National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

What is a Healthy Relationship?

“Healthy relationships.” This is a term we’re going to be talking about more on The Hotline blog. We want all of our callers to have healthy relationships in their lives.

What exactly do we mean by healthy though? And who decides what is healthy and what’s not? In the coming weeks, we want to look at what makes a healthy relationship so healthy, and what steps can be taken to improve the health of a relationship.

What Is Healthy?

Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. Here are some signs of a healthy relationship.

Both partners:

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Feel supported to do things they like
  • Don’t criticize each other
  • Allow each other to spend time with friends and family
  • Listen to each other and compromise
  • Share some interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing or music
  • Aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and feelings
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes
  • Respect boundaries and do not abuse technology
  • Trust each other and don’t require their partner to “check in”
  • Don’t pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do
  • Don’t constantly accuse each other of cheating or being unfaithful

There are two major components of healthy relationships: communication and boundaries.

Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other. Do you feel that you can openly talk to your partner? Do you feel heard when you express your feelings? Do you allow your partner the same chance? Communication allows two people to connect.

Setting boundariesis also an important part of a healthy relationship. There are two distinct people in a relationship. While a couple should have shared goals and values, it also matters that both people have their needs met. Each person should express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, especially when it comes to their sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time.

Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.

Stay tuned for more information about healthy relationships. How do you define “healthy relationships?” If you need support in your relationship, don’t hesitate to call a Hotline advocate today at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

34 replies
  1. Allison says:

    Thank you for posting this article. I’m finally beginning the road to a healthy and safe relationship…I’ve been afraid of not knowing what one is. For someone like me who hasn’t ever really had one…it’s invaluable information.

    • HotlineAdmin_KK says:

      Allison, I’m so glad the information is helpful, and very glad it has reached you. Understanding and knowing what a healthy relationships is just that, invaluable infomation, and I hope more people come to know it. I wish you the best in your future relationships, and wish they are all safe and healthy. Should you need to reach out to us, we’ re always here for you, 24/7, at 1-800-799-7233.

      HotlineAdvocate_KK

  2. Lyn says:

    I’m not in a healthy marriage but idk how to get out. I don’t wanna leave my house and I know a restraining order won’t keep him away. I’m so lost so hurt so depressed. I never wanted this for my children or myself but idk what to do. He said he’d burn the house down if I made him leave or kill me if I called the cops on him. I’m scared of him so I think he would. He’s crazy

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:

      Lyn,

      Thanks so much for contributing to our blog community. It sounds like this has been such a difficult situation. From what you have described, it sounds like this is a very abusive relationship. We know that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the person is trying to leave because he will not let that happen so easily and will find any way to continue to gain and maintain the control in the relationship. It sounds like the threaths he is making are a way for him to maintain that power and control. I am sorry you feel lost and depressed, this is not anything that you have provoked or deserve. If you feel safe to talk and would like to brainstorm a few options please feel free to call The HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233. An advocate is available 24/7 to offer guidance and support and it is completely confidential.

      HotlineAdvocate_SG

  3. Rose says:

    My husband basically beat me up last night. The kids were asleep and he said for me to shut the f up and I said no why should I ? ( my 4 year old is sick and he doesn’t believe him) I am unsure how to Leave we have a baby together and he threatens to take him

