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How to Rebuild Yourself After an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

By Sophia Stephens on Tuesday November 27th, 2018

Image: Unknown

Five Ways to Take Your Power Back

If I could describe the impact and aftermath of emotional abuse in one word, it would be invisible. Emotional abuse may leave no physical marks, but the depth of the scars and the weight of the pain creates a burden that people can’t see—or don’t want to.

According to Psychology Today’s Andrea Matthews, emotionally abusive tactics include constant criticism and/or control, verbal assault and/or abuse, shaming and/or belittling language, mind games, refusing to communicate at all, and isolation of the victim from supportive friends and family:

“I know what’s best for you. Your friends don’t care about you the way I do.”

“What are you talking about? I never said that. You’re making things up.”

“You won’t leave me…and I won’t let you if you tried.”

“You’d look more honest if you wore less makeup.”

The cycle of abuse, as developed by Dr. Lenore Walker and survivors, includes four stages—tension building, incident, reconciliation, and calm—that also apply to situations of emotional abuse.

Each stage works to hold the victim under the abuser’s control, and to keep them in a state of unreality where the victim is made to feel like they are not able to believe their own experience.

The anguish of being isolated, put down, and controlled by someone you love, work with, or share a personal relationship with carries immense consequences that can stay with the victim/survivor for years.

The invisibility effectOne word that describes the impact and aftermath of emotional abuse is invisible.

Depression, anxiety, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder are common among survivors of emotional abuse, and the healing process can be made even more difficult by lack of support or outright disbelief when victims come forward.

Your experience was valid—no matter how hard people try to take that away from you. You deserve to be heard, and to heal.

When an emotionally abusive relationship of any kind comes to an end, there is often a massive question that takes its place: “Now what?”  We decided to create our own answer. We spoke with survivors of emotional abuse and came up with the following:

1. Take your time.

In an emotionally abusive relationship, time is often used to tie your attention, affection, and efforts to the abuser. Time is power, and abusers will do everything they can to keep you from having it.

Whether you were not ‘allowed’ to hang out with a certain friend, told that your long-term dream was a waste of time, or otherwise constantly questioned, controlled, and/or gaslighted on the who, what, when, where, or why of how you spent your time, being out of that relationship can often feel more frightening than freeing—and that is completely normal.

“I went from the love of his life to a [complete] source of frustration and a burden. Every time I wanted to spend time with him, it would cause a fight,” said Eva of her past abusive relationship of three years.

“Threatening to leave me or actually leaving me for short periods of time were his way of asserting his power onto the relationship,” Eva continued. “If I wasn’t exactly how he wanted me to be, he would start threatening me in that way.”

Your abuser wants you to feel lost, scared, and alone, and like there is a massive hole in your life without them, but that is not the reality. It never was.

Controlling behaviourYour abuser wants you to feel lost, scared, and alone.

Your life is your own to live, and you can take as much time as you want, on what you want, who you want, and where, when, and how you want to do it.

While the consequences of abuse may impact your ability to act on these things, there is no time limit on healing.

Self-care on your own terms.

That slam poetry group you’ve always wanted to join, getting the pet you’ve wanted for years, or chasing that dream job across the country… use your time however you want.

2. Re-draw your boundaries.

Boundaries are an essential part of practicing love with yourself and others.

As explained by online counseling service 7 Cups, boundaries allow you to define your limits—where they begin, where they end, and the terms that apply as you interact with the people around you. Healthy boundaries are established through consistent communication that holds the people involved with accountability, compassion, and understanding.

“For me, healing meant recognizing that my needs matter and that they are my responsibility, and that I can choose who I surround myself with,” said Jordan, who was impacted by emotional abuse from her parents. “I knew that was the right choice for me, because I felt less stressed and angry, and had fresh mental space and time to surround myself with people who did support me.”

While Jordan still shares family ties with her parents, she has gradually been able to proactively make and enforce her own boundaries with physical distance and time away from them.

The importance of boundariesBoundaries are an essential part of practicing love with yourself and others.

It may not feel like it now, or for a long time, but the power is now back in your hands. It’s not going anywhere, and will be there whenever you are ready to redraw your boundaries.

The best part? It’s all about you.

3. Forgive yourself.

What the abuser did to you was wrong. You never deserved it. The guilt, shame, and fear are not where your energy belongs right now, or ever again.

Out of all the things that you deserve, self-forgiveness is towards the top of the list.

While emotional abuse is a defined form of domestic violence, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, people still hesitate to believe or support survivors.

“When it’s been with people who didn’t know him, everyone has been incredibly loving and supportive,” said Eva of the experiences she’s had telling others of what she went through from her abusive ex-partner.

“However, when I talk about it to people who knew us together, though they completely agree that it was toxic and horrible and I was being manipulated, they seem to get very uneasy around the use of the word abuse,” she added. “It’s almost as if my experiences are missing something for them to consider it abuse, or they are just uncomfortable with the word.”

Abuse in any form is never your fault. It doesn’t matter who the person was. It doesn’t matter how they got into your life. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship was. It doesn’t matter why you stayed.

None of that matters, but here’s what does: You made it through. You survived. You’re free. You did it.

4. Knowledge is power.

Trying to make sense of the abuse, and what to do after, seems like a difficult task on the good days, and entirely impossible on the bad ones.

After however long you were forced to only know and understand the world through the abuser’s perspective, it is absolutely normal to experience confusion—even fear—over where to start.

You made it throughYou made it through. You survived. You’re free. You did it.

For many, therapy can also be a powerful tool: “With therapy I learned to ask for help and take breaks when I needed them,” said Katie, who was affected five years ago by an emotionally abusive friendship.

In the process of confronting the abuser and their actions, Katie lost her best friend of 18 years. “When I was able to talk about what happened without crying or having an attack, I knew I was starting to really heal,” Katie added.

Depending on the available resources in your area, there may be relevant workshops, classes, or seminars you can attend. A quick search online can turn up local organizations, communities, support groups, and more.

If resources are difficult to access or you are unable to get to in-person courses for any reason, the Internet is your friend.

There are thousands of articles on everything from defining emotional abuse, to what to know on how to love again after emotional abuse, to the why and how of moving on from sites like BetterHelpLove Is RespectThe Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, and more.

From creating healthy boundaries to conflict resolution techniques, there is a class or article out there waiting for you—and the knowledge you gain from it will be yet another tool in your arsenal.

5. Take back your story.

People who emotionally abuse others often force false narratives onto the victim to justify the abuse. This often places the abuser as always being right, and the victim as having no authority or say on what the abuser says or does, except to affirm their perspective and decision-making.

You are lovedYou are loved and you are not alone.

Abusive false narratives can sound like a lot of different things. Among the many types of lies abusers tell their victims, the receiving partner may be told they are incapable of living their life without the abuser, that they are ‘damaged goods’ in some way, or that nobody else will love them.

This is also a form of gaslighting—the abuser is attempting to change your reality by altering how you see yourself. The conflicting emotions from being told a false, harmful story about yourself from someone that you trust or love can be heavily damaging, and with long-lasting effects.

After an emotionally abusive relationship, the lies that the abuser told you about you may continue to affect the way that you see yourself.

When the abuser is safely and securely out of your life, it’s your opportunity to take back your story. The undoing of the abuser’s lies and manipulations through your self-actualization can feel like an awakening, but can also be very emotionally difficult to process.

Rebuilding your story is a highly personal step, and you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to—including going public with your story, or sharing it at all. Regardless of where you take your story from here, all the choices are yours now.

Emotional abuse and its consequences are difficult to heal from. You are rebuilding yourself from the aftermath of months, years, or decades of harm, and it is very common to feel like you’re struggling, because you are. You were abused, and that is what abuse does.

Healing is not linear, and the process can take months, years, or decades. Everyone heals on their own time.

Your journey can take on many different directions as you address each part of your situation, and there are resources available at each and every step of the way.

Above all, know that you are loved, and that you are not alone.

 

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82 Responses to How to Rebuild Yourself After an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

  1. Hi all,
    I escaped… In my case it was my partner and to an extent her mother too. I think I have settled for now with the term ‘Covert Narcissist’. I have given up my successful business, my children, my home, my friends, my therapist of 6or 7 month and have run away from London to another part of Europe. I have been doing voluntary work in exchange for shelter and food. I am now in an affordable apartment. I wouldn’t of been able to afford my own place in London. I am in pieces really. I don’t go out much. I lost total interest in the things I loved. I am exhausted emotionally and scared shitless to be honest. I am hyper vigilant and slowly getting depressed I think. I’m worried sick and I miss everything. I don’t speak the language of the county I am in but am trying to slowly pay for tuition. I know the abuse has ben going on for more than ten years and I take some responsibility for allowing it to continue. I left 3 or 4 times before. On one occasion early on I remember not being able to walk because I felt so hurt and dismissed. She has said the most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. A couple of years ago I started drinking a lot and staying in the kitchen. I wasn’t getting any comfort or communication from her. I was really very hurt inside. It wasn’t going anywhere and she was always in an angry mood about her job. There was nothing I could do and I began to fall out of love, or, wasn’t able to love her, wasn’t willing any more. Nothing I did or didn’t do and I mean nothing warranted this. Now I am getting the silent treatment from her and her mum. To be honest, I believe it is her mum who made my ex the way she is. Her mum is a grade A narcissist but everyone goes on about how she helps everyone.

