National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

RHOBH Recap: Taylor’s Therapy & Why We Don’t Recommend It

Did you catch Monday’s episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Quick recap for those who missed it, we watched the Housewives going along with their lives — Lisa planning her daughter’s wedding, Adrienne fussing over her shoe line debut, and Kyle and Brandi going for manicures. The scene we found ourselves drawn to most, however, was Taylor and Russell’s very real therapy session.

It was hard to watch.

The therapist brought up the topics of Russell’s anger, his aggression and his desire to hurt Taylor when they’re arguing. The therapist didn’t specify in which way Russell hurts his wife, so we are not clear if the therapist is referring to physical, verbal/emotional abuse or other. Russell contributed that it wasn’t pretty when he was angry, a comment that seemed too casual for the topic at hand. Russell left the session early to attend a business meeting.

We bring up this scene to discuss what may surprise some of our readers.

We at the hotline do not encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to seek counseling with their partner. Abuse is not a relationship problem. While there can be benefits for couples who undergo couple’s therapy, there’s a great risk for any person who is being abused to attend therapy with their abusive partner.

Relationship counseling can help partners understand each other, resolve difficult problems, and even help the couple gain a different perspective on their situation. It cannot, however, fix the unequal power structure that is characteristic of an abusive relationship.

An abuser may use what is said in therapy later against their partner. Therapy can make a person feel vulnerable. If the abuser is embarrassed or angered by something said in therapy, he or she may make their partner suffer to gain back the sense of control. Therapy is often considered a “safe space” for people to talk. For an abused partner, that safety doesn’t necessarily extend to their home.

Couples often enter couple’s therapy to fix their relationship. Deciding whether or not the relationship is better is extremely hard for a couple if one is being abused. The abuser has all of the power and can no longer gauge if a relationship is getting better because he/she does not see what their partner sees. The abused partner often cannot even rate how bad or good the relationship is because the abuse has affected him/her. We saw this happen in the episode. Russell even tried to control the evaluation of therapy, declaring that he thought they were progressing. Taylor responded saying that while they were working on it, they weren’t quite to a good place just yet.

Another reason that couple’s therapy or counseling is not recommended is that the facilitator may not know about the abuse, which would make the entire process ineffective. The abuser may make their partner seem responsible for the problems, and if the therapist does not realize that abuse is present, her or she may believe the abuser.

If you or someone you know is considering entering therapy with an abusive partner, please have them call us at the hotline. We can talk to them, and give them a judgment-free sounding board for their hopes and concerns about the process.

Here’s an interview Taylor did on KTLA in which she says that the reality show may have even saved her life.

52 replies
  1. Hannah Bonde says:

    I absolutely agree with you. An abuser twist and turn things that’ve happened and been said against their partner. They are masters to flipp the script.

  2. Gail says:

    I left my husband after years of chaos and discouragement. I stated with my parents who really supported me. However, I began feeling guilty and wondered if I had made an awful mistake. We began sending text messages to each other. I had often wondered if my thinking was skewed. However, having the text messages in front of me helped me to see how he DID twist things around to make me look like I wasn’t able to see things as clearly as he did. I think anything that helps us step back and view a situation from a different perspective is very helpful.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Gail,

      Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. It is common for an abusive partner to be manipulative and twist things around; even to the point that you might believe the skewed information he is telling you. I am glad that you found a perspective that helped you see the true nature of what your partner was doing to you. It’s wonderful that you found the courage to leave him and had the support of your family. Stay strong and if you need further support or resources you can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  3. Arene says:

    “Let Me Be”

    My heart taken freely as the love was squeezed out of it
    All the flavor is gone there is nothing left not a bit
    My mind nearly destroyed as any independent thought I had was negated
    My body abused- no longer is there found pleasure- once loved now hated
    My soul what is left of it- is freely given back to God
    I’d rather risk being as though I never was -rather than continue this facade
    Existence in a body abused without pleasure,
    A mind without independent thought- how can one measure?
    A heart without love, or life without breath
    A soul broken and bruised -is worse than death

    Let me go -be happy
    Or if per chance during this thing
    Some pleasure is found in my suffering
    Just let me be
    This misery can not be my destiny

    Let me go and be happy without you
    Death can be sweet sometimes when colors are always blue
    When life with someone is become so harsh and so bitter
    I have given up trying to love even though I know I am no quitter
    If continuing in this is proven to be my destiny
    Then let me not continue to breathe just let me be
    Let it not be too long
    That I endure this life’s sad song
    Let me go and be happy
    This can not be my destiny

    Let me go -be happy
    Or if per chance during this thing
    Some pleasure is found in my suffering
    Just let me be
    This misery can not be my destiny