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Rose, Sorry to hear you had such a difficult night. I can’t imagine a more painful threat to a woman than to threaten loss of her children! Some women in similar situations find it easier to just shut down, maybe hoping things will just get better somehow. I’m impressed you made the effort today to reach out to us for help. One of the reasons women find it difficult to leave is that leaving gets so complicated. Here we talk about leaving and leaving safely and landing someplace safely. That takes a lot of planning. Much more planning than we can do through the Blog. Did you know that the holine is answered 24 hours a day every day? It’s toll free from any phone in the country–1-800-799-7233. Sometime when things are quiet, the little ones are napping and it’s safe for you to talk, we’re here.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I waS in an abusive marriage, for almost 17 years…..this guy had been married twice before….I was his third victim. He was/ is a Physician, ADORED by ALL, at the Hospital at which he practices, his patients, family, MY family….no joke- they believed EVERYTHING he told them, and NOTHING that I told them…I am STILL aghast at how insidious this guy was/ is….he took EVEYTHING from me..HOWEVER, and this is just NOW, 10+ yrs. later, becoming more and more apparent to me, as time (and experience ) goes on…..and on…. I GAVE HIM EVERYTHING. I DID! Was I at fault for ANYTHING that he did/ said about me??? NO! Absolutely NOT!! Did I AID him, in his methodical “Takedown”, of me, and my life? ABSOLUTELY!! Was THIS my fault? NO AGAIN!! This guy is GOOD! He took 3, beautiful, STRONG, intelligent, self-assurred (did I mention STRONG??) women, and slowly, but surely…TOOK US APART..ALL THREE of us, in an effort to ease the pain, turned to drugs, and / or Alcohol, and became a mere SHELL of ourformer selves…We had NO outside opinions, NO self- trust…..we all looked to HIM, to give us our opinions, tell us what to wear, how to do our make-up, etc….I recall several instances in which I actually called him on his cell, to ASK PERMISSION TO BUY A CERTAIN CUT OF MEAT, TO COOK FOR HIM, FOR DINNER…..I was TERRIFIED OF DOING THE “WRONG” THING….
    i THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, THAT he never, ever, layed a hand on me, OR EITHER OF THE OTHER TWO….abuse comes in so MANY forms….. I can recall the day I went home from the Hospital, following my Hystorectomy, which, by the way, I DID NOT WANT…..my Surgeon, actually WROTE ME A PRESCRIPTION, (actually, it was for him), stating that I was NOT TO DO ANY HOUSEWORK- AT ALL, for at LEAST 6 weeks, NO SEX, for at least 8 weeks, no heavy lifting, carrying, etc….. when I thanked my Surgeon for this, thinking it was a wonderful joke, he replied, “You know, I have NEVER felt compelled to do that before….you need to know, that when I went into the waiting room, to speak to him- or any OTHER of your family members, there was NO ONE there….NO ONE was there for you, and that saddened me, GREATLY.”
    I could go on, and on, but I won’t right now….it is an UNBELIEVEABLE tale of misguided love, mistrust, betrayal, lies……and, as I SLOWLY dig myself towards the edge of the PIT of fire that I have found myself in, II can tell you, that WITHOUT EVER, EVER LAYING A HAND on me, I find that I have been reduced from an incredibly healthy high Fashion Model, mother of three very sucessful children, with EVERYTHING going for her, to a shell of my former self- I have advanced stage SLE (Lupus), Scleroderma (both internal and external), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the latest- MS. ALL separate diseases…ALL of these Auto Immune Diseases FEED on STRESS..and I am wondering here……can this man be charged with Manslaughter?? He had contacted EVERY doctor that I had EVER seen, seeking an answer to my health questions, and told them that I was a drug- seeking Hypochondriac, and, in reality, I was just fine. As my last Rheumatologist told me, upon diagnosis of the Lupus…..”It is such a shame that you were not diagnosed earlier…..you might have had a REAL SHOT at beating this thing”……….And- I realized that what he (my ex) told our Marriage Councelor, was coming TRUE- he is getting his WISH….that I SHOULD DIE PENNILESS, HOMELESS, IN GREAT PAIN…….that I should come grovelling back to him….begging him. And, it is the LAST part of his wish, that will NEVER come true for him…….it is the only REAL control, that I ever had. Not ME, I will NEVER grovel I continue to treat him with the kindness and respect that I always have- he continues to treat me the same that HE always hasWHY?? Because- I will NEVER sink to that level. AND- KARMA: “WHAT COMES AROUND- GOES AROUND”….He had ALSO destroyed his OWN life, in being so intent in destroying mine….he is on his SEVENTH recurrence of Bladder Cancer, has just been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, and is alone and bitter…………..It IS possible to DESTROY another (or, one’s self) with abuse, without EVER lifting a finger to do PHYSICAL HARM!!!!! HANG IN THERE!!!!!!!

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Rebecca, Thank you for sharing your story on our Share Your Voice blog community.Your’s is a very dramatic story. It is obvious you have learned so much on your journey. Your testimony illuminates several misunderstandings about DV and why victims stay trying to fix what’s wrong. Kudos for being a survivor. I’m glad to hear you are safely out. The Hotline is still here to support you as you move forward on the next phase of your journey. As always, you are welcome to call us at 1-800-799-7233.

