Leaving An Abusive Relationship: Why Can’t I Just Leave?

January 22, 2014 Kellie Jo Holly

Leaving an abusive relationship usually can't be done the moment you figure out your partner abuses you. Leaving abuse takes planning and time, if you have it.

So many people beat themselves up over the question "Why can't I just leave?" You want the easy answer? You aren't ready to leave yet.


  • haven't been convinced that the abuse warrants you leaving, or
  • you lack financial resources, or
  • you're in business with your abuser, or
  • the kids are too small, or
  • the kids are almost out of school, or
  • the abuser needs you, or
  • fill in your reason here.

Notice I said fill in your reason here. These are not excuses. The reasons you stay may sound like excuses to someone else, but don't let anyone belittle your decision to stay. I really want to end that sentence with "to stay for now" but truth is that you may never leave. You could be 70 years old and wondering how your spouse is managing to exceed life expectancy, them being so miserable and nasty and all (lots of people are doing this right now).

I want you to be okay with choosing to stay, because making decisions is empowering. Staying is a choice you can make.

Leaving An Abusive Relationship Is Important

Irresponsible Advice

It would be very irresponsible of me if I don't say a few things at this point.

  • I want you to end your abusive relationship. Life is too short and precious to spend it with a person who hurts you.
  • If your abuser physically assaults you, I hope you leave right now. Verbal abuse escalates to physical assault and assault escalates to death. Additionally, you may not be the only one to die -your abuser could murder you and then your children and anyone else on the scene.

Point is that choosing to stay with an abuser will have very serious emotional and/or physical consequences. It is only a matter of time.

Leaving An Abusive Relationship Is Not Your Only Option

Honoring a person's choice to stay in an abusive relationship is a relatively new concept to domestic violence social workers and other domestic abuse helpers. You might find helpers who support you no matter what you decide to do. On the other hand, you might find helpers who decide there's nothing they can do for you if you do not leave the abuser. That hurts, I know, but just because they're the experts doesn't mean they always know the right thing to do.

Additionally, many of your closest friends and family members may distance themselves from you if you choose to stay. Often we tell ourselves that they're tired of listening to us complain when we won't do anything to change it. Remember though, the ones who love you need to keep themselves sane, too. If they're in the battle with you, they may not be strong enough to pull you out if you change your mind and leave the relationship.

Don't take it personally if people don't support your decision to stay, and please don't beat yourself up because you feel you can't leave. Let's just roll with this for a while and see what we can do for our mental well-being when we choose to stay.

Key Concepts to Accept About Your Abusive Relationship

You cannot make your abuser happy, therefore you cannot make them mad, either. You do not have magic powers that control your abuser's words or actions and no combination of your words or behaviors will result in an end to the abuse.

Most everything you do and say will be "wrong", and if you are right today, you'll probably be wrong tomorrow. So you may as well do exactly as YOU please at all times. Make your own decisions, act on your hunches. It doesn't matter what you do, the abuse will continue.

You are in a relationship that thrives on your honest disclosures about yourself. However, unlike healthy intimate relationships, your significant other uses your deepest secrets against you. You cannot trust your abuser with your heart, so keep your mouth shut about it.

There will be moments of joy and pleasure in your abusive relationship. Go ahead and enjoy the sex, the compliment, the joke, etc. But leave the joy in the moment. Don't assume that because s/he smiled a minute ago that the smile will be there when you look again. Humans need joy in their life, so grab all you can.

You need a safety plan. Period. Abusers are unpredictable and you never know when you're going to have to get away from them. Thinking through a safety plan during moments of peace will help you to think more swiftly and clearly during moments of danger.

Keep people on the outside of your relationship close. Isolation is the abuser's best friend. When you're isolated from others, you lose the most valuable lifeline an abused person can have - ideas from people other than the abuser. You increase the effects of abuse by only hearing your abuser's opinions, so stay connected to the world outside your home.

Educate yourself about domestic violence and abuse. Search words and phrases like verbal and emotional abuse, side effects of abuse, gaslighting, crazy-making and brainwashing. Learning a little bit each day about how your partner manipulates and controls you lessens their ability to do it.

Concepts to Accept About Yourself

You are human; a delightfully imperfect person who can do the very best you know how to do in this instant. Every instant.

You are lovable.

You deserve respect.

You can choose one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

You are powerful.

You can learn, grow and adapt.

You do not have to accept or absorb lies, even if the lie has a grain of truth to it (see Detaching from Verbal Abuse Hypnosis MP3).

You hold God's hand, even when you cannot feel it, but sometimes you must do something differently so He can help you in another way.

You decide who stays in your life.

You decide when leaving an abusive relationship is right for you.

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

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2014, January 22). Leaving An Abusive Relationship: Why Can’t I Just Leave?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

August, 10 2015 at 7:18 pm

I need someone to talk to. Im going to be completely honest and some details I should maybe keep to myself. I just broke up with my "abuser" but I feel so empty and lonely. We have been together for three and a half years. The beginning of the relationship was everything I wanted. I slowly started to see how much more controlling they became. I stopped hanging and talking to any male friend to show them how dedicatedly faithful I was. They would accuse me of cheating when I never had. I stopped talking to female friends because they'd be on social media guys or talking about guys that weren't him and he'd get upset. He has slapped me, hit me, bit me, choked me, said the most awful things to me, picked me up by my arms and held me against the wall, thrown stuff at me, broke 3 different phones and my glasses, and I can keep going. But then he would apologize, buy me things, promise he would never hurt me again. And I would just keep coming back to him. I was stuck on the idea that I fell in love with him and things could go like they first had started. But I always was doing something to upset him. I changed my education goals cause we talked about moving in together, getting married, having kids. I had a life plan, but it was with him. Ill get to the main point on why I need help. We have been fighting the past three days so I wasn't giving him sex. Today, I rubbed his body, gave him a handjob, kissed him first every time, said.I love you four times when every time he didn't respond. I asked him for sex, he said no. Then texted me calling me a whore a slut a bitch a prude because I didn't give the past three days. When I tried but he said no, yet he said we didn't have sex because I'm into someone else and cheating. He always for 8 months every day accused me of not being faithful when I have been. And now I feel so alone, I love him. Hes done all this and I still want him and I feel disgusted with myself because of it but its how I feel I don't want to ever date or marry anyone else and I wonder what is wrong with me?? I know how awful I'm.being treated. Why do I still want him more then anything in.the world.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 14 2019 at 6:32 pm

Brooke...I just read your message. I hope you are free now.

