Moving Forward: Advice for After You Leave

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Moving Forward: Advice for After You Leave

The first months after leaving an abusive relationship are extremely challenging. Victims often fear for their immediate safety and are attempting to cope with the emotional and physical trauma from their past.

Staying safe is just as important after leaving as during the relationship. The following tips are meant to help you increase your physical safety.

  • Trust your instincts — you know yourself and your situation better than anyone, do what you think is best
  • Keep your location a secret — tell only the people you trust where you are and explain how important it is that they don’t tell anyone else
  • Be aware of your surroundings — being cognizant of what’s going on is extremely important
  • Consider having your phone number be unlisted — ask the phone company to prevent blocked numbers from calling you
  • Consider renting a post office box for all mail — do not have any packages or letters delivered to your home or where you are staying
  • If possible, cancel old or shared bank accounts and credit cards — open new accounts with different banks
  • Talk to your kids — explain the situation in as much detail as you feel comfortable with, create an emergency plan with them
  • Change your routine — take different route to work, avoid your regular hang outs, change standing appointments

We will be examining other ways to take care of yourself after you leave in future posts. Please feel free to call The Hotline if you’d like to talk about your situation or to discuss other ways to stay safe. 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224

Comment section

61 replies
  1. Thirty years ago I was a victim of abuse. I stayed in this relation with my kids for seven years. The first six months were good, then one day it started and did not stop for it seemed like for ever. Even after I left it continued for two more years. It not only affected me but the worst part was that it scaredaffected my kids also. back then there was no help. You don’t have to take always tell someone what is happening please and get out any way you have to. some day I would like to tell my story in the hopes that it would help someone.

  2. Debra,

    Have you thought about volunteering with a local domestic violence program? That could be a wonderful opportunity to share you experience and help others. It is very beneficial for those in an abusive relationship to connect with others who understand what they are going through. If you would like infomation on local programs you can call the hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. Also, Redbook magazine is looking for survivor stories, the information about this oppotunity can be found here, https://www.thehotline.org/2012/04/redbook-is-looking-for-survivor-stories/. Thank you for sharing with our blog community.


  3. I just got out of an abusive relationship. It started 4 years ago, and as far as i can recall they have been the most destructive, chaotic years of my life. From the very beginning my ex-boyfriend made me feel ashamed of my past, life and myself. I lived with a feeling of not being good enough for him and right away I looked for ways to better my self with the goal of fixing my self. He left me after 2 years for 1 year and a half, for somebody else. At the end of our first break up, he assured me he still loved me but he couldn’t be with me because of who I was. I was completely depressed, isolated and hurting after he was gone, feeling worthless and hoping he would give me another chance to prove him I wasn’t that bad. Finally six months ago he came back to my life and the same abusive pattern continued, again he blamed me for the relationship not working out and decided he had to break up with me because of me. A month past and only life knows why, I met the woman he had left me for. She dated him for 3 months and after being psychologically and physically abused exactly with the same method as I was, I realized I had been the victim of domestic abuse. I met her through a very good friend of mine who had been there for me when I was hurting and who saw me fade away when my ex came back to my life. I am beginning to open my eyes to the manipulation i had been under, and when I tried to reach to him for some closure, he denies the effects of his actions as if he lived a different reality. I have a 10 year old, from a previous relationship, i fear he might be affected just like i have been all these years.

  4. Hi Karina,

    Thank you for sharing your story with our Share Your Voice Blog community. It’s good that you are beginning to recognize the manipulation he uses. Often abusive people will use many different types of manipulation in an attempt to try to get control and it can be very overwhelming. Remember that you deserve to be with someone who treats you with kindness and respect all the time, not someone who makes you feel ashamed for being the wonderful person that you are. I am glad that you have a friend in your life who has been able to help offer you support. You may also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-7233 for support as well. The National Domestic Violence Hotline may also be able to assist you in locating counseling for yourself, or your 10 year old, if you think those resources might be helpful in your healing process. Your 10 year old is lucky to have a mom who cares so much about him!

    Thank you for posting in our blog community,


  5. I also am a SURVIVOR of domestic violence. I stayed with my cilldrens father 11 years thinking I couldnt do it on my own. I would leave and then felt lonely or like he would do some of the things he threatened to do aftr i left such as kill me and my kids so then i would go back and of course things would go good for a week or so and it would start over. Society really looks down on victims. i guess mainly due to lack of experience and understanding as to why victims stay. just had to let that out. well back to my story the last time i left i will not deny i was so lonely and needing a babysitter that i wanted to go back but thanks to a conversation i had with my then 4 year old son i reakized that they knew. i could not put them through it anymore. i was folding clothes and out of nowhere he asked ” mommy do u remember when that [email protected][email protected] beat you” i was shocked but said what son? he said u know big c remember when he hurt u? it hurt knowing that my 4 year old knew what had went on. so i said yes son i remember but from now on i will make sure it doesnt ever happen again and he told me he didnt want big c around. it was a relief for me that i had my kids support because many victims do not. we r so much better off without the abuse even though there are physical mental and emotional scars but time will help the healing.
    now i am currently in training to helo people in the situation i was once in!!!! if i can justhelp one person it will be worth it. There is hope and support for victims

  6. karina not trying to offend you. i was once in your situation. the first few months are the hardest and from there you see what life should be and how you should be treated. keep your head up. i did it with 3 kids. There is help out there for victims. I wont lie to you i went to counseling for years until I got a new counselor that refused to see me since i was no longer being abused. Im not sure where you are from but around here we have Womens Crisis Center, Women Helping Women and lots of places such as Northkey that do counseling. Northkey also works with kids as well as Family Nurturing Center. You are not alone and there is help if u seek it. Hope all goes well for you all.

  7. June,
    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story of triumph with the Share Your Voice blog. It is so important for victims to hear that it is possible to come out on the other side of these experiences stronger, and more inspired to help others. Keep up the work in your community- you are such a valuable resource for survivors. Good luck and take care!


  8. I am a new immigrant in US coming from an Asian country. My husband petitioned me & my daughter (4 yrs old) & we are now staying with him as permanent resident after 4 years of being separated from each other. I have no work & is a full time mom to our daughter.

    I admit that me & my husband are not in good terms brought about by the long separation, lack of good communication, lies & mutual differences.

    Almost 3 weeks ago, for the nth time I questioned him regarding frequent calls & communication with a fellow Asian girl who happened to be his office mate. He was very defensive & accused me of being jealous for nothing. Actually, it’s not jealousy but since he already had a history of lies I have a hard time trusting him again. Besides, his gestures already changed he became distant, cold & disrespectful.