  5. Shavon says:

    IM A 24 YEAR OLD WOMAN THAT IS A SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I MET BACK UP WIT MY HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIEND AND WE BEGAN DATING IN JULY 2011. IN THE BEGINNING OF OUR RELATIONSHIP HE ONLY SHOWED THE VERBAL ABUSE SIDE OF HIM. I WOULD DO ANYTHING HE ASKED OF ME TO DO WITH NO QUESTION. I WOULD COOK, CLEAN, WASH HIS CLOTHES AND HAVE SEX WITH HIM AFTER BEING FORCED TOO. HE WOULD CALL ME FAT DAILY AND WOULD TELL ME NO ONE WANTS ME BUT HIM. HE WOULD EMBARRASS ME IN PUBLIC BY CURSING ME OUT AND IF A MAN LOOKED AT ME HE WOULD GO OFF ON ME AND THE MAN WITH WORDS. I GOT FED UP WITH HIS WORDS AND STARTED SPEAKING UP FOR MYSELF. ONCE I SHOWED HIM THAT I WAS STRONG ENOUGH TO THAT PISSED HIM OFF. IN SEPT 2011 I FOUND OUT I WAS PREGNANT. THIS IS WHEN MY WHOLE LIFE WAS GETTING READY TO CHANGE DRASTICALLY. I TOLD HIM I WAS PREGNANT AND HE WENT OFF ABRUPTLY TELLING ME “B'” YOU BETTER GET AN ABORTION BECAUSE IM NOT READY FOR NO BABY. I TOLD HIM I REFUSE TO PUT MY BODY THROUGH THAT AND SPIRITUALLY I DIDN’T WANT TOO. THIS IS THE DAY THE PHYSICAL ABUSE BEGAN. HE SMACKED ME AND KICKED ME IN MY SPINE WITH HIS NIKE BOOTS ON. I STILL STUCK TO MY WORD ABOUT NO ABORTIONS YET I STILL KEPT COMING BACK TO HIM. MONTHS PASSED AND HE CONTINUED THE ABUSE PUNCHING ME IN MY STOMACH TELLING ME ILL MAKE U HAVE A MISCARRIAGE THEN “B”. HE THEN CHOCKED ME UNTIL I BLACKED OUT. THE MORE I CRIED THE MORE HE WOULD BEAT ME. HE WOULD GRIND HIS KNUCKLES IN MY STOMACH AND HULK SPIT IN MY FACE LIKE I WAS THE SCUM OF THE WORLD. THE ONLY THING ON MY MIND WAS PROTECTING MY BABY I WAS TAKING THE LASHING EVERYDAY. HE WOULD RIP MY CLOTHES OFF IN FRONT OF HIS MALE FRIENDS TO EMBARRASS ME AND THEN TELL ME TAKE MY A** UP STAIRS AND GET IN THE SHOWER. HE DICTATED MY EVERY MOVE, THOUGHT, MOVEMENT EVERYTHING. I COULDN’T HANG WITH MY FRIENDS OR EVEN BE AROUND MY OWN PARENTS. I WOULD WEAR THINGS TO COVER MY BRUISES AND MARKS FROM MY PARENTS. ONE DAY HE FLIPPED ME OVER THE COFFEE TABLE WHILE I WAS 5 MONTHS PREGNANT AND DRAGGED ME DOWN 16 STEPS ON MY STOMACH. HE FORCED ME TO URINATE OUTSIDE IN THE COLD WINTER AND TOLD ME I WAS A DOG SO PEE LIKE ONE. AFTER BEATING ME HE WOULD ALWAYS FORCE ME TO HAVE INTERCOURSE WITH HIM NO MATTER HOW I FELT. I WAS GETTING FED UP BY THIS TIME BUT SO AFRAID TO LEAVE BECAUSE HE ALWAYS TOLD ME THE ONLY WAY OUT IS IN A BODY BAG. AND I KNEW HE MEANT IT AND HE WOULD KILL ME. I HAVE PICTURES OF HIM SHOWING ME THE GUN ONE DAY ON VIDEO CHAT TELLING ME HES GONNA KILL ME AND HE LOADED THE GUN AND POINTED AT ME WHILE ON VIDEO CHAT. WHILE OUT ONE DAY ON A DATE HE GOT UPSET BECAUSE I ORDERED WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION WHEN WE GOT TO HIS HOUSE AND URINATED ON MY VEHICLE AND SAID HE DARED ME TO TRY AND CLEAN IT. HE THEN WALKED FROM THE HOOD OF MY CAR OVER THE CEILING AND TO THE TRUNK STOMPING WITH HIS BOOTS MAKING DENTS ALL OVER MY ONLY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. WHILE OUT IN PUBLIC OR ANYWHERE HIS FAMOUS THING WAS TO GRAB AND HAND FULL OF MY HAIR AND PULL IT AS HARD AS HE COULD LEAVING PATCHES. BECAUSE OF ALL THE ABUSE I ENDURED FOR A YEAR AND SOME CHANGE MY SON WAS BORN AT 24 WEEKS AND WEIGHED ONLY 1LB 6OZ. HE CAME OUT WITH BRUISES ALL OVER HIM AND HAD 6 MAJOR SURGERIES ONE INCLUDING HIS HEART. ME AND MY SON LIVED IN THE NICU FOR 3 MONTHS BEFORE HE COULD COME HOME. MY SON FATHER WOULD COME VISIT MY SON EVERY BLUE MOON AND WHEN HE DID HE WOULD ABUSE ME IN OUR SONS PRIVATE