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How to Get Out of a Verbally Abusive Relationship

How do you leave a verbally abusive relationship when you have nowhere to go, nobody to talk to, and nothing to lean on? Each of these five examples or signs of verbal abuse are paired with an idea for getting out of the relationship.

Some types of verbal abuse are easy to recognize. For example, name calling, insults and cruel criticism are verbally abusive behaviors in a relationship. But what about the less obvious signs of verbal abuse? How do you know if you’re being verbally abused by someone who says he loves you?

Even more importantly, how do you get out of a relationship when all you hear is how stupid, incompetent, fat, ugly and unlovable you are? I wish I could tell you that it’s easy to leave a relationship that is verbally abusive, but it’s not. Men who are controlling and manipulative are masters at tamping women down, making them feel terrible about themselves, and destroying their self-esteem and self-confidence.

The most important thing to know – after you recognize the signs of a verbally abusive relationship – is that it takes time to create a plan to leave. There are often stages to leaving an abusive relationship.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you’ve been suffering in the same unhealthy relationship for years, or even decades! It often takes a long time for women to leave. Some women feel trapped and unable to support themselves. Other women have no way to pay the bills, feed the kids, or even take care of their own health issues without their partners. Emotional and verbal abuse isn’t “just” psychologically damaging…it destroys you physically, socially, professionally and spiritually.

But it doesn’t always have to be this way.

5 Tips for Getting Out of a Verbally Abusive Relationship

Learning to recognize the signs of a verbally abusive relationship is really important. Some verbal abuse is so subtle and manipulative that you think you deserve to be talked to that way, or that somehow it’s your fault. That’s why I’m describing five different examples of verbal abuse and pairing each with an idea for leaving the relationship.

Be gentle with yourself! It can take months or even years to leave an unhealthy relationship. Why do women stay in verbally abusive relationships? Sometimes they hope the man will change or the relationship will improve. Sometimes they feel trapped for financial and family reasons. Often, women in verbally abusive relationships also lose their self-identity, energy, and confidence. This makes getting out of an unhealthy relationship really hard.

1. Look at your relationship with a fresh pair of eyes

Getting Out of a Verbally Abusive Relationship
How to Get Out of a Verbally Abusive Relationship

You may be so used to the things your boyfriend or husband says that you don’t even notice how bad things have become. Silence, trivializing, direct criticisms, and passive aggressive comments are four typical examples of verbal abuse in relationships. Do you feel uncomfortable, afraid, insecure, or silenced? Your feelings and instincts are one of the best signs of a verbally abusive relationship. Trust yourself. Your intuition does not lie.

You can start leaving a verbally abusive relationship by looking at him through a more objective lens. If you believe your relationship is verbally abusive, read Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can–and Should–be Saved by Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi. You’ll learn how to tell the difference between a healthy-yet-difficult relationship versus one that is verbally abusive. You’ll also recognize the signs that your boyfriend or husband has a serious anger or rage problem.

2. Recognize how you respond to verbal assaults

Think back to the first time your husband or boyfriend said something mean, critical, or rude. How did you respond then? How did you feel, what did you think? Compare it to the things he says to you now. Notice if you’ve changed, or if you respond differently. Do you feel like you deserve to be in a verbally abusive relationship because you’re not good enough to be loved? Some women have a hard time leaving unhealthy relationships because they feel like they deserve to be called names, ignored, or belittled.

How do you get out of a verbally abusive relationship when you feel bad about yourself…or even hate yourself? Start by recognizing what his words and actions are doing to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-identity. Just notice how you feel and respond when your husband or boyfriend calls you names or puts you down. This is developing self-awareness – and it will help you leave a man who is verbally abusing you.

3. Imagine telling your friends or family how he talks to you

In Are You Hiding the Truth About Your Marriage? we discovered that one of the most powerful weapons emotionally abusive men have is a woman’s SILENCE. When you don’t share how your boyfriend or husband talks to you, you are protecting him and your relationship. When you protect him, you keep yourself trapped, weak, and helpless. Your silence and secrecy keeps you trapped in despair and helplessness.

Imagine telling your friends or family that you want to leave your relationship because your husband or boyfriend is verbally abusive. What does it feel like to talk about it? How might you bring up the fact that you’ve been suffering in silence for so long? Who can you tell, and how might they respond? Just imagine what it’d be like to say “I’m in a verbally abusive relationship” to someone.