    Last June 7 around 2pm after a long silence I asked him if we have no Internet or did he turned it off…he told me that he would even get my phone cut so I questioned him why coz its my only way of communicating with my relatives. Until we reached the point of me leaving but he threatened me that I could not bring my daughter with me. I was so mad & approached him and he slap me in the face which my daughter saw. He threatened me that if ever I leave with my daughter he will file a kidnapping case against me.

    I am helpless I love my daughter very much. I had high paying jobw iin my Asian country which I gave up because I want to unite my family but I don’t like the way I am being treated. I have no plans of causing trouble with the father of my daughter but since I am new here consider me ignorant with your law. I just want to know my rights & gain friends to lift my spirit and be able to make better decision for me & my daughter. Or better yet avoid being threatened again & know my rights just in case I go back to our country with my daughter.

  9. @ Grace: Take your daughter and run! Even if this is the first time he has hit you, it won’t be the last. He cannot file a kidnapping report. You have as much right to take your daughter some where as he does, and once you file for a restraining order (due to the domestic violence), he won’t be able to come near either of you. Make sure you tell the court that your daughter saw the abuse. That will keep him from being able to get custody of her. Also (when you file for a divorce), explain that for the last 4 years your daughter has lived only with you. hat will help you to keep sole custody of her. NEVER let him try to make you believe that he can make you stay, or keep her. Here in the USA we take a hard stance against men who abuse women & children. (Her seeing him hit you is considered emotional abuse of her, so you can rightfully claim that both of you have been abused.)
    If that other woman wants him, let her have him. The best revenge is letting her get what she thinks she wants… He’ll eventually turn on her too. Stay strong!
    Best of luck.

  10. Hi
    I have been married for almost 15 years to a fireman, who recently has come to realize he has PTSD. I can’t even tell you when it started, it could have been 11 years ago. Things just got worse and worse, I couldnt’ go anything right, I was damn if I did and damned if I didn’t. A little over a year ago I took the kids and moved out. I couldn’t take it, and I saw what it was doing to my daughter. I need help, but there just isn’t any out there for the spouses and their families with PTSD (and especially if that person isn’t in the military). I live in Albuquerque, NM. This has and still is an emotional nightmare. Is there any help out there? I have looked and looked, but have had no luck. I don’t know what to do anymore with how and what I feel. The only things keeping me grounded are my kids, my dogs, and having gone back to school. But I have to continue hiding all of this pain. Any suggestions, please!

  11. @Grace…. u are not alone. There is help. You just have to be willing to receive it. If u are scared of losing your daughter or right to be here i understand but also know there are laws that protect immigrant victims and their kids. Is it possible for you to get help from legal aid?? or a paid attorney? They would be familiar with the laws but just know the law is on your side. You just have to be willing to take the first step.. Im sure you are aware that d.v is a cycle that gets worse. Of course there are make up periods but it doesnt get better. Love yourself and your daughter and do whats best. I will tell you all from personal experience the only regret I have is putting up with and letting my kids see it. You can do it!!!!!!!!
    Sherry im not sure if things are the same there as here in Northern KY but here we have counseling centers that give counseling for PTSD as wel as other mental disorders. You may be able to google something simple like PTST counseling and your zip code. Keep your chin up!!!!!

  12. Sherry,

    I am sorry to hear that you have not found any help in your city. It takes so much strength and courage to decide that you deserve better and leave. There is a place that offers counseling, support groups, and even children’s counseling in Alburquerque. Usually these services are free or on a sliding-scale basis. Please give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for the phone number. It is unfair that you have to hide your pain. Healing takes time and a professional can help you work through the emotional stress.

    Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice Blog.


  13. Phoenix,
    We really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with our blog community. As per our community guidelines, we want to discourage readers from offering each other advice, especially when dealing with legal issues. What we know about abuse and dealing with the courts is that no two cases are ever the same. The laws vary from state to state, and it can even come down to the individual judge that is trying your case. We want to encourage our readers dealing with complex legal issues to seek legal advice from an attorney who deals with that states’ laws. Also, advocates on the Hotline (800-799-7233) can look in to any local domestic violence programs that may be of assistance to someone trying to leave an abusive relationship, and refer callers to legal aid for more direct help. A good place to start for general information would be womenslaw.org, which gives a basic idea of states laws regarding various issues including custody, divorce, and restraining orders.


  14. I have been out of my abusive relationship for almost three years. I am still having panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and anger issues. I feel alone and sad. I have an amazing child and he is the only reason I continue going through life? Why is it still affecting me? I don’t have anyone to talk to and can not afford to pay someone. What can I do to feel happy again?

  15. Thanks for all your response (Phoenix/June & Hotline Admin) I really appreciate the concerns. I really want to seek legal assistance but since I am currently jobless & dependent with my husband I could not simply afford the same. Besides, since I am still living with him and I have no relatives nearby or even on other states here in USA I am afraid to call his attention for bringing this up until I could secure both myself & our daughter.

  16. Stacey,

    I too am feeling alone and sad. A lot of my family has passed away but I am still fortunate to have my Dad who is 86 but I am in GA. and he is 11 hours away in FL.. I have been married for 19 years to a man who was a rageaholic who made me scared, panicky and angry and really feel bad about myself. We went to 4 different places for help but his anger just got worse. And in the end I was angry and bitter also. We just split up a week ago. He said he didn’t want to change and wasn’t going to change. He moved out. I was a lot older that he was and I think he got tired of the relationship. I still have no idea how the divorce will end and as to what I will end up with. I have a house that I love with big mortgage payments and 2 cats to take care of. I was not able to have any children. I am 61 and presently Not working.

    But I am going to ask God to give me what he wants me to have in the divorce. I am going back to my Baptist church that I have not been to for a very long time. I am going to pray to forgive my husband when all of this is over and done with and for me not to relive all of these years from now because the control that I felt in the relationship will still have power over me if it is still tearing my life up , making me sad, and taking away my joy in life.

    Stacey, trust in God for everything. Ask him to help you over and over. Know that he can help you. Go to church if you aren’t already and look on the internet for help groups for domestic abuse or call and ask around churches for any info. I found out about a group here in Ga. called Celebrate Recovery for domestic abuse. Tomorrow will be my first time to go to there. I was told that this will help people to not make the same mistakes in other relationships, or choose the same type of partner, because a lot of times it is very common to end up in another abusive relationship even though you don’t think it will happen again. I know , it has happened to me. I don’t know where you live, but I pray you will find something like this for yourself for support and friends.