ROOM. SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE I COULDN’T KEEP GOING THROUGH THIS. I DECIDED TO LEAVE HIM ALONE. AT THE TIME I WAS UNEMPLOYED SO HE CALLED ME AND SAID HE HAD SOME MONEY FOR OUR SON. I TOLD HIM BASED ON HIS ABUSIVE PAST WE HAD TO MEET AT A PUBLIC PLACE ONLY. WE MET AT THE TARGET ONCE I GOT THERE HE PLAYED THIS CASE AND MOUSE GAME WITH ME. HE CALLED ME AND TOLD ME HE WAS WATCHING ME BUT WOULDN’T REVEAL HIMSELF I BECAME NERVOUS. WHILE MY BACK WAS TURN HE JUMPS BEHIND ME AND SCARES ME AND THEN LAUGHS. SO HIS ATTITUDE AND BODY LANGUAGE LOOKED LIKE HE WAS OK. HE THEN SAID I FORGOT THE MONEY IN THE CAR WALK WITH ME TO GET IT. I WALKED WITH HIM TO THE CAR HE THEN SAID GET IN. I SAID WHY I CANT STAY LONG JUST GIVE ME THE MONEY AND IM GOING TO LEAVE. HE THEN SAID IT FORCEFULLY GET IN THE CAR SO I DID. ONCE I GOT IN HE LOCKED THE DOORS AND SAID DID YOU SAY YOUR LAST GOODBYES. I SAID WHAT YOU MEAN HE SAID I TOLD YOU THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN LEAVE ME IS IN A BODY BAG. I THEN SAID CAN YOU STOP PLAYING PLEASE. WHILE TALKING TO ME HE HAS HIS HAND ON THE SIDE OF THE DOOR. I BEGAN TO SHED TEARS SAYING I LOVE YOU, IM SORRY, I WANNA BE WITH YOU DON’T KILL ME. HE PUTS THE GUN ON HIS LAP AND SAYS I HAVE TO DO THIS TO YOU. THE WHOLE TIME I WAS PRAYING TO GOD SAYING IF YOU GET ME OUT OF THIS I WILL NEVER GO BACK AGAIN EVER. I STILL WAS CRYING AND HE REACHED OVER AND FELT MY HEART RACING AND SAID I SEE YOU FEAR ME. GET OUT MY CAR “B” YOU AINT EVEN WORTH A BULLET. I THEN RAN TO MY CAR AND PULLED OFF TO HEAD HOME. THE WHOLE TIME I WAS BEING ABUSED I HID IT FROM EVERYONE EXCEPT ONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO I TOLD TO SWEAR TO NEVER TELL ANYONE. SO I DID JUST WHAT I SAID I WAS GONNA DO I LEFT HIM FOR GOOD. HE THEN GOT INCARCERATED FOR ANOTHER CHARGE AND CALLED ME FROM PRISON. I RECORDED HIM TELLING ME “B” IMMA BURY YOU WHEN I GET HOME. THIS WAS HIS RESPONSE BECAUSE ON THE PHONE I TOLD HIM IM NO LONGER AFRAID OF YOU. IM BOLD AND STRONG ENOUGH NOW TO LET YOU KNOW IM SPEAKING OUT AND TELLING MY FAMILY ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING TO ME. I ALSO TOLD HIM I WAS GETTING CUSTODY OF OUR SON. SO THAT WAS NOV 12, 2012. KNOWING THAT HE WAS INCARCERATED THIS WAS MY OPPORTUNITY TO FILE A PROTECTIVE ORDER AGAINST HIM. EVEN THOUGH I TREMBLED AT HIS NAME I DIDNT WANT HIM TO HAVE THE POWER. I FILED THE PROTECTIVE ORDER AND GOT IT GRANTED IT FOR A YEAR. THE JUDGE GRANTED HIM VISITATIONS EVERY OTHER SATURDAY IN THE MONTH TO SEE OUR SON (SUPERVISED). I WAS UPSET WITH THAT DECISION BUT WHAT COULD I DO. TODAY IM STILL FREE FROM MY SONS FATHER NEVER TO RETURN AGAIN. IM TAKING A STAND NOW LETTING MY STORY BE HEARD AND IM WRITING A BOOK ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE. MY SON IS NOW ABOUT TO BE 1 IN FEB AND HES 25 LBS HEALTHY WITH NO HEALTH PROBLEMS AFTER ALL WE ENDURED. IM THANKFUL FOR THE HOUSE OF RUTH AND GOD FOR SETTING ME FREE FROM THIS UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. EVEN THOUGH NOW I SUFFER FROM PANIC ATTACKS AND ANXIETY ATTACKS AND ANGER IM FREE FROM HIM WHICH MATTERS. I COULD HAVE DIED NUMEROUS OF TIMES BUT I HAD A TESTIMONY TO SHARE. I FELT LIKE THE ABUSE WAS MY FAULT AND WHAT COULD I DO TO MAKE HIM HAPPY. BUT NO I REALIZE IT WASN’T MY FAULT AND NO MATTER WHAT A PERSON SAYS OR DO NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED. IM STAYING FREE AND I REFUSE TO GO BACK EVER!!!!! I NOW KNOW MY WORTH AND I LOVE MYSELF MORE AND I KNOW WHAT I DESERVE AND NONE OF US DESERVE ANY ABUSE AT ALL!!!!!!