    Leave me alone and just let me be
    Copyright©2006 by Arene of http://www.AreneStheme.com

  4. Arene says:

    This exactly what they do. They come in all colors, socioeconomic back grounds, some have badges, doctors lab coats, suits, some have crosses, yet all have the same disrespect for another person they feel to manipulate by abusing and over powering to force the idea of love they have no idea how to provide!
    I had to learn to recognize this personality so not to fall into it again. Some men run from knowing I am on to thier hidden controlling nature-I rather they run now than for me to have to duck and dodge blows of control!
    Had a man who is a pastor say to me he is positive and he can balance out my negativity and God wants him to be with me! First I have to agree that I am negative,next I would have to give him control over my life and believe he could help me. Know that I did not even get into his manipulation by stating that I know how aweful it is for someone to be with someone who is negative and I wish he had revealed that sooner so that I could add that to my prayer sooner than later, but I do appreciate him telling me now and there is no way Im gonna bring him into negative-I will never consider him a person that I will ever want to marry-I value myself as a woman of God and God would never set me up with an abuser. Please be strong and do not accept abuse!

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Arene,

      You are right that abusive partners come in all colors, genders, and backgrounds. It sounds like you have been through a lot. Your message to stay strong is powerful and I hope that you are living those words yourself. It is great that you have found a creative way to work through the healing process. I encourage you to continue to write and share your voice. Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog community.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  5. Arene says:

    “Now Perhaps I Dance”

    I feel trapped
    Money strapped
    Phone tapped
    Perhaps, perhaps

    Ain’t it a shame
    You’re still the same
    I’m not to blame
    Insane, insane

    Think you’re boss
    Final cost
    Love lost
    I’m sauce, I’m sauce

    You had your chance
    To take a stance
    Now I freelance
    And dance, and dance

    Brand new year
    No more fear
    I’m out of here
    I cheer, I cheer

    You will accrue
    The things you do
    Good bye to you
    Boohoo, boohoo
    Copyright©2006, by Arene of http://www.AreneStheme.com

  6. Arene says:

    “I See Nothing”

    I once thought the opposite of love was hate
    Until many years of disrespect and much debate,
    Resulted in my solid stance since-
    Of the opposite of love being indifference

    When I see him, I see nothing

    There is no hatred: there is no love
    Nothing sacred, nothing was

    There is no passion: there is no thought
    Nothing lasted, nothing sought

    There is no wealth: there is no commitment
    Nothing felt, nothing affluent

    There is no place: there is no help
    Nothing faced, nothing felt

    There is no sharing: there is no giving
    Nothing caring, nothing living

    I once thought the opposite of love was hate
    Until many years of disrespect and much debate,
    Resulted in my solid stance since-
    Of the opposite of love being indifference

    When I see him, I see nothing

    There is no knowledge: there is no power
    Nothing alleged, nothing sour

    There is no family: there is no future
    Nothing free, nothing sure

    There is no pretended: there is no hoped
    Nothing recommended, nothing scoped

    There is no lasting: there is no forever
    Nothing passing, nothing together

    There is no bye: there is no us
    Nothing why, nothing discussed

    I once thought the opposite of love was hate
    Until many years of disrespect and much debate,
    Resulted in my solid stance since-
    Of the opposite of love being indifference

    Because when I see him, I see absolutely nothing

    Copyright © 2007www.AreneStrheme.com

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Arene,

      Thank you for sharing your creative voice with our blog community. What a beautiful way to express yourself. If you need any support or resources an advocate is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. From your “Now Perhaps I Dance” poem it sounds like you are free from the relationship, I hope that is true. Keep writing, it’s a great healing process.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  7. Brett Wilcox says:

    Well stated. I was once grandiose enough to think that I could safely work with a couple in which the hubby was violent. Bad idea! I have a cartoon addressing that topic in my book, Domestic Violence Isn’t Funny.
    Thanks for posting.
    Brett

  8. emily says:

    My name is Emily. My husband married me in China at January 2007 . Then my husband take me to USA by the boat. After USA he take out my ID and my passport. Begin 2011 at Febreary he took me in the bedroom he bitter me take out my blouse and skirt to rape me and sexfull to me. He control me and money.

    Emily

  9. Enid cintron says:

    To Emily- Please call 1-800-799-7233. They can help you. You can call from a library or a person in the park. The call is free.
    You can press the top red button on this page “quck escape ” to leave this page. Take care.
    ee

  10. HotlineAdmin_RE says:

    Emily,
    Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. I went ahead and removed your last name for safety reasons. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like your husband is very controlling and abusive. You should never have to do anything sexually that you don’t want to do. That’s considered sexual assualt, even if it’s from your husband. It is not okay for him to force you. Like Enid shared, you can always call the Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are completely anonymous and confidential. An advocate on the Hotline could talk to you about how to safe in your relationship, and also connect you with local resources for additional support. Please call when you get a safe chance.

