviour and then the last 25 years of bad men. I went to therapy for a year until this new guy convinced me I didn’t need it. Now I just spent the last four days trying to figure out how to get myself out of this again. I don’t want this life for myself. I just hope I find the strength to be alone. I feel so worthless. I don’t understand how I let myself get to this point again. I can’t let my family know I am in this situation again – they are tired of it. Help!

  • Amy August 7 2012, 3:58 am

    I have been with my boyfriend for 6 months, it’s not that long but we have been living together since the 3-4th week which he suggested we do. We were living a bit of a distance from each other so he suggested I move into the family home which he looks after for his parents which have moved out of the UK. I vaguely remember him saying a lot about parking costs, fuel costs and time for us to get to each other being difficult where I was living… I think he is very smart because he doesn’t always fully ‘say’ what he is implying so it’s difficult to catch him out and highlight when he is pushing things to be his way.

    We argue a lot now. I gave up a good job as it was taking a lot of my life and was pretty stressful. He said he didn’t think we could keep going in the relationship if I stayed in that job. I ended up leaving 3 months into our relationship with no alternative.

    I’ve always been very independant and strong in myself. My father was an emotional abuser, physical and psychological. This went on for years as I watched my mother and family suffer under his reign. There seemed to be no escape but we got away eventually and life got better. I vowed to myself I would never let any man do that to me… but I can’t help feeling I’m falling down the same trap.

    I’ve been putting so much of my energy into making projects for his work that I haven’t found a job and just recently ran out of money. He says one moment don’t worry he will look after us – and the next that he’s stressed about money. And next thing he starts dissecting my actions and anything I have been doing trying to generate work. He has somehow convinced me I should get some counselling, and that I am having problems in my mind. Yet I have spent weeks not doing anything but sleeping on the sofa and doing work bits to help his projects, go to his races, help with jobs he is doing.

    He is a very gentle man but can have outbursts where he breaks things…but it’s very rare.

    I used to do a lot of sport but now I do none. I haven’t done any for 6 months… coincidence?
    I do love him, but I feel resentment starting to form, feeling of being tricked. After reading all of your posts I started crying, as I saw so much of myself in your words. I dont even know if I’m imagining it all, being over sensitive, over-reacting.

    He doesn’t think anything I do is much good – but we always talk about his projects. We only talk about ‘my issues’ – this is how he justifies the imbalance.
    I don’t see any of my friends or family any more, as he moved me away from the city to the middle of nowhere with him, he doesn’t like me spending time with my friends as he says they don’t like him and are trying to break us up.

    I finally got myself to go for a run the other night, when I was dressed in my gear and trainers he was, like, “where are you going at this time? It’s half nine at night no one runs at this time”. I usually do, have done for years, I like it quiet and cooler. He said, “I’m going out then, I’m not sitting in whilst you go out”. I said I’m only gonna be an hour. He said he stayed in the night before for me and now I’m going out! This was not the situation at all! Then he said when his ex said she was going for a run she cheated on him! I just couldn’t help myself but laugh… it was one thing after the next all in 5 minutes! Major freak out because I was going for a jog.

    However, I doubt myself now. I’ve always been a fighter, thanks to my father being such a game player from early on. But now I feel it’s happening all over again. It’s like my worst nightmare coming to life… the abuser in the man I love. I feel lucky that I [mostly] can pick up on a few things, but they are coming all the time at me now and some get through the nets and I find myself sinking. Please help… I’m so confused, lost and feel very alone.

  • Carrissa August 15 2012, 12:10 pm

    Hi Amy
    Your post read exactly like my life.
    I think that says many things. It says that these people read like text book cases ie they tick all the boxes of abusers. And they do it for the same reasons which is because they do not care about you or anybody but need the security of being able to control someone completely.

    It is hard to accept, especially if you have had a bad run with partners, but a partner who truly loves you does not treat you this severely. What you are dealing with is severe and not normal and it will probably get worse with time especially as you wake up and try to manoeuvre your way towards a bit of freedom. These people don’t allow freedom because it is a threat to them.

    You will come up with many examples of how he loves you or is nice to you. You will also notice you no longer know what your true feelings are and you will be getting very confused.
    Just last week I stupidly had a conversation with my ex thinking it was safe. It wasn’t and it was very damaging. It has taken me 5 days to start to recover after he pretty much defamed everything I have done in the last year which I have felt so good about.

    My therapist of 1.5 years has pretty much given me the same message all this time which is “trust your gut feeling.” It is there and it will guide you to what you know is best.

    Please make sure you spend some time listening to yourself and looking after yourself. It may seem murky to you right now but what you have said in written form is clear to all. This person is not treating you like a person who loves and cares for you.

    There are so many wonderful people out there willing to support everybody here.
    xxxx

  • Spurred to Victory! August 22 2012, 8:45 pm

    Ok, so I am up at 2:00 am writing this because in two days (August 24th) I am leaving my 8 year run of this toxic on and off relationship! My ex-boyfriend is my high school sweetheart, we met when I was 14, he was 16, and at first I thought I had found my Prince Charming; oh boy was I ever wrong! Now for the first 5 years everything was ok, excluding the fact that he has cheated on me more times than I can count, and that he has broken my heart so many times that I can’t even remember. So there for two years I actually got away from him, and I was seeing other people, none of which panned out, but I thought hey why don’t I give HS sweetheart a call. Our 5 year run had ended badly so I always wondered how he was for those two years. So November 30th, 2009, I show up at his house to wish him a happy 22nd birthday, not expecting anything to happen or for us to get back together, wow such a mistake now in hindsight. Well eventually we rekindled our old romance, and decide that we want to move in together, despite my parents advice, since my parents knew this “man” from the time he 16 as did I.

    Now the kicker to this “relationship” was that he wanted to be in a Polyamorous relationship (this is a relationship where both parties are “together” but can have sex and relationships with other people). Now for me, this was not the relationship I wanted nor signed up for, but I so badly wanted to be with him again that I lowered my morals and standards to do this “relationship.” And mind you this Polyamorous relationship was the only way he would ever be with me, (he told me this); so he wanted his cake, and he wanted to eat it too. Now I had told him if we do this relationship that I would eventually fall in love with another because physical intimacy is very binding in my opinion (which I did) and that our relationship would done. He agreed to this, now he supposedly regrets it. So then as 2010 progressed it took me a year but I finally gave into his pushings and coercions to find a playmate, for the only reason so that he could have a playmate as well. So finally I found 2 playmates actually and he found none. Now this caused issues because no woman wanted to be with him and I had two men who were willing to give me the world, so his jealousy only grew from that point which caused major harm and issues for me down the road. So ontop of trust issues from him cheating on me so many times, now I have to deal with him having sex knowingly with other women. So there is no coming back and having a healthy relationship with this man.

    He calls himself a “Professional” photographer, but in reality he just wants to photograph women in their birthday suit, so he can say it’s not cheating. There was one time that I was downstairs watching TV, and he was upstairs doing a “photoshoot” with a perspective playmate, and I heard bumping noises. I went upstairs to see if someone had fallen, and as I open the door I find that he is ontop of the “model.” According to him he was tickling her to get her out from under the sheets, (btw she was in her bra and thong.) So I swept it off as if it didn’t bother me, and I went downstairs got into my car, and drove for almost two hours to calm down. All the while he was texting me, “Baby, I’m sorry.” “Nothing happened.” “You’re overreacting.” “It was just a bit of fun.” Now I have quieted down about this incident but to this day I don’t believe “nothing” happened, I believe something happened and it’s just something I know I will never believe or trust him on!

    Now ontop of the cheating side of this man, he is also physically, emotionally, mentally, sexually, and financially abusive. About 9 months ago we got into a fight over something, and apparently I made him so angry, that in order to, as he said to “shut me up” he took the fire extinguisher off the wall and came with an inch of my face with his full force behind it. He said he only did it because I was nagging him too much, but if he hadn’t stopped himself within that split second too soon, I would have wound up in the hospital with a smashed in face or worse. That including numerous slaps, bites, kicks, throwing and breaking things with inches of my face. Even today we were at the store, and I had been humming a tune in my head for about an hr, and I was just being my silly self, he came up behind me in the grocery store, grabbed my waist, put his hand over my mouth and held me back to shut me up. It scared and startled me, so I fought back which only made him pull my neck back harder. Now my neck hurts and this was about 6 hrs ago. Another time about a year ago, he was trying to be “funny” and again we were in the grocery store, and he actually pulled my upper body down, and trying to elude to idea that I should give him a blowjob. I was mortified, and I was so embarrassed I just ran to the register, and purchased my stuff and got the heck outta there! Another time he got so angry at me, that he actually took one of the show pillows that normally lays on the bed, and starting hitting me over the head with it, with his full force behind it; it hurt so bad it felt like I had whiplash from a car accident for two days afterwards. He devalues me, my ideas, my dreams; he only “proposed” to me back in December because I gave him an ultimatum that if he didn’t do it before 2011 was over that we were done. So he gave me his mother’s ugly gold ring from her first failed marriage, and called it good; before that he actually used my Sears reward points to “buy” me $20 fake emerald ring to use as the “original” engagement ring. There have been times we have looked at rings I actually like, and each time he says no because it’s too expensive. The wedding wasn’t even a thought in his mind, because again weddings are “too expensive” so I shouldn’t even consider it is what he eluded too?! Now keep in mind he has a job that pays him $11.50 an hr, now please tell me how he cannot afford a ring or a wedding at all? On top of that he lives with his mother, and doesn’t pay rent! Just recently he tried to buy me a $50 sterling silver claddaugh ring, and he wanted to call it the “Official” engagement ring! And I did not accept it!