    I’m skimming over things here because I have just found this place. I do have a story to tell but where to begin and I feel so guilty, I can’t go home, to what? She never ever takes responsibility for her feelings or actions or lack of them. It’s all down to me to continually make it all OK. I’m devestated

    • Funcy:
      That sounds truly horrible. Leaving takes a lot of courage–I know, I’ve been there. That kind of abuse is degrading and devastating. It destroyed my sense of self-worth and confidence. It locked me in a prison of fear and shame. This response is from a fellow survivor, not a professional; get help.

      This is not your fault; no one should be treated that way for any reason. Nothing you could have done could have changed it. It doesn’t matter why they acted like they did, the way they treated you was wrong. Tell yourself every morning, “Funcy, I forgive you.” It is hard to believe a first, but don’t give up, keep telling yourself that you forgive yourself. You didn’t deserve the way you were treated, you did all you could do. The guilt is not yours to carry. I still work on this myself; it is a process, not a one-off.

      If you are worried for your children, then call your national abuse hotline (I assume there is such a thing in the UK, like in the US). You can’t rescue them, but the folks at the hotline are experts, and they might be able to do something.

      I am currently reading a book called “Whole Again” about recovering psychologically from abuse. I recommend you read it and seek a therapist that specializes in helping abuse victims. Perhaps your old therapist could help you find one, or be willing to talk on the phone until you do. Don’t try to do it alone; I can tell you from experience that you need help to heal.

      Mindfulness and spirituality are also big helps to me. Seek what is good, true and honest. In brotherly love and deepest sympathy,

      RB

  2. This is the first time I’ve written of my verbal and emotional abuse. I was married over 25 years to a very skilled manipulator. I always believed that somehow I was the cause of her anger, her criticism, her threats. I came to believe the horrible things about myself that she told me, and she used this to destroy my confidence and independence. With the help of friends, faith, and a counselor specializing in abuse, I recognized what was happening and have escaped. I still struggle with feelings of worthlessness and failure, but am gradually finding peace and joy. I may have lost everything I worked for, but have started to regain a sense of independence and self-respect.

    To all of those who are still trying to escape: (1) No matter what your partner says, this is not your fault. (2) Get help. (3) You are not what your partner tries to make you believe. (4) No one deserves to be treated that way. (5) Have an escape plan and put it into practice.

    To the women reading this: Not all men are like your abuser, and you do not have to put up with abuse to find love. Get help, and get out. My heart breaks for each of you. Do not believe the lies you’ve been told, do not believe the fear.

    To other men reading this: Yes, it can happen to us too. If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering if it is happening to you. Get help. This is not something that you can do on your own, especially if your partner has worn you down and broken your self-worth. I struggled with feeling even more worthless because I let it happen, but of course this too is a lie used to control.

    To those of you reading this because you suspect someone you know is being abused, your friend/relative needs help. It wasn’t until my friend gave me a copy of The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans, that I realized what was going on. In a safe way, speak to them, tell them you are worried, and why. Point them to resources like that book, the National Abuse Hotline, a counselor specializing in abuse, or a place they can take refuge.

    • RB – THANK YOU for this truly touching share. I’m so sorry that has been your experience, but I’m really glad you were able to change it. It makes such a difference to know we are not alone, so again, thank you for bridging that gap and for the excellent suggestions and resources.

      Much love to you on your journey,
      Team UPLIFT

    • I am reading er book now. After 38 years of marriage my abuser wants out. I have realized for a while how abusive he has been and the last few months it got so much worse. Probably because he was feeling guilty for his secretive behaviors. The terrible things he has been saying to me have hurt me to my core and heart. My heart goes out to you. I hope you find the mutuality and co-creation you deserve. That was all I ever wanted but now realize that was not my “husbands” reality.
      Wish you the best

  3. I’m still in love with my abuser. After a few months of going back and forth with talking, we decided to remain friends. Despite everything he put me through, both emotionally and physically, I still want the old life we had planned. I wake up every day in my new home and feel so out of place, so lost. My friends and family have done what they can to try and make me happy, but there’s a hole in my heart. Maybe i got used to what he did to me and my head normalized it, I’m not sure. All I know is that with him, I was miserable, and yet somehow I’m worse without him and I want to tell him every day how much I still miss him. It’s all so confusing and it’s too much to handle. I don’t know what the solution is or even who I am without him, despite us being split for months. I can’t go out in public or to any fun events without thinking about him every single time. Everything is such a mess and I miss the man that I first met.

    • Cameron, I’m so sorry to hear you are having such a tough time… I wish I knew how to make it better! I hope you can find a way to give that unconditional love you have for him to yourself and heal that heart of yours. We wish you all the best on your journey.

      Much love,
      Team UPLIFT

    • Cameron,

      You said you were miserable with him, but life is somehow worse without him.
      Something that helped me when I left my abusive ex was framing it this way:
      While it may be best for us to be apart, I am still allowed to feel love for him. Even if he hurt you, you were invested in this person, and you truly cared and valued them. This was real for you. That doesn’t suddenly go away, and feeling that way about someone who has hurt you extensively is so confusing and exhausting and debilitating. Your feelings are real, please don’t shame yourself over them, it is okay that you have an open full heart and want to love even the people who hurt you. It is honest, and it is okay to feel that way, even if you don’t understand. You have a full beautiful heart.

      THE GOAL: to be able to send him the love and positive energy you have for him-without feeling an attachment to him, or need to be with him. Because ultimately, you WERE miserable in the relationship. You don’t deserve this. You deserve more than what this person is capable of giving you. It’s okay that they can’t give you what you need because that is honest for them, but you need what you need Cameron, and it is not here with this person. This relationship isn’t sustainable. What you want won’t be found here. But it can be found elsewhere…first you have to look elsewhere. Inwards maybe. You have a full beautiful heart after all.

      Cameron, you deserve to be and feel CELEBRATED. Everyday. Every hour. No matter the circumstance. Even when you make mistakes. You are always worth celebrating. That is what real love feels like. Does this person make you feel that way? No.

      Instead of reminiscing or getting stuck missing him, make up a ritual for yourself that feels healing and productive. Light some candles, wear your most comfortable sweat pants, make a clean and positive space. Take specific time out of your day to pause and focus on sending this person positive energy and love. Imagine the love in your heart spreading across miles and reaching this person. Imagine it however you want. Say whatever you need to feel like you are successful in this notion.

      Take specific time out of your day to also send yourself love, as much as you can. Say things like “I am Capable” “I am Beautiful” “I am Intelligent” “I am Creative” “I am not a mess” “I deserve real love”. Say these things OUT LOUD and say them like you mean it, like you have to convince the whole world that you are dead serious. Say it to yourself every single time you feel that longing creep in, that feeling of being a mess and being confused and not being able to make it by yourself, of missing him. Every time you feel these negative feelings, stop, call yourself out. Because you are actually a human being who has a lot to give and a lot to enjoy, but you can’t do that with this person in your life. You can do it alone, you have a full, beautiful heart.

      This process is difficult and impossible for people to understand unless they’ve been in your shoes. I highly recommend trying these things. Channel that leftover desire for this person into the idea of sending them love. For some reason it helped me. More than anything, be patient with yourself, be forgiving to yourself, and pamper yourself. You are doing great, you have already come so far, and you are about to go even farther, into the next part of your life where this pain doesn’t exist anymore. You got to witness a particular kind of sadness, a particular flavor of life, a particular human experience, and you showed up for it, you felt it, you lived through it. And now it will be time for you to witness the next experience.

      Whatever you feel right now, is valid, but does not define you. You are not sad, but you are feeling sad. You are not weak, but you might feel weak. You are not confused, but you may feel this way. All of this is overwhelming, but it’s going to help you grow, and you will grow, and then you will flourish, and you will keep find ing other human experiences to taste in your lifetime and you might even find yourself on an online forum trying to extend your love to people who are going through what you’ve been through 🙂

      I don’t know you, but I extend my love to you. You are loved. You are safe. You are worthy of your dreams. Give yourself the gift of time. Feel what you need to. Journal, play music that inspires you, take baths, lay in soft blankets, eat yummy food, go outside, have a dance party in your bedroom. Take care of yourself. I will be sending you positive thoughts and energy 🙂
      Your heart is breaking. Your heart is open. Let it be open.
      You can do this. You are strong.