    HotlineAdvocate_RE

  11. Monica says:

    My husband and I always thought if we included someone in our arguments it would show who was right. But No one really knew that all along I was crying for help. Maybe this was his way of keeping me from really saying what I wanted to say, he was there to keep me from saying what truly goes on when no one is around.I feel so bad for Taylor, I too walked in her shoes.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Monica,
      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. It sounds like you really identified with Taylor’s story, and our post about why we don’t recommend couple’s counseling. Like you’ve shared, it can be an unsafe place for a victim of abuse to talk about what’s been really going on in their relationship. That, or a therapist not familiar with the dynamics of power and control in an abusive relationship may even reinforce an abuser’s behavior, or blame the victim further. If you need to talk with someone, you are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  12. Tawsha says:

    This couldn’t be more accurate. I went to marriage counseling with an abusive husband and it didn’t work for one and caused other problems. When my husband would become angry he would yell at me and ask if I was going to “tell on him”. I was given instructions what I was and was not allowed to speak about. In my divorce the judge asked me why I didn’t tell the therapist I was being abused. To him that was a perfect opportunity for me to ask for help but since I didn’t he doubted the abuse had occurred. People don’t understand that we can’t just go shout abuse to anyone who will listen even if our abusive partners aren’t around.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Tawsha,
      Thank you for sharing your story with our Share Your Voice blog community. We do not suggest couple’s counseling for these very reasons that you’ve shared. It can make it even more unsafe for a victim of abuse and oftentimes the therapist will unknowingly reinforce abusive behaviors. It sounds like the judge for your divorce was very blaming and shaming. You are right; even if your abuser isn’t around, you can still fear the reprecussions of being honest about the abuse you’re experiencing, especially if there is a fear that your partner may find out you’ve been talking about it. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you need to talk with someone. We’re available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  13. Carolyn says:

    AS I was sitting at the computer starting to write this, he brought me a piece of bacon for breakfast .. I started to choke and I got up out of my seat and ran to him to help me and he turned his back on me!! I ran to my nightstand and thenkfully there was a bit of water and it went down… After I sat there and cried he made fun of me and I don’t cry very often but I was scared. He said I don’t love you anymore that’s why I didn’t help you. And about how the flame went out and so on and so on ….Then he preceded to talk ill of my family and how my family dosen’t love me either because they gave me Type ! Diabetes and thats why I had a heart attack and my teeth are going bad and so on … I can’t take it anymore He is a drug addict and he takes everything I’ve got I have to hide any medication I get that will cause any “high” to him….I can’t sleep ,I can’t eat I have to watch every move he makes . He threatens to kill us and rape my little sister…The police wont do anything because they say he gets his mail here and I have to PAY 130.00 to have him removed…This is my PARENTS house!!!!. Someone please help ….I am nothing but an empty casing waiting to die…I know I’ve only got a few years left to live but I don’t wanna live the rest of my days like this….. Please HELP ME…. CArolyn

    • HotlineAdmin_SS says:

      Carolyn,

      Thank you for sharing part of your story with our Blog community. What is happening to you in your relationship is not okay. It sounds like he is very intimidating, threatening and abusive. You deserve love and respect in your relationship, not abuse. Please know that you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime, 24/7 @ 1-800-799-7233. Advocates there can talk with you about your situation, provide you with support and help connect with you local community resources that may be able to provide you with additional assistance. You deserve to live in peace.

      HotlineAdvocate_SS

  14. nikki says:

    i wish everyone luck in trying to escape. i am beaten and burned with incense and ciggarettes. my car is taken and my phone is taken when i am home. i dont know why he beats on me . today is was a bag of chips. tomoorrow who know. i a m scared to teell my job . just need some encouragement.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Nikki,
      Thank you for reaching out to us. It takes a lot of courage to share your experience and to ask for help. Your partner never has the right to hurt you. It sounds like he has been very violent and abusive. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. You deserve love and respect, and to feel safe in your home, and have freedom to do what you’d like. Advocates at the Hotline understand how scary these situations can be, and are available for support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are always welcome to call and talk with someone. It may not be safe to do so from home, but maybe you could find time from work or when your partner is not around to call. The Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 and we are completely anonymous and confidential.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  15. interested says:

    I read your blogs about the RHOBH with great interest. I am reading after an enormous amount of information has been released to the public. It appears that you did not continue to follow this story. Was there a reason that this post was your last? There has been speculation in the media that abuse may have taken part by both parties involved in the Taylor/Russell marriage. Do you have an opinion now that the story has unfolded?