August, 6 2015 at 7:31 am

I have been in a 11year relationship.we got married 2 years ago.we have 2 children under the age of 10.recently about 7-8months ago we moved to another city 4 hours away from both our families and basically my life has turned into a nightmare.he has become very verbally abusive day after isolated in a town i do not know anyone and don't have anyone to talk too.and like all stories,the closest family or friends I have that i have told things too,they won't listen anymore.they are tired of hearing me say i will leave him and i don't.and now I have gotten to a point I I feel like I can't this is the only life I can I won't be better then this.I have no one to talk to and encourage me and support me and help me.I don't even want to go out of my house anymore and face public!

July, 30 2015 at 5:22 am

I have been in an abusive relationship for 7 years now. It started by just verbal then it went to physical by just pushing me then it escalated. I have been choked out, headed butted, punched, kicked, slapped, hit with a drill, beat with a milk jug in the face to the point my nose was pouring blood. I get called stupid, fat, ugly, anything he can think of. I do every single thing I can for him but yet I am still called lazy and told I don't do anything. He won't go to work because he has a problem with authority and that its my turn to take care of him since he took care of me for 5 years (his words). Whenever I am in pain he tells me I am faking it and it's all my fault bills are behind because I've missed days of work due to having to go to the hospital. We have 2 children and one on the way which right now there is a chance I could lose it. I was told by the hospital to be on bed rest but he won't let me. I've told him multiple times before that I wanted to leave and I've even tried before but he's broken my phones and he even broke my car key trying to take it out the ignition. He's threatened to shoot me if I leave or shoot me and the kids or kill my family or kill hisself. He tells me all the time I am a piece of shit mom and I can't take care of my kids. I've thought about suicide many times but haven't done it because I just can't leave my kids with him. He tells me all the time things will get betterand he will change and he starts acting right but it doesn't last long till he starts being abusive again. Im ready to leave, I'm just too scared too.
Name and email are fake. Just thought I'd share what was going on.

July, 29 2015 at 2:57 pm

I have being married 1year and half after our marriage everything was perfect loving but suddenly my husband started verbal abuse and then if we argue something he started to hit me for the past 5months he make my life into hell he short temperature and never admit his mistakes he is always right even if he is wrong he calls me bad name hit me bunch me he even tried to kill me he almost pick a knife and hit my hand when i see am bleeding i cried alot i called the police and then disconnected i got nervous and scared i got the emotions of not to put him in trouble i don't what to do i love him but hate my self the life am living is like a hell knowing the fact that am risking my life and nothing is changing when he hurt or hits me he cries and says will never do it again but its same shit again and again the worest thing he take all my staff by force using my vehicle by force even if i said i needed he wont listen am alone in this world don't have parents they died when i was young grown with some comunity people nosiblings no relatives
i thought if i married i will have a family but never my life will end up tgis way i don't know what to do
am with him because i don't know anyone here nor friends or family am stuck going crazy am even ashamed to go some to sake help
please i need advice

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 30 2015 at 9:43 am

Latisha, without family or friends, you have to reach out to strangers. Visit this page: and either call or chat with the volunteers there. They will put you in touch with help in your community.

July, 29 2015 at 10:33 am

Thank you Kelly, for your words. I have been living in a different country for the past 18 months. The abuse has started again, yes, I stupidly moved to another country thinking it could be a fresh start. Last night he choked me longer than he ever had, my neck still hurts like its bruised and I thought I was going to die. Like some of you here, I keep a record of things, I have a few recordings, I am lucky enough to work for a company that has provided free counselling services. Yet, I am still here. We have a daughter and I am scared about how this will impact her because she loves both her parents, especially when things are good between us. Kelly, I researched gaslighting today, and I think it is starting to sink in. This one shook me to the bone. I pray that all of you find empowerment, wish you all the best and hope it ends. The abuse is getting worse with me and I know I have to leave. When, I don't know.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 30 2015 at 9:41 am

You aren't stupid, Sarah. You aren't stupid for moving, you aren't stupid for wishing you could stay together "for the kids," and you aren't stupid for getting into the relationship to start with. Stay safe. Put together a safety plan. There's a free one at the bottom of the article on the following page:

July, 27 2015 at 11:16 am

Hi, I've been with my partner 8 years. The first 6 were terrible. Used to take my phone and not give it back to be for days. Be verbally aggressive towards me, then he became violent. Started with pushing, hair pulling. When I used to cry stop hitting me, he would grab my arms and legs so tight it would hurt so bad and he would say I'm not hitting you am I? Trying to be clever...I felt on eggshells all the time and felt I had to do as he said, now I am a very outspoken person and I changed. It came to one point I went out with friends and I didn't want to leave as I knew about the consequences the next day...but I needed to get out and have fun and proper conversation as we didn't speak. He strangled me one day I thought I was going to die!! This went on for about an hour on and off, I sneaked out when he was sleeping and stayed at a friends. He swore he would never hit me again....I swore he would never do it again....and one night he pulled my hair across 2 rooms and I called the police and he left. He harassed me and cut up all my clothes....He was living in homeless hostels and he lost a large amount of weight as he had no job...I was the one who worked full time and still do...I felt sorry for him and let him back to stay. We got back together and everything was "fine" until last week I had my graduation for uni and was 40 miles away I stayed at a friends and told him that's what I was doing. He hasn't spoke to me since and has threatened me to take all my money and is being abusive. I can't go through this cycle again. I feel scared and on edge...and he is making me feel like I done wrong going out...It was my graduation! I haven't been out with friends in over 7 months. Should I feel bad? I want out I can't go back....

