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The Cycle of Abuse in a Relationship

The more you know about the cycle of abuse, the better equipped you are to leave an abusive relationship. Here’s how a relationship goes from honeymoon to hell – and why women who are abused can’t just walk away.

Cycle of Abuse in a relationshipIf you’re a woman who is experiencing abuse, please read books like Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.

“Knowing the [abuse dynamic] cycle helps women begin to understand the real reasons for her entering into the relationship and staying as long as she does,” writes Jill Cory in When Love Hurts. “Most women living with the cycle are just trying to survive day-to-day; thinking about leaving seems impossible.”

Learn as much as you can about the abuse dynamic and the cycle of an abusive relationship. Get as much information, power, and understanding as you can. If you think you’re caught up in a cycle of abuse, read 5 Signs of an Abusive Boyfriend.

The Cycle of Abuse in a Relationship

“The honeymoon behaviour draws the woman in and keeps her invested in the relationship,” writes Cory in  When Love Hurts. “The tension-building and explosion create fear, confusion and uncertainty that make any move to step away from the relationship dangerous and costly. The overall effect of living with the cycle is that it is exhausting and overwhelming.”

There are three phases of abuse in the cycle: Honeymoon (Entrapment), Tension Building (Fear) and Explosion (Escalation of abusive tactics…this is the hell part of the cycle of abuse!).

The Honeymoon Stage

The Honeymoon Stage or entrapment is when a man draws a woman into the relationship. He is attentive, loving, kind, and romantic. He gives gifts, makes promises, and sweeps her away in an intense rush of love and affection. Abuse is the last thing that occurs to people who see him, her, and their first blush of “love.”

“Women aren’t attracted to abusive men,” says Cory. “Rather, abusive men target women and present themselves in ways that look attractive. She doesn’t fall for the abuse…she falls for a considerate, kind, loving man.”

Tension Building in the Cycle of Abuse

Tension Building or fear can start with something as “harmless” as not him showing up when he said he would, or making fun of her in public. He may appear disinterested or distant, and blame her or the children for creating his problems.

“The tension building stage is an abrupt interruption of the honeymoon,” says Cory. “Sometimes women feel they are walking on eggshells, stepping through land mines, and living in fear.”

This stage of the cycle of abuse can involve withdrawal, sullenness, unpredictability, moodiness, hostility, and criticism. It’s a compete departure from her normal experience with him.

The Explosion or Escalation Stage

The explosion or escalation stage can involve yelling, swearing, slamming doors, banging pots, throwing things, and subjecting her to different types of physical, emotional, and sexual violence. “Some men also demonstrate the ‘silent treatment’ during explosions,” says Cory. “Typically, the explosions will become more brutal and more frequent over time.”

Afterward, he’s loving and apologetic. He stops the negative, threatening behaviour and behaves in a positive or neutral way. Back to the honeymoon stage they go.

She thinks she did something wrong, and puts more effort into the relationship. She starts thinking she needs to change because she’s the problem. She starts second-guessing herself.

“This is the dynamic that traps women in abusive relationships,” says Cory. “And it creates conditions in which those around her think she’s the problem. Indeed, she herself thinks she’s the problem…and she keeps trying to change.”

If you’re a woman who is abused, you are not the problem. He is the problem. Read How Do You Leave an Abusive Relationship? for help stopping the cycle of abuse.

Whose Fault Is It? What Causes the Cycle of Abuse?

The Cycle of Abuse in a Relationship

“The Cycle of Abuse in a Relationship” image by deadsnow via DeviantArt

“Abusers are 100% responsible for the cycle or dynamic of abuse, which means that the abuser drives the cycle,” writes Cory in When Love Hurts. “He decides where they are in the cycle and for how long.” No matter what women who are abused do or how hard they try, they can’t change or improve the situation.

The cycle often continues once the abusive relationship has ended. This is important for women to see that even when she is not there, he continues to engage in the same behaviors and patterns. The cycle of abuse continues.

If you’re a woman who is being abused, you are not the reason he is abusing you. You are not responsible for his mood swings, anger, problems, or life. Abusers blame their victims, and emotionally manipulate their victims.