    • kstonebock says:

      Thank you so much for asking. Actually, it was simply a matter of getting too busy with other things, but we *JUST* posted a wrap-up post about the housewives for you and others who were following along. Read it here: http://bit.ly/GKCXg0 This season was such a great opportunity for all of us to consider what we would do if we were in their shoes. It especially helped us think about the role friends can play in one another’s lives. We wish healing for Taylor and Kennedy moving forward. Thank you so much for reading!

  16. jenny says:

    Im an abusive relationship… I think… I wanna get out of it but don’t know how. He turns everything against me..makes me feel as im wrong and he’s right.when he gets mad he yells at me. He hits
    Me. He controls my money. Im scared of him. I wanna leave soo bad but I have nowhere to go. Im scared that he might say everything is my fault to my family and my family would believe him. He acts one way infront of people but behind close doors he calls me every name in the book . I can’t take it. He tells me I over re act to get attention. Plz help!!!!

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Jenny,
      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. What you’re experiencing is abuse. Mentally, physically, financially and emotionally. Your partner never has the right to put their hands on you. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like he tries to make you feel like the abuse you are experiencing is your fault when it’s not. It’s really common for an abusive partner to manipulate arguments or disagreements and then blame them on you, or act like you’re overreacting. But it’s normal to feel upset or angry when you’re being abused like this. You don’t deserve this. Advocate on the Hotline are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you get a safe chance, I would encourage you to contact us at 1-800-799-7233. We are anonymous and confidential. An advocate could talk to you about what’s going on, ways to stay safe, and local resources for assistance. We have referrals to local programs that may be able to offer you a safe place to go and get some help.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  17. Giselle says:

    To all of the women who have spoken about their lives in abuse,
    I don’t know what it is like to be in a abusive relationship, but I do know what its like to experience one as a child through my parents. My father was abusive to my mother ever since I could hold a memory, I’m 19 now and a lot has changed for the better, but I really encourage Jenny, Nikki, Carolyn, Tawsha, Monica, and Emily to please get help. I don’t even know you but I care, don’t listen to his lies of despise and hate. Listen to God’s words of praise and love. God wants better for you and want your love. Seek strength in God and he will give you an armor, so that you can escape into protection. Tell people who care about you don’t let it destroy you. Your voice matters to them and to God who perfectly created you. Love is not violence, manipulation or disrespect. Please hear this cry from a sister who is from the same mister who sits up in heaven. You are not alone. Even though it might sometimes see like you are, you have a God who can move mountains and heal the “strong”. Seek help, make it know that you want something more. I’ll have you all in my prayers. You are not alone. with love, your sister in Christ.

  18. Haley says:

    My mother has been married to my abusive stepfather for nearly 11 years now. He is mostly verbally/emotionally abusive but has been physically abusive before. She wants out but the problem is, she can’t just up and go to a shelter because we have Section 8 housing and she would lose it all. Plus we have a brand new cat my sister bought that we all love very much :( She’s tried to convince him to leave but he won’t. What do we do? She’s also afraid that if she gets a restraining order he will come around the house and slash the tires on our brand-new car (and we don’t have the money to fix them right now) or ruin the engine, or maybe even try to break in and kill her if he gets angry enough.

    It looks like we’re stuck no matter what we do :(

    • HotlineAdmin_SS says:

      Haley,

      Thank you for being a part of our blog community and sharing a piece of your story. You and your family deserve better than how you are being treated by your stepfather. There are no easy solutions for what you and your family are going through, but there is hope. If you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 advocates there can talk about some possible options with you and also provide you with safety planning ideas. You and your family deserve to live in peace.