    There is a book that I am just now reading called “Forgive to Live.” by Dr. Dick Tibbits which I think I might have bought on Ebay. It is very good.

    I also read my Bible to comfort me and strengthen me. Remember God loves you and you are NOT alone.


  17. I am in California and i really need help ASAP. I live by the South Bay and have called over 43 numbers given from one hotline to another. I cannot call the police because he used to be the chief of police. I have some money save and am mainly just looking for some safety. Suggestions?

  18. Susan,
    Thank you for reaching out to the Share Your Voice blog. It sounds like you are in a really scary situation, and haven’t been able to find the help that you’re looking for. We understand that it can be difficult getting away from an abusive partner, especially if they’ve been in law enforcement. Would it be possible to relocate to somewhere away from the jurisdiction he used to work for? The internet may not be the safest way to talk about these things, but you are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are anonymous and confidential, and are available 24/7. An advocate on the Hotline could talk with you about options and resources, and also look for DV programs throughout the US.


  19. Karen,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words of encouragement with our readers. I’m glad to hear that you are safely out of your abusive relationship now, and are starting to move forward by getting some support. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot of emotional and psychological abuse from your ex, and that can take some time to heal from. You are welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 if you’d like to talk to an advocate about what’s been going on. We are always available, and are 24/7. Also, a good book about starting over after an abusive relationship is “It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence” by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger Hock.


  20. I’ve only been married 3 months but in this relationship for 6 years. I too am a victim of domestic violence. It only happens when he drinks. The rest of the time he treats me like a queen. He is an alcoholic with problems with rage. He was going to AA and group therapy until we got married 3 months ago. Since the day we.got married he has been smoking pot. He said it kept him from drinking. What a fool I am. I figured anything was better than the alcohol. This past Saturday he came in and accused me of talking with a man on Facebook. He said his AA sponsor and his wife told him this but of course it was a lie he made up to give himself a reason to drink. As After threatening to blow my brains out he finally left on the motorcycle so drunk I didn’t think he would survive the ride He came back later that night so drunk he couldn’t stand up. After hearing him fall I asked.wwhat was happening and got out of bed to see 8f he was ok. He told me not to worry about what had happened.but to worry about what was going to happen. He said.he was going to.Knock my head off with the beer he had in his hand. He threw it as soon as he said it. He hit me but it didn’t hurt me but as soon as it hit me he was on me and what I thought was.the end of his eyeglasses went through my ear drum. I screamed and told him I was hurt but he was beyond hearing me. I kept telling him I was really hurt and that I needed a doctor. I neededto go to the hospital. I got to my phone nut he said I only wanted.to call the police. I hot my phone to try and call 911 but he kept trying to fry my phone. He chased me.but when he couldn’t catch me he kept trying to tackle me throwing his body at me. He almost got me down but I stayed on my feet and made it outside where he continued to Chase me even with the 911 opertor on the phone. He finally went inside but came back out with his hand down by his side. I thought he had a gun but when he brought his ARM up he was only pretending to have a gun but he went through the motions like he wad shooting me and then grinned and pointed at me like that’s what he was going to do to me. He went back inside, the police came after 20 or 30 minutes and finally took me to the hospital where I may or may not get my hearing back. He was arrested and charged with CDV of a high and aggravated nature, possession of pot with intent to distribute and resisting arrest. Now I sit here not knowing what to do next.

  21. I married my boyfriend after only dating for a year. I knew something wasn’t right about our relationship but I loved him. He had a way of making me love him like no one else but at the same time hurting me like no one ever had. I never thought he would hit me. He was possessive, jealous and controlling but I still never thought he would hit me. About a month into our marriage he hit me the first time. I was so shocked it happened. He said I was a whore, bitch. That he was gonna break my arm. He threw me down grabbed me by my hair and drug me down the hall. Where he continued to hurt me for about 2 hrs. I finally got outside to my car and went to his parents for help. They were no help at all. About 5 months into marriage I found out I was pregnant. The abuse didn’t stop bc I was pregnant. I ended up In preterm labor at 32 wks and put on bedrest. The abuse did slow down while I was on besrest but picked back up after the baby was born. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t right. People don’t live this way. But I was so scared to leave. He told me he would kill me, he would kill my family if I told. I believed him. January of this year he hit me while my infant son was in a carseat beside me. He drug me out of the car by my hair and threw me on the gravel. I begged him to stop, that our son could see. He walked off and when he did I got in drivers seat and drove off. He kicked the car in. I had a choice to make in the next moments. I could go to his parents again or I could finally tell my mom. I looked back at my son and thought ” am I crazy!” there is only one choice. It has to end today. My son will not be raised on fear and violence!! I went to my mom. She called the cops and there started my divorce. The legal battle is hard. The courts don’t seem to care about my son being w him. They say he only hurt me. It doesn’t make any sense. My ex filed an epo on me for allegations that weren’t true. It was dropped, He did it out of spite. I feel at a loss. I want to protect my son from his violence but I don’t know how!!

  22. I have been with an abusive man for 4 years now. The abuse started a year into our relationship. It’s not all the time but when it does happen it lasts a while and he gets really angry and emotionally, psychologically, and verbally abusive. It’s like he found a way to get inside my head and stay there. Controlling every move I make, what I buy, who I talk to, where I go. I MUST have a “logical” explanation for everything I do that does not make sense to him. I’m tired of the possession. I want to leave so badly but I don’t know how. Every time I leave I fear and come back. He treats me like gold for about 2 weeks and then he’s right back with his abusive nature. I’m so tired of him I even thought about killing him or myself just to end the vicious cycle. I know I shouldn’t but the pain and frustration is real and really hard to deal with. I need some concrete support and not just some lecture or psychology session. I need help before it’s too late.

  23. Freda,
    Thank you for sharing your story with our Share Your Voice blog community. It takes a lot of courage and strength to share what you’ve been through. The story you shared sounds awful. It must have been so scary for you to be in that situation. Being drunk or high is never an excuse to be abusive. It sounds like your husband has been using his alcohol or drug abuse as an excuse to be emotionally and physically abusive to you. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. Have you talked to anyone locally for support? There are local programs that offer services to victims of abuse, including safe shelter, counseling, support groups, advocacy, and help with getting a protective order. If you’d like to talk to someone, you are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anyonymous and confidential. An advocate on the Hotline could talk to you for support, but also look up local programs for additional services.