    But out of everything I have been through with this man, one wonderful and amazing thing has come of all of this! One of the playmates I spoke of earlier, has truly shown his quality, and like I said before I have fallen in love with him! He has been so supportive, he has been there for me through everything, he has encouraged me to leave the jerky guy, but not pushed or forced his will upon me, I have truly found my soulmate in this second man. And the best part you ask…? He has NEVER laid a hand on me, or spoken a mean spirited word to me! He has offered me his heart, his love, and as soon as next month he will ask my father for my hand in marriage! He does not withold money from, or food, and he sure as heck has never threatened me with anything! What originally started out as just a casual encounter, has now turned into a lifelong love with man #2. Now the jerky guy is not too happy about this, but as I had told him from the beginning, that if “We did this relationship, then I will fall in love with another, and we shall be done!” Jerky guy is very mad and upset about it, so in order to insure my safety, my soulmate and his cousin are coming out this Friday while Jerky guy is at work to help me move back into the safety of where I should have been all along, my parents house. Now through the love, comfort, and support of my family, friends, and especially my soulmate, I am finally making this move and going back to where love overflows, and I will never have to worry about being beat, yelled at, or walking on eggshells again!

    So to all you ladies who are struggling through or considering leaving an abusive relationship, I hope my story will spur you on as others have for me, and let you know that you’re not alone, and that you DO deserve better! You are worth loving, you are worth everything, and there is a much better life out there for you whether there’s a man included in that right now or not! No one deserves to ever be hit, abused, or to be afraid of their lover! So with this I give my most heartfelt and warmest invitation to “Live your life outside the rule of an Abusive Man!”

    Now if you would like just a simple text and a quote to keep close to your heart while you make your hard decisions, here’s one for you,

    “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
    ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    And if this is not the love you see, then look somewhere else, because abuse doesn’t just happen, there is something that triggers it and until the man truly deals with his inner self, then you will be the target of his rage.

    So with that, I wish you all the best, and the happiest, I wish you to find that one man to make your wings soar, high above all the pain that you have experienced, because fairytales should not be for just little girls anymore, they should also be “happily ever afters” for adults as well!

    Sincerely yours,
    R

  • BABS August 25 2012, 1:33 am

    Hi, firstly I must say… what a relief to find this site. I am not alone!

    I have (4 days ago) left my Husband. I’m feeling very confused about my feelings, why do I miss him? I’m feeling that I have hurt him deeply by leaving. Are these feelings “normal”?

    Ok.. here’s my story. I met him via the internet 2 years ago. I have 3 children. He never accepted the older 2 ( 19 years and 22 years old at the time). But my 2 year old was a princess and he said I didn’t pay any attention to her, but gave all my time to the 2 parasites!

    Of course he paid me a lot of attention and compliments and over time, I moved to his city. He bought me a new phone, deleted all my contacts, as I didn’t need my family or friends, they will just cause trouble and HE is all I needed. If I needed anything from the shops, he got it or took me. I didn’t need to go alone anywhere…again I had him and that’s all I needed. How stupid could I have been… but I kept telling myself, it’s not the done thing to ask your partner for ID?

    I have since found out he does not work where he said he worked. He claimed to be a policeman (yes he had a uniform) and this was also used against me as, if I ever left, his friends on the force would inform him of all my actions. So now, I’m without any family or friend’s contact numbers, in a strange city alone, not allowed a computer to access the internet and, as he bought the furniture for our house, I now owe him thousands!!!

    I was feeling alone, suffocated, scared of answering questions about my past relationships incorrectly. I began to lie because he was constantly asking and asking about my children’s fathers. He became racist against my older daughter who is mixed raced, and indeed about me being inpregnated but a “nigger”. My heart was breaking with his cruel words. Just before I left I was bathing my now 4 year old who told me, “mummy we are going to get a new mummy and put you in the bin, and daddy will cut your head off and we will play football with it”. Imagine the deep burning pain in my chest at these words. I was not allowed to talk about, or think about my other grown-up children, my parents and my friends because they will all cause trouble and all my friends are whores. I am a whore also because I have been married for 24 years then had my youngest 1 year after my divorce, which means I only waited 3 months to have sex with someone else.

    As it is now, I got away, went to a women’s refuge and now trying to deal with what has happened. Yes I am getting abusive text messages from him and his sister (could be he is using his sisters phone). I fear he will stalk me as he has already been to my parents and, of course, shown them Mr Nice. So they are confused as to why I left him and he has told them lies about me, how I hate them etc…

    But at least I am now free and do not fear being physically hurt also, as he had pushed, pulled, grabbed, held and twisted my arms.

    As a 46 year old woman, I never thought I would have been so stupid.
    So glad I am not alone and wish this sort of thing did not exist for anyone. :-)

  • Elizabeth September 26 2012, 10:53 am

    I’m 23 and I’m with a man who I believe is abusive. He’s six years older than me. Although he has never been physically violent to me, he has called me derogatory names when he gets angry, like “stupid b*tch” or “this stupid girl” which are things he says “under his breath” but they are loud enough to hear. I do pretty much everything for him that he needs except pay his rent and buy his food. He is always exhausting me with errands which have to be done when he wants it to be done and how he wants to be done. He makes a big deal out of petty things. Like recently, we went on a trip and we both came back tired. I was too tired to make breakfast. He was upset and gave me the silent treatment afterward. Then continues the tirade the day after saying things like “you need to be able to anticipate my needs. It seems like you don’t care about my needs that I express to you…that is not love” When I got angry and told him not to tell me what my feelings were he tells me that he’s not telling me my feelings; he’s communicating his own needs. He says he is tired of this “stupid relationship” with a girl that doesn’t understand basic concepts and that “if he’s going to put up with this he might as well find someone else who going to anticipate those needs.”

    He constantly blames me and everyone else around him (his family) for his bouts of anger and lack of emotional stability. He also has a serious entitlement issue and expects people to “help him” and “take care of him”. He does not like me contradicting him. He always gets mad when I’m making a statement and I use the word “but”. I rarely hear about my needs emotionally and when I express them, he says he denies me emotional comfort because of the way I treat him. He goes on facebook and says things that he knows will hurt my feelings. When I cry or get angry he gets furious and says that I need to grow up and stop crying so much. I have gotten numerous apologies and numerous justifications for his actions. When he leaves me or I leave him, I get a sob story in which he begs to come back to me, saying that things will get better; that he’ll go to anger management – but nothing changes.

    I was pregnant and had an abortion forced on me by my parents because they did not want a child in the house. I was threatened on numerous occasions with being thrown out. He didn’t offer any help when I asked, and when I had the abortion (which I was torn up about because I wanted my child), he called me all types of nasty names and told me that it was my fault. How could I do this to the man who’s always giving me money and “supporting me”? I have gotten so frustrated with talking to the wall that on a couple of occasions I had gotten violent with him (which I am not proud of). I have been depressed and angry for most of the relationship. He has fixed the swearing but he still talks in this passive-aggressive manner

  • Meghan October 14 2012, 6:59 pm

    My soon to be ex-husband literally used the same phrase, but he has learned to tie everything in a knot first. He is here to “anticipate my needs” but when I actually express a need I get a round of excuses and somehow it turns into my fault that I have a need. It’s a great phrase for manipulation because it’s like dangling a carrot – or in your case Elizabeth he is using it as a dagger. Either way it’s cruel.

    Mine is a lot of “talk” too. He is going to do anger management, he is going to pay his half of the bills – he is going to do this, that and everything. And yes I too have gotten mean back, and I too have gotten aggressive back via facebook. And physically (which I am not proud of either, but back anyone into a corner and see how they respond!). I have beaten myself up over it, taken responsibility for things I should not have, lied to cover up his “look how good I am” lies. My lies always make me look bad and him look good and he still turns things around to make me feel nothing but confusion and anger.

    Herein lies the key. I was sane before I met him. Yes I have Adhd, yes I deal with bouts of depression … but I was still social, still held a job, and looked forward to things, even if it was just a walk with dogs. When he is in my life I feel nothing but despair.

    Think of his behaviors as symptoms. I literally googled “huband got out of the car” and, lo and behold, I found pages of information on personality disorders. At first I thought maybe I had a disorder. But no, this is how these people work. They break you down and literally tie your thinking in a knot (confused on where to start untying?) to the point you are reading, verbatim, actions of others with this illness – and you still doubt yourself. But as I focus on the facts I see clearly this is abuse. Yes I have reacted, and pat on the back for me refusing to let my spirit die. No, somedays I’m sure I’m dying, but overall I have left – got the pfa, next step file.

    I am guessing, Elizabeth, when you “tied the knot” you weren’t expecting to feel like someone tied your heart, your life, your mind, your emotions, and probably your environment in a knot. I know that phrase kills me now. But he is already flirting with the idea of other people, which of course he states by telling me how faithful he has been and hopes I have been too.

    I got to a point when I could only remember one thing a week – so I would focus on something small. A load of laundry happened tues. I would remember the date. I would hang on to that at my worst and best moments and eventually he would use it in a lie. He paid the bill on a thurs, don’t I remember I was doing laundry so I couldn’t have paid that bill on the second? I would ignore how it felt and focus on my one fact. I did this, week after week, until I started to see a pattern – and eventually I realized it was “Gaslighting”. Look it up. I bet it’s happening in your home. Reach out to God, but I would keep your faith quiet till you are free and clear because they will use even Jesus to hold control. I prayed for God to open all the doors if I should go. He opened them all. I prayed for wisdom, discernment, and clarity every single day and still do. Hang in there. Find people who knew you before this, that know you well and who don’t see you often (so they aren’t emotionally involved) – and ask them to verify your sanity. I used person “a”, person “b” scenerios so I could know they weren’t just being biased. Forums can be helpful too but be careful to erase your history.

    Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. Source: Wikipedia [Editor]

  • Meghan October 14 2012, 7:16 pm

    My one year anniversary is this coming week. I should add that he used the hope of children to control me for a very long time. But the only thing more powerful than the hope of children as a control method, is actually having children with these kinds of people. He sold me out six feet short of the wedding isle walkway. I literally have a picture where I am trying to get away from him…in my wedding dress. I emailed the person who married us a day after the wedding and begged her not to send the paperwork in. Too late. He betrayed me over and over and over again in that 24 hour period. But I was so scared I said nothing and married him – and I am not a quiet shy person! Of course he did nothing wrong, and it’s on me to fix all of it. No thank you.