      -Magnolia

      • Thank you Magnolia. I have read your comment over and over, and it holds so much truth. I am in the same sort of boat as Cameron and what you said is exactly what I needed to hear. We don’t know each other but in just one comment you have become a friend, savior and mentor.

        I never understood the weight of abusive or how it could effect someone so deeply until it unfortunately happened to myself. Or even learn a part of yourself to allow that behavior to happen and keep on letting it happen. Its hard to not be upset with yourself and to see the person you’ve become during that relationship. You always think when watching abusive happen in movies or shows, I would never let that happen, or think I would get out so quick, look at all the warning sign. Red flags everywhere. But when you are deep in it, its so unclear and happens so fast it just becomes “normal.” Or you think this is just love, a different type, a deeper connection then you’ve never had before. You lose sight that this is not “normal.” Loved ones don’t rip your clothes, scream and hold knives in your face.
        Its hard to not turn on yourself as well.

        You are not alone Cameron, I miss my ex as well. All the memories we shared that were true. Its hard to think it was all a lie, that he must have had some sort of love for me. And is it ok to miss that man?

        I just wanted to say thank you. All of you.

  4. Your Scared, deep down you cant think of a way out. Maybe financially you don’t see it. Maybe There are other difficult circumstances that tell you I cant because…..If you keep looking for an excuse you will find one you like. What is your Worth? Not to Him….To you? The ones who dont just say they care, but actually show it? What if we had the same love for ourselves as we do our children? Where did we get to the point where we didnt know right from wrong? You teach a child from a very young age not to hit, not to steal, not to lie, to say they are sorry, that its not okay to call others names, that others feelings matter too…So If a man, a grown a** man is doing all this to you, says he is sorry and continues to do it yet again…How does He get away with it?? I believe its because We dont want to accept that we could have been fooled. From the person Who portrayed themselves to be a great loving person in the beginning. We feel confused….was this all fake? What was real? This is not your fault. You were abused. You deserve better.You were made to be loved and honored and cherished. You were NOT made to be abused. If you know you are not respected if your heart tells you that you wish deeply that you were…but you know deep down your not and you can say the things you went through were horrific, and I know how this goes…He’s blown chance after chance…Lay it all out. Every Feeling Everything You Need and Deserve, and If He Cant man up and treat you correctly no matter how much you think you love him, If he doesnt respect you his words will never mirror his actions…You say all the time I cant keep living like this…Because You wanted it to be him, you loved him. You dont want to face and accept the truth that he doesnt love and care about you, that this kind of person exists. You see…There is nothing wrong with you, You are Good Enough, You already know that because he wanted you in the first place, Theres something wrong with Him…He has gotten comfortable with treating you like dirt…I bet when He first met you He wouldnt have gotten away with it..Its a slow Process of what extent can I get away with? She’ll never leave…Let her Cry. You hold the key in your own hand to say no more. Rebuild your self esteem, Learn to Love and Care about yourself-READ about it…Read about Narcassists, Talk kindly to yourself constantly every day what you love about you and who you are and what you stand for. God has not called you to be misused and you know that.

  5. I just got out of my abusive relationship with my ex husband of 3 years. It been a real struggle trying to understand why he treated me so harshly. He controlled everything I did and if I was five minutes late he would drill me and assumed that I was cheating on him. He decided when and if my parents even though she was dying in the hospital. And no matter how hard I tried to do the right thing I was either stupid or a bitch or many horrible things. Things really got bad a few months when he became convinced that sleeping with someone, and he kept me up and lock me in the room for hours and search through my Facebook and email to try to prove that I was unfaithful to him. He threatened to kill me and my dad and everyone I cared about. He was so manipulative that even though he was at fault somehow I was apologizing. I finally left but there are days that I still don’t feel safe or his voice is in my head. I know that these things take time but I just want to get back to normal

    • Nat, we are so sorry you had to go through this but so glad you got out. Sending you love, healing and blessings – Team UPLIFT.

  6. I was with my ex for over 20 years, since we were 13-14 years old.I am now 41 years old.. To make a very long story short…he was mentally, emotionally and physically abusive. In the past I’ve tried to leave him so many times..he would stalk me and ask my friends where I was..until they caught on to him..I was successful in leaving him..in the beginning. However, he found ways to manipulate and promise and lie his way back into my life. He was rough in the bedroom, never cared about my dreams and wellbeing. Was always angry about decisions I was making or wanted to make for myself.. he always downed me..and when I stood up for myself he found ways to knock me down. I’ve been raped by him practically everyday I was with him or every chance he had. He would get mad because I wanted to stop him from touching me, there was blood on the bed from him being so rough and not stopping, my clothes were torn, I was sore, he held me down..it got to the point he injured my rotator cuff in my shoulder from pinning me down until he was done…my head used to bang against the wall..he still didn’t stop…I had cataracts in my left eye and had cataract removal from the trauma of my head hitting the wall..nothing could have stopped him and if I tried to fight back or push him away he would hurt me..It was horrible, he has thrown me across the room in to the dresser where I injured my back and later on had a miscarriage..that’s another story in itself…he would grab me, push me, played Cat and mouse with me and cornered me and prevented me from leaving..when I defended myself he choked me up against the wall pervertedly…he has put so much fear into me it’s unbelievable..we have 2 beautiful children…and he was always angry and yelling at them and picking on them especially our son..he was and still is more abuse to him…he has hurt our son in horrific ways and I don’t believe him when he says he didn’t hurt our daughter too when she was young..I finally grew strong enough to leave him..he was hurting our son, dragging him into the bedroom to beat him..I had to keep running in there and pulling him out of his arms .I told myself not another night..I went to the police and they helped me remove him from the house..if I had just told him I don’t want to be with you anymore..I don’t want you to hurt us anymore, he would have killed me…the last time I tried to leave he said “if I was still a monster you would be in the back of the house under dirt”..I had no choice but to leave him with others around to protect us and not give him a chance to secretly hurt us. I had custody of our children..he is so manipulative and dangerous he told the courts I manipulated all the doctors and therapists and anyone else that heard what was happening… I manipulated the CPS reports etc. he took my children away from me…my children tell me everything that happens over there…he is now married with a baby and another on the way..I have appealed it and is being represented by Albany..the truth has come about..and it was proved I didn’t not make those CPS calls except for 3 of them out of 19 calls made by doctors and therapists…I called when he slapped our daughter, pushed our son and on New Years the kids did not want to go see him..they locked themelseves in their rooms and I could not get them out..so I called around asking what should I do..my son used to run across the couch and throw things and scream when it was time to go visit their father..my daughter would have such anger and attitudes beyond the norm young girl attitude…I left him 1/20/2016 and I am still battling this…my son still cries, my daughter still gets angry..his new wife is just as mean..in the beginning I thought she was nice ..now she hits me under the mommy belt…I can hear her in the background…the way she talks and the way he talks…it’s like a battle zone over there…I will not give up on my children…he has knocked me down so much between him and my mother they have drained me of who I could have become…my father is in NYC somewhere, my brother is homeless in NYC, my sister won’t talk to me because I won’t talk to my mother because of her lies and disrespect to my children…I have been upstate NY for about 9 years now…I have no family here however, I have made a few good friends, met good people, I have a mom circle and have protected support and encouragement…I’ve gained good work experiences and have some good opportunities that I am looking forward to..a few minor setbacks with my car and work and rent…however, it could be worse…the worst physical part is behind me…now I have to save my kids…it’s been almost four years since I have been that intimate(I wouldn’t call it intimacy with him) with someone…there was one man I got briefly close with..however, we were looking for different things in life…I do have a crush..and when I have had chances to get closer with him I wound up scurring away and becoming so shy as if I was a deer in headlights… I have had many chances to be with others even if it was for one night…what I am looking for is someone who is worth giving myself to and introducing him into my kids lives…I am scared to love and scared for my kids..however, knowing I can say all this with out crying tells me I have come along way..with the help, support, encouragement and protection that I have ,I feel I will be ok and in time so will my kids…I say to girls and women out there: it’s ok to be scared, it’s ok to getaway, it’s ok to ask for help, get to that help as soon as possible and don’t look back. I am a survivor. Not a victim.

  7. I was married for 20 years and used to spend at least one night a week sleeping on the floor of the locked bathroom, with my back to it so that he couldn’t kick it down. Why would anyone want to me nice to me, my own mother had convinced me I was shit.(She was mentally ill during my childhood).We had four great kids who he totally ignored, even though it was him that was desperate to have them. When I came home from work one day to find him in bed with our 14 year old daughter I grabbed this man I was terrified of and threw him out the door. For a year he stalked me and used to regularly smash all the windows and threaten me, until one night he broke in and beat me up so badly he only left when he thought I was dead. It left me in a wheelchair for a year but I made myself walk again(even if I do walk a bit funny).I kept myself to myself but I was still attractive then and very lonely, and I met someone else. We were just chatty for a long time and he was always interested and caring – until he moved in. I was with him for 18 years. He spent all my money and made me think I was mad. I thought he must love me he doesn’t hit me. he didn’t and when he left me I was desolate. Now he wants to come back and I hope I don’t let him. He is a serial adulterer and treats me abominably but he is like a drug to me.