      HotlineAdvocate_SS

  19. Grace says:

    We tried marital counselling. He somehow managed to divert the conversation, to turn things around. Like “yeah, I call her names sometimes, and I know it’s wrong, but she disrespects me! She calls me lazy and selfish! she’s the one that’s abusive!” One counsellor wisely suggested we meet separately. I tried to tell him but he would say things like, “Well, if what you are saying is true…” that made me think he didn’t believe me. It’s so important that if you have a counsellor, they are experienced with abusive relationships. I have yet to find one that is but I have a few friends that have been or are going through this and it feels SO good to talk to them. Just to hear, “You are NOT crazy. How he treats you is NOT right.” It feels like I need to be told that over and over.
    Does anyone know of some online support? He works nights and is home all day so I can’t use the phone. We live with family also so I don’t have privacy. But I can type away and noone will know what I’m typing. I passworded my computer (which caused a HUGE HUGE fight but I refuse to remove it.) and use InPrivate browsing to try to stay safe.
    I want out but I have 3 young kids, I’m in the middle of immigration to the U.S., I have no family nearby, I don’t have a job, and I don’t drive. I feel so stuck. I have a friend that said I could stay there for a little while if it is an emergency, like if he hit me. He’s never hit me. He’s abusive verbally, emotionally, financially, psychologically, spiritually, sexually… but he’s never hit me. I’m sorry if this offends someone, but some days I wish he just would so I could get help. It seems like if I’m not in immediate physical danger, noone cares.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Grace,
      Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. All of what you’ve shared about how he treats you is indicative of an abusive relationship. Even if your partner has never laid a hand on you, they’ve harmed you in different ways, and you never deserve to be treated like that. It sounds like they’ve got you isolated and feeling alone. One website you may look in to for online support would be cafemom.com, which is an online site for mothers, but which also has a DV specific forum which can be found by searching the topic ‘domestic violence’. Making plans and searching for information online may not always be the safest option or the safest way to communicate. I appreciate your resourcefulness around how to be safe and also get some support. It’s not uncommon to feel stuck or that there isn’t help out there. If you get a safe opportunity, I would encourage you to contact us here at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) to discuss what options you may have. Advocates on the Hotline are available 24/7 and we are completely anonymous and confidential. We can discuss safety when leaving, and get you connected with local resources for assistance.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  20. Amber says:

    My abusive relationship ended nearly 27 years ago. I was pregnant and had a 4 year old also. I had stopped working because of the abuse and was put on temporary disability. Thank God for my family support and my friends they made sure I got out of bed each day and had something to eat.

    Ex and I would attempt reconciliations but they were short lived. I didn’t want to be alone and pregnant so I would always let him back. But one day he was standing in the kitchen and was telling me he would never hit another woman, I was the other woman he would hit, it was my fault. The fight escalated and he was about to slug me but I managed to back away and I said to him, that if he ever touched me again I would kill him.

    I was holding one of those wrought iron skillets? Heavy duty and if he had stepped towards me with his hand raised I was ready to use that skillet and I didn’t care if he died or not, he was not going to hit me again. That moment defined the rest of my life, I took back my power, I took back my life, and I have never had a man raise his hand to me again in anger. It’s as though at that very moment the invisible sign I must have worn saying, it’s okay to abuse me, was stripped off my neck. Because I have never been abused again.

    The power is within us, the strength to get out is within us, if anyone here that is being abused can find that power within you’ll be free for the rest of your life.

    I have had a wonderful life, I have had a great career, I went back to school so that I would never have to depend on a man again. I think that’s key to getting out. Having your own money, having a way to support yourself to the point where your not reliant on a man financially. Because when you do they literally do hold the power in your relationship.

    My ex remarried 2 more times and he abused those women also. He died 5 years ago at the age of 48.

  21. Amber says:

    As far as Taylor and Russell Armstrong relationship therapy goes, I don’t believe for one minute that it was something genuine, it was for ratings of a reality show.

    She of all people had the resources to leave, she was some sort of spokesperson for a domestic violence center. If you have maritial problems and it involves physical abuse you don’t air it for the world to see.

    But I do agree on the whole that counseling will never work if the marriage or partnership is wrought with any form of abuse. It will always set off the abuser, it will cause more abuse once they step out of the office of the therapist, it’s just not a good idea.

    I went to therapy alone once my marriage started sliding down hill. I was pregnant and extremely depressed on top of getting beat up by my husband because I wouldn’t allow him to have a relationship on the side. Even offering for the 3 of us to be friends, yea right! Yes hubby you can have an affair, introduce me to the $#$#% and we will be friends…

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Amber,
      Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts with our Share Your Voice community. Through this blog, we hope to empower other victims and survivors, and show them that they are not alone. I am glad to hear you were able to get safe and stay safely out of the abuse you experienced. You are right, it takes a lot of strength to end an abusive relationship and to stay out of it. There are many different reasons why a victim of abuse may not leave their relationship. Their partner could be threatening them or their children harm, or even financially cut them off if they chose to go. Financial abuse or control is often a way of keeping someone isolated. What we’ve found is that every situation is different, and that everyone deserves a chance to be believed and be heard.

      We are always available if you’d like to find out how to involved in your community or if you’d just like to talk to someone. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and words of inspiration.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  22. June H. says:

    I dont know where to start.
    I agree that staying in an abusive relationship, in hopes of changing the abuser’s actions, is extremely dangerous and NOT the way to help yourself. I know first hand what the negative results can be. I also know how wonderful it feels to finally stand up for yourself and leave. It is so, so very hard to do but it can save your life, and possibly the lives of your children as well.