    All of this is about what I haven’t been to him, what I haven’t done for him, and what I don’t feel for him. This has nothing to do with the fact that he has eroded all trust and love out of this marriage by his poor choices and passive aggressive nature. Which, btw, usually turns to violence. Hence, the four months of my first six months of marrage was healing from bruised ribs, etc. But that was all my fault because I “couldn’t-forgive-him-for-the-wedding-day” BS. The highlight of the series was to stir emotion before launching into the subtle, coercive attack. There is always a flick on the head before they start in on you, leaving you stunned so it makes the rest of the sentence sort of echo through the knotty mess your heart and brain are left in. So, by the end of it, you aren’t sure what you heard, what you feel, or what you should think.

  • ashley October 25 2012, 8:57 am

    After reading all the signs displayed on this page I came to the realization that I am in an abusive relationship. A good example recently was my fiance called me to ask me to pay his phone bill. I told him OK. The next day he called me to tell me his account was [still] negative 80-100 dollars. When I told him that I was not going to pay both bills he immediately got mad because I had money left over, and hung up. Then called me back at work and proceeded to cuss me out calling me selfish, etc. We had this big argument at home and I did not go back to work that day. After arguing I eventually gave in and gave him the money. And then he acted as if nothing happened. I called a therapist for the both if us cause after being in a relationship for 5 years I realized that my depression seemed to be getting worse.

  • julie November 18 2012, 1:43 pm

    Hi, I met this guy about a year ago. At first he was so lovely, he told me every day he loved me. But, after a while, he started to take my phone and bag n hide it so I couldn’t leave his house and go home. He got so jealous of other guys and girls. Didn’t like me being around anyone and he always started arguments outside in public. I would try to walk away but he would follow me and start shouting, pushing me up against the wall, threaten to hurt someone. Shout he’s gonna punch someone up, blame me for everything. He’d dance with other girls and look at me while doing it. But if I did that he would have hurt someone. He always watches what I am doing, don’t trust me, thinks I’m going to see another guy. My mum don’t like him but he always tried to go back in to my mum’s. I would tell him he couldn’t but he would start a big argument always telling me what I can wear or what I couldn’t wear. Made me feel so weak I would always blame myself for his behaviour, thinking it was my fault. He would say we’re not together no more but still act as if we was together, always with me everywhere I went. Still takes my phone n bag, says where I can n can’t go, Even got my friend’s daughter taking my bag n phone n would laugh. Even when he would argue with me n upset me he would laugh and say “what’s wrong” when he knows why I was upset. This is abuse I’m sure of it but I don’t know what to think.

  • Rachel November 20 2012, 10:01 pm

    Hi
    I have been married twice. My first marriage ended because I wasn’t allowed my own opinion or choices – unless I was able to justify them in triplicate, but it was not violent. I came out of the marriage in a good place. I knew I had tried everything there was to try – from endless attempts to get him to engage with me; counselling (Relate), talking to friends, to a trial separation. Even now, I think he’s more incompetent (sent away to boarding school at 7 and simply not properly socialised at home) than intentionally controlling. However, my second husband has been a different matter. I did not want to marry again – and made no secret of it. When I met him, looking back, he took in my position and made a point of seeing if he could break down my standpoint and change my mind. Thereafter followed a concerted attack on my resistance which ultimately ened in me agreeing to marry him just to end the ‘assault’. That sounds nuts, but at the time, it felt like a bombardment I just wanted to escape from – and the easiest way was to agree to marry him.

    To begin with, he was charming. We did lots of things, he showered me with gifts, seemed to like to ‘dress’ me – ie. choose me clothes and present me with them. I had two children from my first marriage and he made strenuous efforts to win their regard. At the time, their father was trying to win custody (representing himself) and believed in the public school type of corporal discipline for children – smacking etc. and they didn’t want to go for contact visits, let alone to live with him and their new, very designer-conscious and irascible Italian stepmother. This meant that my second husband had an easy task with them because they wanted a happy ending with a secure family – as any child does. However, he wanted his own child. This also coincided with him telling me of unbelieveable debts that he had not told me about before we married. I should add that he encouraged me to leave my jobs (I had three at the time I met him), sell my house and upsize to a huge place in the country, with a correspondingly frightening mortgage, using the equity to pay off his debts. To find then, that there were still more debts, was chilling to say the least.

    This feeling was compounded by his spending habits. I came home one day to find a complete new set of office furniture and equipment – two desks, new computers; fax machine, leather office chairs. He booked expensive family holidays abroad; bought cases and cases of wine; DVDs; music – and cars. He changed his car more than once a year, taking out loans and more and more finance to pay for them. Into all this, came my third child. My big children loved him and played a big part in trying to make us a tight and secure family unit. However, my husband’s attitude to them quickly began to change.

    From protecting them, he began to criticise them and me. He started to demand ‘manners’ from them by standing none-to-nose and screaming at full volume into their faces – and yes, he began to smack them. Correspondingly, I began to act as middle-man. Getting in between him and them to try and deflect him, as at that point, he wasn’t touching me. It got so bad that my daughter tried to run away – in the middle of the night, she was found with a cushion in her dressing gown in a ditch a mile away. My elder son meanwhile started to hear voices and became worryingly withdrawn.

    I was only three years into the marriage at that point and fortunately, my husband was beginning to spend more time away with work. However, then the pressure began firstly for me to go back to work full-time and to move us 150 miles away to be closer to the ‘support network’ of his family. At the time, we were living only 2 miles from my mother and stepfather. This continued, but I resisted until in the end, we compromised on Bath, only 40 miles away.

    We sold the big house for £100k profit and I was reluctantly persuaded to rent, on the promise that we would house-hunt. At the time, I had no idea that buying would be a struggle, since we had made back the equity I had lost in settling his debts and should have had plenty for a new home. Anyway, eventually and with bad grace, I found a home he agreed to buy. It needed renovation, but that shouldn’t have been a problem. It was a problem. Three months after we bought it, he came home telling me that there was no way we could pay the workment unless I agreed to jointly take out a £25k loan. I was not happy about it but as we had no kitchen at the time and he was mostly away, leaving me with three young children in a building site, I felt I had no choice. The day after the loan was agreed, he spent the money on a top of the range Audi A8 car.

    Under financial as well as emotional pressure to go back to work, I found a 20 hours a week job, two minutes walk from home – or a 10 minute round-trip via nursery, which worked. Shortly after that, I found an empty pack of Viagra in the bathroom bin. I thought about it for several days before I challenged him, but eventually I found the courage. I was told that he needed it to address his nerves making presentations at work – and of course, I wanted to believe that.

    By this time, his anger and behaviour had become erratic. I found myself treading very carefully at home so as not to provoke his anger, so on the occasion of my daughter’s birthday, we had a small party with just a handful of friends so it wouldn’t impact on him too much. He threw himself into the prep for the party – although he chose to make curry, knowing that the children didn’t like it. When he presented it at the table and asked for opinions, he utterly exploded when he received back the comment (said very nervously) ‘It’s a bit ‘spiccy’ (the kids’ word for spicey). He ranted and raved, not even bothering to hide it in front of the only mother who had stayed to help – who quickly took her children and left, until I got in front of him and told him to leave the kids alone, at which point, he pushed me down, partly onto a sofa, partly onto the floor, gripping my arm so tightly it left finger bruises. I did actually get away, taking my youngest up for a shower, but he pursued me, pushing me over again onto the bathroom floor in front of my son, who was crying in the shower.

    That should have been the end really, but we limped on for a few more months, the kids and me mostly cowering when he was at home. Then at Christmas that year, knowing that my sister and I don’t get on well, he paid for her to fly home for Christmas and stay with us. On Boxing Day, he got up about half an hour after we had gone to bed and didn’t come back up. I left it a while and then went down to find him, catching him with my sister on the sofa in the living room.

    After that, it somehow became easier to part – there was a concrete reason why I didn’t have to put up with him any more that he couldn’t dispute. That hasn’t meant he has stopped trying to control me – and now my son however.

    He has made my 10 year-old son feel responsible for his father’s happiness and well-being and is currently pressuring him to decide on his father’s choice of secondary (private, paid for by his parents) school and has had me in court trying to enforce financial penalties and to gain custody of our son every 18 months since we spilt 8 years ago. It is still exhausting, but my son and I are the only people over whom he has any control and he doesn’t hesitate to exercise it. He attempted to compel me to repay an £128 000.00 loan he took from his parents to pay yet more debts when we split and repeatedly defaulted on the mortgage on the family home until I had to sell, leaving me with the £25k debt to repay from the renovation period. I now have nothing – not a bean to my name, having to waste money on expensive renting, but I do have my son, who has now begun to say he doesn’t want to go to his father’s on contact weekends – unheard of in a boy who feels the weight of responsibility on his little shoulders. That’s the next battle looming – and I know that there will be considerable fallout when I insist – as I intend to, that my son will have the final say and that I will back him. Think of me…

  • April November 23 2012, 6:06 pm

    Where do I begin? Everything started out soooo great and wonderful. I felt so alive and loved but slowly things changed.
    He changed. And I changed to try to keep him happy and to prove to him ‘something’ that I still don’t know what that ‘something’ is. Slowly I stopped contact with friends and family and doing things I like to do – things that make me happy, things that make me, me.

    But none of that mattered to him. While trying to please him I lost ‘me’, enduring 2 years of the name calling, the belittling, the rage in his eyes and his voice, the days and weeks with no communication. All the time he tried to make it all seem like it was my fault. That he couldn’t trust me, and never would. It was his excuse for everything.

    Then he would be sorry and he would be the nicest man again to me. He would do nice things, say he didn’t mean any of the things he said, and that he would never do it again. But that would only last for a couple days then back to the old him and the rage. But every time he went back he was a little more mean, a little more cruel, a little more verbally abusive, and a lot more psychologically abusive.

    But now I don’t know what to do. I am pregnant with twins and they are his. Everything has gotten so bad that I’m scared to be around him alone. Today of all days, thanksgiving, he started the biggest fight with me yet. And once again it started because of my friends who he doesn’t approve of, not a single friend. It got to the point that he actually put his hands on me physically. He insists that I terminate my pregnancy and, if I don’t, he will make my life hell.