July, 26 2015 at 1:13 pm

My partner hit me in front of my best friends and their boyfriends, whilst they were all quick to protect me, I obviously chose to stay and I feel I've drifted away from there ever since. Their boyfriends don't want them round mine and I am officially isolated. I love my boyfriend I really do, ever since the night that happened we spoke about his aggression and he hasn't hurt me since but I'm obviously in a more suppressed abusive relationship because I can't use my phone like a normal person, I'm basically not allows friends. He doesn't even like me staying at home anymore. I don't wanna talk to him about it because I just don't want to deal with the argument, I just don't know what to do.

July, 18 2015 at 5:04 pm

I really need help, I need to understand if I'm in an abusive relationship and I'm being manipulated or if I have some mental disorder that's causing problems in the relationship that I can sort out. I need to figure it out soon aswell as I've reached rock bottom now. Any replies would be appreciated

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 27 2015 at 8:45 am

Make an appointment with your doctor and/or a mental health therapist. If you have a mental disorder it's probably either depression or anxiety (or both). My guess is the abuse caused the disorder. If you do have a mental illness, the person who abuses you and shames you about it is the one with problems.
If it turns out you do have a mental illness, get treatment for it. Your mental illness, no matter what it could be, does not give anyone the right to abuse you.

July, 15 2015 at 11:57 pm

My girlfriend has been living with a friend of hers when she moved to Ohio. Now my lady wants to leave, so that she can start her life with me, but her friend has been verbally and physically abusive to my girlfriend. I've desperately wanted to rush to her rescue, but she's afraid that I'll stir up drama between them.
She wanted to move since 2013, and we have scheduled for movers to come on numerous occasions, but we always had to reschedule because health related reasons and her children's schooling. Now that school is out, we've been trying to hard to schedule a moving date (unfortunately around her friend) because my girlfriend worries that she won't be able to take her stuff, since she's living at her friend's house. She worries that her friend will not allow her to take her possessions and the kids' possessions when the moving truck does arrive. So we've been trying to schedule her move around her friend's schedule. Needless to say, this has been rather difficult and frustrating.
My lady has told her friend that she is unhappy there, that she wants to leave, and has packed all of her belongings. My lady notified her friend that she was going to move, even told her when the moving trucks were supposed to come. There are days when her friend is fine with the idea, but whenever it got close to moving date, her friend would become threatening and say that she will deny my lady her things so the movers will have nothing to move.
Sigh, what can I do? We've been rescheduling for almost a year and the moving company must be fed up with us rescheduling so much. I am tired of paying rescheduling fees and just want my family to be safe, secure, and happy. I feel lost, tired, stressed, worried, and helpless all at the same time. Any advice? Thanks for reading this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 27 2015 at 8:49 am

Request a police escort on moving day. Even if the cop can't stay the whole time, his/her presence in the beginning would probably make the "friend" behave.

July, 10 2015 at 3:59 am

I have been with my boyfriend for 8 months first it was amazing....then the verbal abuse started and I slapped him when he kept calling me fat, ugly, and all other names.. when he got around his brother and friends, he decided to slap me back a few times....then as I started to defend myself, he began to hit me some I get slapped, choked, ( to the point where I cant breath) kicked, pushed, and once had a coffee table thrown at the back of my head. I do believe that I love this guy, but I don't know why....everytime I tell myself that I want to leave, I always go back....why?? I have even been told by him that if I don't stop what im doing then hes really going to hurt me....I don't understand why I just can't leave....

June, 28 2015 at 11:35 pm

I've been in am abusive relationship five years. Verbal, emotional, physical. The physical has almost led to death, yet, emotional and verbal are far more damaging. Have you ever been called trash? Worthless? Head in toilet because that's where you belong? Spit on? Told how bad of a mother you are? These things bypass death threats, black eyes, bloody noses, broken bones by far. I'm an educated woman. I'm unsure why I can't figure out the psychology as to why I love him and why I stay. I read a lot and have became very knowledgeable on domestic violence, yet I'm stil here. I need help. Unsure where to even begin. Why do I feel like I can't be without him? Why is he ONLY nice to me when others are around. He's only this monster from hell to me as well as to his daughter. Please help!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 2 2015 at 6:32 am

I don't know if anyone can tell what makes a person finally decide to leave. You are educating yourself on abuse, and you're at the point where you realize you want to leave. This in itself is an accomplishment, so take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
Scroll to the bottom of this article: Download the free safety plan and fill it out.
Go here to sign up for a mentor:…
Call the NDVH ( and talk to them about domestic violence support in your area. Follow up on their information.
Immerse yourself in talking to people who can help you leave the abuse. Tell everyone you can what is going on at home. Do not stay quiet. The next time he puts his hands on you, call the police. You are in a very dangerous situation.
You don't need to understand the psychology of loving him or staying with him. You can figure all that out when you're free and his "spell" over you is broken. All you have to focus on is that he is a danger to you and his daughter.
His daughter is a concern, but sometimes we have to rescue ourselves before we can rescue anyone else.

June, 27 2015 at 4:28 pm

I have been with my bf for 2 yrs almost at the start it was really rocky he cheated a lot and i let him and never gave out about it even wit my friend!! We finally got serious n he came to live wit me n my children.. Soon after the verbal abuse started he has broken almost everything I own and has hurt both me n my oldest child he lashes out at any time and anyting at all can set him off.. Never the same thing(rarely). Please don't say I don't love my babies they r my whole world n I would die for them. I just can't walk away I've takin steps to keep my kids as safe as I can n he is nt meant to call wen they r here bt he has done things tat make that impossible.. He has had it hard n I can relate to him in a lot of ways bt I could never imagine being able to treat some like that no matter how bad my past was?! I can't let him down I feel so guilty every time I end it he goes from sorry to bullying me into takin him bk like a light switch.. I'm Nw lost n hopeless I can't fight him anymore I keep just giving in.. I don't a lot of friends n my family can't help my kids father get involved and that makes everyting worse ( cheater) bt never abusive physical more emotional so he is nt much better it out of the pan n into the fire so I end up battling wit 2.. I wanna stop caring or caring more about me r sumting I really do bt part of me needs him to change?? N prove tat I didn't do it all for nothin bt broken bones n hurt pls someone who has been here r is going through tis I would love some advice.. My father was abusive and my mother had a string of abusive partners after I don't wanna put my kids through this anymore why can't I just walk away n hate him I would kill anyone who evr hurt my family bt it's lik I let him.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 2 2015 at 6:38 am