4. Borrow someone else’s strength

One of the biggest, most telling signs of a verbally abusive relationship is low self-esteem. Men who abuse are masters at making women feel like they have no power or control, no choice or freedom. Verbally abusive men are manipulators, bullies, and liars. You feel weak, insecure and powerless because his words have been tearing you apart for so long.

When you feel too weak or scared to leave a verbally abusive relationship, lean on someone else’s strength. You don’t necessarily need close friends or family members to lean on (though they are extremely helpful, of course!). You can borrow strength from a crisis support worker at a safe house or shelter, or a neighbor. You can lean on someone who is part of your church, synagogue, or faith tradition. And you can lean on the most powerful source of strength in the universe: God.

5. Reimagine your self-image and identity

Men who are verbally abusive men are very good at controlling what women think about themselves. If you’ve been in a verbally abusive relationship or marriage for years, then you may have lost your self-image and self-identity long ago. This means it’s time to reimagine, recreate, and reinvent yourself! Start by remembering who you were before. Picture yourself healthy, happy, whole. Who did God create you to be?

When you’re planning to get out of a verbally abusive relationship, remember that a healthy, strong self-identity doesn’t come from men, possessions, or your appearance. It comes from God. If you root yourself in your identity as a beloved child of God, you will have more strength and power than you ever thought possible! And that power will help you not only recognize the signs of a verbally abusive relationship, but also find the energy and strength you need to leave.

These five tips on how to get out of a verbally abusive relationship are a lot to think about…and that’s all I’m encouraging you to do. Just think about the signs of verbal abuse in your relationship, and what life would be like if you were free.

If you’re thinking about ending your relationship, read How to Leave the Man You Love – But Can’t Live With.

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

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28 thoughts on “How to Get Out of a Verbally Abusive Relationship”

  1. Please, please appreciate that not all abusers are male.
    Especially my wife.
    The article would resonate with any verbally abused person if it didn’t insist that abusers are all male.
    I couldn’t stay with it for that reason.
    I’ll look elsewhere for help.

  2. Any “MAN” should own up to his mistakes / losses and stand up and provide housing for his spouse and especially his only daughter. I will never go down because I have a heart unlike most women who are afraid to speak. I am just the opposite- I cannot keep my mouth shut when someone you thought you knew for 19 years belittles, blames , lies , steals, neglects, try’s to control, brainwashes kids , coward , , I will lay down and die before he takes my kids and over my dead body will he ever leave this country without owning up to whatever happened last year. I just wish I knew what happened to the man I married so long ago who was loving, worshiped the ground I walk on , generous , never gossiping. Always walked my dogs. I guess I’ll never know but physically it’s killing me and I just have to throw the towel in w/o the signed papers I wanted. It’s pretty hard to get help when your husband displays your “mental impairment “ across the city of phila. This better be removed by Monday morning

  3. Reading all of these comments both hurts, and helps so much! I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for almost 13 years. 4 years ago, I married him. We moved from my hometown and are now living about 200 miles away from my family and friends. He has done awful, what should be unforgiveable things to me, but I stay. I am abhorred by the stories I read of other’s experiences, but fail to be abhorred my own. I get so angry and hurt by the things he does, then he’ll give me the silent treatment for days, sometimes weeks. The first few days of silent treatment are actually a blessing, but after several days, I start to break down mentally, and want him to contact me – or apologize. He has never apologized, by the way, only started talking again or made a joke, and I was so relieved to have my “normalcy” back, I let it go. And I just kept letting it go…and go. Now, I physically feel the effects of these years of abuse. I have anxiety, phobias – suddenly have a fear of driving over 40 mph, I self medicate with alcohol so that I can just be numb, I have lost sight of who I was and what I liked and loved.

    I have a framed poem my father wrote for me 25 years ago. I keep it with me at work. I showed it to my work friend the other day, and she said – “If I had something that beautiful from my dad, I would hang it on the wall next to my bed!” Little did she know, it’s so special to me, I keep it far away from the person who, if he knew how special it was to me, would smash the frame and throw away the poem.