  8. My boyfriend and I have been broken up for a week, and we were only dating for a month. I know that sounds pity, but it was a very emotionally draining relationship. We were friends for a while, and the whole time we were friends I had the biggest crush on him. We went on a date, but he told me he only liked me a friend, even though he considered it a date. I told him that we should stop talking because we both got different impressions. I eventually forgave him for the date, and that we should stay friends because I liked talking to him as a friend (also the fact that I was not over him). We became friends, but later on I found out that when we went on our date he still had feelings for someone else. All I could do at that point was cry, because I was still not over him, I still had these ridiculous feelings for him. Even though I was sad we still remained good friends, and like any good friends do they talk about what’s on their mind. One night we were talking about relationships, and he told me how he felt about me, and I told him that I never got over him. The next day after talking about how we felt about each other, we started dating. The first day we started dating, we were fighting like we had been with each other for years. The emotional toll that it had on me was awful, I did not realize how toxic he was until we broke up. He had Asperger’s so he would consistently say what bothered him. He would say that I would look better with makeup, but it didn’t matter, and had little patience when it came to me and my family. I soon understood how unhappy I was, I was fighting with my parents, and sister, and I would shut them out. I am a naturally silly person, but he would criticize that. He didn’t accept me for who I was, he would just judge me with every chance that he got. A few days before we broke up, I thought about breaking up with him, because I was so unhappy. I thought that he made me happy, but it wasn’t him that did, it was the thought of being with someone that did. A few days later we saw each other and he got frustrated with me, and hit me. I didn’t know what to think about it, it was so unexpected I knew he was a lot of things, but physically abusive was not one that I thought he would be. That was the straw that broke the camels back, I realized then and there that he wouldn’t get any better, but that he would get worse. I understood that this was a toxic person, and a toxic situation. Of course the initial breakup was hard, because it was the heartache that it left me. After that I did a lot of thinking and realized something, which was I am thankful that I am out of that situation, and that someone who treats me right and is not an asshole to me or my family will come along. He was my first boyfriend, and there will someone so much better then him. I look at myself now, after a week, and I’m a thousand times more happy then I was when I was with him.

    • Wow Eliza, that’s been quite a journey for you by the sound of it. Thank you for sharing so openly about it. I’m really happy to hear you were able to know what you had to do to take care of yourself. I think this is the hardest part for people in situations like this.

      Much love,
      Team UPLIFT

  9. Hi guys I’m struggling to cope with the after effects of an emotional abusive relationship, I still love him and I feel very depressed, angry all the time, don’t want to socialise, crying, etc, I don’t eat losing weight, I don’t have the support from no one and don’t know what to do, I keep taking him back, he called me last time I took him back said that he loves me and then it all started again, he was also growing up feeling rejected by everyone, and then 2yrs in our relationship I made a baby by my ex husband whom I WS still married to that time when we were seeing each other and then things just went out of control since then,we not seeing each other now me and the ex boyfriend I need help cause I can’t cope with what I’m going through

    • Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for sharing about your situation. It sounds challenging indeed… Have you had a look online for services in your area that may be able to help? Most bigger towns / cities have resources equipped to help people in situations like your own. Or perhaps trying your local Lifeline for someone to talk to (free of charge). They might also be able to tell you where else you can seek support.

      We wish you all the best. Much love,
      Team UPLIFT

  10. Thank you are so much for your comments. I have been with abusers since childhood and my father was the first as well as my mother who had a nervous breakdown. I have never married and have been in many abusive relationships. I’ve been avoiding men totally for 3 years because my doctor messed my brain up with taking me cold turkey off of a very dangerous drug I had been on for 20 years and it was just a two-week drug. Anyway long story short because of this I’ve been avoiding people and men and I think this very tragedy is the thing that has saved me from becoming involved with any more toxic men. My health and brain are improving now and I’ve been very concerned about getting back out in public for fear of getting involved with another harmful man.

    your posts have absolutely shined intense light on the situation for me and I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I’m going to read the recommended material you talked about and educate myself heavily on this. the trauma bonding sounds like what I’ve been doing. I will be back again but once again my thanks from the bottom of my heart to you all.. You may have saved my life. Blessings on you all!

  11. This is not a reply.i have been in an abusive relationship for 11 years but not married.he used to manipulate me that he will soon pay lobola for me but never did.he caged me in his life away from family,church,friends and my workmates.we work together the same position but whenever i get a promotion he will manipulate me from taking the opportunity.i was his sex slave even when am on my periods.we have two kids together and i had c-section on both of them but he will insist that we had sex immediately after my discharge from hospital.whenever we have misunderstanding he will take it on the kids.i remember the other time he almost killed my son with a vehicle because he was speeding off from the drive way after the argument and he didn’t even stop to check him.the list goes on.i think i can fill the whole book if i start about my life.i always have to apologize for the sake of the kids even when am not wrong

    • Hi Lebogang, thanks for reaching out and sharing with us. Nobody deserves to be treated that way. Do you have a support network around you? Please consider reaching out to a women’s centre or help line – they may be able to help you and give you advice on how to protect yourself and your kids. Sending you love and strength, Team UPLIFT

  12. My fiance of 6 years committed suicide after i left him in February 2017. i wanted him out of my life so badly but not this way. i would get beaten up and get thrown on the floor and kicked because the child is crying, because i asked him when he will find work and start assisting me financially in the house, because i asked him where did he sleep last night or receiving a call from a male friend or colleague. i was living in fear for a very long time and i was afraid to be judged and not believed if told my story. at first i was not aware that i was in an abusive relationship but i knew something was wrong then i started reading stories about domestic violence and i started realizing what was happening. he would strangle me so bad that i felt that i was dying and that time my daughter would be screaming asking him to stop. i went to he police station and i got a protection order against him then i moved out but he managed to stalk me and found out where i stayed. he came to my place on Christmas eve of 2016 and tried killing me again and i had to beg him and tell him i’m no longer leaving him, then two weeks before he committed suicide he came to my place and started shouting at me and beating me then he put me in his car and locked and took me to a veld and tried to stab me, i can say that night i saw the wonders of God i saw what they meant when they said we praying a living God because every time when he picked up his hand to stab me he would lose power and bring back his hand then he would say to me how did we get here, how did my quite and loving woman start standing against me and then he finally gave up and he took me to his place then slept with me. the day he died he phoned me and started shouting at me because i refused to come back to him then he said i’m coming to kill you then i ran away to my friends place and later on i went home and took a nap when i woke up in the late afternoon i got his 3 missed calls and immediately his sister phoned me to tell me what happened. i am grateful that i managed to get out of the relationship even though i still feel guilty that he died because of me.

    • Boitumelo, I don’t know what to say… My heart goes out to you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

      Much love to you,
      Team UPLIFT

    • For two years of a (4 decade) relationship with a controlling person that would do things over and over and then tell people I was the one who caused or demanded it. And then TELL me what he told them!
      Presents and my name on all his property, bank, stocks and bonds from the 1950’s so that if I didn’t sign, he became threatening with how I am “trying to destroy his life”.
      But here is what I can’t get past emotionally: his friends and family and neighbors constantly called me a spoiled brat because of the presents,etc. NO ONE KNEW since my 20’s.
      I am 69 years old and free now, but I feel guilty with everything I do,people I meet-just saying hello to people makes me feel I did something to annoy them. I feel a mess today. Today I found this site.

  13. Hello Uplift and Survivors, I finally broke up my ex-boyfriend of 8 years after I finally have a brave and got my stronger personality back in me because he has stopped drinking beers for a couple of days now. I already knew that I needed to leave him about 2-3 years ago, but, I was stuck on how to break up with him until I talked to a medium. It hit me so hard and realized that I have been in this emotional abuse with alcohol due to his addicted to drink, and I needed to get out of this toxic relationship, so I did it. For him, it hit him so hard and hurt. I suggested him to get help and he told me he wanted to fix the relationship and I told him no, I am not doing this anymore because you took all my emotions and energy away. I also on the processing to ask him to leave the house and find his own place. When he was drinking beer, he always complained about me, work, and put all angry tantrum toward to me. Since he is off with beers and he realizes the big time. I am grateful for who I am and have a few supporters who are supporting me now.