    Abusers are masters of manipulation and they thrive on the insecurity of their victims. Taylor needed to leave her husband long before she entered the last attempt at marriage counseling. I believe if he were still alive, she would have gone back to him again. Most women do.

    This is why women need to speak up and share their stories. Sometimes, it is the survivors who have made it through and are now better for it, can be an example and a strength to those women out there who have yet to find their own voice. Speaking up is so important. Women need to know they are not alone. When women understand and embrace how strong they really are, and when they have the support of other women….amazing things are possible.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      June,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reactions to this post with our blog community. Your comments describe what we have here; a place for both survivors and victims to find inspiration and hope.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  23. carrie says:

    I am so thankful that I was able to find the courage to leave the abusive situation that I found myself in. I always thougth I was too smart to allow myself to get into a situation like that but I was wrong. I did not know how bad it was until 2 situations served as wake up calls…the first he had me pinned on the bed with a hammer in his hand telling me he would kill me and noone would miss me…the part that shocked me the most was his mother…her response to the situation was well he did not hit you..and the second one a few weeks later when he kicked the car door in with my daughters in the car…I made a plan, got my kids away…and escaped myself…back to my parents house…over an hour away from where he lived…it took me close to 2 years to even go to the store alone, to this day he still effects my life…I am still struggling with how to trust myself again. I still do not date and still have panic attacks when I think about dating… I hope that one day that I can trust myself and learn to date again…

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Carrie,

      It does take a lot of courage and strength to decide to leave an abusive partner. Threatening you with a hammer is a very aggressive act and the response from his mother was undeserved. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, the threat of violence and physical abuse are all hurtful. The healing process takes time and sometimes it is helpful to work with a professional counselor or attend support groups to help with the aftermath of the abuse. You can call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for referrals in your area.

      I am very happy to hear that you are free from the abuse. Be patient and kind with yourself as you move forward and heal. Thank you for sharing your voice with The Share Your Voice Blog.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  24. Regina says:

    I am married to a man that turns everything to his way, not only with me but other people. It is amazing how he works each situation so that he gets what he wants. I can’t even do the house hold food shopping BUT I SURE CAN do dishes and cook -if you ask him I do nothing, BUT HE does everything to give me what I need. which is of course what he needs. I waited to get married until I was ready for the work and committment a marriage takes. still 2 months shy of my 1st annv. I’m 46 yrs old. No one knows all the battered wounds I have now. I’ve lived through him trying to knock me out only to have him compliment me by saying how tough I am, REALLY. This isn’t a safe place for me. I am beginning to hate myself from the inside out. I had to sneak out after a nightmire of a night, he was so drunk and still trying to beat me, I had a flash OMG this is what happens on T.V.shows and the person doesn’t even know they killed someone until they wake up sober enough. i;m away from my clothes, and persomal items. One pair of shorts that I’m grateful I can wash everyday or other day. 3 pairs of panties, I rotate. a toothbrush, and this time haha I got makeup and purse. he wants me to come back, he hasn’t drank in 9 days signed up for mental health treatment. [ he was employed as a MENTAL HEALTH CASE MANAGER] until acccident on the job,right. I have no income and need to find semi-permanment housing , no car, future looks like more hardship then bright, If I go back because of lack of daily necessity , Am I tough enough or am I goig to die?

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Regina,
      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. You have been through so much in this marriage already. I am glad to hear you are safely out of that situation. It sounds like you were experiencing emotional and phsyical violence at home. Drunk or not, he never had the right to put his hands on you, or to treat you that way. It sounds like even when he’s not drunk, there are still really controlling things going on. Like him complaining about everything you do, and not taking responsibility for himself and his own actions. If you’d like to talk to someone about what’s going on, I would encourage you to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential. An advocate on the Hotline could look for local DV resources for safe shelter, counseling, and other services.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  25. V. says:

    On one hand, it was couples counseling done by my ex-husband’s therapist that made things much worse. She interperated my attempts at reasonable boundary setting as “blocking intimacy” “being controlling” and “ignoring my partner”. He would even come home from individual sessions with her with “are you being abused” lists and we’d go over my “abusive” behavior — not giving him enough attention, being sexually witholding, not opening my finances to him and controlling the money, leaving during arguments, abusively triggering his abandonment complex and projecting my memories of my parents’ anger on him. Even saying “I think this relationship isn’t really working for us. Maybe we shoud give it up” was abusively threatening to leave him, and “threatening to leave if the partner doesn’t do what the abuser wants them to” was listed on one of his lists.