    • HotlineAdmin_CO says:

      Shavon,
      What a powerful story that you have, thank you for sharing it. You are such a strong courageous woman to be able to stand up against all of the abuse that you went through and place the fear behind you. You are now a survivor and no longer a victim! This story will truly inspire victims and give them hope in some way. To be able to sustain through the physical, verbal, and sexual abuse demonstrates the strength that you have. It is good to know that you are now abuse free and are able to live your own life. In regards to your panic and anxiety attacks, The Hotline can help you look for resources in your area such as support groups or counseling if you ever wanted. You can reach The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 anytime since it is open 24 hours a day.

  6. Johana says:

    Im 24 yrs old , my husband abuse me , almost everyday but i dont know wat to do or where to go because my immigration status , i get verbal abuse every day , and fisical abuse once a week , i dont want to live like this anymore.

    • HotlineAdmin_CO says:

      Johana,
      It is emotionally exhausting to be in a domestic violence relationship and it is even more difficult when you do not know your rights in this country. You might feel alone because you are an immigrant however, you are not alone. You have rights and it does not depend on your immigration status. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has resources that they can give you. If you would like to know more please feel free to call The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 which is open 24 hours a day. We will be more than happy to help you. Remember that you are not alone and have rights in this nation.

  7. Debbie Bongiovanni says:

    Thanks for this wonderful advice. I was a victim of domestic violence and I also wrote a poetry book for abuse victims. I am also in the process of writing some domestic violence songs for a CD. Please get back to me. I would love to share my info with you.

    Debbie

  8. Angela says:

    My husband is verbally abusive. We have been together 10 years. I think he might be bipolar but he’s been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. He just screamed at me for paying his car registration renewal with his credit card. Then he threw my cellphone at me, missing me by several inches. He says that he is the only one who knows how to manage money. I pay almost all of my check in bills. I make more money than he does. He keeps all of his spending a secret. I gave him access to all of my accounts. I work full time, I cook, and I clean the house. But he constantly insults me. I cry almost every day and I feel like I shouldn’t be alive anymore. I have tried everything to please him, but I understand that I can’t change him. I’m alone in this country and Im scared of telling anyone about the abuse. I would rather die.

    • HotlineAdmin_AB says:

      Angela I am sorry you are going through the difficult situation you are in. I appreciate your feelings and how difficult it must be to cope with this. When you have the opportunity to contact us in a safe way please feel free to call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are here 24 hours a day would like to speak with you to see if we can offer any information or resources that can assist you in developing a plan for being safe.