To stop the cycle of abuse, you need to find a way to walk away from the relationship. Get strength, power, wisdom, and support from women’s distress lines, shelters, and people who understand the dynamics of abuse.

Is a man abusing you?

Visit the Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233

If you’d like to share your “honeymoon to hell” story or talk about the cycle of abuse you’re experiencing, I welcome you below. I can’t give personal advice or counselling – please call the domestic violence hotline for help and support.

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are the most common type of abuse in relationships. But, it’s also important to recognize financial abuse. Read How to Be Financially Independent in a Controlling Relationship to learn more.


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32 thoughts on “The Cycle of Abuse in a Relationship”

  1. shirley,
    I was in a domestic violence marriage for 13years, I have run from child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and now from domestic violence. Out of 34years of life, I have never in my life felt so free. I just turned 35 on October 26, 2017. I ran from my husband 7 times before I really left. I have 4 children and was left without a home for my children, a car to get around in, and lost everything. I didn’t have much, to begin with, because he refused me a life. The only friends I had were his, To this day I don’t know my family because he did not allow me to talk to them. I was monitored all the time. My house wasn’t a home, it was a prison. I write to you to let you know, you have to lose to win. I went through hell to get where I am today. but I don’t regret it for anything in the world. God is my source, and Jesus is my way, and the Holy Spirit is my comforter. I promise on everything I love, I ran to God. He opened up the prison doors for my freedom and ever since has been opening up more and more. I am a full-time student in college, and God blessed me with an apartment through Housing. Anything is possible through Christ Shirley. So please know you are not alone. I have walked the same shoes so know that all of us women are in it together. For years I wondered why God picked me to go through so much pain. And now I know.

  2. I don’t know what to do. I love this guy alot, but I’m scared because I see the cycle of abuse in our relationship.

    When he’s nice, he’s really nice, he sends me to and from work whenever he can. He’s hardworking, willing to take on odd jobs though he’s unemployed. He’s helpful. Whenever I need to fix something, he’ll try his best to help me. He’s humourous, witty and I really do enjoy being with him.

    However, whenever things go wrong, he’ll blame me. When i accidentally touch his bed without showering, he’ll get mad at me. Sometimes he’ll ask me to shower immediately when we just reached home. All I want is to rest awhile before heading to the bathroom but he’ll shout at me and get angry at me. And that’s not all.

    He’ll pull me across the room. He’ll grab my arm really tight that it hurts. When I argue back, he’ll shout, glare, point his finger right in front of my face.

    I don’t like this disrespectful behavior so i told him we should just break up. I don’t like being treated like this anymore. He slashed himself. He said he’ll rather hurt himself than me. He said he was angry that’s why he slashed himself. He cools down and he apologizes. We made up.

    A few weeks later. He says something sarcastic and blames me for something else again. I get annoyed and try to walk away. He grabs my hand and yank me towards him. I told him to let go but he just grabs tighter and points his finger in front of me again. Again he raises his voice and i told him i had it. I dont want to go through this anymore. He stands by the side of the road and ask me if i wanted to kill him. Then he asks if we can talk it out nicely…

    I don’t know what should I do, even though I see the cycle of abuse in our relationship. I know I should leave but I love him.

  3. Dear Debi,

    It sounds like you know what you need to do. You’ve been through the cycle of abuse for enough time now that you know it’s not going to change – and it’s not healthy for you or him.

    Leaving even the most abusive relationship is surprisingly difficult, so I encourage you to take good care of yourself as you go through this process. Lean on your friends and family – especially the ones who are supportive, kind, loving, and encouraging. Remember that it takes time to process the effects of an abusive relationship, and it takes time to heal from an experience like this. Give yourself this time you need. Talk to your counselor, get resources and support from her or him.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers. May you find healing, peace, wisdom, strength and courage to keep moving forward. And may you find energy and power from God, who is the engine that runs our beautiful world. Our dangerous, heartbreaking world. May you find a surprising source of peace that surpasses all understanding, and may your heart already start to heal from the trauma you’ve experienced.