  24. Lauren,
    Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. No one ever has the right to put their hands on you. It’s really common for abusive relationships to escalate over time. Oftentimes, emotional and verbal abuse with escalate into physical violence, especially during pregnancy. You have been through so much in this relationship, and now even when you are away from him, he is still continuing the abuse by using the court system. Abuse is about power and control, and while he may not have physical control over you anymore, he is trying to maintain that emotional control by pulling your son in to this. You sound like you are a caring mother, and you just want your son to be safe. I can understand why you would be hesitant to want him around your abusive ex alone. Have you talked to anyone locally who provides domestic violence services? You are always welcome to call us here at 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 talk to you about what’s going on, but also look for local resources for help. Additionally, a good website to start with would be custodyprepformoms.org, which has information for victims of abuse dealing with custody cases.


  25. Stacey,
    Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. From what you’ve shared, it sounds like your partner has been very abusive with you, and has really made you feel stifled in this relationship. Abuse is about having power and control, and the way he’s been able to have that in this relationship has been through micromanaging everything that you do. It can feel really isolating to not have the freedom you need to talk to friends or the space you need to take care of things you would normally do. I am glad that you are reaching out for help here, and I also think it may be helpful to talk to someone about what you’ve been feeling. You must be in a lot of pain to be considering such extreme measures. There are programs available to help victims of abuse like this, and an advocate on the Hotline would be able to look up local resources for help in your area. I want you to know that there are options. It may help to sit down with someone face to face and think some things through. You are always welcome to call and speak with someone here. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are completely anonymous and confidential. Please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233. We are a safe space to talk about it and a place to be really heard.


  26. Hi,
    I’ve been married to my husband for 5 years, and my husband recently was shoving my mom all the way down the hall and screaming uncontrollably right in her face. My husband lies and says he only pointed his finger at her, but he shoved her 3 or 4 times with my dad and I in the room. At the end, I saw his fist right underneath her chin as he continued screaming right in her face. This is the first time he’s ever acted violently, or even yelled.
    My husband is going for counseling for his “anger problems” at my request. Is there any possible hope of him changing, or do violent men always get more abusive? I’ve also allowed him to isolate ourselves from other people, trying to do what he wants. But I know this is also a sign of a possible abuser.
    I was married before to an abusive man so I don’t want another divorce, and yet if there is no hope, then I want to leave. My parents are unhappy with me that I made the same mistake twice. I tried to be so careful the 2nd time I married, too. Please help. I’ve never felt so devastated.

  27. Hi Lesley,

    Thank you for posting in our Share Your Voice Blog Community. Your situation sounds scary and it sounds like your husband’s behavior is affecting many aspects of your life and your parent’s lives as well. Isolation is a possible “red flag” to look for when deciding whether or not a relationship may be abusive. Often abusers will try to isolate a victim so that (s)he does not have family and friend’s support in leaving a relationship. Here is a link to some other red flags that you might read through: https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/am-i-being-abused-2/. What you are going through is not your fault. Abusive people are often very manipulative and don’t show their true intentions until later in a relationship. Certainly some abusive people do change, but unfortunately it is rare. If you would like to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 an Advocate can speak with you more specifically about the details of your situation and help offer support. Advocates are available 24/7 and The Hotline is confidential and anonymous.

    Thank you again for sharing in our blog community,

  28. Do you help with employment, and communication?
    With out resources, and communication any help can be falling on deaf ears.

    Justa small part of the progams implimented are funishing of cell phones, thier use is to be intended for, emegencies, and obtainment of help to gain a possible peacful future.

    All programs should be designed to allow for growth in a positive, productive mannor.

    Intention should not be to supress an individuals growth.

  29. Katrina – I’m so glad you are getting perspective on your relationship. Any time we are in a relationship where ‘I am always the problem, the only one who has to change’ , it’s an unhealthy relationship. Glad you’re out, but get knowledgeable about the red flags of an unhealthy relationships (I know-you’re not even thinking about a new relationship) so you can enter into a future relationship a much stronger person.

  30. Freda Your story sends my heart pounding. I am afraid for you as I am in a very similar situation and hope I am out. I have been with my boyfriend for 5yrs. He was abusive in all ways right away so I tried to end it however not that easy. He wouldn’t let go and blamed alcohol and drug use on his abuse toward me. He got treatment and I took him back. He brutally attacked me shorty there after and again using drugs and alcohol, he went to jail for 18mo due to numerous charges of dv. My heart was broken I felt shame and guilt and once again took him back thinking this time it has to be different. I saw all the good in him while he was away and completely believed that this time would it!! I forgot about him tracking my phone calls, whereabouts, isolation soon crept in, the nasty name calling because he can’t find something and the ultimate tension building to where he has 3 new court cases in the past 6mo for hitting me with the last one being potentially deadly had I not had good safety planning in place and thats not even healthy because the plan could have failed. He is back in jail and after 3wks I am finally starting to think for myself…because I could’t. At first I blamed myself, Why doesn’t he love but he says he does and will kill himself if I leave. Why can’t he give up drugs and alcohol…Am I not worth it? The lies and broken promises are what we need to value as tools to save our lives. Its not us…its them. This is the hardest thing I have ever done and I am 40 yrs old having gone through a divorce after a 14 year marriage to an emotional, financially abusive man. It feels so much better to be alone and have the sense of safety and not having to watch every move I or he makes. Please stay focused on your safety and good for you for reaching out. I wish you the best.

  31. I am almost one year removed from a twenty year marriage to an emotionally, verbally abusive man. Tonight for the second time in a month I thought about suicide. Christmas 2010 I actually attempted suicide for the 2nd time. I left him twice – the first time happened just after our twins were born when he drank to the point of a black-out, accused me of cheating, called me names, threw dining room chairs at me, and when I got scared, backed me up against the wall and said “If I wanted to hit you I would” and proceeded to throw a punch inches past my face into the wall behind me. The 2nd time he threatened to kill himself and loaded his shot gun. He did everything but actually hit me through those 20 years.
    What I suffer from now is self-doubt. My three children are emotionally scarred. They may as well have been beat to hell themselves, as they are all suffering from the effects of living with an emotionally abusive father.. My daughters suffer from panic attacks, and my son, who is 20 and still lives with the piece of garbage that nearly destroyed me, is now over 300 pounds at 5’7″ and unable to work or go to a trade school or do anything. My seventeen year old daughter, whom I gave up custody, isn’t living with me or her dad, because she says I was never a mother to her and she hates her dad.
    My children, even though they were with me when I left their Dad in 2005, filed a protective order, went to court, had the PO upheld, and was going back to court because he filed for divorce claiming I was bipolar, having affairs, an unfit mother, etc. etc. etc., and he wanted custody of all three children – they still think I am the bad one for leaving their father. They still think that I am the selfish one. “I left them and I am selfish.”
    I don’t know what’s real anymore. I don’t think I will ever forgive myself for staying as long as I did in that marriage, because my children paid the ultimate price. They have emotional scars that may never heal. And it’s my fault because I didn’t leave that piece of trash – I was raised and am a Christian, and I stayed because the Bible says the only reason anyone can be divorced is because of adultery, and I never cheated on him. NEVER.
    So now I am the piece of crap, because I left. And now I am separated from God because I got divorced. So what is there left? My family is broken, nobody in the church community has shown me where God’s Word in the Bible says “Don’t stay with abusers – it is okay to divorce if you are in an abusive marriage.”
    I really really really really really really really don’t have a purpose anymore. I’m a burden on my family and I’m sick of feeling so bad. And guilty. And pathetic.