  9. Melissa says:

    I have been with “C” for 5 years. He and I live about 500 miles from my family. The first two years were chaotic. He was an alcoholic and I was a naive 20 year old when we met. We had been kicked out of 2 apartments in a a year and half because of his screaming and chasing after me. One night, I turned his stereo off (it was 3 am) so we wouldn’t disturb the neighbors and he was so enraged by this, he chased me into the bathroom, I quickly locked the door, and he began to kick in the door while screaming he was going to kill me. The police came but I refused to say anything for fear he would lie and I would end up in jail or what if he came after me after he was released??? I decided that month I would leave him. Then we had a couple weeks of “peace” and he proposed with an engagement ring… Planning a wedding? Nothing I wanted was good enough for him. When I defended my hopes and dreams, he said I was selfish. So, I called my dad two months into the engagement and said I was done and wanted to move out in the next few weeks… Well, the same week I called my dad, I found out I was pregnant. I told “C” and he, without emotion, said I should not tell anyone until I knew what I would do with “it”… Without asking, he scheduled me for an abortion the week after I found out I was pregnant. My mom and I happened to have a planned weekend getaway the day he planned the appointment without asking me. As I spent the weekend with my mom, I was reminded of my own self-worth and independence. When my mom left, I told “c” that I wanted to have the baby and I knew I would not only be a great mom but that I would also be a successful human being. He broke up with me and said I would be miserable for the rest of my life. I moved back in with my family. Received prenatal care and started to look for schools to finish my cosmetology license requirements. When I was just under 5 months pregnant, he wanted to work things out. I went back. (Shame on me) I continued my education… My bus commute was 5-6 hours round trip carrying approximately 50 pounds in equipment and books and my classes were 8 hours a day five days a week… By 6 1/2 months gestation, I unknowingly had developed and anal abscess from over exertion and this abscess ruptured and I developed necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) in my perineum area. I was in extreme pain and all “c” would say was that I was lazy and whimpy. He said I was trying to sabotage my education. My mom had come down to paint the nursery the weekend I began to feel pain… My pain was so intense, she drove me the 500 miles to my OBGYN… At 7 months pregnant, I was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis and my daughter was born at 32 weeks when I crashed during one of my surgeries to remove the infection. She and I were hospitalized for over a month and “c” rarely visited and when he did, he wasn’t sober. I spent my first Mother’s Day alone… He drove home that weekend to go to a concert. I have had multiple surgeries in the last two years to try to repair the damage done to my nether region… He doesn’t show up for the surgeries. When we eventually went home with him, it was horrible. He was drunk every moment he was home… If the baby cried, he yelled at her… If I told him to stop, he would either chase after me or throw things at me. I left him and he received treatment for his alcoholism… I truly believed his violence and abuse were from the alcohol. After he was sober and in counseling, we moved back… He immediately quit counseling and last year has been a huge dose of reality for me… The abuse hasn’t stopped… TV remotes, cups, bowls, brooms are thrown in my direction… I’m called names… I’m told that I’m lazy, dull, have no interests… But none of this true of course… And what’s infuriating is that he remembers none of this!!! I am the only caretaker of our almost 2 year old. I cook, clean, and teach our daughter to count and recognize letters in books… We go to the park and we play. I have plenty of interests… I’ve been trying to teach myself a second language, I love to read, I enjoy exercising… I tell him things I like or interested in but he walks out of the room when I speak or sits on the couch and turns up the volume… If the baby cries, I’m doing something wrong… If there are toys in the living room, I’m being lazy. If the baby doesn’t want to eat, I’m not feeding her properly… I have a pretty advanced TMJ disorder… My teeth are completely ground down and need to be replaced… My jaw locks in an open position and its extremely painful to close… I have migraines everyday when I wake and before bed… My anxiety is so high at this point that I’m now nauseated and sometimes vomit… I decided last week I was going to move out with the baby and “c” said he would hunt me down and legally prevent me from moving in with my parents bc of distance. I have no money or education bc I have full fecal incontinence from the damage done to the lower half of my body from the necrotizing fasciitis I survived… I did manage the apartment building we live in for a short while but I only made a few hundred dollars a month and “c” made me spend every penny of it on bills. (“C” makes about $76,000 every year) I want my own home where me and my daughter can live in peace without being yelled at and having things thrown at us or watch as our personal belongings are smashed to pieces. I also want a life where I don’t have to beg for a year for new clothes or justify grocery shopping… I want privacy… I hate having 2 emails… One that he has access to and one that all my self help newsletters go to… I hate feeling as though I’m not an equal partner in this relationship. I know that we are equals but I hate not being treated equally. I hate making sure everything is perfect before he gets home… I hate making sure my hair, make up, and clothes are perfect before he gets home. If something doesn’t meet his standards, then I’m either blatantly ignored (when I speak, he walks away) or chastised for not doing more… He’s about to buy himself a second car and he said when he gets it, I’m not to use whichever isn’t being used. Why? They’re his.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:

      Melissa,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with our blogging community. It sounds like this has been a really difficult situation. From what you have described it sounds like this is a very abusive relationship. Domestic Violence happens because one person is trying to gain and maintain power and control over their partner and the relationship and a lot of the things you have outlined seem to fall into that description. For example, scheduling the abortion without your consent, accessing your email account, among others. Domestic Violence can be such an overwhelming and confusing situation and that is something we definitely understand. There is no shame in hoping a relationship would work out, unfortunately, the fate of a relationship is not only up to one person. It takes so much courage to reach out for help and I am so glad you have done that. If you would like to talk about a few options please feel free to contact The HOTLINE at 1800-799-7233 to speak with an advocate. The hotline is available 24/7 and is completely confidential.