    He doesn’t give a damn about me or his kids that he always says aren’t his ’cause all I am is a whore’ when he is mad at me. But when he isn’t mad he says he is so happy we are blessed with this blessing and that I’m such a great woman and he is so happy to have me in his life. I don’t know. I don’t want to keep his kids from him but I also do not want them growing up thinking that’s how they treat people or should be treated. I’m lost right now. I know he isn’t going to change but I can’t help but to pray that he would. Any advice would help me.

  • Lu December 27 2012, 1:56 am

    April, he sounds bipolar. You appear to be losing yourself too quickly. Go to a Woman’s Center and get counseling to piece yourself back together. Absolutely do not let go of your friends. This man has major issues and you will ride a roller coaster of hell if you cannot maintain who you are. You must be strong for the rest of this pregnancy and to get through the first year of limited sleep and general challenges of post-pardon.
    Peace

  • Carissa January 14 2013, 2:11 am

    Hi April
    I think the best thing you could do is get some professional help if you can afford it, say from a psychologist. If not go and tell some of this to your Dr, or perhaps they have some counselling services at a Womens Centre – but you need to go and get some face-to-face counselling. Don’t be afraid – there is lots of help and support out there.

  • Samantha January 19 2013, 10:25 pm

    I’ve been in a relationship for almost seven years. It’s ended quite abruptly. Because of me. I was insecure and should never have been. And I need to change and he will find someone who appreciates him. I was 19 when I met him he was 28. I’m now 26.

    When I met him I was young and easy to change. I started changing my looks and weight because of the fact that he’d look at porn and bring magazines home. I told him I didn’t like it. I told him it hurt. Maybe it’s my own self that needs to accept it’s ok for men to desire other women. So I changed myself. He tells me he liked me the way I was before. I’m fake and need to gain weight, I look sick and have issues. I did anything and everything for him. He continued to tell me I should trust him even when he lied where he went. Even when my brother said he’d go to a bar after work with him, and even after hearing from another they went to a titty bar, I said it’s ok.

    I’m blamed that I should be ok with it. This goes on every now and then. Lies. I start getting more insecure and I am trying to trust him. He goes out to a bucks night. Only one that comes home from crying and beaten up. Next morning he buys me a diamond ring. I take him back. I took care of him when we went out…

    So this goes on. Good then bad. I felt so unloved and was asking for sex. He always said he was tired. One time I came home early after working at a fast food joint (which he was ashamed to tell his friends I worked at). Caught him masturbating to porn. I hate it now. Loath it. Asking for affection and he helps himself out. Happened a few times to this day he says I was stupid not to trust him and he gave me no reason not to because he done it 3 times since we were together. I tried and tried to trust him. A few years later we moved away from my family to Western Australia. He has family up here. In fact most of them followed. I asked him before we left please understand how I feel and don’t hurt me. A week after being up there changing houses and it was hard. I looked on his phone and there are piles of sites. I confronted him. He yells and tells me I’m crazy and get over it, all men do it.

    We see a counsellor. As much as I cry he pushes it back onto me. I feel like I should try to trust him with my heart. Been up here for a while (there are a lot of things I’ve left out because this is my relationship story, it’s too long). I’d never find anyone better than him. He treats me like a princess. Refuses to make his and my money together. I earn less so it’s not fair basically.

    One night after his knee surgery, I baby him and even set him up in front of the TV with snacks and a pee bucket and drain it after I get home. He heals and goes drinking. He liked to drink even if his cholesterol was 7. He wakes me up at 3am to pick him up. I argue that he can find his own way home. He wins. I pick him up. He wants McDonalds. I say, no it’s home from here, I do argue back. He punches me in the face. I’m hurt emotionally more than physically. Thank god the cops saw me swerving all over the road.

    I forgave him. Took me a long time to get my life back. But I did. I try to trust him. After a while… This year a girl he calls cuz – not blood related – was in the picture for 2 and a half years. Didn’t have much of a problem until 4 months ago. She’s not blood related but in the aboriginal side it’s a custom. I’m supposed to be ok with him texting her and ringing her so much all of a sudden. He invites people over and they abuse our home. I should just shut up and deal with it. I felt him distancing himself from me. Saw messages flirting. He knew how I felt and that I didn’t want those people over, including her, after my dog got bottled. And I didn’t like her straight away. He knew. After boxing day the night he stayed out until seven and brought a drunk mate home, finally his mate went home, I left him to sleep. Do food shopping, see a girlfriend, and I come home. The first thing he did after a drunk night was ring his girl cuz to come over thinking I was working. I tried my best to stay nice. But I ended up shooting a few and losing my shit at him while she was inside saying (ey what the hell are you thinking) because I abused and put him down he left in the car with her. Didn’t come home and when I continued to try and contact him I got a message at 2am saying (hey trust me when I say nothing is happening I needed to get away from you and your abuse). He told me I shouldn’t have any issues with their friendship and I should trust him and I shouldn’t look at her as a threat, or a girl.

    We’re not together anymore and my instincts say he did something. He put me on the back burner. It hurts. It’s turned that I’m the insulting one and pushed him and should trust him, I should change. It’s quite recent the split. I’m hurting I need advice please. If he didn’t do anything maybe I do need to change and maybe there is hope still.

  • sammy January 26 2013, 12:47 am

    Hi, I met my kid’s dad when I was 17 and I fell pregnant right away. I’m 30 now and have 4 kids from him. I never see my family. All my friends I’ve made over the years have disappeared. I didn’t realise what was going on for a start and things are so bad now I don’t know how to end it.

    He has always used my kids against me, making me out to be a bad mum and telling me I wouldn’t cope without him. I know that’s not true. I can cope a 100 times better when he is not around. He walks in from work and he can somehow say one word to me and I would end up crying. Then he would go on swearing at me and the kids, saying he can’t work out what my problem is. Things just go on and on and we never talk, and never really have done. I never sleep with him. Not over the last 6 years unless he buys me drink and tries getting me drunk and just helps himself. I have stopped drinking altogether now. I’m just lost. I want me and my kids out of this mess – but I’m just stuck. I don’t know how to get out of this mess.

    I didn’t realise so many people are going through this. For years I felt and thought it was just me – and it was all in my head. Thank you and I’m glad I’ve found this site.

  • julia April 15 2013, 1:58 pm

    I’ve been with this man for six years, he is 25 and I am 30, we have a 9 month old daughter together. Most of the years we have been on again off again. He uses alcohol and drugs(crack), he treats me like I’m crap like my feelings don’t matter and that I’m always jealous. Now that he is in the recovery house and working he thinks I’m the crazy one and that he is fixing himself, but he still dismisses my feelings. When I feel he is doing something, because of his liitle lies not adding up, he punishes by not seeing me and ignorining my texts. Only if I threaten him with something he replies than says I’m losing it and that’s why he doesn’t talk to me. I cry and he just doesn’t seem to care. Taking it back a little he left me to go live with his brother because his brother sold drugs so my boyfriend would cook and clean to get the drugs. Me being so hurt, I turn to a man for comfort he treated me so nice, something I hadn’t had. I had a baby but the father deserted my child because I didn’t want him and I got back with my boyfriend. My boyfriend hates my son and doesn’t recognize I chose to give life and not kill the baby. Mind you he once left me and got a girl pregnant but she didn’t want his baby. So now he always says I cheated him but he is the one who left. He knows I love him but he keeps me trapped in this vicious cycle I feel so hurt and insecure all the time.

  • sue May 7 2013, 10:43 am

    I don’t know what’s going on. No one believes me and I feel like I’m going insane. I’m not allowed to go anywhere and, when I do, he calls the police on me and tries to have me arrested. I don’t want to lose my house, I want him to leave yet he calls the landlord and tells him lies about me. Lost, and dont know what to do.

    • Cheryl July 24 2013, 9:02 am

      You know what you have to do — pack a bag and the first chance you get go — or you will lose your mind. Good luck, Cheryl

  • Sarah May 22 2013, 12:39 am

    I have been on and off with this same guy for the past 4 years. When we broke up we both slept with different people and both went out and had totally separate lives. It took me a while to actually build myself to living and being on my own without him but I got there in the end and I did feel happy within myself but I was going out and stuff a lot. Soon after we chose to get back with each other now a year down the line. I literally feel like I can’t cope anymore, I don’t want to have sex I feel like he tries to sexually abuse me. I just want to be on my own and for him to go to work. Am crying everyday, I feel like he takes the piss out of me and belittles me. He’s slated my dead parents and abused me in front of my friends. He calls me names day in day out from rat, slag, whore. To him saying he wants to sleep with girls we both know. I felt totally crushed inside he doesn’t seem to understand and when I tell him to go he smashes the house up and gets his family involved because he knows I don’t have anyone to call and tell. If we talk he will agree with me and say he’s going to change but he doesn’t. It all depends on what mood he is in, when I try speak to him he takes the piss out if me like being childish and repeating what I’m saying and saying it in weird voices and not listening whatsoever. Then it leads to him saying ‘oh fuck off you rat’ then it’s the abusing and smashing my house up. I looked up depression and everything it says I feel like it but it says depressed people blame themselves whereas I don’t blame myself I blame him. I tell him I feel like this and I should go to the doctor and he laughs in my face. It’s totally degrading to me. I feel sick inside and worthless! He goes through my phone everyday and pin points everything out and asks who or what is this when I never check his. If I leave the house I must not see or speak to someone that he doesn’t like. In the car he accuses me of looking at other guys when I’m not. When I tell him stuff about my girl friends he will turn it around on me when all I’m doing is telling him a story. He will say ‘oh did you sleep with him as well?’ It’s totally crazy. I never leave my house! I don’t work! The jobs what I want to do e.g. retail and bar work he doesn’t agree with it. I’m 21 and this has been going on for 4 years I feel like used goods and middle aged.