  32. Lisa,
    I am so sorry to hear the pain that you are dealing with but I am so glad you reached out to the Share Your Voice Community. It sounds like you have experienced a lot of trauma that has not been dealt with emotionally. I can only imagine how hurtful it must be to feel that your children are against you. But please know- you are not alone. Many people who have been through many years of abuse benefit immensily from working one on one with a counselor to process their experiences. Advocates here at the hotline are available 24/7 (1-800-799-7233) to offer you support and resources for free domestic violence counseling in your area. Suicidal thoughts can be very scary. I encourage you to utilize the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-8255 any time you are having thoughts of suicide. Please know that there are people that want to help.

    Take Care,

  33. I am suing my Ex for domestic violence. I have trail set for August 24th for domestic and OTC. My  Ex owes me $12,331 in back for child/spousal support. I have medical records, police reports, and a restraining order on him. My attorney dropped me at last minute because I cant afford to pay him. I am getting temporary spousal of $250 a month and that’s going to Eugene Thompson. Do you know of any attorneys that will be willing to work with me? I  have been trying to divorce my Ex for 3 years now. My Ex hired a new expensive trail attorney she is waiting for my responses. My dead line is July 15th I am located in CA.



  34. Rose,
    Thank you for sharing your story with our blog community. We understand that dealing with an abusive ex can be exhausting emotionally and financially, and that these processes often take a lot of time.Unfortunately, our Hotline is unable to give legal advice or refer to specific lawyers that deal with domestic violence. Have you reached out to any local DV programs? You are always welcome to call and talk with an advocate here on the National Domestic Violence Hotline about what’s going on. We can also look up your local domestic violence service providers and maybe call with you to see if they have any thing that could help. You may also try looking at lawhelp.org for low-cost legal services.


  35. Thank you for sharing your story. I wasn’t sure if I was being abused, but I know now I have been. The first time he put his hands on me was yetserday. I seen this coming, first he statrted slamming doors and making comments, and just doing other intimidating things. He would go from being seet loving to an absolute demon from hell in like 10 seconds. I have endured the “mental” abuse for almost three years, just this last year what I have describe has been happening. The things he has done, NO woman should go through. And his family are the worse, They all say “I dont get in grown folks business”. I know I am getting off subject here but this needs to be said. If you try to find help from his family, and they do not help, they know what type of monster he is and they are enablers. If anyone who is reading this sees these signs from family get out of that relationship as soon as possible.

  36. Denise,

    It takes a lot of courage to voice what is happening in your relationship. It sounds like he has escalated from verbal abuse to physical abuse. You are so right when you say that no woman deserves to be hurt. It is unfortunate that family members choose to be unsupportive. They may not understand the dynamics of abuse or are choosing to remain uninvolved. Either way I am sorry you are not getting support from them. If you would like to talk further about your situation or get a number for a local support group you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. Thank you for sharing with our blog readers.


  37. Hi Lisa: My mother is now with me after 54 years of the same abuse. Yes, I am one of three children who is also affected by this emotional and psychological abuse that your children are suffering. If I can just quote the bible to prove that there is mention of this type of abuse.

    The Bible clearly warns us about the dangers of an angry man. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man.” And Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.”

    Here are some key biblical principles. First, know that God loves you. The Bible teaches, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

    Second, deal with your feelings of guilt. You may be feeling that the problems in your marriage are your fault. “If only I would do better, he wouldn’t be so angry with me.” The Bible teaches in Psalm 51:6 that “Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Even though you may have feelings of guilt, you may not be the guilty party.

    To clear some misconceptions of the Catholic faith, you are not separated from the church simply because you have left your abuser. Your are considered married in the eyes of God until you seek an annulment which is attainable with the help of a parish priest. The grounds for an annulment are not just for infidelity, there are many others. Once again, a good priest can help you with this process. If you do not have an annulment, you only lose your state of grace should you be sexually involved with another person. I’ve had an annulment and have gone through the rigors and fine details through the necessary paperwork needed. I am very involved in my church, teach CCD, preschool, attend faith formation and certification classes. My recommendation is to turn to your church and if they are not helpful, find another church with a staff that is able and willing to help you.

    Best of luck and do not feel that you have lost everything. You have made the first steps in giving yourself another chance. As your children grow, they may see the situation through more mature eyes and that door may open again as well. Keep your faith!

  38. Hi
    After reading couple of cases here, I felt someone can help me here. I am from Asia and been living in US for 16 yrs. I got married 15 yrs back to someone whom i loved when i was back home. Ours was love marriage and everything was beautiful, until our first child. I had go thru treatment fo have my first child. Then my husband wanted more kids, so i went for second one after 2 years of 1st child being born. He started staying away from house, and I almost raised 2 littles ones for about 4 years while I was working and taking care of house chores, then he wanted more kids. I went thru rigorous treatment and had twins. Now, with 4 kids, and him practically not at home at all, he has started other relationships. Unknown to me, I discovered about his behavior when i found a CD in his car and sites on home computer with his logins. Because of 3 difficult pregnancies, I suffered severe loss of my legs and became handicap after a year when twins were born. my husband kept house keepers to help me with kids, babies and house work and one day my older child saw him having sex with one of the house keeper in the house. Since then he has been threatening me of divorce and figtiing with me every night, insulting me infront of hosuekeepers and kids. He keeps asking me to quit my job (i go to work even being handicap as i do not know when he will leave me with my kids) and theatening me of throwing me out of the house. One weekend, he threw all my work clothes at the recycle center. I was left 2 pairs of clothes of work clothes. I feel like he is abusing me everyday, making me feel that being a handicap is a burden on him and i should leave the house and kids with him and live somewhere else. He even said to me that someone is ready to walk into the house, if I leave righaway. But I cant leave my kids, I love them and i dont know what to do. I dont want a divorce it will affect my parents and my kids. What can I do.