There is no part of you that "needs" him to change. You may want him to change, or you may wish you were the one who could love him into changing. It isn't going to happen. He has hurt you physically and there's really no coming back from that. My ex put his hands on me rarely, but every time he acted out verbally, I remembered that he HAD hurt me. Being afraid of him took all my courage away.
What you need is a support system. You need to find people who can help you. Do the following things to start building your network:
Scroll to the bottom of this article: Download the free safety plan and fill it out.
Go here to sign up for a mentor:…
Call the NDVH ( and talk to them about domestic violence support in your area. Follow up on their information.

June, 26 2015 at 10:33 pm

I'm 20 years old a new mother just had my baby girl in January this year and that's truly the best thing that had come out of my relationship. My abuser is 27 and I still love him but I know its time to go . We both have gotten physical with each other on more than one occasion. The last one was the worst .I honestly believe he tried to kill me. I was choking me kicking slapping and punching me. I know he was holding back but I know he really wanted to hurt me. I left when he fell asleep.I work and he said he wanted to watch the baby the first day I rode with my Ma the second day I came by myself. He begged me to stay and eventually I said yes because I was afraid he would hit me. I need a plan to leave for good. I talked to a hotline to get help I'm ready to leave but something is holding me back.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 2 2015 at 6:42 am

Taking action is the hardest part of all this mess. As soon as you DO something, you will feel more courageous and will be able to do more. Start putting together your network of helpers. For example, your doctor, your family, your friends, the hotline is a valid resource, a support group, the neighbors. Whoever you know who will support your ambition to leave, add them to your support network. People who can help you lend you their courage and can tip you over the edge from inaction to action.
Scroll to the bottom of this article: Download the free safety plan and fill it out.
Go here to sign up for a mentor:…
Continue to call the NDVH ( and talk to them. As much as you want to. Follow up on their information.

June, 25 2015 at 5:33 pm

Hi! I am married less than a year to my very verbally abusive husband. Added to that he has a very very short temper and its almost like he always bellows rather than talk to me. I moved newly to this country and I have neither friends or family here. My husband has also cut all strains to my parents or friends back home. He insults my parents and family time and again. He hugs me and whispers in my ear that I am a failure because of my parents. He says that my parents had to beat me up and smack me down instead of showering love and thats why i make mistakes. The mistakes he punished me for are as trivial as spilling a few drops of water on the kitchen counter while cooking! He started teaching me driving a car but he is so abusive that I am very scared. He shouts at the top of his voice for a good 1 hour and tells me that I am arrogant because i did not talk or apologise. If I do apologise he says i am a loser. He strangled me when i made a mistake in my driving lessons with him. I fought back his hand on my neck with my hand and while doing so my nails pierced his wrists. He threatens me that he will tell everyone how i misbehave with him and even sends me photo of his wound everyday on my whatsapp (the wound is smaller than a pimple and he refuses any medicine on it). He shoplifts and hoards stuffs like crazy and he gets very threatening and bad mouths me with the worst ever words ever in the dictionary.Calls me a failure if i tell him anything and that i dont respect him. Is my husband really abusive? Sometimes i cant believe its happening to me. should I actually separate? or maybe he will become a good person again if I agree to wht he says? or if i take him to a doctor?( I am 28 and scared.)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 26 2015 at 1:32 pm

You can make him go to a doctor, but you can't make him listen. If you agree to what he says today, he will want you to agree to something more ridiculous tomorrow. He is abusive. I hope you separate and SOON.