  • Madison July 18 2013, 8:20 am

    I am 27 years old and am currently in an abusive relationship. I am also around 3 months pregnant. I have had a very rough life, and am currently also dealing with a stalker that I have had since I was 17. I have tried to explain to my boyfriend of 3 years about the stalker and the things that the stalker does to try to turn people against me, along with his threats etc. All I get told is how I must have done something to make this happen, that I’m a whore, a slut, etc. He has broken many items of mine, and recently broke a cell phone of mine that had evidence on it about the stalker, which ended up in me going to the emergency room. I tried to get the phone away from him and got thrown into the bed railing and messed my back up horribly. I still don’t know what’s wrong with it because due to me being pregnant the hospital would only look at it. He constantly brings up my past and calls me very derogatory names, and just today has asked me how many men I have slept with. I have already told him previously, but he swears that I haven’t and calls me a liar, trying to make me doubt my own sanity I suppose. He demands to see who I call daily and checks my texts he also demands to look at my computer. I also rescue dogs, and he, in the past, has been very abusive to them also. I have no family to move in with and no friends anywhere close, and even if I did, I can’t leave because I have pets here and I refuse to leave them. I have contacted shelters and no one will take my dogs because they are pit bulls. I feel completely lost and trapped. His mother only encourages his behavior too, by trying to blame me and his alcohol problem for his actions. I know I’m a beautiful girl that doesn’t deserve to be treated this way but it seems so hard to get away…

  • londonlady July 23 2013, 11:39 pm

    I’ve been reading your comments over and over again for the last 24 hours and honestly don’t know where to begin. I met my now ex through work, we both work in the media. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, however he persued me and after a lot of convincing we started to date and I fell in love. He’s an only child and was raised by his mother who was very ill, however she was very very manipulative in that she would always say, “you two go and be happy, I’ll die by myself”. He told me all of his previous relationships ended due to his Mother. However he would not allow that to happen to us. I should also mention that he was heavily into the use of marajuana, which I did not like, however put up with. Over time he would tease me about my size. He met my family and my Mother did not like him, however my Father warmed to him. I treated him and his mother like a King and Queen. Both craved love as his Father abandoned them both in his younger years and I thought “let me bring some happiness into their lives”. I pushed his career and put mine on hold. I supported him, defended him. However he never reciprocated. After a few months I was worried that his mother was the centre of his world and wrote him a letter. We sat down and talked about it and he assured me it would be okay. That was it, after that whenever we argued he would bring up the letter (even though after we fought he said he’d never bring it up again). He hated a lot of my male friends so I cut off from them. He did show me love and affection, however for his Birthday I threw him a surprise Birthday, I worked like a dog to pay for a day he and all of his friends would remember. The next day when I woke up his Mother handed me a broom and said ‘here sweep up my floor’ right in front of him. In tears I left, he was swearing and cursing me. I then spoke to him and said “I cannot live with your Mother”. He ignored me on my Birthday only 2 days later. He drove me crazy, blasted me all over social networks and made out like I was a mean, cold hearted, cruel awful woman as I hated his God-like Mother. I left my job, my home and my friends and moved away. Every so often he would send me a “I’m sorry” text but would never act upon it. It broke my heart that he never fought for me. Over the next few months he became ill, I went to see him. I was ill, and he accused me of making it up. Eventually his Mother died, and I went to pay my respects. Made tea for visitors and took food for him and his friends during the mourning period. He went crazy he told people my chapter was closed, he hated me, I was a mean and cold hearted woman. Then again he messaged me on his birthday to say he was missing me. This went on and on for a while, however he never acted upon it. Recently he was sacked from his job, and didn’t have many prospects. So he messaged me to say he was scared as the bailiffs were coming to the door and he was going to kill himself. I know people who have killed themselves, so I went to see him, sat with him, we talked ‘like normal’ then he asked for a hug. One thing led to another, we met up and I helped him resolve his job issue, but he was constantly hot and cold. Then the last time we met he said “your chapter is closed I cannot be with you, you hated my Mother, you know what you said.” I feel so lost. I did the best I could and yet he has made me feel so worthless and unloved. I feel like I have lost all of my confidence, whilst he goes around acting like he is King of the world and no one had any idea. He sent me a 4 hour long conversation stating why he hated me — ‘my food was bad, his friends didn’t like my cooking, I’m mean, I’m twisted, I’m materialistic for showing him an engagement ring that I liked (which I thought was what normal couples did, i.e. tell each other your likes and dislikes). To be extra spiteful he swore he would never use the gift I bought for him on his Birthday, only for me to see pictures of him using them last week at an event.
    I have only realised after being in this room and reading all of your comments that I have been an emotionally abusive relationship too. I feel so lost and helpless, I kick myself everyday whenever I miss him, because when things were great they were amazing however, he has made no attempt to change or be a better person, yet preaches how he wishes to live in his Mother’s shadow. I feel so alone, as far as the world is concerned we were dead and buried I just don’t know what else I can say, he has literally left me with no confidence or self esteem.

  • Cheryl July 24 2013, 9:10 am

    Good luck to everyone on these posts. Time’s a healer. And abusive partners are like boats, they run aground. There are great people out there and they’re waiting for good people like us to find them. Make the horrible ones a distant memory. Life’s for living. Go and get it. I’m going to give it a go. xx

  • Trinney August 12 2013, 10:27 pm

    I feel emotional just reading all these posts here. I know what it’s like to be in love with a man who hurts you rather than simply cherish and love you. As I’m typing this, my boyfriend of three years has given me an ultimatum – to do what he says or he will leave the relationship. He thinks I’m too passive and I don’t do things as quick as he would like them done. For example, he is irritated because in this day and age, I have not installed internet on my phone (instead of helping me or showing me how to do it). He is also irritated that I have not gone to the bank to find out how much I qualify for housing (we are not planning on buying a house together so I don’t know why this should be an issue to him and when I asked him he simply said it’s for my own good). I admit I’m a bit slow but I don’t understand why such small little details about me irritate him so much. I have told him that I understand his frustration but that he needed to help me through my weaknesses in a loving manner, instead of belittling me and patronizing me. He gets turned-off and upset over the smallest things. Whenever I complain about his actions hurting me, he says I should accept him for who he is but it seems this only applies when he is the one doing something I don’t like. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around him all the time. I feel like I can’t freely express my feelings in the relationship because I’m afraid to upset him and start up another heated argument. I feel like I have no say in the relationship and that things must always be done his way and in his time. Lately, he has been using threats of leaving me to get what he wants. He broke-up with me a few weeks ago, but then returned saying he wanted to work things out. So when we met to discuss about getting back together, he said “I should prove to him that I’m willing to change, and only then, will he feel we have a future together otherwise he is going to walk out the door again”. He treats me as if he is doing me a favour by getting back together with me because during our discussion it was all about what he likes and doesn’t like about me and that I need to change. I told him that I will try hard to make our relationship work but that I did not feel OK with the way he was communicating his expectations because he was making me feel belittled and stupid by setting up conditions for me as if I was a little child. What followed was a heated argument where he accused me of starting unnecessary arguments with him when he was trying to give me a second chance. While he threw his tantrum, I tried to remain calm and gently told him that I was only trying to explain that his cold actions were making me feel unloved to which he sarcastically offered a cold apology. He gave me a hug afterwards and I felt relieved, thinking that we had finally sorted out our issues. Just five minutes after he left my place, he gives me a call where he vented on about how he doesn’t appreciate me starting up arguments over small things and said “Next time this happens again, I swear I will leave this relationship!” It left my head spinning as to why he made me feel as if the issue was sorted just to give me an angry phone-call. I listened quietly as he went on and on about how he was sick and tired of arguments and threatening to leave me. Finally when he hung-up, I broke down and cried, asking myself ‘why a man I loved so much treated me so badly and cared so little about my feelings’. As if the angry phone-call was not harsh enough, he sends me a text saying either I change or he will leave me. I didn’t even have the energy to reply to his text, I just sank in my bed feeling depressed and wondering why I’m with a man who makes me feel as if he was doing me a favour by being with me. My gut-instinct is telling me I’m not being treated right because it doesn’t feel right. If I was really the problem, then why am I the one hurting so much while he acts as if he is the grand prize to be won and I must win his affection and attention. I really sense he is emotionally abusive and my friends tell me if he was the one for me, he would not make me cry all the time and that he would at least care about how his actions make me feel.

  • Jessica August 16 2013, 11:57 pm

    Thankyou so much for this terrific website and all the information you share. It’s the best source I’ve found on the internet.

  • sharon August 30 2013, 10:16 am

    Hello, I’ve been married to this man who is also the father of my only child, we have been married for 7 years now but have been together for 20 years. He is 10 years my senior and he is very verbally abusive to me. He has only hit me once im my life, gave me a black eye. But another time when he was very drunk, he attempted to punch me in front of his friends who were also embarrassed. He is a binge alcoholic and substance abuser (cocaine,heroin). Sometimes he stays clean and sober for months and then suddenly goes crazy again. He is very charming and jolly in public, but privately whenever we argue about something, he is always right and always wants to have the last word. He is also very aggressive and domineering and always likes to have control. He calls me names and ridicules me and when he is drunk he publicly insults and curses me out. Since the day we met he has been like this… I don’t know why I got married to him. At first when I was younger, I used to believe all his lies about the hickeys on his neck. He used to tell me that bees stung him. lol. He also cheats on me and I don’t trust him at all. He always thinks that I’m having an affair or flirting with someone behind his back. I am no longer in love with him. I stay in the marriage because I’m afaid that if I leave I won’t make it on my own. But day by day I’ve become so fed up that I can’t be bothered anymore. I no longer care what he thinks. I feel a lot of bitterness and animosity and hatred towards him. But still, I try to be normal and laugh and cook and clean when he comes home from work. Whenever he drinks he goes on a drug binge and I never see him until the day after. And when he decides to come home it’s when his money has totally run out and he needs a shower or a hot meal. I know that eventually I must leave this man and this marriage before I totally self destruct. I don’t want my daughter thinking that this is normal behaviour in a marriage. I know it depresses her but she is a good kid and thankfully this hasn’t affected her grades. But I know it’s not healthy and a terrible environment for her and me. I’ve turned into a bitter, fretful, overweight woman and I’m afraid that if I continue to be here, I won’t be good for anyone or anything else. I’m 40 yrs old and I sometimes lie in my bed at night unable to sleep and I cry like a baby until I’m too tired to. But I’ve decided to work more hours at my job and save my money and change my life. It’s a slow process but I have support from close friends and my mom and daughter. Sometimes I fantasise about hurting this man but he is the father of my child and that is what saves his ass! But I know deep down inside he is just a mean, frightened, insecure little man/kid who uses money and guilt trips and mind games to control me. But what he doesn’t know is that a HUGE surprise is in store for him! One day he is going to come home and find an empty house….no wife or daughter! I am going to have the last laugh and I’m going to take control of my life….god is on my side!