    Two days ago, we were in the car together and he started driving like a maniac, like he always does. He rides up on people’s bumpers, inches away from hitting them, blowing the horn, running red lights, it’s terrifying. And if I say anything, it’s hell to pay. I was gripping the seat and asked him – please stop driving like this! That was it. he started pounding on the dashboard, screaming at me, calling me horrible things and telling me it was all over – he wanted a divorce. I went to that place in my head, where it’s quiet and I still have some memory of the girl I was, and decided divorce sounded pretty good to me right then. So I said it out loud that I wanted the same thing. Now, two days later I’m terrified again. Reading this article, and reading all your posts gives me some strength, and reminds me I’m not alone. Hopefully this time I’ll follow through.

  4. My wife is emotionally and physically abusive. She blames it on her hormones but it never stops. She’s nice and loving one day, evil and horrible the next. I’ve stayed because I’m conditioned to stay. This is my second emotionally and physically abusive marriage. I am weaker than I ever thought I was and it makes me so sad…

  5. First its not as easy to alot of us who is high risk pregnant right now and have an infant baby with Special Needs who needs his doctors every week. Every day I am threatened and reminded if I ever leave and take the babies I wiall regret it. I have to tell him every day what the doctors said and did and when some of my sons doctors do a home visit the father starts talking to them like he was at my sons doctors visits and will not let me get a word in or let them talk to me. The father does this to me everytime to act like he really cares for my son and does all the things that I have to do to my son every day of his life as the father sleeps all day, plays games on his phone all day and say that is more important than anything else. I am made to look like I don’t care for my son at all and that he does everything for my son when he doesn’t. The father has made himself look like he is the victim everytime and has thrown me in jail for 20 days before I was ever pregnant and claimed I did things that I never did and used his mild restarted 15 year old daughter lie as well. See I can’t win in any way from him. I have family that will help me but live too far and the father has family here where we live but don’t care about him or his daughter and have told him that they will never help him with his daughter ever again. That is a whole different story but still refers to me as I was put in the middle of everything….I would love to leave but can’t….

  6. Thank you for writing about your experience, it takes courage to share what you’re going through! Many times we hide what we’re dealing with – especially when we’re in a verbally abusive relationship. I really admire your strength, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Yes, strong women leave abusive relationships. Strong women find ways to rebuild their lives, to press onwards despite their fears and the uncertainties.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. I wish I had good advice to give you about how to leave an abusive relationship – or that I had a magic wand that could turn back time and make everything good again!

    You can do this. You can stop being a shadow, you can stop allowing him to crush your spirit, and you can take back your life. You can find your personality again, your spark, your joy!!

    You have access to an eternal, powerful source of resilience, strength and healing — and it’s that still, small voice inside of you. You need to get quiet and listen to it, for that voice will tell you what you need to know. That voice will tell you what the next step is.

    It doesn’t matter if you think of that still, small voice as your intuition or God or the Universe or your Higher Power (or a combination of it all!)……you must learn how to listen to it. You must learn how to connect with that flow of life, light, and power that is available to all of us. You must learn how to take a deep breath and put one foot forward.

    Do you already know what you need to do? I suspect you do, but you’re finding it difficult to take the next step. Of course you are! But the first step is recognizing the signs of a verbally abusive relationship. The next step is reading these articles…

    What You Need to Know When You Call a Shelter or Safe House

    How to Make a Decision That Will Change Your Life

    I will keep you in my prayers, for strength and healing and comfort. May you reach out and find support and love in your friends and family.

    You might be encouraged by my free weekly newsletter, called SheBlossoms. I help women look upwards to grow healthy and strong, emotionally and spiritually. You may find it helpful, and you can sign up above.

    Take care of yourself. Listen for that still small voice.


  7. I think I am also stuck in an abusive relationship. I have been with my husband for over 10 years now and don’t think I can continue. He’s never hurt me physically but on an emotional level I am a mess. People tell me I am so strong for not leaving but I keep thinking how wrong that is. They think I’m patient for putting up with him. I think strong women leave. I think strong women don’t need to be patient when someone is throwing a tantrum. He’s very controlling and blames me for everything. At times he will say I’m the abusive one. I’m scared off him. I’m scared of the constant threat. I’m a nervous wreck and don’t feel like myself anymore. My 2 children are starting to be affected and are acting out.
    He’s very sick and that is often his excuse. I don’t want to leave him because he’s sick. What kind of person leaves someone who is slowly dying? But I can’t take it anymore. I can’t do anything right. Everything is my fault. I’m incapable of making toast in his eyes. But then he switches and loves me again. And says all the right things.
    I almost left him but then found out I was pregnant again. The day I told him I was pregnant he pushed me off him and blamed me for doing this to him. I wish I was strong but I felt so alone. I should have left him that day.
    I’m finally at a point where I want to try to be on my own. I’m scared but I can’t have him around my children any longer. I don’t want him to start hurting us. He’s already crushing their spirits and has turned me into a shadow.