Wanda Kemp
June, 23 2015 at 8:20 pm

it feels like i just woke up from a coma after 12 years. I used to write his words down... i knew they were bad but his words became my words. it started with our first Christmas together.  i was wrapping presents and doing a terrible job. he started laughing, said i didnt do anything right.  i didnt cook right, didnt dress right, didnt wear make up.  after that i became the bad welfare mother he would never take parenting advice from. The night he said that, i cried all night and he sat there and watched. The next morning i was exhausted, red eyed and swollen, i took the kids to school and came back and cried some more asking him why he thought so badly of me why he was with me. he told me he never said it. it didnt make sense to me, nothing made sense. i started seeing everything through his eyes. he attacked everyone i got close to and i started seeing them as a threat too.  He told me, look at the way people are looking at you and I did.  They were looking at me the way he was looking at me. I was sure of it. I stopped talking to people, i stopped talking to them mostly because I couldnt explain in my words what he was doing because i had his words in my head.  Every time I left him, i was drowning in the misery of his lies.  it is only now that I remembered the fear he put in me, how when I started talking to a friend I had isolated myself from, my heart beat out my chest when he found out and I never understood why.  At one point i even called a friend to tell him not to post on my status because it would make him mad.  I remember now, all of the words other people have said to me, you put up such a fascade... how do you do it?  You're in pain and you dont even act like it.  You should be screaming at him, it's your life... why aren't you angry?  I wasnt angry... i was confused. I was numb with grief.  I was silently drowning.  I could never understand how my friends could hold me while I cried but he couldn't.  That's not true, he held me while I cried about the people i felt completely isolated from, asking me ,"Do you want me to beat them up for hurting you?"  I literally had flashbacks about the things people would say, "What's the matter with you?" I told you that you were bad? "why don't you want to sit by me?" is there something wrong with me that you wouldn't want to sit by me? All of which confirmed everything he said about me, that there was something wrong with me. I remember all of it, all of the nasty things he ever said to me, did to me and I wonder how long it will stay with me?  I also wonder after I leave him when the numbness will come and then the pain, the drowning...I remember I used to watch and wait for his lips to thin out, tried to prevent it with everything i had inside of me because I knew what it meant.  It meant that those bad words were coming but would it mean that this time he would ridicule me like a child, point his finger in my face like last time, what name would he call me this time.  The worst part is that my daughter will grow up and find a man just like him and he's gonna make her cry and he's gonna steal her joy and her hope and she's gonna wonder why she wants to die.
i just wish he would have just hit me, atleast then I could have found the right words to explain what was happening to me. I tried to tell people but I didnt know how... i couldnt explain it... all i ever said was he was mean or he doesnt contribute... he's bad with money...or he mistreats me financially because I was trying to make sense of it by looking at his actions but i never thought about the words. I remember when i would pray out in pain, I knew in my heart God was trying to tell me something. All I heard was, finish your book, finish it... what you are looking for are in the words.
I remember when i first moved here to Texas, God was stronger. i would look at signs find words, put them in my book. And I heard God again. The words are every where.. now that i know and have found the right words... i want to shout it from the rooftops... I'm not crazy. I should have written my reality down but I didnt. I should have wrote down, I know how to cook, I dressed beautifully and even though I dont wear make up, I'm beautiful just the way I am. Instead, I wrote down his lies just trying to make sense of them. They just didnt make sense and now I know why.  They were lies. Instead, I watched and I waited for people the closest to me to look at me the way he did, to say what he did to prove that they were just like him but really I became him or what he said I was...  There were things I have done that Im so ashamed of.  There was a huge part of me that I kept hidden, even from you.  The thing I'm ashamed of the most is that I wasnt there for my friends, my family when they needed me.  Instead of helping my mother grieve after her mother died I stopped talking to her for 3 months because John told me that since she was the beneficiary on her account that she wouldnt be sharing any money with her siblings.  I stopped talking to my sister for a year and refused to see her when she came home to visit from Louisiana bc she tried to help Avery get in touch with his biological father when he asked her for help. I started having nightmares about my son on drugs and even worse accused him of it because my husband told me that my youngest son thought he was.  I told my son that I was glad he was gone because i could have a clear head now.  I cried over him, really thought I had to say Goodbye to him and I grieved over him the most.  My husband listened to me just enough to manipulate me, turn me against everyone.  none of my relationships were safe while i was with him.  This last year was the hardest for me, I really struggled to be free but I felt hopeless because I knew what I wanted.  I wasnt free.  I became Angry, really pissed off and then the drowning came and every morning I woke up and thought of driving to my mothers garage, shutting the door and leaving the car running.  I even told this man I met online I was gonna do it.  He told me that it wouldnt work, that i would just start vomiting and change my mind.  After I thought about how to make it easier, take sleeping pills to help me pass out so I could go through with it.  And every morning I woke up and thought, only God knows if Im gonna do it today.
Then my husband gave me the opportunity to help my son for a month until I graduated high school.  I watched my older son struggle so much.  He was so angry with this girl, he came in my room and started screaming he wanted revenge. At night, he crawled into my bed and cried himself to sleep.  He stopped eating for two days.  One day after he went to school, i went to the park where i used to run, walked the trail and cried so hard... after I thought I'm stronger now... now i can go back but i couldnt.  I saw what i did to my older son and I will never forgive myself for it.

June, 20 2015 at 7:12 am

It's so hard to leave when you feel like the good times outweigh the bad. In my heart, you are only in an abusive relationship when it happens all the time, but yet my mind tells me the truth. One time should be enough reason.....I feel broken and I know it's because of this toxic relationship, yet I can't bring myself to get out of it. How can I still love this person that makes me feel so badly about myself and ashamed of who I am now? I was never this way before I met him.....

June, 19 2015 at 7:41 am

Im 21 and been in a abusive relationship for 3 yrs now i want to leave so bad i feel like i. Cant do it no more but everytime i try some how he gets me to come back and yes i carry around blame and shame and i have no friends dont talk to no family and i dont know if me and my kids can make it with out u him and yes as much as he has hurt me i stay there is a part that loves him somedays i just feel like dying i jus

June, 14 2015 at 5:11 am

I have been in a on off relationship for the past 6 years. It started straight away the controlling/belittling. he had a good job (marine) problem was he had a issue that I had boyfriends before him we was 20 when we met as he worked a lot he claims he never really had a proper girlfriend before. He did not like the thought I had already been with someone before him. I have Always been a strong minded opiniated popular girl bags of confidence. I don't know what kept me going back. We dated first few months keeping it casual then he got to possessive I was quickly brainwashed by him as I thought he had my best Intrest. It was just control. We split at the time I was strong so I didn't really care too much I had never been through it as I cudnt take anymore of his games he would use a network social site made up of me to message people saying no remember we had sex he made me look a complete fool people fell out with me because I got back with him worst thing I could of done. He hold me hostage in his sisters as he got physical that morning. He took me to a field once God knows where we was he had me out need down in the middle of no were with a brick to my face screaming all because he was insecure that I had had previous relationships. Another time I ended up in hospital I looked like I had been in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson he followed me the hospital saying I had been jumped I was terrified. The nurse took me into a room and started to question me he was outside I told her he had done it security got him I ran home out the hospital. The police came knocking at my parents and had to take me back As I had bad head I jury's and needed to get the drip ex rays etc. he got arrested but I refused to go against him. After all I thought that was it he absolutely terrorised me spray painting Around my area bad things about me getting my windows smashed up twice threatening to get acid thron in my face turning up to college with buckets of eggs and throwing it at me I ended up pressing charges I had enough. I got a restraint order and he done about 2 weeks in jail for all the pain was an I still had to deal with it. I dealt the only way to stop everything was to get back with him. Which I did i still had the injunction he told me everything would be ok he was great for about a week. Then my mum disowned me when she found out I was seeing him in secret a lot of friends don't speak to me and I can't blame them I would be here all day explains the discusting things he has done to my life. I had nobody I had to move in with him. Then again one night in bed asleep he wakes me asking me about details of when I had slept with a ex partner it was embarrassing for me and it started he had me in the room punching me until daylight hitting me in the ribs in the same spot I just wanted to die. My body was full of bruises. I stayed with him I felt I had no choice or it would start over again getting my parents windows smashed. Then he had lost his job he wanted to be with me 24/7 I was isolated from family friends. I blame myself for meeting him I felt like I have ruined his life by loosing him his job putt nf him in jail. Years ago I would of not cared in the world and been strung to know that it's not my fault. Anyway now he is in jail he has just got quite a long time it's been 8 months I have just started to get in good terms with parent they have moved me back in. I have always put this guys needs before my own I have helped him through this time and he still is treating me badly I can't go out he controls everything. It was my birthday yesterday I went on a visit to see him with his parents. I had a drink the night before I hardly drink but I told him and he flipped out he told his mum to go and he stood up asked to kiss me and bit rite into my lip holding on I was more shocked than anything I had to leave right away without making a scene. I think get to myself if he wasn't in jail then he probly would of done a lot worst if it was just me and him. It was a sly and evil thing to do I don't even get a happy birthday from him. I came home and my mum saw my lip she kiked off as she know he was back at it and capable to do it again she is furious and begging me to leave. I feel bad for the pain I am causing to them seeing me being treated. After all that yesterday I decided to stay in on my birthday I layed in bed and he called? I know I suould nott of answerd. I did. Usually I get angry mad scream cry but I just did not have the energy I spoke nicely as he went into asking me about details of my sexual previous relationships I once again explained everything this time calmly. I am absolutely drained with him. I need to leave him I will just have to deal with the consequences when they come. My first step will be visiting a doctor tomorrow and getting a number where maybe I can see a councillor I need to be strong or I will end up depressed more or dead. It's one of the hardest things I have had to do and don't k ow why I do love him

