Verbal Abuse Excuses I Used As Reasons to Stay

February 13, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

The verbal abuse excuses I used as glue to hold my marriage together were lies that kept everyone happy. But one day the verbal abuse excuses revealed themselves as lies (see Verbal Abuse Examples), and I realized that the excuses had twisted my perspective on communication, love and integrity. Soon after that, I left my abusive marriage.

My abusive marriage taught me that the excuses I used to stay were my abusive marriage's lies about integrity, communication and love.People I'd known for almost two decades turned into critics and judges. They said I didn't try hard enough to keep the marriage alive. They said I didn't know how to love anyone but myself. They said I didn't know the meaning of integrity.

They were wrong.

Still, their comments hurt. After years of accepting abuse, verbal and emotional, mental and sometimes physical, I felt hurt by those people because they were his family members. Today I am grateful for the attack because it helped me solidify some ideas about the verbal abuse excuses I told myself.

I Gave Every Verbal Abuse Excuse Possible To Keep My Marriage

I almost gave my marriage all of me.

Verbal Abuse Excuses Shut Down Communication

First of all, you cannot communicate with an abuser because they are not interested in what you say unless it's what they say. Good communication isn't him telling me (or me telling him) how it is. Good communication forms a relationship. Without good, two-way communication, there is no relationship. In 17+ years, my abusive marriage never reached relationship status.

Examples of Communication Problems

When I lived with my ex, there was nothing I could say or do to stop his abuse. If I said, "Hey, that's abuse," he reacted angrily or like a fool. One foolish action he took to was mimicking me in a high-pitched voice - a grown man sounding like a mouse - saying, "That's verbal abuse! That's verbal abuse! Nee nee nee!" You should have seen the little dance he had to go along with it.

You cannot communicate with an angry person or a fool any more than you can communicate with someone who wants power over you. Talking to him until I was blue in the face did nothing more than make my face a pretty color. But still I persisted, giving the verbal abuse an excuse that I believed communication could be a reality if I just said the right thing at the right time.

I tried communication. I gave him fair warning. He didn't want anything to do with relating to me as a separate individual. If I pretended to be him, we could talk...but there's no relationship when one person must act like the one who wants the power.

Verbal Abuse Excuses Warp Spirituality & The Meaning of Love

I tried positive thinking, but positive thinking drove me deeper into the darkness of abuse. I spent years telling myself

  • --"Some people have it worse than me, I should be grateful," and
  • --"He hurts inside so if I can help him deal with the pain, he'll treat me better," and
  • --"This is God teaching me unconditional love," and even
  • --"Judge not, lest ye be judged."

None of those thoughts stopped the abuse, nor did they help me to rise above it or prove that love conquers all. In fact, repeating those ideas worsened my situation because I came to believe that the abusive marriage was a test God meant me to bear.

Martyrdom did not change my abusive marriageI felt the purpose for my life was to suffer until there came a time where the suffering would magically end because I'd completed my God-given mission. At that point, I'd understand true love and would see the point of the suffering.

Well, I was wrong about that. That verbal abuse excuse warped God's plan for me. As it turned out, God needed me to do something different before He could help. He'd given me all the signs and I'd ignored or twisted them out of fear to justify staying with a man who controlled me.

In seeking some form of control over myself and my situation, I used God wrongly. I used God as a reason why I should suffer and like the suffering to boot. Last I checked, we have free-will and God loves his children. Would you, as a parent, want your child to suffer under abuse and tyranny? No. You would want them to stand up to it, but ultimately get out from under it. I was wrong to so casually let God take responsibility for my pain.

Verbal Abuse Excuses Twist the Meaning of Integrity

I thought staying with my husband and honoring my marriage vows made me a person of integrity. I'd promised to stay with my husband forever, and that was that; too many marriages failed because the participants lacked loyalty and didn't value their promises. I took my marriage vows very seriously; they were a contract between me, my husband and God.

I forgot that God lets people out of bad contracts (Abraham sacrificing Isaac, for example) when the bad contract becomes painfully evident. But I thought my integrity made me a good person, almost a martyr, and my husband's brainwashing that loyalty was the epitome of love solidified my promise to stay. I ignored this verbal abuse excuse from the beginning. It was the first sign God gave to push me out of the marriage and get me back to being the me God created.

The proof that I'd made a bad relationship contract was in the very vows I swore to uphold: my husband had promised to love, honor, and cherish me too, but he broke the contract between himself, me, and God within weeks of our marriage. He did not respond to my pleas to be nice to me, let alone his promise love honor and cherish me. When the marriage contract is broken, it's broken. It doesn't matter who broke it first and it doesn't matter if the one who broke it agrees they broke it or not.

True integrity would have come in acknowledging I'd made a mistake, taken God up on one of His many chances to get out of the marriage, and remained myself, the person God created me to be. Instead, my integrity turned me into a puppet for my husband to command, and that is not integrity at all.

The Truth of Me and My Verbal Abuse Excuses

I am strong, competent, loyal, forgiving, and understanding of unconditional love (just like most abuse victims). But I was too proud to acknowledge my mistakes. I twisted what God wanted for me (to be the person He'd created) into martyrdom. I ended up living in that soul-killing, energy-sucking abusive marriage for almost 18 years because I believed the lies I told myself instead of listening for truth.