  39. Jo-Anne,
    I am glad you contacted our Share Your Voice blog. It sounds like you’re in a very scary situation and it can be difficult to know where to go for help. It is usually easier, though if we are able to speak to you directly in order to assess your own personal needs. This hotline (800-799-7233) is anonymous and completely confidential so we will absolutely maintain your privacy. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can take calls in 120 different languages using an interpreting service. If possible, please call us at your earliest convenience that way we can explore your options and the resources available in your community.

    Take care,

  40. I’m in a different, but equally terrifying circumstance. I have been psychologically tormented by my husband for years – though NO physical violence. He twists truths, denies and has been extremely passive aggressive. No affection for years. He even got my son to join the torment – my son became violent, so now husband cites that as “proof” of how bad a person I am.

    I attributed this to alcoholism – he drinks every day, to intoxication several times a week. I finally got the strength to kick him out and tell him to get treatment or not return. He denied an alcohol problem and now is on a full-fledged character-assassination assault, calling me a narcissist child-abuser to anyone who will listen. He even has his new girlfriend in on the game – spying on me and trying to make everything I do seem to fit his description.

    Just a note: The son went to live with him – but three others live with me and are healthy and happy. The son who went with him is now in prison.

    What can I do to protect myself from this maniac and his equally crazy girlfriend? Even more important, what can I do to protect my kids? Will calling the hotline help?

  41. Karney,

    It takes a lot of courage to tell someone to leave. I am sorry to hear that you are still dealing with his verbal abuse and manipulation even though you are no longer with him. Alcohol can definetly make the situation worse, but it is not an excuse for abuse. If he is slandering you on Facebook, you can report it to them and they might make him take it down. It might be a good idea to document everything you can by keeping a journal with the date, time, and description of what happened. Be sure to save any threatening or harassing texts, emails, or voice mails. I don’t know if you have thought about obtaining a protective order, but it might be helpful as well.

    Him telling you that your son being violent is “proof” of your parenting skills is complete manipulation and it seems the real proof is in the children living with you that are healthy and happy. You are always welcome to call the Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for further guidance and support. Thank you for reaching out to our blog community.


  42. I left my abusive ex a month ago. The abuse started on 2009 when i was pregnant with my baby…we started arguing and things escalated while we were driving and he stopped the car i jumled out and he followed me he started hitting me. I fell to the ground while he was kicking me in the head and back…it was horrible….he got in car sped away leaving me there bleeding. He spun car around at nExt mile and started speeding at me. I had to jump over the fence to keep him from hitting me….abuse continued…2 weeks before my baby was born he was mad at me n smashed kitchen chair because he threw it atme. A couple months after baby was born him n i got into argument and he started throwing things a.d he knocked over the bassinette with my son in it….the last 2 years have been hell for me…
    sometimes we would be having sex and it was hurting me…i would cry for him to stop and he would keep going saying the crying turned him on…he sexually assaulted me…all of it started out as consentual but ended up with my screaming for him to stop….just over the last few months i decided it was over….he would fight with me then leave angry…one night he left and didn’t show up…he finally answered phone at 2am says he getting a ride home…..4am still not home answers phone n im freaking out thinking he cheated…he says he will get ride home dont go get him…he says i have no reason to worry because he dudnt cheat…5am i call back…he confesses he cheated and the girl is still in bed with him…..i lose it…im crying soooo bad. I beg him to come home and to just leave…he says he will but phone dying….at noon the girl drops him off at home….he says he dont e en know her just a 1 night stand….i try and forgive him even tho hes covered in hickies and scratches….2 weeks later my 15 yr old son n him got into argument and he blew up…he grabbed my as on snd threw him onto couch and started choking him….i was screaming at him to stop…that day i kicked him out…e kept trying to fix things and i believed all the loes he said….i just found out the girl he slept with and was still sleeping with is engaged to a marine and he

  43. Is still seeing her….i decided to let him have our rental and moved in with a guy friend…i ley him have our son fir a week…3 days into visit i confided in his mother anf told her aherbout the rapes….she promised not to tell…she lied….he started calling me n i dudnt answer it first but finally did….he started saying how ashamed he was and that i promised i would never tell …he then started saying he was going to kill believedhimself…that he was going to take our son and go crash car with him in it…i called police….they went to house and he had left leaving baby with his mom….cops found him and took him to counseling but he told them i was lying that he never talked to me and i was just making things up..they believed

  44. Since that night he kept calling me from that girls phone so i changed my number and filed a .protection from abuse order on him and filed charges for choking my son….my problem is im still hung up on him….im so sad i still love him but i love the old guy i fell in love with….im really having a hard time getting over this n i need help please…..

  45. Jolena,
    One step at a time, one minute,one day. Think of you and your child only. Please go to counseling and by telling your truth here is a start. You are experiencing something very normal with respect to your feelings for him because he made sure he molded you for himself. you got sadly lost in him and for all the time you have tried to make him love you the way you needed you can’t. Its called abuse, manipulation, tourture and you need to find the love you gave him for yourself. It is extremely hard to let go but the war can be over just surrender to the fact that you cannot win over his addiction and rage. Make a list of how many times he scared or hurt you. I did it recently and was shocked that I was living that. It made me feel hate for him even though I still love the good parts of him. Those good parts are not enough to be with him safely. I struggle most days still after 8 wks however I am working hard in counseling, started running again, and going to church…taking back all that I value…one step, one minute and one day at a time. You can and will have peace and love in your life again. Learn to love yourself, you may feel lonely but you are not alone. Keep reaching out. Be well

  46. Jolena,
    I forgot to tell you cheating is the core of abuse. It doesn’t reflect on you in any way she has become the scapegoat however will never measure up to you. She just doesn’t know that yet. She has to be real screwed up to go with a man that she knows has been abusive and to be part of it. So now she is where you were only worse…scapegoat. He is just reaching far to get you back. Don’t fall for it. You can never trust him. He has commited all of the sins to his advantage so rise above and do things for you to make you whole again because without him you honestly will be. Whether you know it or not you have helped me to remember when. Thats why its important to keep reaching out. Reality checks girl…love who you were before him…it will all come back…you are bueautiful inside and out to take that abuse and now overcome it. Remember you are not alone. stay strong and focused.

  47. Jolena,

    It takes a great amount of courage to share the abuse you have been enduring. We have slightly edited some of the details as they were quite graphic and want to be mindful of the traumatic experiences that our blog readers have gone through.

    The full comment about your situation is after the last of your shared story.