    Eventually I would quit school and work to care for him full time, but that wasn’t enough attention. I would have done anything for him sexually, but he couldn’t tell me what he wanted me to do. Every suggestion I could come up with wasn’t what he wanted, so I was an awful witholding person. He had a social security check that I never touched, but because I had access to more money I was expected to fund whatever purchases he couldn’t make out of his own money even though the vast majority of my money went to paying our bills. Originally I stayed with our arguments until they started generating “more heat than light”, and then tried to leave to walk around and let the situation cool off, but often he would restrain me and his therapist felt that he was right to do so. He was defending himself from my abusive unwillingness to deal with our issues, as well as protecting me from endangering myself by walking alone at night. He denied that he was angry, though he would shout, stamp his feet, hit walls and do other things that most people would see as angry behavior. But because he denied that he was feeling anger his therapist, who never witnessed these arguments, told me that I was seeing him as angry because of things that happened in the past. She said that when I thought he was angry I needed to remember that that was the past, with other people, and tell myself that the reality was that my husband wasn’t angry. It just felt like that to me because of my past.

    He continued to deny he was angry while knocking me down and kicking me. When informed of the physical abuse his therapist at first defended him, saying that it was a response to the stress of having been emotionally abused by me. Eventually, a year or so later, she refused to see him anymore, though nobody ever told me why. She never told me that his behavior was wrong. She never apologized to me. To this day I find “Are you being abused” sorts of lists very triggering, because I still want to go down and read them the way he read them to me, counting each point on any technicality that could possibly be made to fit, “proving” that I’m abusing my friends, boyfriend, cats and whomever else might be in my sphere of influence.

    On the other hand, it was couples counseling with a competent therapist that let me realize that the problem wasn’t me, the problem was him. Watching him try to manipulate her and use his questionable logic, misrememberence or lies, and insistance that things had been said in that office that hadn’t been said (and both the therapist and I could agree on that) made me realize that the problem wasn’t that I had poor communication skills, that I wasn’t doing something right, that I was crazy or not remembering things right. The problem was that he was manipulative and, at a minimum, prone to remembering things differently than everyone else in the room.

    So, yes, couples counseling is bad news with an abusive relationship, but also it gave me the clarity to leave for good. Then again without the first therapist, maybe the second one wouldn’t have been needed.

    • HotlineAdmin_CH says:

      V,
      Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. This is a good example of how harmful couple’s counseling can be to victims of abuse. In addition, having a therapist who is not trained in Domestic Violence (which many are not) can pose a large problem if you are going to them to seek support during or after intimate partner violence. Without knowledge of what domestic violence looks like, counselors are not able to fully support and validate what a person has been through. Here at the hotline, we encourage all of our callers to make sure the counselors they are seeing are familiar with the dynamics of intimate partner violence so that the counseling process can be as safe and effective as possible. We also encourage you, V, to continue to be a part of our blog community and keep sharing your experiences in an attempt to help others.

      HotlineAdvocate_CH

  26. Sandy says:

    I left my abusived partner a couple of years ago. am dating and other guy know, but i still get scared and think that he is gona hit me the way the other guy would did to me. what can i don

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Sandy,
      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. It sounds like maybe you are still dealing with issues from the abuse that you went through with your ex. It’s not uncommon for a survivor of abuse to have trauma from having been through physical and emotional abuse. It may take working with a counselor or going to a support group to help you heal from the abuse you’ve been through. If you’d like information about local programs for victims and survivors of domestic violence, you are welcome to call and speak with an advocate here on the Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are anonymous and confidential, and a safe place to talk about it.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  27. Free At Last says:

    My husband insisted we go to counseling, mediation, more counseling. It was just a forum for him to belittle me publicly, gain ammunition, and go home to treat me worse. Stopping counseling was hard to do, as I was afraid it would make me look less cooperative in court.

    And it probably does.

    But I am out, and I don’t have to see him anymore except in court. That means the world to me.

  28. Anew says:

    This is so hurtful to think about and writing it brings tears to my eyes. I have a six year old boy caught in the crossfire of a nasty divorce. My abusive ex-husband has molested my son and I have not been able to prove it to the judge. I don’t know what to do if there is anything I could do right now. I wish I could cry and get it all out of me once and for all. I cannot live like this forever. Things have to change soon. My health needs to be preserved.

    • HotlineAdmin_CH says:

      Anew,
      Thank you for contacting our Share Your Voice blog for support. Going through a divorce with an abuser can be an extremely difficult and very emotionally damaging time. Having emotional support can be crucial to your healing process. There are domestic violence programs all over the country that offer free counseling and even legal advocacy to victims in need. You are right in that your health, emotional and physical, is of utmost importance and addressing the stress you are dealing with is necessary to preserve it. Please know that advocates here at the hotline (800-799-7233) are available 24/7 to help you find supportive resources in your community and to offer you additional emotional support. I am glad you are reaching out for help- we will be here whenever you are ready to call.