      HotlineAdvocate_SG

  10. Lynn says:

    I am finally divorced from an abusive (emotional and psychological) and malevolent sociopath. After suffering a life with this high conflict man, he has taken down our entire financial estate of 24 years in a single year. He has had me followed, has installed surveillance in my own home, he broke my home security system the day it was installed and continues to wreak havoc in every way possible. He is a CEO and a shrewd con artist. He portrays himself as a victim. He has spread rumours throughout the community that I am paranoid and have “lost it” . It took me 20 years to realize that it was not ALL my fault, I was living with a blamer and I learned that I suffered from abuse and neglect as a child by my narcissistic mother. I never understood my mother’s abuse until I started unraveling the mystery of my loveless, lonely and tumultuous marriage. I have had to walk away from my own mother during this period in my life as the contact with her is too triggering for me and I feel that the only path to my emotional well being is a separate one from her right now. This has caused MAJOR disruption in my family of origin as I have blown the roof off of the family system as they know it. They are all looking at me as if I were the specimen, but I know that I am the truth seeker and they are content living the status quo – a sham to me.
    I want to encourage all of the women out there that “love should not hurt” and if it does, something is wrong.
    I wish I would have listened to my gut but also believe that we are where we are meant to be and for whatever reason, I was meant to raise 3 beautiful children with this monster I used to refer to as my husband.
    The hardest part to deal with now are my children who are college aged and one who is 15. They have witnessed the abuse and I recognize that they need their father, but they also need validation that what they have been witnessing is wrong. Do you have any recommendations on how to communicate these messages in a manner that does not cause them further emotional damage? My daughter has not spoken to her father in many months and was recently diagnosed with depression. Her therapist thinks that she needs to communicate with her father. She has witnessed his horrific behavior with her own two eyes and I believe all three of my children are frightened by him.
    I’d appreciate any advice you can lend.

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Lynn, Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. You have never deserved to be treated badly. Many women have difficulty beleiving what they think to be true. How can a man who says that he loves you, have you followed, question your sanity in public, and blame you for everything in his life for which he won’t take responsibility. I hope you are getting help from your nearby Domestic Violence program, many offer counseling for victims and for their children. But here are a few books that might help, too.

      One of the leaders in studying and understanding batterers is a man named, Lundy Bancroft. He has a good web site (lundybancroft.com), but check out his book, “When Dad Hurts Mom”. He wrote it for mothers who are trying to raise happy and healthy children who have witnessed DV. There is a good paper on the web site about “Batterers as Parents”.

      But speaking of good books. Check in your local library for, “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”, by Patricia Evans. This teaches the reader to translate what batterers say into what they mean.

      Sorry, about the lack of emotional support from your birth family. This often happens when families cannot cope with long standing issues, complicated by new ones. But you have found a truth — and now can focus on the future. Another source of truth and help is through, “Waking the Tiger”, by Peter Levine and another by Levine with Maggie Kline, “Trauma-Proofing Your Kids”.

      Best wishes for continued healing. The Hotline is always here to offer emotional support — call us at 1-800-799-7233.

  11. MALISA says:

    I agree thank you. 9 years ago I left and unhealthy relationship. I am not sure I know what one is and I am wondering if the relationship I am in is a healthy one we have been off and on again I feel at times it is not healthy and distance myself. He is not violent.. For example We have good communication at times I found out his new vehicle is in another woman’s name. When asked about it he said I don’t ask you about your boyfriend do I, don’t ask. Boundries have been broke. He is aggressive while being intimate he bites me I have told him over and over to please be gentle and not bite me it hurts alot he just makes makes fun of me. I want to believe in him that is why I keep going back to the relationship

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Malisa,

      I am glad to hear that you left an unhealthy relationship in your past. It is great that you are staying aware of any red flags now that you have begun to start dating again. The fact that you have communicated that you do not want to be bit and yet he still does, is not only concerning but he is not respecting your boundries either. If you would like to talk further about what a healthy relationship looks like or what red flags to be watching for, you can call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and speak with an advocate. It’s usually a good idea to trust your gut. Thank you for reaching out through our blog community.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  12. beth says:

    Please get away from this man. Even if you have to leave with nothing. No house or contents thereof are worth wasting your life. Especially with kids. I wasted over twenty years – my youth and made my kids’ upbringing terrible because I stayed. The longer you wait the harder it is to leave. He will not change and oh boy it gets worse. I am 50 now and trying to leave again. If I had it to do over, I would have followed my instinct and left while the kids were young. Please put yourself first.

    • HotlineAdmin_CO says:

      Beth,

      Leaving can be difficult and at times you can feel like you will not be able to leave. It is not impossible to leave, there are resources and we are here for you. If you want to talk or come up with a safety plan you can contact The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, so feel free to call anytime you like.

  13. Paul says:

    What do you do when the criteria for a healthy relationship isn’t being met by either party, but you really want to be with her?

    I mean, we’re both critical of one another, we’ll be disrespectful.. She’s not very compromising or supportive, and we’ve both made the statement we are afraid to say some things and feel like we’re walking on egg shells..