  8. My husband is verbally and emotionally abusive. I FINALLY left him a month ago and have filed for divorce. I kept staying because I thought things would change, they never did it just kept getting worse. One of the recent comments he made to me before I left was “I’ve screamed at you, called you names and punched the door, I’m running out of things to do”. He has never gotten physical but everyone says that was next. He has called me just about every name there is, gotten in my face screaming numerous times, he tells me I make him want to kill himself, he tells me he hates me, he tells me I make him hate his life, he storms out of the house when angry, sleeps in other rooms, blames me for all his problems (even blames me for his business failing), when I questioned where all the anger was coming from that it seemed like he has brought it into our relationship, he said “no it’s you, you make me this way”. I can’t wear makeup without being questioned, he tells me how to dress, no male doctors or anything, wants password to my phone, wants me to change my phone number, wants me to change my email address I’ve had since I was 18 to one that he has access to, listens to my phone conversations, always asks whose texting and calling me, always threatened our relationship when angry, yells at me in front of our kids, walks away when I try and talk to him about issues, I have to go to the gym he tells me to so he won’t get angry, tells me I make him miserable and I ruin his life, say I do things on purpose to make him mad, he questions me about every guy I’ve ever dated and throws the past in my face when he’s mad, always wants me to talk about my exes and has even asked me to compare my intimate life with another man and him. He googles me, googles my exes (of course never found anything) he’s snoops through my computer and my phone (once again never found anything because there’s nothing to find). He controlled the money I spent, he never opened up joint accounts and gave me cards that always declined. I didn’t work so I had no income I had to solely depend on him. He threatened to call the police on me twice while I was pregnant, once because I had dinner with my family. I didn’t go home because I didn’t know my rights. He made me lift up my shirt to “see if my bathing suit was appropriate” (I’ve always dressed classy) he will show up unexpectedly places to check on me. Can’t mention a guys name without him asking if I dated him, always accusing me of trying to get attention from other men (even when I was pregnant – like when I’d go to the grocery store etc…) He’s blocked me on the phone several times, when I gave birth he didn’t want me taking pain medication while in the hospital, I couldn’t shower unless he was in the room after giving birth because he didn’t want anyone seeing me naked, even the nurses. He also wanted to change my pads (after labor pads) because he didn’t want the nurses seeing me naked. No male doctors allowed, no male nurses, no male counselors etc.. Always accused people of trying to hook me up with other men (even when pregnant) When I would buy him gifts for holidays he would all of a sudden “not be into that particular things anymore”. He was always paranoid, suspicious, very controlling and possessive. There’s more but that sums it up. I left him a month ago. I feel free. I also feel down and depressed. I do not miss him or our relationship. I am scared for the future. I have 2 children. One whose father recently passed away. I have a loving and supportive family whom I am staying with. I never realized the horrible effects that verbal abuse has on your self esteem. When you are told for so long that you are the problem and that you are the reason for someone else’s unhappiness, you sit there and try and search in yourself so much and you find nothing. But you still keep searching because you don’t understand how you could cause someone so much unhappiness to where they say that you make them want to kill themself. It’s crazy because I didn’t do anything to this man for him to treat me this way yet I’m the one who is left feeling like this. He has gone on with life living it up. It’s like he wanted to destroy me. My last few weeks living with him were not good. I was getting very depressed and hopeless feeling. I kept thinking everything was my fault, I was thinking exactly what he wanted me to think. Last thing… I don’t know what the future holds for me and my 2 children and I pray God All Mighty looks out for us and we have peace and many blessings in our lives to come.