  48. Jolena,

    You have been through a great deal with your ex. No one deserves to be thrown from a car, chased down, sexually assaulted, or any of the other abusive things he did to you and your children. Leaving is not always easy, it takes strength to say enough and move to a healthier environment. It is normal to have feelings of love even when you realize that you are being hurt; and it’s normal to want him to be the guy you fell in love with in the beginning. You were in a very dangerous relationship. It might help to write down all the terrible things he did to you and your children, or look back on this post, to remind yourself why you chose to leave, obtain a protective order and press charges.

    Have you thought about seeking counseling or support group services? Please call the Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for referrals in your area and also for further support concerning your situation. If you are a reader, this book can be supportive as well, It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger Hock.

    Thank you for sharing with our blog community.


  49. Deb,

    Thank you for your supportive words to our blog community. “One step at a time, one minute,one day” is a great mantra to help in the healing process. You sound like an amazingly courageous woman, a survivor.

    Unfortunately, an abusive partner will be hurtful to other intimate partners as well. They choose to be abusive, it is not the fault of the current partner, but the choice the batterer is making.

    Support can be powerful as one heals from the abuse. Reaching out is great. Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice Blog.


  50. Thank you for all the support you give as well. This blog community is a huge source of support. I have struggled greatly in and out of my relationship. Being out of it is painful however in it was worse so I have to reach out and have a therapist and dv specialist that I work with. I cannot do this alone and thankfully I don’t have to. Again thank you for the support!

  51. hello, i recently got out of an emotional and mentally abusive relationship of 3 yrs. i was living in MO. i escaped and moved back to tx. thing is i dont have a place to live, its been a week and all i have is 40 dollars to my name. i have moved back with my mom and $ is very tight. i came back with my furry family. 3 dogs and 5 cats that i refuse to abandon they have been my strength. i cannot have children
    i need financial assistance to get me back on my feet and help my mom with some household costs and food. i was working in AR b4 i got fired for HIS behavior outside the business, it wasnt even anything i really did. so i feel cornered…i need advice on how to get help>>can i get unemployment here in tx eventhough i was employed in AR? my mother receives SSI can i get financial assistance that will not hurt her since i will be there temporarily. i left most of my belongings up there, can i get some $ to purchase some decent clothes for interviews?? please advice, thank you

  52. Mo, I’m glad you found us. Sounds like you are having a difficult time adjusting to your new life. There may be help for you locally. Could you telephone The hotline. Over the phone we could talk about specifics for your situation and, hopefully, get you back on your feet over time. The Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.

  53. i was with my ex abusive boyfriend for nearly two years. He was physically mentally and emotionally abusive. I kept a diary for the last four months which helped when I fled. He is a natural woman hater and I feel embarrassed that I actually believed he loved me. He has messed with my daughters head doing alot of stuff to me in front of her. When I fled I planned it first. I spoke to the doctor, the school, the domestic violence helpline and even a psychic. Eventually I met with my local safety adviser who experienced when with me how controlling he is. Texting and constant calling because he realised i wasn’t where I said I was, She didn’t let me home instead took me to a place of safety for a week until she got me a solicitor and I got an injunction. Since the injunction he has completely stalked me following me in his car. He’s had warnings off the police but he makes sure I see him everyday. If he finds me he circles me with his car, but what i’ve learnt is he’s not going against his injunction as its only to the house. He’s now letting out his feelings on facebook turning everything round to act like the victim and people are falling for it. He’s even put threatening stuff up which is obviously for me but because its not named he’s ok doing it. Every time I speak to someone e.g police or my safety adviser or someone they put me in touch with they say i’m doing everything I can. So why is it still happening?

  54. Ruthie,

    You are very strong to have left your ex-abuser and to get an injunction. It is amazing to hear all the individuals that helped you get free. It is very unfair that he is still harassing you. He is doing this because he has lost the power and control over you since you found the strength to leave him. It is a good idea to keep documentation of all the threats (from facebook, texts, and phone messages). You mention that your injunction only protects you at home; it might be a good idea to talk to the courthouse to see if you can amend it to include “no contact at all.” If you would like help from a legal advocate you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline for a referral 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

    Until then, it might be a good idea to change your routine as much as possible. Take different routes to work, maybe even stop or pass by police stations, shop at different grocery stores, and see if it is legal to carry pepper spray. Self defense or martial art classes can help you learn to defend yourself. Advocates are available at the above number if you’d like futher information on how to stay safe. Thank you for reaching out to our blog community.


  55. In 2008 I reunited with a man from my past. When I was 13 he raped me. At the time we were at a party with friends and what I thought was a friend of mine intervened and stopped him. But when I tried to talk to her about it later she told me ” He was drunk, it wasn’t his fault.” I believed her. And that belief carried with me for years. So when he came in contact with me in 2008 I thought very little of it. I became pregnant in Dec of ’08. In march of ’09 the abuse started. I was three months pregnant and was “caught” talking to a friend of mine who was a guy. But I soon discovered that was not allowed. It first started as emotional. When I was 5 months pregnant it turned physical. I remember laying on the floor holding my stomach as he kicked me with steel toed boots on. He was drunk and all I could think of was what my friend told me when I was 13 “he’s drunk so it’s not his fault.” I was abused emotionally, financially, and physically all through my pregnancy. I thought it would stop after my son was born. But it didn’t. As time went along I tried to leave. But it wasn’t until May 20th 2011 that I finally walked away. He tried to strangle me in front of my son. And that is the night my son saved my life. We did the whole court thing and this so called “man” received 2 weeks in jail for a felony strangulation and child endangerment. (5 other charges were dropped.) It has now been over 3 yrs. and this is the first time I’m telling my story. I am engaged, own a house, going back to school, but it is still there. I carry it with me everyday, I think about it everyday. And most of all I can’t comprehend how someone can endanger a child and attempt to strangle someone yet only get 2 weeks in jail and 3 yrs. probation.

  56. Krystal,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Telling your story for the first time is usually scary, but I’m glad you were able to share. It sounds like you and your son were in such a dangerous and terrifying situation. There is no excuse for someone to abuse you, whether it’s emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Abusers will often try to justify their behavior by saying that they were drunk or by blaming you. Sometimes even other people, like your friend, will try to justify or minimize the abuse, but that doesn’t make it ok. We also know that abuse escalates with time, especially after a pregnancy. I’m so glad that you and your son were able to make it out safely. It must have taken an incredible amount of strength and courage to leave. Not only were you able to leave, but you created a better life for yourself and your son.