    • Hindu October 7 2014, 4:51 pm

      Hi Sharon, I am so impressed by your slow planning and strong faith. I am in a relationship with a hoarder, a bit different, but also controlling with money because all the money goes to him. I feel a lot of the same feelings you wrote about. You are a smart planner with hope and he is a dumb, impulsive, addict who is pathetically hopeless.
      Hindu

  • Chuck September 16 2013, 12:52 pm

    My sympathies to all women confronting these problems. I found this page from doing a Google search for “wife” “cannot apologize” “emotionally abused as a child”. While my wife will not disclose all that happened or even acknowledge the extent of it, she is an adult child of an NPD mother and was subjected to withering emotional abuse while growing up. She played the mother’s role to a number of younger siblings, was kept home to keep the household running, was thrown out of the house for “being fat” (despite being a high school cheerleader, homecoming queen and a college athlete). She is hypersensitive to criticism, employs gaslighting and retaliatory techniques when we have contention, and routinely winds me up in order to play the victim and deflect any accusation that she has frustrated me or not kept a commitment. We have children but I am at the end of my wits. I do not expect her to agree to or respond to therapy so I have no hope of “fixing her.” I am, however, hoping I can find resources for coping with this excruciatingly frustrating circumstance for the sake of our kids. My self esteem has taken a beating and I find myself getting angrier as I think about it. Help!

  • Rosin March 12 2014, 3:39 pm

    I could not answer yes to any of the six questions on top of this page. No I do not always feel safe around my spouse, when he gets angry he breaks things and loves to intimidate me. He cheated on me a couple years ago and I do not trust him at all. A couple days ago we had a great day/evening together. He dropped me off in front of our home I thought it was because it was a cold evening he went to park the car. I went inside our home but I noticed he was taking a long time so I decided to see if he was ok and caught him on the phone talking to someone. It’s not the first time this scenario happens, so I questioned why everytime he drops me in front and parks he has to be talking to someone? He knew I was upset and he got angry started yelling and punch my kitchen cabinet door and broke it. It is making me think he is guilty of something can it be he is cheating again? Is this a sign?

  • Michele May 23 2014, 5:11 am

    I also could not answer yes to any of the questions that is for sure. Okay the way I see my relationship that I’m in is dangerous. My boyfriend goes outside our relationship and gets his sex from prostitutes. When we got together my boyfriend and I had agreed to go to massage professionals not prostitutes. He has phone numbers in his phone to prostitutes he has hired or going to hire. I have brought it to his attention that it was not agreed in this relationship. He tells me to keep my nose out of it.

  • Donna June 12 2014, 4:19 am

    I allowed myself to get into another abusive relationship for 12 years…going through second divorce due to abuse. Two wonderful children born from this last marriage ages 12 and 9. I have five children ranging from 30 to 9 years of age. We went through counseling. The physical abuse stopped but not the others. The counselor took us on a journey to find safe harbor with each other. This never happened. I am 52 years old and every time my ex would mention spending his golden years with me I would cringe. That was the last thing I wanted.
    The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I discovered he had posted an ad on a gay website with hookups anytime based on your location. I had ignored all the other red flags about his sexual preference. Enough after all of this, he paints me as the bad guy. I took our kids and moved back home…leaving a home I loved and drowning in debt.
    I now have a safe harbor away from him but he uses our children against me. Manipulating them and still controlling me.
    If you are, or were, in a similar situation, especially when your spouse/partner was a closet gay, please email me.

    • Clare Murphy PhD June 17 2014, 4:57 pm

      Hi Donna, people who abuse others and then do not take personal responsibility for their behaviours and the harm caused, always deny what they’ve done, minimise it and blame the victim or blame something or someone else. It is wonderful that you are safe. Unfortunately many men who control their female partner often use children as weapons to get at their partner. Often perpetrators of abuse have thoughts and feelings and needs that they hide from view, perhaps because of shame and often because of fear of what others think and fear of facing their vulnerabilities. Then it is others who have to cope with the aftermath. I wish you well in the next phases of your journey. Clare

  • Shezz June 12 2014, 3:07 pm

    Wow I couldn’t answer yes to any of these questions sadly. I’ve only just turned 19. I can’t believe I went through things like this. He is good looking and always talks about the pretty girls he saw in clubs which made me feel bad. He emotionally trapped me and knows it will be hard for me to move on because I lost my virginity to him and it meant a lot to me. When I refuse to have sex with him he walks out on me and says, “I have so many girls dying to have me so I can just go f**k other girls.” Now it’s been a week since I finally let go but he posted on facebook saying I’m a hoe and I meant nothing. For him it was all about the sex. :(

    • Clare Murphy PhD June 17 2014, 4:53 pm

      Hi Shezz….Older wiser women go through what you’ve been going through. Coercive control twists the victim’s brain so that you start to believe there’s something wrong with you. Be true to yourself. Name for yourself what your values are, what you want and stick to who you really want to be. The more authentic and honest you are with yourself the more likely you will meet a partner who is safe, kind, caring, empathetic, respectful, honest and in integrity. That is what you deserve…. Clare

    • lost girl July 4 2014, 10:30 pm

      I know how you feel shezz. You’re not alone. My ex-boyfriend did the same thing with me. When he left me he told me that he wanted to start new with a new girl. The moment he left me I felt stupid and useless. I regret what I did with him. I should have known better. I mean I was only 15 and he was 17. ):

  • Rachel2 June 20 2014, 10:10 pm

    I just want to say a big thank you to Clare for the truly invaluable work you are doing. Also thank you to all the wonderfully brave people who post their comments. I was in an abusive relationship for 18 months but in that time had a child. The emotional, psychological and verbal abuse was horrendous and although the relationship was short-lived and I got out, the consequences have been severe. I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. However, prior to this diagnosis, I was so worried that he would treat our child in the same way that I asked for a psychological assessment to be made of him. I also agreed to speak to the psychologist. I intended to explain what had happened and was hoping the psychologist would suggest strategies and point out to him how abusive his behaviours were. I feel sick now at how naïve I was.

    By the time I met the psychologist I was an emotional mess. My partner however, was rational, cool, calm and collected and so ‘upset’ as to what he was being accused of. Guess who was believed?! Has anyone else had an experience similar to this? I was lucky in that family and friends and my doctor did believe me and took the abuse seriously. But, in essence, I am someone who is considered to have lied and made false allegations, when in reality everything I said was true. Incidentally he did begin to treat our child in a similar way and eventually my child refused to see him because ‘he’s always bullying me.’ I would never have been able to make up the emotional abuse I endured – I wouldn’t have had the imagination!

    The psychologist, not believing me and taking his ‘side’, has been enormously harmful and, of course, gave him the green light for continuing his behaviour as well as labelling me as someone who made false allegations. I would be so grateful if others who have experienced something similar could post. It would be great to know I am not alone and have some support in how to cope with the anger and distress that I feel many years later. Thank you so much and I wish everyone luck on their journey to rediscovering themselves and healing. . . . .

    I’ve just realised that there is another Rachel on this site so it might be confusing. Sorry Rachel, if you are still a regular visitor to this site. I will call myself Rachel2!

    • Clare Murphy PhD June 21 2014, 12:15 am

      Hello Rachel2, I’d like you to know you are definitely not alone in the experience you had with the psychologist. I have spoken to a number of women here in Australia, also New Zealand, the UK and USA who have all despaired at being labelled mad or bad — experienced secondary victimisation by a professional who was supposed to see clearly the reality of coercive control and support and empower the victim. I’ve written court reports for women critiquing psychologists reports . . . reports written by professionals who, without in-depth training in coercive control, end up placing victims (usually women and children) in danger and if not danger, then placing them even deeper into the stranglehold that the controlling perpetrator already had over the victims. Before engaging any psychological service it is vital that victims find out what knowledge the professional has about coercive control. I wish you well. Clare

  • Don July 2 2014, 4:16 pm

    Ok here it goes… Never done this before. So here is my story. I have a wife who is never wrong, withholds love when I have ‘wronged’ her, will not initiate resolution for conflict, nor will she initiate intimacy.

    She lies to her friends around her about our situation. She paints me as a controlling ass who has ruined her financially. When in fact she is the one who is not working and she spent all the money.

    She lies to make herself look better and doesn’t take responsibility for any poor decision made.

    I am not perfect and I have my faults, but I don’t talk bad about her. I try to look at my part in a disagreement and say “I’m sorry”. Never will she. In fact if I try to express feelings they get twisted and somehow it is wrong.

    Is there hope? I have dedicated 16 years and two children… do I have to live like this? If I listened to her I am a horrible person.

    We have no grandparents for our kids. I want my kids to be able to bring their children to grandpa and grandma’s house. Is this a dream that will never happen? … Don

    • Clare Murphy PhD July 4 2014, 5:37 pm

      Hi Don, when there’s someone in relationship that does not know how, or refuses to, resolve ongoing issues, yes it does lead to a loss of ‘happy ever after’ dreams. One way forward I suggest to people is to continue to grow your own authentic self, to name and know your values and live with integrity. Mindfully develop moment to moment awareness and loving kindness and be the change you want to see in the world, as Ghandhi said. That way you will have no resentment, no regrets about the kind of husband and father you chose to be. That strength of conviction to be a kind, caring, empathetic man could lead to an improved relationship — and if not — it could lead to greater strength and conviction if it means you have to leave. I wish you well, Clare.

  • Rachel2 July 4 2014, 11:59 am

    Thank you so much Clare for replying. I cannot put into words how much it means to me that you acknowledged my post and, although I obviously don’t want anyone else to have had the same experience that I have had when it comes to psychologists’ reports, it was in some way a relief that I am not alone. Once again, the work you are doing is so important and invaluable. I wondered if psychologists and other health professionals are aware of it and, if not, how they can be made more aware.