  9. even though i have read all the comments and advice I still don’t know how to end this verbally abusive relationship. i don’t know…i’m confused. i dont know what i am fighting for but i believe my mind is overly tormented because of 14 1/2 years relationship with my husband.
    when we met i already have 2 years old son, at the beginning he accepted me and my son. he showed love and care to my son but my son was growing up the relationship had changed. almost everyday had been fighting because of the mistakes of my son. he has not been easily forgiven my son. he wanted to be perfect the output tasks such as cleaning the house, academic,sch.projects and etc.yes i admit my son has an attitude of being procrastinator, online game addict but i never missed to talk about it. i almost have been talked the best i could. i pleased my son to follow the father’s rules,(military rule) to avoid confrontation and also telling the positive views that it good for you my son,”your father wants you to be better”.his treatment to my son is giving me sorrow, frustration,guilt, angry and etc.
    i finally made a decision to stay away my son, it really sacrifices because i need to spend more for boarding house, can’t cook for him and i cant see him everyday.his school is just 30mins drive away so he can stay our home. i told him its the best thing for him to become independent.
    my husband’s alcohol addiction is the main source of fight to us. because when he drunk he doesn’t know what his doing, he forgets to behave well. this misbehavior also gives me worry when we go to a party and family reunion. because it happened when he drunk and misbehaving to my brother house. he was very drunk again last week. he misbehaved and disorganized again in front of my relatives when they visited us.
    i dont know if i love him and need to continue this life with him. he always asked and please me to come back home when i always run away. the last run away was last August. i have feelings of regretful to throw away this marriage and sacrifices that we have been through and have feelings of tiredness on this relationship….I want to move on and look for another man…but i protect myself,my name,my family…i cant do this…always on my mind…im angry to my husband but i also consider his good side. i cant concentrate in my thesis in MA course,i cant concentrate in my review for coming board exam.
    is this a right time to end this relationship? im crying while writing this…its hard….i dont know what is right and wrong already in handling marriage life.thanks for this site…i have found someone to tell my anguish…i cant tell all these things to my family and friends because i feel more getting stress.because they will angry again my husband and me as well. i force myself to become normal,to function well at home.
    thank you for patiently reading my grammar,its the reason why also keep on studying because of lack self-confidence.

  10. Yes, you’re welcome to comment on any post. I can’t give advice about these signs of a verbally abusive relationship (or anything!), but you may find it helpful to share your experience and thoughts!

  11. It takes a lot of courage to share the signs of a verbally abusive relationship when they’re actually happening to you. Thank you for being here, and for helping other women cope. Your comments are inspiring and encouraging.

    If you’re still learning how to cope with a verbally abusive man, read

    How to Stand Up for Yourself – and Blossom

    Hold fast to the Lord God, who created you and loves you more than you can imagine.

  12. I hv been in an abusive relationship too for two years n its really nt easy to break free its hard am stil struggling to leave all I cn say is leavin sch relationships is th only solution

  13. I been in a abusive relationship for two years. When he’d get drunk and call me names, the next day he acted like it was fine. When he’d hit me he’d deny it and say it never happened. Hed threaten to breakup with me on a daily basis. I always called the cops but I ended up missing him and working things out. I’m currently 7 months pregnant with two kids. I thought I had to stay. But after reading this, your right. It’s over. – last night my Husband left me drunken messages saying I’m disgusting, I’m a bitch, he’ll take the kids. Telling me he wants a divorce. Accusing me of lying to him about everything. Messaging my friends asking him what I’m lying about. When they tell him there’s nothing to hide, he just freaks out saying I’m lying about everything. He tries acting like everything is ok then gets drunk again and repeats. I love him, the kids love him. I want to be with him. But it’s over, I’ll keep reading positive comments and articles! I will not do this anymore!!! I will not let my daughter come to the world watching me being verbally and physically abused!