    • I’m happy to hear you are looking after yourself by making this hard and, I’m sure, difficult and complicated decision Mary. Also glad you have support. We need each other. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Much love on your journey,
      Team UPLIFT

  14. I just left my abuser of 6 years. I dont know if I could leave him for good or that I would come back later. I really don’t want to. Last time we broke up once and he came back begging and crying, admitting to all the faults he did and seemingly knowing he was at fault. but he also didnt give me time to get over the PTSD of his abuse and kept pushing me to accept him back, while offering to give me what i always ask of him; more commitment by coming and see my parents and planning a wedding. i finally accepted him back under 2 months where i knew i had to take more than that to think things through and also to get over my trauma. because i didnt get over, i kept on hovering over things he did. when he didnt deliver what he promised to, i didnt ask nicely, i lashed on him a few times. he had the tendency to not want to be upfront and honest and preferred speaking vaguely to confuse me. and then he started gain control and said he is unsure to commit to me because of my lashing and said if i dont change, he would not commit to me like he had promised to. he cancelled all plans impliedly and when i confronted him, he said i imagined things and that i hurt him for not trusting him. he tried to speak vaguely to confuse me and then called me stupid and many hurtful names when i didnt get any answers from him. and he said i was the one controlling and manipulative when he was the one blocking me every time i tried to raise what troubles me by saying his feelings matter more. he found out i reached out to friends after enduring 5 months of his abuse. he didnt like that i ever reached out. i tried to lie because i knew it would just make it worse but he found out and he blamed me for lying. if i had told him the truth, he would also verbally abuse me. either way i got his wrath. he dangled his love to me by making me comply to his rules and kicked me anytime he feels like it. as simple as misreading a whatsapp conversation can cause him to call my mum a prostitute. i dont want to feel bad for lying to him about getting help. i dont want to feel bad about hurting his feelings. i feel like im going crazy for sympathising an abusive person like that. and i dont know if i can ever trust and love anyone at all after this. but i do want to settle down and have my own children, something he knows i want but keep on dangling and making empty promises and making me hope and i lost 6 years being frustrating of not getting it and he wont admit that he doesnt want to do so with me.

    • We are so sorry to hear you have gone through that experience. You did the right thing by leaving him, even though it can’t be easy. Do you have the number of a local help line you can call to talk things over?

      You will get the happy ending you deserve. Stay strong!

      Much Love,
      Team UPLIFT

  15. Hello to everyone out there,

    I have just came out of a relationship that lasted under a year. I’m really not sure whether I was being emotionally abused by my ex-girlfriend or not. She ended the relationship and was very cold and distant a few weeks prior to the break up. At the beginning of the relationship, everything was wonderful and breezy but after some time passed, I began to realise how difficult it was to converse with her. Everything I seemed to say was stupid or not worth speaking about and I just felt as if I couldn’t say much because whatever I would say would be deemed as stupid. There were a few times where her emotions would be quite unstable and almost child like. There was one occasion when I couldn’t make love to her because I had a severe migraine which lead to her becoming very cold, not talking about it and threw her hairdryer on the bed (even though she knew I was on the bed), it hit my ankle quite hard which then lead to her sobbing uncontrollably and leaving me to console and support her. I observe a lot when people interact with one another and I can even see that her friends really struggle to be around her, leaving uncomfortable atmospheres and she would be very confrontational at times and angry when trying to get her point across. I had always felt that I was being too sensitive or taking things to heart too much when she would talk to me in harsh tones. I would just like some views on whether or not I was being emotionally abused by her and whether I should give it another go if she reaches out again?

    Thank you!

    • Thank you for your honest sharing … We really feel your dilemma and recommend you seek a kind and supportive professional therapist … There is so much clarity in supported self-enquiry. We wish you love and courage …

  16. My man is back and now he is more open and he admitted he loves me and really wants to try a relationship with me again, After a year of separation we are now back together, and he plans to move in when his lease is up. Contact Robinson Buckler today if you need to get help to get back your lost lover via email: [email protected] hotmail.com,,

  17. I just left my abuser therapist Wednesday. I’m still in pain. Wanting him. Controlling me. Hating him. Loving me wanting to revenge him. A jungle. I would love to know the process of healing. Time. Feeling. What to expect.

  18. i dont no if but he told me that everything was fine with what happened to me he said that it shouldnt defie me but defined me by it he saw me like i was damaged and he didnt even help me he saw me as i was disgusting .now he left and he ignores me but i still love i may be the wrong place but i dont know what to do.

  19. I left my ex of seven years in March. He’s been so bitter, hurt and angry and he makes sure I know just how much. He threatened to kill me, not once so I decided to record him the time he did. Now he accuses me of leading him on to say those mean things to me. He says I’m a bad person for leaving him after all he did for me. Somehow, I’m tempted to believe I am.
    This is someone who told me to stop being friends with my bestie after he learnt he was gay. We broke up over that but got back together on the condition that I would never mention my friend’s name in the relationship. I stupidly agreed. He used to say he could love me more if only I would be submissive to him and that I should consider myself a child and he the leader. He was hell bent on ‘taming’ me.
    The difficult part is explaining to people why I left him barely months after joining him in France. He’s always talking about the financial help he offered to make this trip a reality but doesn’t want to even hear me talk about paying him back.
    I can’t get over the guilt of leaving him especially as he’s vowed to never forgive me. He helped me find a well paid job when I got here and he makes sure I’m reminded of that. There are times I feel like quitting the job so as not to feel indebted to him, but I need it.
    It would have been easier if he had physically abused me or cheated on me or something. I’m grateful for the support of family and few friends; the people who love me. Now I just have to focus my energy on taking back my power.
    This article and others always remind me of why I left and how right that decision was.

  20. Hi , I just got out of an abusive relationship. I have been crying everyday for the past one year and could never end the relationship myself because I really loved this guy. He used to abuse me,left saying he felt ashamed and I now realize that I made him come back even know he never wanted to.Tried everything to make him stop, shouted back, stayed calm, tried to make him quiet but he never stopped it only increased . I dont know why I just ended up crying whenever he shouted on me and f I r crying he abused me even more saying that I’m useless and not capable of doing anything worthwhile. He always abused me even more and at the end he said he wanted me to stop crying. He said I was the biggest piece of shit on this planet because I was in pain and I was sick. He even shouted on me when I got sick and said I did it on purpose. I’ve got no friends and currently I’m at home for vacations which are going to end soon. I dont want to face him but that’s unavoidable in college. And even now I miss him ,I don’t understand why he always treated me like some desperate needy shit. He never called on his own, never wanted to see me.i never knew but a few days back only he accepted that he didn’t actually love me and that broke me even more, because whatever I tolerated was based on this fact that he wanted me and it was all just a lie. I have got trembling fingers and I shiver when I cry now. And the days I dont cry makes me feel guilty because I know I’ll be doing it next day.He is doing fine in his life now. He doesn’t want me to contact him or show him my fucking face (his words). I just cant deal with this .I am trying to be busy but I am sick and I cant really do much. I dont know how will I get over him.

  21. I was married 35 years to my abuser, I couldn’t figure out how to get out of that bad situation after that length of time! He should have won an award for being the biggest manipulator and deceiver on earth. I finally went to our local women’s abuse shelter and they advised me to keep coming for counseling, join a church (because church families will always emotionally support you) which they did!

    I finally just ran for it (I lost everything that I owned including all of my money) but you know what? Freedom from abuse is priceless! I had to start over from scratch, but its been a such a blessing to not deal with a controlling, lying, thieving, cheating, manipulative, raging monster anymore. I am still healing but I am happy and safe after a lifetime of on and off hell with him.

    Go NO CONTACT completely, its the only way out of being coerced by your abuser.

  22. I left my abuser 2 years ago, and the thing is: we never really realize we are in an abusive relationship until you leave it.
    We were in a relationship for 2 years, and he lied to me since the beginning of it. After 3 months together, he told me he was in a relationship with another girl who he couldn’t leave since she was blind and had no place to go. I left him. After some weeks he came back saying the girl found out and they were not together anymore. And he always used it as an excuse (“i left someone because of you”).
    It was great at first, as every relationship. After some months he started changing. First he used to treat me like some stupid person in front of others. Then he started screaming at me in public. After grabbing my arm abit stronger, and stronger and stronger.
    When I tried to break up, he used to say he would change, he loved me, he couldn’t live without me, and that things wojld be different. Up to the moment that he started being physically abusive. He used to lock me in the bedroom for days without my belongings, including cellphone, no tv, no radio, no food and no water. He only gave me water and food when I was almost passing out. He used to say he did that because he loved me. He wanted to protect me.
    When I tried to break up and go to some friends’ house, he used to threat me saying he would go to my parents’ house, because he knew where they lived.
    When I finally realized I was in an abusive relationship, I decided to leave my country (I’m Brazilian), and go to USA. When he found that out, he freaked out. I went to our house to pick my things and leave to my parents during the visa process, and attacked me. He broke my finger, he grabbed my neck and almost killed me. I left home without any of my things and never went back.
    In the month I was about to leave my country, I found out I was pregnant. It was a devastating moment. My parents called him so we could discuss how things would be (my parents didn’t and still don’t know he was abusive).
    He got nervous and said he didnt want a child. And said I had to do an abortion. I said I wouldnt, and so he threatened me saying I knew his family was rich and would take the kid away, and he would make my life a hell if i had the child.
    I said I would do the abortion if he left my life for real. And he said he would.
    So I did. I was forced to do.
    And my life was like hell anyway.
    He didnt leave. He went to my parents’ house saying he wanted to get married, he loved me and he wanted to spend his life with me.
    I pushed him. I got crazy. I screamed and cried. He insisted on talking to my parents and ask THEM to get married with me.
    Of course they didnt understand why i was so mad, but respected me.
    He left. But he sent one last email. Threats. Threats about showing videos and pictures he had somehow from me. Said he would find someone who would accept the love I didnt accept. Saying no one would love me the way he did. I would die alone.
    But i ignored. He called once again, but that was all.
    It has been 2 years. I still have issues. I regret the abortion. I feel ashamed of not leaving that situation, of accepting that. I feel guilty and angry at myself for not making things different.