      Take Care,
      HotlineAdvocate_CH

  29. Lynn says:

    Your poem is spot on. I have had domestic violence done to me and your word were perfect description of the way you feel. Thank You ! !

  30. Jennifer says:

    I agree with this article 100%. I was in an abusive marriage that ended in 2001. We tried marriage counseling, but there were so many things I was not “allowed” to talk about in counseling without upsetting my husband. Most of our therapy appointments were just ammunition for him to use to attack me. I remember driving to our appointments, and things would be pretty quiet, and then on the way home, he would pick a fight. Like, most abusers, he expected what happened between us to stay behind closed doors, so to speak.

    Marriage counseling wreaked a great deal of havoc on our already volatile marriage. I will say this to ALL victims of domestic violence…IT WILL EVER END. GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN. MARRIAGE COUNSELING WILL NEVER STOP THE ABUSE.

    Leaving an abuser is difficult. My suggestion to victims is to plan your out. Start packing things slowly, and putting it into storage, whether it be a storage unit, a friend’s, or your family. Use your resources and let people you trust know about the abuse, so you have a support group. And, the next time he hits you? CALL THE POLICE. WHILE HE’S SITTING IN JAIL, YOU JUST BOUGHT YOURSELF AT LEAST 12 HOURS TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND MOVE YOUR THINGS.

    DON’T DO IT ALONE. GET HELP!! SAFEPLACE CAN HELP. THEY WILL GET YOU OFF THE STREETS AND YOUR KIDS AND PROTECT YOU WHILE YOU ARE THERE.

  31. renee says:

    What is being done to stop the mind developing into that of an abuser? What causes men to become killers? Abuse is happening all over. Women and children are being over powered and killed in the USA everyday. What is causing men/lovers/husbands to become killers? I think the punishment is of no concern to a killer. At the time they kill they dont care if they get the death sentence or a slap on the wrist. Why cant we find the reason they become murders and try to work on stopping it?

    • HotlineAdmin_MCo says:

      Hey Renee,

      These are excellent questions. We know that 3 women die each day from domestic violence. That is a truly horrifying statistic. We think that one of the things the contribute to this is the society we live in that teaches boys and men that they are entitled to power and control. We are given messages from a very early age that men must be dominant and control their partners. And some men take this to the extreme.

      One great resource that can be helpful is the book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. It has a lot of really great information about abuse. There is also a really amazing organization called Men Stopping Violence . I would encourage you to check out their website and the great work that they are doing to stop domestic violence.

      And of course, you can always call us at 1(800)799.7233. Thanks again for reaching out.

      All the best,
      Hotline Advocate MC

  32. lilly says:

    I am married to a man who used to physically abused around 23 out of the 27 years we have been together. I am in broken and tired. He no longer hits me but still is controlling and can be verbally abusive. Very jealous. I’ve been telling him I no longer want to be with him, for like a year and give him time to “change”. I no longer can stay with him. he is all over the place telling my kids all sorts of things and his family, how he worried for me. he makes comments where the thinks I am crazy or that im going thru menopause and that’s why I am acting out like this. I need to go the doctor to get “checked”. Because even though he knows what he did wrong in the past that’s in the past and should not be a issue. I should be over it. I tell him how being abused by my father as a child till age of 14 and then marrying him at 16 then his abuse for the next 20 something years I just cant. I learned to hate him. I don’t know how else to feel for him. But like he says I’m destroying our family and he can’t live without me and he is willing to do all it takes. so once again I’m the bad person because I don’t want to go to counseling at least not to save our marriage but to save me! But now I’m afraid! Afraid of loosing my kids. I made the mistake of trying to make there lives better so I always pushed it under the rug so the youngest child doesn’t know him like my older kids to so im afraid he will stay with his father. but I no longer can stay don’t want to end up so bitter that I can never be happy. then last night he tells my kids he didn’t trust me that I might harm him in his sleep. but then tells me that he might harm him self if he cant have me. Even though earlier in the day he told me how things were going to get very ugly……I am scared but I did tell him Im willing to end up dead then to keep killing myself slowly at least I would be free.

    • HotlineAdmin_AB says:

      Lily it sounds like you have been though a very long ordeal. You are very courageous to share your story. I can certainly understand how tired you must be of having to deal with all the abuse for so long. We are available here at the NDVH 24 hours a day to try to help you develop a plan for dealing with this. Please contact us at 1-800-799-7233 when it is safe to do so. Your situation is serious and we would like to help you explore your options while remaining safe.

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