Now that I am out, I feel that my God-given light shines brighter. I understand that God did not want me to become stronger in my ability to withstand emotional pain. He wanted me out of the broken contract so I could be who He made me to be instead of what my husband wanted to make me into.

I learned there is nothing I can do to control another person's behavior. Nothing I endured in martyrdom, nothing I told myself, could change my ex-husband into my image of a good husband. In trying to change him, I allowed myself to be negatively changed by my abusive marriage.

I won't try to change another person so long as I live, and I won't allow them to make me into their version of good either.

You can also find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so please do not take my pronoun choices or my experience as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, February 13). Verbal Abuse Excuses I Used As Reasons to Stay, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

September, 29 2016 at 5:31 am

I have been with my wife 22 years. All was great for first few years then she got diagnosed with depression and things changed. She made new friends and they would say I was no good for her. And they would get her to do things for them and control her. We nearly split up and this was the second time I got her away from abusive users. She has called me stupid(my mum died of alzhiemers) and an arsehole and other names. She even sometimes hits or tries to hit me and says its my fault for pissing her off. I cook and clean for the family even though I work 5 days a week and she works two. She never makes a cup of tea or coffee preferring to ask me to make it. I'm not perfect but it is annoying even the kids have told her what they think that she's lazy and stop calling them names. I wont leave as she has other health problems and before these health problems she was great. When we go away for a holiday she's really a nice loving person so sometimes I think it could be where we live. I always make excuses saying its because of the people she's related to I.e. A paedophile and alcoholics so its so I put it down to bad DNA. What's your thoughts.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 29 2019 at 11:52 am

Gavin ,
I am with you on this very same situation my partner of 11 years and fiance of 3 does all the same things . He is also ADHA and has been medicated his whole life , however I myself am ADD and suffer from depression as well but still I do not act and treat him the way he does me .
So with this being sàid I see where he is absolutely abusive however what has me torn is does his disorder have anything to do with it ? But the longer I've stayed the worse it has become . So sickness ,DNA or what ever I believe they know what they are doing but I also can't bring my self to leave him .. and that makes me wonder if I'm not the one with the problem .??

February, 16 2011 at 8:02 am

Guys suffer from verbal abuse to Kelly. When I was 19 many years ago I had a relationship with a girl that I still havent gotten over. I keep thinking that if I can just figure it out it will go away and stop haunting me. A lot of the things that you mentioned happened to me but I thought that taking abuse was showing love no matter how much it hurt. Im a guy Im tough I can take it. No I couldnt.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
February, 17 2011 at 1:09 am

You're darn right that guys suffer abuse, jm2010! It happens all of the time, but guys tend to keep it to themselves more than women. Many more women than men contact me, but I believe men just don't "reach out" for assistance. They tend to suffer silently, and I think that's a crying shame. When I write, I have to write from my perspective - to do otherwise would be inauthentic. However, I think abusive situations have more in common than not and I hope the men out there who suffer abuse see the similarities. Abusers come in two sexes, just like their victims.

February, 15 2011 at 5:21 pm

Thank you so much for your honest response, it means so much to me personally to hear your words that you have shared with me. Kellie I'm so proud of you for taking the right path of recovery with such great values and strength, and I'm so gratful of your insight. I hope we can continue bouncing off our experience with the upmost respect for eachother.. Keep it going!

February, 13 2011 at 10:28 pm

Again Todd...BRAVO!

February, 13 2011 at 3:20 pm

Very will written insight on the examples of your experience. I do not agree on what was written about the abusers that they don't want to change and they like the way they are......False! Verbal abuse is such a complex behavior, and has such levels of threshholds of concepts of abuse. I will be a Man and say that there is NO excuse of any kind of abuse, but once I put the hard work, therapy, educating myself, I was crushed with guilt,shame, and for me it aroused my deep values that I got away from and I wanted to be the Man I always wanted to be, but now having the tools to use. It also takes recovery and deep sense of reflecting on why I was behaving the way I was and getting in contact of your true emotions! I'm blessed !

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
February, 14 2011 at 1:14 am

Todd, of course, you're right. Any time someone (me) attempts to speak for "all" there is going to be a problem. Of course, some abusers can change. In fact, Patricia Evans has written a book called, "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" In it, she says that some abusive men WILL and WANT to change once their blinders are lifted. It happens. I know for a fact that you ARE on the road to change and have already accomplished much (and paid dearly) to do so.
For you, life is becoming a very different experience, and I applaud both your effort for yourself and your desire to help other male abusers to change (I think that's the group you're focusing on?).
For someone who is living in abuse, I recommend the book I mentioned above. It will give you a tool to use to test the waters of your abusive mate and to know if he is capable and desirous of change. Beware of giving your abuser TOO MANY CHANCES. If s/he doesn't "get it" after reading the contract described in Ms. Evans book, then at least you know the devil you're dealing with and can choose mindfully from that point forward.
There is a message board called Men Ending Verbal Abuse and Control at It's set up to support men who WANT to change.

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