  14. Alice, you need to see an attorney pronto; go to legal aid, or file your own divorce papers.You can request mutual assets (the house) be sold,& the money divided (if you made most of the payments & have any way to prove it, it might help-not sure, but worth a try) Or you can simply rent out your portion of the house, preferably to a very large male tenant your husband wont want to tangle with,& move elsewhere.Or offer to let your husband get a loan (do NOT cosign!)-to purchase your half of the house; take that money &run if you can get it. Get away from him! Im so sorry to have to tell you to move, but unless you can get a restraining order barring him from the house (which would only be issued for physical violence or threats of harm)-you will be the one who has to move out unless God mercifully takes him Home.Incidentally, you might want to also write a will or living trust giving your interest in the home to be divided among your children-otherwise he might get nasty ideas as so many do around divorce time, about not wanting to divide assets (particularly if hes a mooch like your hubby!) NO judgement here Alice-im your age,& had one just like him in my life for a long time; had to have it hit fan before he turned tail & ran; it was almost worth it! Now my 16 yr old & I live in peace; theres NEVER any fighting:noone makes any degrading remarks to anyone else.Noone fears being overhead & yelled at by the Grinch.My only contact with him is via text now, as his ranting calls gave my radiation damaged heart a heart attack! I had to nearly die before I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life being demeaned, ridiculed, lied to, mooched off of, intimidated, gaslighted,& just made miserable in general! Worst of all, is he was treating my son the same way-but claimed he “loved”us! There were apologies for his behavior, but it always reoccured.He knew it was a result of his own physically abusive father’s unkind treatment of him as a child-but he refused to go to counseling with me. The abuse escalated when a doc prescribed Xanax, which reduced his impulse control, made him paranoid, & made him angry 24/7.Our attempts to talk to him about it he viewed as an attack (I got called a c*nt for suggesting he talk to his doc about the symptoms he was having. ) I cant force him to be a better soul; I am only responsible for my child & myself. You are only responsible for yourself, & your beloved children & grandchildren. Get away from this wretched man; I promise you you won’t EVER regret gaining your freedom! :)

  15. My name is Chris, I see where where a lot of woman habe problems with their relationships. In this case I was in a relationship with a lady and in this relationship we had a baby. She was very controlling. I could not talk to other ladies on my job or any where else unless I was going with them. I am a people person my job was and is a hair stylish. I was not married to her but I loved her. She would have people to follow me when I left work, to come home. She would go through my phone and put her number under other people’s names in my cell. She harass my ex-girlfriend, she went to jail for that. She got angry and took our child and left. I had to get a lawyer so I could see my child. I pay child support because I love my son and try to be in his life as must as possible. She always say I need my money and the money I give her is for my child. Now that we are longer together, she still finds away to know who I talk to and where I am going and I don’t put information about my coming and going who and what am I dilling with?

  16. I am a mother of three children and I was in a relationship for more than nine years ( him and I have a child in common)! I had just turned 21 years old and at that age I know I was young and naive, but I met (what seemed to be) a man who said all the right things and did all the right as it appeared, everything was good for the first three years then things went spiralling out of control! He would call me ugly, black, never complementing on my appearance when I’d dress up! He even became very physical with me also! I endured all of this for almost ten years until I found out he cheated and got another woman pregnant! I was so devastated, i didn’t know what to do! So he called apologizing saying he made mistake and that it would never happen again, saying how much he loved me and all and like a fool I believe him! Until one day while my son was over his house visiting and overheard a conversation between his father and a woman on the other end! My son said, “Mom, daddy said he don’t love you, he’s just using you”! That was it for me, so once I was truly and completely finished with him I let him know and he blew up and tore my apartment to pieces! I had to get destruction of property charges filed on him and a protective order, even after that he still tried to call but I blocked his number! He also has an abating to the delinquency of a minor charge as well! I just want him to stay as far away from as possible! Ladies and ( this goes for some men too) Gentleman if your in a verbal, emotional, and most certainly physical abusive relationship please get out of it before it’s too Late!! If I can do it, so can you!

  17. Its happening to me right now but i cant get out. We migrated in the US almost 9 mos ago with my child as a k1 and k2 visa. My child is his child also. We are highschool sweethearts. We are married and i want to get out but i cant. I dont family here nor friends i dont have a job. I dont know what to do anymore. I cant tell my family or friends about this. They cant do anything even if i tell them.

    Everytime we have a fight he would say that hes going to leave me and i cant take my child with me. I cant do anything im trapped.

    I love him so much but im fed up. Im just scared now because i know if i break up with him i will end up having nothing. I dont want to leave my child

  18. Thank you so much for writing this post and your other posts on emotionally abusive men.

    I was raised by a single mother with no father and a disrespect for men was instilled in me at a young age. I now have grown up to be a successful 30 year old woman with a beautiful healthy 4 year old daughter and am realizing my mother’s advice was not good in regards to my attitude towards men.

    I have realized this through my transition from leaving an emotionally abusive boyfriend (father of my daughter). We were together for almost 4 years and owned a prosperous business (that I started and built, he did sales for it). I moved out from him in 2013, then back in into a new fancy house (he was being so sweet and giving me everything i’ve ever wanted :), then he couldn’t handle himself so we downgraded into a smaller house. Throughout the years I wanted to leave many times but couldn’t. I got pregnant after 5 months of knowing him, we had already lived together at that point and we partners in the business. I wanted to leave him when I was pregnant but couldn’t afford to. Then my mother had a massive stroke (thankfully she is still alive and kicking!), but that made it even harder for me to leave because I then had to take care of her and my new baby and my business and my house and unfortunately him. I finally moved out after securing work and an apartment when she was 1 1/2 years old. That’s when he sucked me back in.