June, 11 2015 at 6:28 pm

I am so glad I found this site. I am surprised I never googled the words I just did before. I google everything. I think I lived in denial that he is abusive because he has so many other good qualities and it never got physical so I brushed it off for years that I was not in an abusive marriage. Been married for 18 years. He is a Recovering addict for 15 years and so negative. The world owes him. He hates everything and everybody and this last for a week or less then he is ok. But then it starts again. He has seasonal depression during the cold months and uses that as an excuse for his horrible behavior. He was on meds but stop taking them. He use to go to a counselor but stopped going. I make all types of excuses for staying, I make more money then him, how will he live, I feel bad for him he has no family anymore what will he do. But I think really it is because I am scared. I haven't been happy for years. I am so outgoing, with lots of friends, bubbly, smart and how can this be happening to me. He calls me disgusting names he does nothing to help me, he's completely negative person. He has changed to his negative creature, That holds me down spiritually and emotionally. He spends money on needless things for himself, he is ungrateful for anything anyone does for him. He doesn't hit me but I think he has it in him to do this. He trashes the house when I say I want to leave that I am not happy. It usually ends with me crying and me going around trying to cleanup his mess. Then he cries that he has this depression illness and that he will go back and get help. But he never does. I still love him but I am not in love with him. I want all good for him. I am willing to give him half of everything or more. I just want him gone. But some days I pretend everything is ok. I want peace I try to make it. But it's always one sided. I cant do everything anymore. In winter in the north east I live with a ghost, he hardly talks and when he does it's not good. Now I want out but I still make excuses, like now, I'm saying it's better it doesn't last too long it's summer soon it's nice out just stay where you are. How do I take the leap of faith and do it? I also work with him, in the same building but different shifts. I'm scared that he may do something bad to himself. He talks about it when we fight. I know I sound dumb saying this, he's hust manipulating me to make me stay. But I am scared of this. My husband does go to extremes at times. See another excuse. I don't know how to take this next step? Help please. My name is not my name nor is my email.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 12 2015 at 11:29 am

When you're ready, the information comes to you. I'm glad you finally googled those words. Leaving isn't easy, and you'll need support. Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website at Chat or give them a call. They will give you resources in your area to help. Reach out to those resources.
Also, there is a free safety plan for you to download at the bottom of the article on this page: Take time to plan your escape unless he is physically hurting you, then go to family or a shelter.
Taking the leap of faith happens after you realize life was better before the abuse and it will be better again after you leave. There is no time frame for deciding to leave and then doing it. Everything happens in a natural progression - the more you learn about abuse, the sooner you will have the info you need to leave. But again, if he puts his hands on you, either have him arrested and taken out of the home or leave. Physical violence eventually follows verbal violence. That too is a natural progression.
Stay safe. Reach out. And start talking to old friends and your family or others you can trust.

June, 10 2015 at 10:41 am

im in an abusive relationships everyone i loved has chosen to stay away. im afraid of being alone i feel thats why i stay i know it sounds dumb, i cant help but wonder if when i go home if he will love me or hate me as he says. i love him i mean if i didnt i wouldnt stick around i just no longer remember what my life used to be before him.... i just wonder why me? why not the other women he was with why only? is it something about me that just makes him tick.... only god knows how tired i am of fighting i just wanna be happy and seems like happiness is no longer in me.... i feel alone i feel as if leaving him my world will come crashing down.....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 10 2015 at 11:30 am

He probably did the same thing to the other women. He wouldn't tell you about the women who would agree with you, anyway. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline ( and consider getting a mentor to help you make sense of your feelings ( )

June, 9 2015 at 4:02 am

My boyfriend has been calling me names, putting me down and making me cry for 3 years. It wasn't like this at first. He was sweet and caring. Now he calls me slow which he knows i hate being called because my epilepsy gives me a slow reaction speed. He commands me to do everything for him and when i ask him to do the same for me, he says he can't because i didn't get him a drink or i didn't do something else for him. He only invites me over his house once or twice a week and when i ask he gets mad. When i show up to surprise him or see if he's ok,he screams at me for not calling first. When i called 7 times, he just never picked up. Sometimes he tells me that he wishes he could punch me in the face.. today my friend is taking me to break up with him. Shes going to wait outside the door. I haven't talked to her in a long time because my boyfriend told me if i did, id be in trouble. Shes a true friend. Coming through to help me when i need her most. Even though i haven't talked to her in a long time. I hope i can look at his face and think about how he acts right now and not about how he used to. He takes my money for drugs, food and he still lives with his dad and brother. I can't forget that.