    • Clare Murphy PhD July 4 2014, 5:28 pm

      Hi Rachel2, Such a good question! As far as I know it is not compulsory for psychologists to learn about domestic violence/coercive control during their basic foundational training. There are many psychological disciplines such as developmental, clinical, organisational, educational psychology (and others). It is usually people who study social psychology or community psychology or sociology and some social workers (but definitely not all) that might gain understanding of the systemic issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault and other gender-based crimes such as hate crimes against homosexual communities. I give workshops to various professionals – social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists – but attendance is voluntary. Warm wishes, Clare

  • Sylvia July 4 2014, 11:14 pm

    Hi everyone and Clare
    Thank you for creating this forum.
    It’s really important that people communicate with each other to understand they are not alone or crazy.
    I eventually freed myself of a very warped and controlling marriage after three kids and living in complete isolation.
    Luckily I had the support of a very smart counsellor. He supports me to the end and I became strong enough in myself to leave and leave behind the abuse, mainly psychological.
    But it took me a long long time to get it because his abuse ranged from very subtle to severe. It would always change and he would also cleverly interchange it with compliments and gifts, none of which ever felt truly authentic. I was very very confused, which is what my counsellor first started to work on me with. He helped me work out what were my true feelings, not anyone else’s.
    I really only ever believed I was the bad one, as I was told this a lot. But as I said, he was such a manipulator that he disguised it all with weird types of compliments.
    All, I can say is that it felt like I was on a very tight choker chain, and being given things at the same time. Be held the chain and yanked it and loosened it whenever he wanted, so ultimately had all the control.
    I don’t want to go on about it but I just wanted to say that he had one very strange quality, amongst many, which was the inability to feel bad or sorry if he hurt me. The physical abuse was occasional but once he left me with massive bruising all down my side after being violently pushed to the ground and punched my arm.
    I had no one to go to as we were very isolated. It kind of shocked me to the core and I never recovered. But the worst thing was he never said sorry even when I pressed him on it.
    I showed him the massive bruising and he kind of looked at it blankly as if he had no connection to it at all.
    This is when I knew I was completely abandoned and in danger.
    Over the course of a year I slowly extricated myself and eventually “escaped.” He was furious that I’d got away to safety and he got aggressive and very weird. But by then I was safe.
    I now know everyone has hope and if I could get away then other people can too.
    We need support and to gather our strength and to know your “authentic” self as Clare said.
    Thank you for reading this.
    Sylvia

  • Rachel2 July 7 2014, 7:48 am

    Hi Sylvia,

    Firstly, well done for getting out of the abusive relationship and it’s fantastic that you have such a good counsellor who ‘gets it’. Also you are not alone. I too had lots of flowers and gifts as well as lots of subtle and overt put downs. That’s one of the aspects of these sorts of relationships that makes them so confusing. I was never physically abused, but my ex-partner was never sorry either. I had often heard that abusive men were abusive and then apologetic, but mine was never apologetic and that made it even more confusing to me. I could not understand how someone could be so cruel, frightening, verbally aggressive and rude and not say sorry. It got to the point where I was so frightened of him (in an emotional/psychological way – never physically) that I felt I couldn’t breathe or speak. Getting out felt like wading through treacle (as I am sure you are aware). Thank you for posting – every person who posts makes me feel that I am not alone.

  • Cindy July 29 2014, 5:41 am

    Anytime me and my spouse get in an argument, he always throws in my face how I got fired from my job and that I had nothing before I meet him, which is false. I had my own mobile home, my own car etc. Been married 5 years. How can this stop?

    • Clare Murphy PhD July 29 2014, 8:59 am

      Coercive control does not stop unless the perpetrator commits to getting help to change from a domestic violence agency (not an untrained counsellor because most counsellors do not have training in the dynamics of coercive control)- and that takes a minimum of 2 years to see real consistent honest change. Ask yourself, if he continues to behave as he does currently what do you predict for your life in 5 years time? It ALWAYS gets worse. Now is the time to get support from your local domestic violence agency to move away from such abuse.

  • James August 3 2014, 2:29 pm

    Hello,

    I am concerned that I am in fact the emotionally abusive one. Today I got mad at my girlfriend and screamed at her, telling her to shut up and let me talk. I tried to move her into a social situation she was not comfortable with. I got angry and hit myself out of guilt and anger. It terrified her and broke her trust in me. I accept that I am an emotionally abusive man and want to receive help to be a better person. What concrete steps can I do right now to prevent being an emotional abuser anymore?

    • Clare Murphy PhD August 4 2014, 10:00 am

      James, Admitting to your full history of abusive behaviours is a good place to start – and you have already started. Not wanting to abuse someone you love and knowing it is not acceptable is vital – and you have that desire. We all choose our behaviour and are guided by a set of beliefs that drive what we say and do. Identifying your personal beliefs about yourself (as a man), about women (as a group) and social messages about how you’re supposed to be as a “man” and how you’re “supposed” to act in relation to women are vital steps. If you want in-depth help to make changes I have successfully helped men via Skype – in case that is an option you want to pursue. Otherwise, attending a men’s stopping violence programme is often useful. ESPECIALLY if the programme helps you understand the social meaning underpinning power and control and to understand the social pressures relating to masculinities. I wish you well, Clare

  • Angela August 4 2014, 1:09 pm

    I have been with my boyfriend for 2 years.

    For 2 years I have thought I was the crazy one, I thought I was the bitch because he told me I was.

    I have no life, no friends, no confidence and no help.
    I constantly feel guilty because we have $5,000 debt together and I’m only 20 years old two weeks ago. I haven’t even told my parents…

    Thank you to whoever posted this.

    • Sylvia August 28 2014, 3:54 pm

      Hi Angela
      I would like to say to you that there are plenty more fish in the sea even if you think you love your BF, no-one deserves to be abused and isolated. I was about 25 when I met my ex and it took me 20 years to wake up. I went through 20 years of self doubt, self deprecation. Things got worse over the years, he got more controlling, more weird, we got more isolated and I ended up being in danger. My kids were in danger and we had NO support and no backup. I didn’t get a counselor till right at the end and my ex was very suspicious of him and even tried to get him to side with himself.

      The $5000 is really nothing compared to what you could get locked into later on. My ex also tried to trap me by borrowing more and more money that we had tied up together.
      You are not alone. Use your instincts and if you sense it’s not right then it isn’t right.
      Your parents I’m sure would rather help you out than to see you in a state like this.
      Please stand up for yourself. I don’t want to see anyone else go though what I did.

  • Rachel2 August 6 2014, 8:23 am

    Cindy, Clare is absolutely right. Abuse always gets worse. Please please get away. Staying in this relationship will not make the abuse stop – no matter how ‘good’, kind, loving and supportive you are to this man. I honestly thought that the ‘nicer’ I was and the harder I tried, I could somehow transform my relationship into a good, loving and healthy one. It only seemed to make him more abusive. Of course, any attempt to stand up for myself – in a very reasonable way – also made it worse. Please do something now that your future self will thank you for – leave.

    Angela, you are not crazy and I’m sure you’re not a bitch. These are typical tactics used by abusers. I don’t know your circumstances but if at all possible reach out to people/agencies who can help support you. Again, if it is possible try to meet other people who you can connect with in a healthy, non dysfunctional way. Focus on you and your needs. You have every right to feel safe, valued and cared for. I know it is hard, but please do not internalise your partner’s negative messages. With very best wishes.

    James, I just wanted to say well done for admitting that your behaviour Is unacceptable and wanting to do something about it. Good luck.

  • Liberty August 11 2014, 12:14 pm

    C**t/s**t/making you feel worthless. Little things makes him mad. No more affection. More into his own little world than our world/making me feel like there is no hope. My dreams of doing things to better myself. There is no support/friend I make gets scared to even hang out with me with the way he acts around them. Push hit in my face knock one of my teeth out. Lost friend family trust. Feels like I’m a table and each foot is getting knocked down to the point I have no more legs to stand on. Been state to state moved 3 times out. 1st time out took me out to greyhound which I never road before. My stuff got stolen. 2nd time out he took me to a hotel room which I don’t know. The state I was in and it was Christmas day left me there to spend it all alone. Never had done that even when I was a single woman. Had friend and their families always made me feel warm and loved. I don’t know why he treats me this way he gets so mad with the little things that can be fixed, but he will just say don’t do anything forget about it. I had things up like my diploma and other things he just ripped them up like nothing. He say I can get them back but not alot of the awards that I can show school that I want to apply now. I would of liked to have the awards just to know I did that. Now it’s just all in memories. He buy me things saying that it’s mine but in fact when he gets mad it’s all his. He blames me that he has nothing but in fact all the things he gets for me it’s all his really. I don’t have anything.

    I wish he would be like what he used to do for me. I really felt loved just the way he was, he smiled more to me just had that happiness we used to have. Yes I yell alot now but I only yell when I get hurt. You just don’t know how much he can really just say the worst things to me to make me really feel like shit. Too much mental trauma — even hits me. Hit my head bleeded out, hit my back on something once couldn’t walk about a week, no help what soever. Hit me so hard knocked my tooth out. Tells me to sleep in car and it’s really hot outside. Told me to take my clothes out and lay on them get naked and told me he was going to pee on me but he didn’t. Put a dog collar on me and leash to lay next to him for he said he didn’t trust me to get up. He says he blacks out every time when he does all the shitty things to me for he is on his pills. Very hard core pills one makes him sleep and one make him awake for weeks at a time 60 to 90 pills can be taken in one week. So this is my daily life. He is either in bed asleep or stays up in his own little world with other girls online. There is no more time to just go out. I would love for him to even just take a nice little walk with me with the dog. He is alot older then me 30 years older so I dont know if he is just waiting for life to pass by or what? But I feel he wants me to be all mad at life with him. I know this sounds crazy but I think of him with other girls while I masturbate just to feel what the girls feel like for it has been a while I felt like a woman to him. I don’t know what he wants. He tells me I’m not his girl. It doesn’t matter what I think about him and others.