    Just time helps. Just forgiving and trying to move on makes you live.
    It is hard. It has been hard. But I know it will pass.

    • I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. I’m so glad you are safe now, and so glad that your parents respected and trusted your reaction. That is invaluable, as abusers can often so easily manipulate and deceive. I hope you are much happier now and with people you can feel safe with as you deserve.

  23. (((robinson.buckler @ yahoo. com))) … restored my relationship and my boyfriend came back to me……………………

  24. I’ve been on and off with my ex for 3yrs now since I was 18. I am now 21 and I have never wanted it to be over with more than I do now. It NEEDS to be over with for good. He has emotionally, verbally, and physically abused me. He has done nothing but play with me and use me these past 3yrs whether it be financially or emotionally. In the beginning, it was all fun and games. He said we were going to be just “kicking” it and enjoying each other’s time. We’d see each other almost everyday. He got upset with me because I slept with someone else 2weeks into us knowing each other….after HE said we were going to be just friends. He went OFF on me and got very disrespectful. Now that I look back at it, that should’ve been my first red flag. No one should ever call you out your name. I didn’t know how to react, I had never been exposed to that type of disrespect because I grew up with loving, respectful parents. Instead of seeing it as a red flag, he made me believe I had fucked up. Ever since then shit has been beyond shitty. He has told me I’m fat, that clearly I can’t find anyone better than him because I’m still single (because I choose to be), that no one actually wants me, etc. He has beyond manipulated me. And now that I look back at these past 3yrs, I see it was all a game to him. He would come and leave as he pleased. Leaving me for months over the SMALLEST things. Constantly blocking me on EVERYTHING. I constantly felt stressed as if I was walking on eggshells because he would blow up over anything and everything. And of course he wants to blame me for us not working out and everything else. It hurts that I clearly never meant shit to him. That someone can be this disrespectful and rude. That someone can be this heartless and not give a fuck at all. It just hurts. I have a lot of anger and hurt and I don’t know how to let it go. I feel like I still seek validation from him and I hate it. I’m honestly ashamed at everything that I tolerated and allowed because I loved him. I honestly can’t name one time he ever showed me he loved me or cared for me. It just became a game to him to use me for money or whenever he was going thru shit. I never made a difference in his life. I tried seeking closure and he told me that I’m weak, that I have no backbone, and that if I keep thinking about it I’ll eventually figure out why he’s done me so dirty. But there’s no excuses nonetheless. Normal people with good hearts don’t treat people the way he’s treated me. I just hate that I sometimes feel so hopeless. My sadness just comes and goes. I don’t know how to set myself free from this situation. Even when we don’t talk, I feel like he’s still controlling me.

    • I’m so sorry you have had to go through all of this. I went through a very similar relationship. At the start he said the same, h ewanted ‘no drama’ he said this as son as we acknowledged we liked one another. At the time I thought ok…fair enough.. but looking back what he meant was for him. He didn’t want me to get upset by his behaviours or the unequal nature of our relationship.
      Like you, two weeks after we started seeing each other (every day like you, we were seeing each other and collaborating on creative projects, but he was exploiting me and bigging me up then getting me to do all the work), because he was still seeing another woman, I hung out with a friend one night, I was so upset and just wanted comfort and to watch a film and drink (I didn’t want anything more to happen), my friend stayed because it was pouring with rain, and we were tipsy and I thought ‘what does it matter, Lee is seeing someone else’ and we kissed and started to try to do things, but neither of us were into it (both physically couldn’t) and we stopped. Lee heard about this through the grapevine and acted as though I had totally betrayed him, broken his heart, said that he’d thought I was ‘the one’. I was in the wrong regardless of his own actions; it was completely unequal. I wasn’t with anyone else for nearly two years, totally loyal to him although on hindsight this was nonsense. He continued to do whatever he wanted, using my perceived discretion as an excuse. He emotionally abused me, bigged me up then put me down, all the time in small insidious ways, putting down my critical input about our project with no critical basis, just to say i was wrong or he would do things differently, but not say how, say I should lose 2 stone, say he ‘could see what I was trying to do’ with the way i dressed.. When I got upset, a natural reaction, he would say my depression was all in my head, ‘have you always been like this’, on and on.
      Even after we stopped seeing each other, I moved out of our creative studio, stopped working with him, he stayed in touch, always and only be nice to build towards trying to initiate sexy chat (probably just for power/to see if he could), then put me down or make me question myself, said a horrible accident and illness was karma, and victim-blame me when another man sexually harassed me for engaging with the man when he had only acted interested in my work and friendly to start with. I blocked him from contacting me again from all platforms, and realised the full nature and extent of his abuse.
      The sooner you cut contact, the sooner you will be able to recover and find the peace you deserve.

  25. I am just now learning how abusive my 8-year relationship has been. One of those where you shrug away all the red flags, assuming you misunderstood the situation. We have 3 kids together and I have been a stay at home mom the whole time at his insistence. I just began reaching out. Tried to break up but he said if I did, he would either kill himself or remove himself completely from the boys’ lives. He is trying to get into law enforcement so I feel like I can’t go to the dept about anything because he works there and I would be interfering g with his long-term goals. He also says if I don’t want to have sex with him every day, we might as well break up or he will end up cheating. “I wouldn’t be able to help it. I am a man and it is biological. If a man isn’t satisfied at home, he will be led around by the nose by anything with a vagina.” Tried to tell me to go off birth control. Like hell. I am dreading an hour from now when I have to wake him up with unwanted unconsenting sex so he can get ready for work. I am going to the women’s clinic Monday to figure out a plan. I cant keep doing this. Daily marital rape is just dreadful. Either this coming week or next, I will set an alarm clock with a note breaking up with him. I will be gone with the the kids. I refuse to be a prisoner.

    • Please leave him. And I hope you can care more about yourself than this abusive asshole’s long-term goals.

    • No no no, please don’t believe any of that ‘biological’ bs, don’t let him pressure you into sex if you don’t want to, it’s heartbreaking, you don’t deserve that and your children deserve better for their mum who they love! When they grow up they will understand. If he is emotionally abusive, they will be better off without him in their lives too. Think if it was your mum, would you want her to stay? Also you have a right to go to the police and protect yourself, regardless of his future career; he is not respecting you or your safety and well-being and that is the most important thing. If you feel uncomfortable or think he would lie, is there another police station you could go to? Don’t let him deter you either way. You deserve safety and sanctuary from this man, and so do your kids, I really hope you all get the healthy life you deserve.

  26. Once he is gone do you need to forgive him in order to heal and move on.? He is now deceased and everyone tells me they hope I can forgive him. I’m not sure that is possible

    • No, you do not have to forgive him to move on. Forgiving an abuser is completely up to you and you can move on without doing it. I will never forgive mine.

    • You 100% do not have to forgive or excuse anything he did. I think knowing it was wrong, that people emotionally abuse and gaslight consciously, helps us to better protect ourselves in future. Take care of yourself and acknowledging things for ho wthey were will help you to heal and be strong.

  27. My husband of 37 years just decided to call our marriage over..
    i worked ,paid the bills while he saved his money..
    i know now that he was an emotional abuser cutting me off family and friends for years he belittled me saying things like
    ‘nobody would have you’calling me names, throwing things at me and cheating on me…he never even used to wish me a happy birthday in all those years but when it was his, he expected a celebration… but now as of last week i have legally separated from him and feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, our children feel better too, they had been telling me to leave… he took everything only left me half the house cause
    i do not have the funds to fight him in court…but thats ok.. i work and
    i have my health thats what is important.

  28. I left my abuser 2 days ago. He physically restrained me to keep me from leaving and purposefully hurt my dog in the process of trying to keep me around. I spend 6 years with him and he ruined my life. He maxed out all of my credit cards, made me think that I was the crazy one, and even used my Emotional Support Dog to manipulate me. He insisted on going with me to family gatherings, and then would complain about the food and when we would leave he would have only mean things to say about my family, who was always very nice and welcoming to him. He keeps emailing me and trying to tell me that he loves me but I know that if he really loved me he wouldn’t have abused me. I have spent the last two days trying to figure out what to do with my life and my time. I take care of myself, allow myself to heal as much as possible, and take care of my precious dog. I am planning to live in my car, which will be a major improvement considering my situation over the last 6 years. I look forward to someday being okay with myself and loving myself as much as he claimed he loved me.