May, 26 2015 at 2:59 pm

What to do 14 years how do I go beating and more...cheating... 3 kid's.. . Why it's hard to go..... I want to Google,

May, 24 2015 at 6:00 am

Hello, so i married my first love my first everything. We met in 7th grade. And dated until our freshman yr in high school. Then we both did our own lives had our own children one each. And then got back together in june2012 got married in October 2012. Everything was wonderful especially having him being my husband since he was my first. I got pregnant and was due june 2013 . In may though 2013 one month b4 i was due. Thibgs started changing. He starting leaving me alone at night , leaving the house, accusing me of cheating and questioning my son he was 4 at the time his son was 1 1/2 he couldnt really talk to he questioned mine about who was there and what not. I had my baby in june 25th abiut 2 weeks of his birth hmmy husband came up behind me pushing me i was laying in bed to my side bc i was breastfeeding my baby and i used my right arm to oush him away and then it happened he punched me right in my eye and lip. I have never in my life had a black eye busted lip. The baby started crying bc my boob sorry fell out and he couldn't eat. My husband grabbed my phone quickly and started panicking saying look what u made me do. I swear to yiu i kept feeding my son i was crying and i told him to juat leave please just leave. When the baby fell asleep i went and looked in the mirror and i couldn't believe how i looked. And to be honest i was more worried about what people would say. And not what he my first live my everything had done to me. With time it got better then worse . Switched uo. Then it started being thatci stopped caring nd started talking back i would get slapped every time though. But i would be so mad id let it be. I always thought its ok it will stop hurting soon. Then once he called my son stupid i had enough i sent the kids to the room and went at it verbally he slapped my until my nose was bleeding , we had a red couch so i can just see black on the couch. I started putting two and two together and had enough. I went in the kids room tuvked them into bed and promised my son things will change. The next morning he didn't go to work, i was mad because i had planned to leave which he probably figured. As soon as i could get my phone back from him bc he had it i quickly text my brother in laws wife and asked he to call my mom and ask her to come over and act like we were going to dennys for breakfast. I quickly deleted the text. And prayed she wouldn't text back and that my mom answered the phone. Sure enough it was done. My mom was knocking on the door. And my husband's reaction changed so fast, he said have fun mija (babe) you look nice in that shirt and all he can probably think of. We left had breakfast and he kept texting the whole time. Long story i know im sorrry. But i ended up getting a abuse order on him . Everything changed . Went to hell. My house was destroyed i had no clithes he riooed it all, ripped my sons pictures, everything went to shits. And the reason im writing on here is because with all tht plus more i have gone back to him 3 times already and i just now left in march again. And i dont know why i still question if it can work out? I know the answer is yes it can but id have to deal with that. And i dont want to so i need to stay away but why do i still think theres possibilities. Im going to therapy by the way. Im trying so hard to not go back. Why though why cant i think how i should.

May, 22 2015 at 2:31 pm

hey, ive been when with my partner for almost 6 years, she started changing after our 2nd year, but i brusehed off the little signs as jokes or being cute. now everything has gotten only worse. yes she hits me when she gets mad, and puts me down everyday. i know its at that point where i need to leave its only going to get worse. but damn, staying with someone you loved and truseted just use that for thier own gain really takes its toll. i know i need to leave and i want to leave, but im just so scared, and tolerating this abuse everyday left me feeling limited and i just dont think i have the strength i once had. is there anyway i can leave safely, or regain some strength. shes smart, i give her that. shes isolated me from friends and family. and you could call her a professional manipulator too. i feel my best be is to leave without her knowing, but like i said im just so scared and tired. any advice would be a huge help

May, 20 2015 at 4:33 am

I was a victim of emotional abuse from my father. I grew up walking on eggshells. I couldn't do anything without getting in trouble or yelled at. The last 6 months of my life were the worst. I didn't think I would last out in the "real" world. Turns out, my life now is a million times better than it was at home. I understand WHY my dad did it...he was just trying to protect me [I'm the oldest] and make me realize how nice I really did have it at home...but he didn't have to go about doing it in that way. He would never let anything go. He was always mad. If he started to swear, you braced for the worst. I cried a lot.
Once I moved out I was lost on my own. Nobody in my life, I had moved 5 hours from home...Then I met my boyfriend. What a difference. Coming from a home where my dad was so mean and cruel all the time to having someone care for me and treat me respectfully was a different world. He swears on occasion, and at first I would cower and wait for the worst. But my boyfriend has been the best influence. I think we all need to have someone after we leave to turn to that can help us figure out what's right and what's not. My boyfriend MADE me stand up to my dad. I didn't want to and cried for hours before calling him to stand up for myself. Now, my dad and I are much closer. And the communication I have with my boyfriend is beyond anything I ever thought possible. You don't realize how horrible it was/is until you're on the outside looking in/back. Anybody can just say "leave" or "stand up for yourself" but it's not always that easy.
I am really happy you included resources, links, and support. Thank you.
Right now I am currently helping a friend going through an emotionally abusive relationship. Nobody deserves this!!!!

May, 18 2015 at 7:43 pm

I have been with my abuser 11years,we have 3 small children. I have left him afew times but i always came back thinking hes gonna change(also lack of family support.)i still love him but i am aware that am not safe since hes always drunk and any little comment or doing can trigger he's verbal and physical abuse.hes very happy living like this but to me its hell.hes aways thinking(and telling me) am a w*ore who sleeps with everyone.i have many pics of bruises and videos of some assults but i would never show it the police cause i dont want to get him in legal trouble

May, 17 2015 at 7:30 pm

I have been with my partner for 8 years. His parents fought, mine didn't. We grew up completely different. Although I have helped him get custody of his children, (and work and have returned to school) he constantly tells me I do nothing. He is physically, verbally, and mentally abusive. We both have 2 children from previous relationships. He is a great father and person. I don't think the life he chose to live before meeting me allowed him to see healthy relationships. I do not excuse any person's behavior. I am at a complete loss at the state of my life.