    When I drove 3000 miles I found out he was talking to others. What a lie. Left my family to come to find out he was not really feeling alone or I was the special one only one. You know how that feels to come to someone after 3 times state to state my heart just dropped down. Felt like he just took it and just gave it to the dogs to eat it. Sorry I’m crying my eyes out. Right now in life I’m trying to heal so hopefully school will make it better for when I feel better maybe he can feel better too. There is so much more but just can’t type it all out here. Does it sound crazy I am so in love I want to show in my action to come back to show I love him. He pushes me away when things are not going his way, doesn’t even want to talk about it. Hurts me when he told me I don’t know him, I used to. Mind games he loves his mind games. He even told me he plays around with people in one of a social avatar worlds he plays in which he f***s with people just to see what they would do. As I’m typing right now he is talking with other girls. I don’t think he has self control I think he is trying to fill something that is empty and you know how that makes me feel.

    What am I doing here if I can’t fill that empty spot for you? Am I enough? Am I the one you love? I think if you love someone it’s true that they are enough, but I guess not? You just don’t know how much naked pictures of pussy and tits and even his avatar I’ve seen even people texting me about things he does. So now I know why he doesn’t even want me in that little world of his. I had to get used to the fact he will be doing it but it’s hard for I care for him so much. But little by little the way he is treating me I hope he sees it. He even told me if I was not here he would be with someone else OMG what a prick.

  • Rachel2 August 16 2014, 9:19 am

    Hi Janice, there are many people out there who would understand your situation. You are not alone. I am sure that Clare can give you much better advice than I can but please don’t think it is too late to leave and rebuild your life. I understand that you feel so accustomed to this particular way of life that it is difficult to imagine a different life but I do believe it is possible. I had a friend who was in a very psychologically and emotionally abusive relationship for about 25 years. She had four children. Eventually, however, she ended the marriage. It was an incredibly stressful time. She was finally asserting herself and he was losing power and control. Nevertheless, several years later she is in a much better place and is so pleased that she eventually took that incredibly difficult step to end her marriage. And it is difficult – I think a lot of people believe that ending an abusive relationship should be relatively easy but from experience I actually think it’s harder in many ways than ending a ‘normal’ relationship and the emotions afterwards can be very problematic and complex. So, I, in no way wish to under-estimate how hard it would be to end a relationship that has lasted as long as yours. Yet you deserve to be valued, respected, supported and cared for Janice and I hope that you will find the strength to move away from a relationship where you are clearly not being treated in a way that allows you to flourish as a human being.

  • Alaina August 24 2014, 3:57 pm

    It has been years, but I’m still dealing with the effects and consequences of an emotionally abusive and attached ex-boyfriend. I have tried to understand exactly what happened and rationalize everything. It seems the only way to prove to myself that I’m not crazy, and that the things wrong in the relationship were not really my fault. I relive the emotions and often experiences through random triggers, either through a series of thoughts or something intimacy related with current relationships. I found myself shaken and upset by just learning about that “wheel of power” used to describe the actions of abusive people in domestic situations while sitting in class!

    And while my ex never hit me, he was violent towards other things; hitting the walls, doors, himself, and once a bird cage with the poor thing inside it. He once compared me to that bird, remarking how he wished I was like her, caged so that I could not fly away.

    I thought that he was simply going through a hard time, either due to stress with school and family… But when I started denying sex, it felt like I was the source of his unhappiness. Sex was something that couples did; sex was expected between people who loved each other. And when he wasn’t happy, I felt like I was being a terrible girlfriend by not doing everything I could to make him happy.

    Soon he had me convinced to sleep naked. All the time. And when I protested, he became angry. At this point, I would do anything to avoid a fight. So, I uncomfortably went to bed naked with him. I hated feeling so vulnerable, and open to him. I hated “cuddling” with him because he would touch me without asking if I was okay with progressing into intercourse. And when it did progress into sex, because I wanted to avoid his anger, I simply wanted it to be over with, regardless if I was satisfied at the end or not. I had a role to fill in the relationship.

    He grew increasingly jealous of any other guy I talked to or texted. One night around 2:30 in the morning, he woke me up by hovering over me and yelling about how he had gone through my phone and saw messages he didn’t like from one of my guy friends. That was the night he started threatening his own life.

    He was unpopular with my family and friends. But I was blind to that. I thought that I could help him somehow, that he would still be the same guy I fell in love with at first.

    I still freeze out of fear whenever I see someone that resembles him. I still have issues with intimacy. I unfortunately have to drive by his apartment building almost every day and I always look, even though I tell myself not to.

    I didn’t put down all of my experiences, but it feels sufficient enough to give a general sense of them. I’ve had many people tell me that it could have gotten worse, and that I got out just in time. I just don’t know if I believe that it would have escalated. I’m not sure about a lot of things because the whole thing still leaves me feeling dazed and uncertain.

    I’ve tried counseling and may return, but I have been struggling with the idea for a while.

  • CG August 28 2014, 1:40 am

    I can answer ‘no’ to all of those questions you posted. The guy actually mocked me when I failed an important exam, he wanted me to fail because he wants me to work for him!!! He hates independent women.

    • Clare Murphy PhD August 28 2014, 12:12 pm

      Hi CG — You don’t deserve to be treated like that. You deserve to pursue your dreams and flourish. It’s your right and no partner has the right to degrade and oppress you….. Clare

  • ALLISON August 28 2014, 10:30 pm

    Well I must say this is absolutely terrifying. I have been in a relationship with this man for about 8 months and things got nasty very quickly. I went from being his world to a nagging, suffocating, stupid, worthless whore. He constantly threatens to leave me and when I tell him to go he never leaves. God forbid I should have an opinion or try to talk about my day. EVERYTHING is my fault and I make his life miserable according to him. I am 27 and he is 31 comes from an abusive past and treats all the women in his life like s*** including his own mother. It started getting physical and about 2 weeks ago it become very terrifying and all I will say is he held a pair of scissors to my neck. I’m distraught and sad. It’s a miracle I have kept my job but honestly this is my only escape mentally. I’m not sure if there is help for someone so far gone but I hope so because honestly he will not live to see 32 if he continues on this path he’s on which is beyond destructive.

  • angela September 19 2014, 11:53 am

    I wish I knew what a normal relationship is… My parents were horribly abusive, everyone else in my family was all divorced or baby daddies just ditched them and got locked up for years. So it can be hard to tell if I am being controlled or if it is just normal behavior… But alot of the time I can definitely tell it is him controlling me. I should be allowed to have my own car, and my own bank account. I should be allowed to have a job and go to college. I should be allowed to take a 5 minute walk because it is nice outside… But I am 20 years old and I am not allowed to do any of those things without being threatened with divorce, or without being told that I just want to cheat. So why don’t I just leave….. I wish I had someone to help me, to help us. But I’m afraid our relationship will never get better, and I know one of these days I will run away or kill myself…. I have two amazing boys though and I would never want to do that… But sometimes I just cannot take this relationship, he is not a horrible man, and I have seen guys who are way more controlling. But man I thought I married my bestfriend, not whoever this guy is…… It has been a long 6 years let me tell you… : ‘ /

  • lindagail October 2 2014, 1:12 pm

    So true. So thankful I have had a lifetime of experience and focus to bring me to this point. Knowledge wisdom. Still single and glad for it although I care about people and I no longer let them control me.

  • Hindu October 2 2014, 6:32 pm

    All I hear are excuses in my head. His mother told him that women would only want him for his money. He never really had a father. He put his hands on my neck because of the side effects of the chantix he was taking to quit 30 years of smoking.
    He’s a ‘bad boy,’ so he had to learn to open the door for me because he was never taught to do it, again, because of the absent father. His mother was a shopaholic and so he likes to shop. He needs to hoard to feel secure, like she did, because we ‘might need it one day.’ He cannot pick out a nice gift for me because I said he has ‘taste up his ass’. He does not wish to have any conversation during meals (especially compliments of my cooking) because he does not want to talk with his mouth full, the meal will get cold, or his mother did it that way.

    All of these excuses make sense to me. I married a pathetic man. I said that out loud to him and he turned it into ‘we are mr. and mrs. pathetic’ and I realize that no matter what I say or do, there is no mental escape from this victimization from the ‘ultimate
    Victim’ – HIM.

    And I am really soooo sick of the habitual lying, because ‘I can’t handle the truth.’ He lies about shopping, hoarding, eating junk food and then holds his ever expanding stomach and blames me for it.

    Everybody victimized him before he met me. As a result, he became angry at the world and hates society. Now he imagines that he is victimized by me and is angry at me and Hates me.

    I would like to turn this around and convince him or myself that I am being victimized.
    How would I do this for myself?

    Any ideas to help me? I cannot seem to accomplish this even though I try so hard.
    Am I brainwashed?

    • Clare Murphy PhD October 12 2014, 6:42 am

      Hi Hindu, One thing you could explore is the Karpman Drama Triangle and the Winners Triangle. The Drama triangle explains the three roles people engage in — persecutor, victim, rescuer. There’s a lot of information explaining it on the web. The winners triangle helps people to move towards healthy relating.

  • fw October 8 2014, 6:46 am

    Im a 52yr old woman been in a 2 1/2 yr relationship. With a (boy) man that has turned my world upside down. He belittles me, calls me names — wh…e, streetwalker, etc. Always counts my money and how I spend it. I’m on a fixed income. When I met him he was staying in a shelter. And after talking to him for a while, then I let him move into my home. First time we had an argument he took his food, yes his food, then I let him back in he had an accident on my new mattress. He tried to get me evicted. I left and came back same crazy stuff. Anytime I go to bingo or want to go I found my self lying and I stay out till 3am. Other than that I’m always in the house. None of my family nor friends comes to visit. He says he can find a woman better than my broken down ass. But he says he’s leaving. He had no income and now he doesn’t really contribute toward bills. It’s either his check was messed up or I’m trying to do things for me. But if he does pay a bill he figures he has grounds to not be moved so now we are at it again. His ego is bruised again, and in December he will get his secound backpay from SSI, and he just told me I’m no longer his girlfriend but won’t leave. I’m so done. I need advice not to kill him for all the bs he has taken me through.

    • Clare Murphy PhD October 12 2014, 6:48 am

      Hi fw — I recommend that you get advice and support from a local domestic violence agency. Clare

  • cindy October 12 2014, 4:04 pm

    I have been married to a very abusive husband for 27yrs. I should have divorced him a long time ago. I lost everything in my life because of this man and helped him where other people would have ran far far away.

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