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Paul, The description of your relationship making you feel like you’re, “walking on eggshells” tells me you both are living in high anxiety, rather than in a relationship that should be offering both of you, a stable, peaceful, center of your world. I wish I had a short answer for you, but I don’t! However, it might be worth your while to call The Hotline and let’s talk over what’s happening and your desire for a healthy relationship.
      Just remember 1-800-799-7233, 24/7.

  14. denroy says:

    hello I think im in an abusive unhealthy relationship with my wife and I would love to get out peacefully she
    is very disrespectful abusive the works I have been here for only two months she threw me out with my things in the cold I think she marry me and took me up as an investment as she knew my ambition is to be in the navy I guess she thougt as I came here I would just drop in the navy but it is taking longer than she thought so she is telling me that I have to leave now I dont have anywhere to go I dont know anywhere to go because she doesnt take me anywhere so idont know anywhere im so hurt im sorry I came even though im happy for the oppertunity to make good of myself I wanted my marriage to work I even suggest that we get counceling but she said no I would love to stay here but I dont know what to do im confused I wish I had some where to go o need help please

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Denroy, Sorry, your recent marriage and life has become so confusing. You sound like a person with drive and ambition to better yourself. Sometimes all of us need a listening ear, to help get us back on track. Maybe talking to The Hotline can help you determine priorities so you can work your way back to an improved direction for your life. We’re always here, just a phone call away. 1-800-799-7233.

  15. Friend to an abused mother says:

    Today at school, a fellow nursing student shared with me her story of abuse. She had a child with her abuser. He left her when she was pregnant. Because he has had three felony DUIs and one order of protection against him, she has somehow been able to keep herself and their daughter away from him for the past three years. However, he went and filed for visitation recently. With documented abuse to her while she was holding the child, and repeated felony DUIs (while somehow being able to avoid being charged with violation of probation), he has been awarded unsupervised visitation. She has a lawyer who is unable to get her and the child the protection needed. They are residents in Oklahoma where the laws do not seem to do enough to protect her or her daughter. And,
    The judge just “shrugged his shoulders” when she pleaded with him to not allow him unsupervised visitation.
    She is now getting back together with him because she “will not allow him to be alone with their daughter”. She admits he will abuse her again, but feels powerless to safeguard herself in any way. She feels unsafe to get a secret cell phone bc “he would easily find it”. She can’t go to the neighbors for help bc he doesn’t work and watches as she comes home from school every day. What options are there for a woman in this situation. She feels the only option is to wait to be beaten again and to hopefully find a way to call the cops before she heals from her injuries. She says he holds her hostage when her injuries are visible until they disappear.
    There is nothing about her stories that sounds fake. She is hopeless and told me all this with an almost flat affect. This is just her reality and there seems to be no options available to her.

    How can I help? How can she get effective legal help? Are there any lawyers in Oklahoma who have adequate knowledge to defend her and her child? She is willing to leave the state but does not want to break any laws or risk losing primary custody of their daughter. Any advice is appreciated.

  16. Nid says:

    Im in an abusive relationship, my husband of 16 years had a severe accident and know suffers with post traumatic syndrome and has mental issues. He is medicated all day and gets pretty violent. He is awaiting for a settlement and I stay because he is sick with no money. But lately he is getting worst and know he even argues and hits me in front of our kids. I know I need to leave but he threatens he is going to kill himself in front of my job or the kids. I have called the police and I turn out to be the bad guy. The police have done a report and said maam you cannot kick him out this is his house. Eventhlugh the bruises and the threats. Where is the justice sometimes.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Nid,

      Your situation sounds scary. Even though your husband has mental health issues you do not deserve to be verbally or physically hurt. I am sorry to hear that the police are not helping you. Have you talked to his doctor about his threat to kill himself? You deserve to live in a peaceful environment and may be able to get a restraining order against him to protect yourself. If you would like more options concerning your situation, please call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 to speak with an advocate at The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Thank you for reaching out through the Share Your Voice blog community.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  17. Danial Garcia says:

    Sometimes you must have courage even to walk away. I think you all owe yourselves and your kids that much. I guess every case is different and there may be compelling reasons but you can always walk away.

    • HotlineAdmin_CO says:

      Hello Daniel,

      Thank you for your words of encouragement,it sounds like you want people to be safe. Domestic Violence is such a complex situation that at times walking away might not be the safest thing to do. The most dangerous time in a DV relationship is when the victim decides to leave and it is important to have a safety plan during that time. If you have any questions about this process please feel free to give us a call at The Hotline. You can reach The Hotline at: 1-800-799-7233.

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