May, 15 2015 at 5:07 pm

I have come to realize that my boyfriend is very verbally abusive. I have voice recordings of how he speaks to me on my phone. I unfortunately have no monetary way of leaving, and possibly no place to go. I DO know that his abuse pattern isn't intentional. It is a learned behavior and he is just repeating a pattern of abuse that was taught to him growing up in a single-parent home.
I do still love him as a person, and have nothing negative to say about his character but his behavior has become unacceptable to me. I was not raised in a home where name calling was allowed. My parents had discussions about issues, not arguments. I am not an argumentative person, and I prefer to have logical discussions. I also do not get emotional, until someone uses gas lighting against me.
My questions are, what kind of plan can I make for myself, so that I can leave this situation, without it getting physical?
Who can I contact to speak about what is going on?
How do I detach myself from the situation emotionally?
My email is Real, my name is not.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 15 2015 at 6:04 pm

There is no guarantee that your boyfriend will not physically abuse you. The best way to avoid physical contact is to leave when he is not at home. If you don't live with him, then break up in a public place.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to find local support. (
There is a great safety plan at - scroll to the bottom to print it for free.
It seems like you've started emotionally detaching. For help detaching, try these pages:……
If you want a former abuse victim to mentor you through this (free service), visit…
You're going to be okay. You can do this!

May, 11 2015 at 9:30 pm

Hi my name and email is fictitious. What can I say? My relationship is abusive on and off. I get a lot of verbal insults but it gets physical when I say something my spouse doesn't if I don't say anything at all I don't get hit.

May, 9 2015 at 11:30 pm

My name is real, my email is not.
I've been googling & researching verbal/emotional abusive for just over a month now.. When I finally realized I was a victim.
Your story/article spoke to me. You were honest & real, which I appreciate more than you know.
I also don't know why I won't

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 10 2015 at 3:39 am

Sophia, you don't have to know why you won't leave yet. Learning about the abuse and then seeing your partner use it MIGHT eventually drive a wedge between the two of you so that you cannot stay in good conscience. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and get some support from local DV organizations. Talk to people in real life and online. Open up about the secrets in your home.
Go to this page: Scroll to the bottom where you can download the safety plan for free. Keep it secret from your partner, but fill it out.
You're taking the first steps to leaving whether you realize it or not. Education is powerful. Keep reading.

May, 9 2015 at 5:58 am

Hello, thankyou for the read.
I am 21 and my fiancée of a year is 19.
I met my current partner a few months after my heart break with my ex, she cheated on me, never put me first and lied about me, even though I treated her as a queen.
My current relationship
Since we first got together our relationship has been amazing she is a beautiful young mixed race perfect straight a student, she can speak five different younger and we'll yeah she is perfect, but a few months ago we started to bicker and argue, both sides, she told me what to wear and I told her, I don't see my friends neither does she
We both have turnt into controll freaks, she punched me in the eye giving me a black eye, she hits me I push her back, I call her names she calls me names, we are both abusive towards each other, I claimed we needed a break but she doesn't want that, we are both the same person basically and it's messing with my head I hope this makes sense. I don't know what to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 10 2015 at 3:44 am

You two are not good for each other. The physical violence is going to get much worse, and if the police get involved, you, the guy, are more likely to pay the price for it than she will. (Not always, but often enough to think about having a record.)
If you treat your girlfriends well, in general, then there is no reason to believe you would abuse her. Many DV victims fight fire with fire. Over time, you become someone you do not recognize.
Follow your gut. You need a break. I suggest a permanent one. What she wants is not important. The woman gave you a black eye. There's no reason to sympathize with someone who wants to keep you around as a verbal and physical punching bag.

May, 8 2015 at 1:22 am

I've been abused by my boyfriend a lot, I believed him when he said he wasn't going to do that to me again, but he did it again n again, on n on n on. But I read the whole thing what you said, makes me not want to go back to him ah lil.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 8 2015 at 2:00 am

I hope you don't go back, ever, Et. <3

a k
May, 4 2015 at 12:51 am

Thank you for your words, you have helped me see a little clearer.
I've known for a long time that my partner is an abuser, on a daily basis it is verbally and occasionally it turns physical. We've been together a bit over 4 years and have a child together... and I don't know how to leave him. I've tried, time and time again... but I always seem to go back to him. I've even told him he is an abuser and he knows how I feel... and he doesn't care... he will just reply with "you're too emotional or sensitive". Even the last time we had a big (physical) fight, my daughter was there, watching us scream and yell and hit and kick. Why I am still here???
I used to be such a happy vibrant person... but my soul is dying... I look at myself in the mirror and I feel 20 years older and I only see sadness in my eyes.
If one day I smile, he just looks and me and says "why are you so happy" and instantly makes me sad again, then continues the days abuse with "you''re stupid, idiot, nothing"... "you cant do anything good in your life" "worthless" "barbie" "you have no talent" "empty woman" ... and the list goes on... yes, and this is on a daily basis!
We are from two different countries and have been travelling together since my daughter was born... if I leave him my daughter wont have so much contact with him... and I want her to know her Father.
How do I do this? How do I start my life again? I want to be happy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 4 2015 at 7:02 am

Why should your daughter know her father as he presents himself to her? She sees how he treats you and may either treat you the same way in the future or accept that treatment from a man when she's older. A little less time with dad isn't going to hurt your daughter.

May, 2 2015 at 7:21 pm

I have been in a emotional, sexual, verbally, and physical abusive relationship with my husband for 14 years. I just left him for the 10th time. We have 4 beautiful kids together, but things are not getting better between us. I have tried amd tried and tried and tried to make it work but nothing works. I am sure without a doubt that this is ot for me, but recently the more I see him I feel sorry for him, ans want to be with him to help. I am have second thoughts about leaving but. I know for a fact that if I go back things will be the same despite what he says. So me knowing that in my mind, i can't let me emotions tale over because I love my kids too much to let them see us living in a unhealthy relationship. So ladies and gentleman.. Stay strong aNd love yourself and your kids more. Life is too precious.

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