    I left him finally in January 2014. I still remained business partners with him, hoping that the issues between us wouldn’t be a problem there. After about 1 year of working together, I think he was realizing I wasn’t coming back, and that’s when the second phase of emotional abuse started via text, phone and email. I had to block his number from my phone and only communicate via email. Every day for 6 months I would get emails from him criticizing my work, telling me I wasn’t doing enough work, telling me the work I was doing was not good and then blaming me for errors (that later to find out were all caused by his actions in sales for the business). This went on until I finally just decided to give him the entire business to get him off my back, the business I created products for, built and ran on a daily basis for the last 5 years. I asked him many times to speak with respect to me in business and be a good business partner (he was usually supportive in this, mostly I’m realizing now because he just wanted me to work for free for him). So now I am waiting for the finalization of me selling my shares to him for literally pennies. I had to leave because his abuse was affecting my life, my outlook, my emotions, my self worth and I was starting to wonder who I even was as he was continuously abusing me. I couldn’t ignore the emails because they also contained important business information in them.

    Throughout our relationship when we were living together he successfully alienated me from my friends, my family and basically anyone else that he didn’t approve of. I am a very beautiful woman and have always taken pride in my appearance and when I would take occasionally take time and effort (out of all the other million f-ing things I was taking care of) to put makeup on and look pretty for him, he would never comment and just say “How do I look?” when we’d go out on dates. This was a clear sign that he wasn’t caring about me or appreciating me or my efforts. This is a very selfish type of person, I’m realizing.

    I’m realizing now, finally at 30 years old, that this is not acceptable behavior for a life partner. He was never supportive of me, unless it was business related, very critical, put me down constantly, was aggressive at me and would instigate fights basically daily. I would secretly pray that he would die or would leave but neither happened. I wanted to leave so desperately, I am a strong confident woman, but was seriously stuck in several situations that made this basically impossible for a very long time. I left as soon as I could and my only mistake is that I went back to him only 3 months after I left the first time. He would come over to my house to pick up our daughter and ask me why our “family portrait” (with his big face starting down at me) wasn’t hung up. Then he would find it and hang it every time he came over. I shouldn’t have been letting him come over.

    The whole 4 years we were a couple, the only gifts he gave me that were actually nice gifts, came AFTER I left him, then he spent like $1000 on my birthday. When we were together after that, before I left the second time, when I had given up another job to be with him, he would criticize me when I would ask for ANY amount of money (literally one time I asked him if he had $20 on my only day off in the week so I could get lunch and see a movie. He yelled “we don’t have any money” then he said I could only have $10. WTF? I am the mother of his child and his business partner. Guess all I was worth was $10 to him.

    It’s a shame that I spent so many years of my life feeling like I needed to deal with these issues he’d throw at me. I thought, because I would react by yelling and crying when he was being emotionally abusive that I was the one causing all the problems in our relationship. But I’m realizing now that actually this man, who is 12 years older than me (I was 24 when we met and he was 36, no job, no house, old run down car) actually was just using me to have his children, run the business and take care of him, without offering to take care of my needs or make me feel special in any way. I felt like his slave. I didn’t need to do all that with him. Thankfully now that I am a grown woman I can tell the difference between love and manipulation.

    I also have realized that they way I was raised really imprinted on me my self worth, how I should view people especially men, and how its important to instill in our children a healthy view on all these topics, regardless of our past experiences. If we don’t then our children will have to experience situations like this, choosing the wrong types of men and diving in head first, like I did.

    Thanks for your advice and having this forum! I am definitely one of those people who was VERY caught off guard to realize that I was actually just being used and abused, even though I thought I was just being a strong woman. Thankfully now I live in a beautiful condo with my daughter and have met my soul mate :) We are taking it very slowly and every day he proves to me that he loves me, cares for me and my daughter and only wants the best for us. I’m happy to be his woman and I’ll have his babies and take care of him for sure. He’s earned it!