  29. I’m sitting here on the couch, surrounded by my stuff thrown in garbage bags and my partner wants me out. This will be the 4 th time in 10 years that he’s thrown me out, taken my credit cards, calling me every name in the book. He knows my triggers and weaknesses but still pushes me. I lost it yesterday and screamed and cried like a madwoman. I threw my water bottle at the door and cracked it and that was it… I shouldn’t have. But we always have these insane blowups and then make up. Im scared to leave, part of me still loves him, the old story, when it’s good, it’s amazing, but the bad is horrendous…I feel like I’ve finally totally and completely lost my mind. I don’t feel like myself any more. The energy and life has been sucked out of me. I’m so sad.

    • Have you got family or friends (not mutual friends your abuser is pally with) you can go and stay with? This person sounds like he has antisocial personality disorder e.g. narcissism personality disorder, sociopathy, pyscopathy, borderline. They elicit a bad response from their victims so they can point the finger and say you’re the crazy one. You acted out by throwing the water bottle because he drove you beyond your limit by saying that you were this and that or accused you of this and that. You, Margaret, are in an abusive situation, you need to get out and you need to block all contact with this loser. This is his power and control game to make him feel oh so important, so that when you beg him or give into his wants he gives you his dick for a reward. It will all feel lovey, dovey until he treats you like shit again, but you know this already because he doesn’t want therapy, he’ll song his virtues and he’ll blame you for everything that goes wrong in his miserable, sorry was life. The ups and downs in this toxic relation incites a roller coaster of emotions. This is actually an indication that you are trauma bonded to your abuser whereby hormones wreak havoc with your body. Overtime, if you havent already suffered these complaints (I bet you are), your mental health and then your physical health will break down. Please read up on trauma bonding as this will explain the reason why you need to return to that toxic person…their reward is sex (on their terms), and this induces feel good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine, which give you a drug-like euphoria making you addicted to this loser. Please, Margaret, get out and stay away from this man; you have a lot of good to give to this world, don’t waste anymore of your precious life with this control-freak……

      • Thank you…for saying what I needed to hear. I left today. Me and my cat. I have a friends place for a week and then I’m going to drive across the country to my home, my family and friends. I have never been that honest because I feel like an idiot. I go back to him time and time again. I got a secret credit card so I’m not so scared…I guess I put it out there. I’ve never cried so much in 2 days, I felt like I was dying. If it was a friend, I’d be telling her to leave… now I’m just trying to figure out what I’m going to do. Which is whatever I want. He threw me out, told me he was done. Told me to grow up while I sobbed like a baby. I can understand why that would be annoying…then said if I walk out of his life, I’ll never see him again. I know better, just so hard. And hard to follow through but your response is empowering me, I thank you so much for taking the time. Never thought I’d be that woman, I’m very strong-willed. But I’m a shell of what I used to be. I’m going to read up on trauma bonding now. Thank you!

        • Congratulations, Margaret, on your brave step. Do a lot of email research on these behaviours and the writers of these sites will recommend “No Contact” that means blocking the loser’s phone number, his email account and the hard part not associating with people who support him. He will now work harder to get you so that IF you go back he has won and will treat you more terribly. It’s going to be a hard road at first but I tell you Margaret the tide will turn and you’ll be super strong and will wonder why you spent all this time with that jack ass. You deserve a medal for leaving, I wish more people could summon the strength to do what you have done, so awesome work. 🙂

        • Margaret and Andrea….

          THANK YOU. I am in a very similar experience and am packing up my stuff to move 17 hours away where I know no one with my dog and that’s it. I spent 2.5 years thinking there was something fundamentally wrong with me because my ex constantly made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I was from the trailer park and a bartender. His constant criticism (though he lived in his parent’s attic at 27 and I have lived in my own place since 17) about my job choice and his wealthy friends’ opinions of me negatively impacted me to the point where I changed everything. The way I cleaned, they way I cooked, the way I earned money, the way I laughed and I even moved out of my hometown because he made me think everyone thought i was a whore. He called me “whoregan” when he was drunk and angry. Even though I know the cause of my emotional trauma, it is still so difficult for me not to seek his approval to calm my nerves and ease my insecurities, because it has felt like he was my judge and jury. He defined me for so long. I have no idea how to even begin to trust someone and let them love me. I find it hard to believe they ever will, but I am so hopeful. The pain and insecurity he made me feel pushed me to start a new career. Out of that new career, I eventually found work with an amazing employer who, when I was ready to leave my abuser, quickly arranged my transfer far, far away and offered me all resources available to seek help. Even with all of these resources and blessings, I still feel like I need the validation of my abuser. Positive thoughts and healing to everyone on this thread. We can do it. I can’t wait to find people who love all of me and my weaknesses because they choose to see I’m worth it, not because they want to manipulate my flaws. Good luck ladies, I can’t wait to hear the success stories. We’ve got this.

          • Wow. I can definitely relate that when it’s good it’s PHENOMENAL but when it’s bad, it’s BAD. I feel this is why I’ve held on to my abuser for so long. Because when things are good, it’s amazing and I hold on so much to those little moments even though the bad outweighs the good. I wish you best of luck in setting yourself free from this situation. It’s honestly draining. We deserve something healthy and stable.

        • PLease don’t think you’re natural emotional response is ‘annoying’ or that you need to ‘grow-up’. it is a normal reaction. It is yet another example of his gaslighting behaviour, to try and make you doubt yourself when you are already vulnerable. They never break their cycle. I was in a relationship that sounds almost exactly the same, the same behaviours and wording, and had to seek CBT counselling as a result of his gaslighting, and the councillor was really concerned by the unequal power dynamic and obvious behaviours at play. It will feel horrible now, but once you have your own time and choices back, after some time, it will seem incomprehensible that he ever had any sway over your decisions and manipulated you to question yourself. It is very obvious when you look back on it or from an outside perspective. I’m sorry you have to go through this and figure things out, but that is so good you got a secret credit card, and I’m so happy that you are leaving and going to find friends and family that are not mutual to him, as they easily manipulate mutual friends too.
          Excited for you to find yourself, time and your freedom again, it will feel so good in time.

        • Also I 100% agree on the no contact, he will just try to manipulate you and work you around to him again then make you question yourself over and over. I let me abuser message me, still believed in some small way we were still friends or could be in spite of all the hard times, but again and again he would just be nice to try to initiate sexual chat or send me videos, all he ever wanted at the end of the day was to see me naked (but probably just for power), then he would say horrible things to get me to doubt myself, tell me after I had nearly died from a horrible painful accident and sepsis that it was karma, and when I spoke out about another guy sexually harassing me and other women, he tried to victim-blame me for engaging with the guy in the first place (he had acted like a friend for ages before he was inappropriate, I wasn’t to blame.) That is when I finally saw how bad and how deep he would go to gaslight me, and blocked him from all modes of communication and spoke out about him too. He has since been removed from 2 educational design programmes and removed from the board of a charity we both worked for after they saw proof of his behaviours, as other people got in touch to tell me of their own experiences of his abusive and manipulative behaviours and abuse of power.
          Just cut him out and take back your peace and begin to let yourself recover.

    • Margaret, I’m so worried for you after reading your comment. Please take care, and no matter what don’t ever go back to that guy. I completely understand how you feel and I have lived through something similar. There is only one way: Keep going through it… It will hurt like hell, but day by day, step by step, you will find your way back to you. Enjoy that at least the power is YOURS now. I want to recommend you to read this book: “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. It absolutely safed my mental health, and first of all started me on the road to understanding what had happened to me, how I had been manipulaled and broken down to become just a shadow of myself. I send you so much love and wishes for your healing and protection!

  30. My abuser whom I had a year long relationship with is using the legal system to inflict psychological attacks. Despite him being charged and sentenced for assault with a blunt force instrument on me and I successfully getting a protection order against him (which he is opposing so I’ll see his ugly face yet again in court) he can still accuse me of having antisocial personality disorder, being a liar, irresponsible, abusive, all the things I jokingly say he was inspired to write down when he looked at himself in the mirror and decided it was me, yetthere is nothing I can do at a legal point of view because his message is sent between our lawyers. He is trying to destabilize me after I’ve moved on. In the meantime, I have written some books, got one traditionally published, to get my mind back to normal. I want to say that things will get better and sing Kumbaya, but sometimes certain abusers just can’t leave you be, they’re set out to abuse you for the sick joy of it. I’m barely keeping my head above the water as he claims my property. I’m just sooo glad he never stayed longer or I would have lost my house.