    You’ve been through so much trauma and it sounds like it’s continuing to affect you. It might help to talk to an advocate about ways to deal with trauma and other options for getting help. You deserve to have peace and be able to enjoy your life without your abuser. I encourage you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We’re here 24/7 to support you.

    Hotline Advocate VG

  57. I just recentley left my 11 year marriage. Its been a week since I have been in my new house with two out of three of our girls. (our teenager is living with him)
    I have only just recently this year realized I have been verbally and emotionally abused for almost the entirty of our relationship. My husband has and have always had a very bad temper. He can blow up about the smallest things, get really mad, throw a fit, and then be fine, and we were all left to be fine too. Its been an emotionally draining experience.
    December 2013 he finally used his anger and slammed a stack of plates on my back, the kids were home. I lost my mind, I wanted to die and even wrote a sucide note and left the house. I came back, feeling ashamed and pathetic.
    We had huge arguements where he admitted that he can’t stand to look at me, and resents me for writing this old friend from HS, after our third daughter was born. She is 9 now.
    I have always felt rejected by him. Never good enough. He isn’t romantic or intimate but will whistle and tell me im so pretty and other, nice things but the missing intamacy has always been a problem and he knows I have had feelings about that, he tells me, maybe if i lost weitght or we both lost or he was feeling insecure, and didn’t like how he looked, always an excuse. always leaving me feeling very insecure.
    He was very controlling about money, never liked my friends, doesn’t have any of his own, very shy and anit social. Didn’t like my family or having them over.
    after the physicall abuse incident, i wanted out, i told him id had enough and wanted my own place. he agreed. I was a stay at home mom, but started looking for work immediatley. i started going out w girlfriends and not coming home until the next day.
    After I got a job, things seemed to settle down, we still argued and me moving out was still on the table. But, i wanted to work on our marriage, i felt we had owed it to ourselves. Now that I am out, i want him to move in, but i am afraid its for the wrong reasons, because now he has put all blame on me, and is playing mind games, not giving me straight answers, making me seem like im the crazy one, i ask if we are going to work on the relationship he tells me we need to talk.
    IT is SO hard keeping my emotions in check at work and in front of the girls, who have seen and heard his temper their whole lives. I feel so much guilt now that I didn’t protect them from them i made excuses for hime and forgave him.
    I am going out of my mind with what ifs, the thought of him with someone else, the thought of being alone forever. I miss him but can’t think of any real good reasons why other than when we are getting along we have so much fun, he makes me laugh. but then i only get what he wants me to get when its convient for him. I never know when he is going to blow.
    I have gotten alot of helpful information from this blog and just wanted to share my story. I don’t want to do this anymore. I hurt so much! And his mind games are killing me.

  58. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so sorry that you had to go through so much abuse. No one ever deserves to be treated that way. A healthy relationship is about equal give and take. In a healthy relationship, there’s understanding and respect. You should feel heard and safe to voice your opinion. Even though your abuser blamed you for so much, it’s not your fault that he is abusive. Someone who is abusive will be abusive no matter what you do. I’m sure you probably tried different things to make the abuse stop and noticed that nothing worked for a long time. It’s because he has a problem that he needs to work on. I truly hope that he gets help and changes, but that’s up to him. Until then, he will probably continue to be abusive.

    Also, it’s completely normal to miss your abuser and wonder if things will work out if you give it another chance. This is a relationship that you care about and you care about him, so it’s natural to want to fix it. I’m glad that you recognize the mind games that he’s still playing. Making you feel guilty or crazy so that you second guess yourself is a common and very effective tactic that abusers use. Trust your instincts and remember that you deserve to have a healthy relationship. You are a very strong person and it’s sounds like you did your best to try to protect yourself and your children. We’re always here to offer you support and to help you safety plan at 1-800-799-7233. We’re completely anonymous and confidential.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate VG

  59. I’m trying to figure out what I want and feel so alone. My husband has always had a bad temper and manipulative but when my kids were born, 2&4, it just became worse and worse and now is emotionally abusive and trying to control me.

    The problem is I have bipolar disorder (and have for 15+ years, I’ve been married for 6) and he uses that against me always. I’m medicated and 99% of the time completely stable but I am depressed because of my situation and he has convinced counselors and church leaders that I’m crazy and a liar and have all these issues. He told them this after I looked to them for help to deal with his abuse. He’s so convincing, no one believes me.

    He says horrible horrible things to me in front of our girls.

    Now the problem is he’s rubbing off on me and I retaliate by saying horrible things back to him. I didn’t used to but I don’t know what else to do to get him to stop.
    Now that I’ve said abusive things to him, I don’t know how to get help because he’ll completely use that against me. Along with my “condition”, no one believes me.

    I don’t want to get divorced and give him the chance of having my girls to raise or to remarry someone else that he’ll abuse in front of them. I just am so at a loss at what to do. It feels good to type this out because it’s so hard to keep it in or have everyone I tell think I’m lying to them. :/

  60. Dear Annie,

    Thank you for writing us. I know that abusers can sometimes use mental health issues against their partners. I can imagine that living in domestic violence causes you depression. Many victims of abuse suffer from depression. I am sorry to hear that he has convinced others that your are the problem. Abusers can be so charming and convincing.

    Your girls sound traumatized by living in this situation. They must cringe hearing their father say horrible things to the mother they love. Annie, it sounds like the situation is escalating and I am worried that he could set you up. We get many calls from victims that end up in jail. The abuser will call the police and says that his wife attacked him. Your letter didn’t mention physical abuse but I am worried that he could manipulate and lie about the situation and thus hurt you.

    Please call us. I am sure there are domestic violence programs that could help you with resources, couseling, support groups and more. The phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-7233.

    Hotline Advocate MT

  61. Hi Annie,
    Thank you for sharing. Abusers will use whatever they can against you, including your bipolar disorder, to justify their behavior or make you feel like you’re the problem. You’re human and have a breaking point like everyone else. There are many people that we talk to that say things back to the abuser that they are not proud of or wish they could take back. That doesn’t mean that you’re abusive and it also doesn’t give him the right to continue to be abusive. You can say that you’re not happy with your behavior and that you’re still being abused. Both of those things can be true at once. Abuse is intentional, systematic behavior to gain power and control over another person.

    It must be so hard to have him be abusive in front of your daughters. You just want the best for them and to protect them from the abuse. Having him try to turn others against is also horrible to deal with and a common abuser tactic. I certainly believe you and I’m so glad that you had the courage to reach out. When we talk to people, we talk to them about their options and never try to force someone to do something they are uncomfortable doing. I would encourage to call us at 1-800-799-7233. We’re here 24/7 and completely confidential.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate VG

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