  19. I have been in a abusive relationship for 10years and had two children recently in the last 4years. We got together when I was 17 and I had problems at home with my broken family rested on him to help me break away from them who also verbally abused me. I had no idea that me being so weak and hurt moving from one circustance to another wouldn’t be solving the problem. You see I never have gave myself time to fully heal. I’m still hurt and broken inside emotionally from what I’ve been through and seen as a child. I have then put myself in a relationship where a guy can now take full advantage of me and have control over me because I’m not strong and they think it’s okay to treat others this way. My boyfriend also uses drugs and has for many years mostly marijana. I did too as a kid when I wanted to numb the feeling of pain. I quit and haven’t looked back. I now exercise and make it a purpose to do things I like to keep me happy and healthy. I’ve began to create a beautiful life around me a great job, a friendly community, two beautiful girls. But my relationship with him has continue to get worse. He tries to use fear to get me to do things around the house scolds me like a child. Is never happy and blames me for his unhappiness and continues to try to make me feel small. I feel ridiculous as I write this. I finally have the ability to see what is going on and it cuts me deep that I’ve gotten to this place where I feel there’s so much hate and no more not even a little love. This relationship should of been over after my first daughter which brought out most of his anger and hate. Now after second he’s stress levels are higher and puts all the stress and pressures on me to hold with this new family expecting me to be perfect in raising and cleaning household and pleasing his every need. I’m exhausted and past upset. I don’t need anymore excuses just assistance. I’m planing to leave he says he doesn’t care but I know he does inside. I just hope he doesn’t use my kids against me as he says. Pray for me.

  20. My prayer is that you not only see the signs of a verbally abusive relationship, but that you find the courage and strength you need to break free. You are in prison, and you need to see that the Parable of the Prison Cell is holding you captive.

    You CAN dig free! You CAN get out away from this man who verbally abuses you. The only thing that’s holding you back is your own fears, insecurities, and lack of confidence.

    How do you build confidence? You dig into your faith. You trust God that every step you take will be held by His hand. If you fall, you know that there is a reason you fell, and you will eventually be stronger for the fall.

    My prayer for you is that you not only see the signs of a verbally abusive relationship, but you use them as stepping stones to break free from the prison you’re in. May each blob of abuse give you a step away from the hold he has on you. May you turn to God, not to man, to find freedom. Amen.


  21. Ive been with my significant other for ten years, through out those ten years there are very minimal periods of times that he has actually been himself. At first I helped him get cleaned from heroin, then he became an alcoholic that was getting out of hand. Then heroin again. I have five children only the little one is both of ours. Financially I don’t depend on him. Deep inside of me I want to break away and feel free, what holds me back it is that he uses words that get to me even though I fight them by ignoring and he feeds himself of my self-esteem. He has told me that I make him sick, he doesn’t love me anymore, and we haven’t had any intimately relations in over three months. I know its easy as it sounds to call the police the thing is he doesn’t have papers, I have stood up to him by telling him stop abusing me, please stop torturing me verbally. Then when he leaves he stocks me I get terrified of even putting a step out the door. Please any words of advise.

  22. I have been with a jealous,controling husband since I was 14. I am now 53.I never cheated,but he has. Five years ago I left him,,because he always said I cheat. I was in two bad relationships in a short period of time. So since we both own the house I returned. Not good. He still says I cheat. Now I am stronger and plan to just to fix the house up, but between the verbal abuse daily and the frustraion I feel. I pay everything except the light bill. He has let it be disconnected until Christmas and now tomorrow again, I am minding two little grandchildren 5 and 7 years old for a month. Since there will be no power I will be going to my daughters. Their Dad and Moms house. Everytime I go there. My husband says I am with my daughters finance. Their dad. So I brought the kids to our house and now no power. What does he want from me? He tells me I f..k everyone. He is 9 years older than me and has no money. I want to be comfortable in the house we built and live without abuse, He says I should pack my things and leave, so he can find someone else to move in. The only thing that keeps me going is my Faith in God and Angels. He blames me for everything, I raised 3 children with this man.

  23. This is a good read. I also read your post on the phases of leaving an abusive relationship. The emotional turmoil comes in waves. First you are sad, and then angry, and then lonely, and then sad…
    It will take some time to heal. But reading this, especially the part about not telling people how he talks to you, is helping me to put things in perspective.

    Thank you for that.

  24. I will be having my daughter read this. I hope that she learns something from it. Your post is insightful and on point. Thank you.

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