  31. I asked my abuser to leave after he called me a bitch for throwing out a cup and then later, breaking our pics when I asked to see his phone and questioned him about a conversation he stated that he would tell me about. I ended up cut. After a week of no communication, he changed his profile pic and our status. I texted him and told him do not put anything bad about me on FB. He flipped the whole story on me and said that I was crazy and bi polar and that I was the abuser and kept him away from his family. The sad part is, his family believes and defends him although I am not the only one who abused. Now, he told me he doesn’t want me to stop contacting him and blocked me from everything. The way he is trying to do me hurts. I am crying daily at work and everytime I thnk I am okay, I keep crying. He was very abusive to me in the past and currently has a warrant for harming me back in 2017.I am so distraught and don’t know if this gets better.

  32. I’ve been free from my abuser for 8 years. But I still feel like anything I do that in anyway confirms his opinion of me is him winning. For instance, he and his family are perfectionists, narcissists, when it comes to having a perfectly kept house. I do not. So he constantly told me that I wasn’t a real woman and no one would want me because of that (among other things). So I have a very difficult time cleaning my house because I feel like he is winning. It’s almost as if I’m rebelling. But I’m disgusted with my house. It’s an ongoing inner conflict. And I can’t seem to overcome it.

    • I was in a 2 decades long abusive relationship. NO ONE could believe he was as abusive as he was to me to my children. I have put my foot down many times. I even divorced him 6 years ago. He is not going to change. He could be the most fun person to be around and then the most awful person to be with. Krav Maga helped me stop the abuse. Helped me know I am worth more. I do struggle with depression. PTSD. I am working on feeling anything and being happy. But. Because of Krav I will no longer tolerate any type of abuse

  33. I’ve been free from my abuser for 8 years. But I still feel like anything I do that in anyway confirms his opinion of me is him winning. For instance, he and his family are perfectionists, narcissists, when it comes to having a perfectly kept house. I do not. So he constantly told me that I wasn’t a real woman and no one would want me because of that (among other things). So I have a very difficult time cleaning my house because I feel like he is winning. It’s almost as if I’m rebelling. But I’m disgusted with my house. It’s an ongoing inner conflict. And I can’t seem to overcome it.

    • I totally understand where you are coming from. My partner ex partner used to constantly critique me about the same thing, and I found myself rebelling in response, because even if I did clean the house spotless he always had to find something I missed.

      My advice to you is to let go – not easy I know. Just remember, it’s been 8 years, he literally is no longer in your life. Whether you clean your house or not, he has absolutely no hold over your life and decisions anymore. You are the one in control. You have the power. Grasp it with both hands and revel in it. He is no longer ‘winning’ because you are free of him. Take control of your life! Pay someone to come clean for a few hours a week to get you on track. Stop making yourself unhappy to rebel against someone who is no longer around. Go see a therapist. It’ll do you no good to continue to have your choices dictated by some dickhead who tried to ruin you. I wish you luck and hope you are doing well now.

    • I’ve been away from mine for 5 years. And I go through severe bouts of depression. I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t have emotional attachments to things as I learned that lesson. It just seems like I have nothing. I have a great job and everyone thinks my life is great. But I hate my life. I hate who I’ve become. I spend all my time by myself. It’s funny I want to be who I was before. I was married for 18 years. And I only remember parts. Dr said it was normal. But I don’t feel normal. I don’t feel anything.

      • Hello
        I am crying as I am writing this. You have put into words what I haven’t been able to admit or realize. After 2 years of emotional abuse I found out that that is what it was. I was 100% under his manipulative control and only rebelled when I didn’t like the treatment towards my children. After I found out, the cycle of on/off continued but I felt more in control because I decided when I didn’t like a certain type of treatment I just walked out and refused to see him for a while. However, I kept returning and other abusive traits did their work without me realizing.
        I moved to another country for 5 years to escape and then I returned again (to my own home) and to him as a part time partner and to work for him. I felt that with more knowledge I could deal with it better or that time may have changed him. No. When not with him I am alone although he invents that I am not. Luckily we don’t live together.
        I hate that I am not as social or friendly as I used to be. I was led to believe by him that my friends and acquaintances said horrible things behind my back and that I was ‘flirting’. I want to be the friendly, giving happy person I was before. This person isn’t normal. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to see anyone, I feel I am too sad and have nothing to contribute to a gathering.
        Yes other men are boring compared to this. I sometimes thought that because I knew what I am getting myself into I could deal with it. However when the abuse starts in earnest it really hurts.
        Thank you for your post, it has helped me a great deal.

        • Jenny, thank you for sharing so openly. That sounds incredibly challenging… I’m so sorry you went through / are still going through that. I hope you have someone you can go to for professional support to aid your healing.

          Much love to you,
          Team UPLIFT

        • Awwwwww wow I really understand how u feel I have just got out of an abisive relationship I have no friends because to him they were all bad news and I am a stay at home Mum to my son so feel so isolated from the real world xx

          • I’m so sorry to hear you feel isolated Louise… Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly – this is a great and brave step towards connection. I hope you soon find people you can share your journey with.

            Much love to you,
            Team UPLIFT

    • What I am hearing here is that you have PTSD … like a soldier away from the battle field, to you the sound of 4th of July fireworks sounds like an attack. Post Traumatic Shock Disorder. I have read that little by little it will fade and be written over by new experiences… Don’t wallow, don’t let it eat you up, don’t drink more than glass of wine with dinner, alcohol and PTSD don’t mix…
      maybe hire a maid, maybe just don’t do it until it bothers you enough so that you want to do it…
      I am hearing others here reflect this same problem… it is Shell Shock.. you were in a war, shot at and now you are tramatized. There are a lot of crazies out there… mean and crazy, search out only the best people and become the best you that you can be for yourself. Remember that the enemy hides and disguises themselves … look for good people… learn how to recognize good people, character and depth… oddly … they might seem boring to you … because you are used to crazy and mean… spiced with a bit of con man glibness and falsehoods … don’t buy it anymore. It is sizzle no steak…

      • Hi both, I hear you. I was in a severely abusive relationship for a number of years. It’s been two years and I think I’m just starting to understand the magnitude of the damage done to me. I feel like there is a huge crater where my identity, personality, heart and soul used to be. I can no longer connect or even see people the way I used to and not sure I ever will again. Often I am completely numb and can’t feel anything and my memories of much of my life are no longer accessible to me. Where they are – they are either fragments or memories of memories ie I know they exist but I can’t feel them (these are memories before the relationship). That said, I’ve done all the right things to heal and 2 years later am no longer in excruciating pain and panic each day. 2 weeks ago I started dreaming at night for the first time in about 5 years. I still have very little energy or motivation, and my brain does not function like it used to. That said for PTSD, I strongly recommend EMDR, it is the one therapy that has made a massive difference to my healing. I’m in the midst of a second lot of sessions and can say it’s the only thing that has helped me move forward with the PTSD. I wish you luck, love and healing.

        • Ive been emotionally/mentally abused all my life. Ive always tried to portray a strong confident persona but inside I feel ive been dying. The harshness of society now is making it worse. I do wonder if its something im doing. Although I get on well with people, people do actually feel they have the right to put me down. So many dreafful things have happened, I told my doctor yesyerday that I feel like im touched, ive diagnosed with syress, anxiety and deptession following the treatment I have recieved from a well known organisation, ths was following a job I got for a family member in my then place of employment she turned people against me and when I tried to return from maternity leave they refused me flexible wkg completely and forced me to resign. Even writing this im thinking is it me, what have I ever done to people to be treated this way. Im trying not to feel sorry for myself. I was molested as a child and there was an attempted rape and physical mental abuse from partners. Now as a single mum with no family aside frommy children the ongoing abuse has to stop. There is so much more that has happened but I feel I was led tothis page just now I my quest for healing and throygh your courage to express yourselves, relay your traumas and discuss them I found the ciurage to do so myself. Im just so tired and feel I have allowed myself to have tgese negative things happen. How will Iebe able to claim and live my true self who is not bad and be treated in-kind. Ive truly had enough and am possibly fir the first time in my life realuse that no matter what has happened somehow its only me who can heal me. My son has literallt as i write this just told me I have to protect him because he dosent know how to fight (his 8) he has been bullied at school, there has been no support from his school and my mariral status and my sons fathers whereabouts wasof more interest to them. For his saje and tge sake of my oldest child I’ll have to try to heal although sometimes I feel if it wasn’t for my children I could no longer go on. I feel scarred but noone could eversee them.

          • Hello. I have just left a 2 year long abusive relationship. I am fighting depression and PTSD. For sure. I can tell you what gave me the strength to stand up for myself is Krav Maga. It is a self defense class. I am struggling with all the other things. Feeling good about myself. But. This class helps me to stand tall. I will not accept any other abuse. Both my mother and father are emotionally abusive. It is what it is. Feeling anything is tuff but I will no longer tolerate any abuse from anyone. I urge any person to take some kind of self defense class

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