    Take good care of yourself, for you are worth taking good care of.


  4. All of the signs were there before I married him when he exploded his angry outbursts at me over spilled paint on his jeans! I was yelled at and he was cursing at me. I ended our very short dating relationship that night and left his home! For 6 weeks we would see eachother maybe once a week or every other week but I didn’t get back into the relationship right away. Finally after several weeks (this was April) he asked me to dinner again. We had the best time I’d had with him since we’d met 6 months previously. We began dating again and he was different. He was kind and sweet and loving to me. The relationship took a fast forward and by June (only 2 months later) we were engaged! He wanted to be married fast and soon and he planned the wedding of our dreams on the beach 4 months later. It was 2 weeks prior to my wedding that he began to get angry again at me for asking too many questions about his past. I realized I knew very little about any relationship he’d been in and he’d been single for nearly 2 decades after his first divorce. That night we ended up in a shouting match, or I should say HE was shouting while I felt devastated that my soon to be husband was treating me so disrespectful! He shouted that maybe we shouldn’t get married then and I was blown away! I made him leave my home that night and the next morning he was calling me saying how sorry he was and what an ass he was for ever treating me that way! I caved and accepted his apology and continued with our plans but I didn’t feel as excited. Fast forward the wedding was beautiful…happy couple…it was a saturday evening on the beach. 3 days later on Tuesday I found myself in our honeymoon suite being screamed at, raging yelling, using curse words at me because I made a comment that he found offensive or directed at his adult children, which was NO WAY the case! I’d never speak ill of his kids! What I found myself doing on a Tuesday night on the beach as a newlywed was sitting in my bathroom sobbing uncontrollably because my fairytale wedding/life had just turned into a nightmare! I looked in the mirror at myself distraught thinking “what the hell have I done”!!!
    I’ve been married for 14 months and on a weekly basis I am screamed at, cursed at, criticized for how I decorate the house, diet, how many carbohydrates I don’t consume, how I “talk too much”… anything and everything has torn me down! I feel like my opinions do not matter to him! I couldn’t take it after only 6 months and filed for divorce however, he made promises to change so I’d take him back only to see no change, then he’d leave again and we’d be devastated so I’d take him back with promises of change. This has been my life for over a year and I’m exhausted! January 3rd was our worst fight ever and I ended up saying some horrible things to him and we had a huge fight that ended in him pushing me and trying to slam the car door which hit my arm and left a large bruise! I’m exhausted emotionally and feel like the only resort is divorce because all my attempts at getting him to go to counseling (at his suggestion, which I went to alone for months) he refuses to go to now!
    My deal breaker is that he either gets counseling for his anger, which he says he doesn’t have and I’m too sensitive because “Everyone fights and raises their voices” (I assure you this isn’t “raised voices”) this is absolutely without doubt being abusive and disrespectful.. or I am following through with the divorce!!! Any thoughts or suggestions?

  5. I think you’ll have to leave this guy but in the meantime, I think you need to get your emotions under control because he’s pulling all the strings. Don’t cry and beg him to stop. You have to harden your heart now. Self-talk will help. Think, “Whatever dirt bag”. If he criticizes, tune him out. Be supportive and loving to your kids. Be calm around him (even when you feel like screaming). Change the dynamics. That was before, this is now. Now, you won’t beg him to stop. You won’t have a melt down. Apologize to the kids for having a melt down to show that you can take responsibility for your actions, “That wasn’t the best way for me to have handled things”. Be a role model for them. When he criticizes don’t ask him an open ended question, “What’s wrong”; instead address the behaviour, “Please don’t talk to me that way”. Don’t nag him for not doing things; that will just give him an excuse to attack you again. Quietly suggest marriage counseling when he starts getting upset and critical and document that you suggested it. You need to start keeping a journal. Write things down in a matter of fact way-the date, the event, how it made you feel, what you suggested, the result. No rambling writings. You might need to show this journal to someone at some point so you want it to be readable. Don’t be embarrassed that you were led away in handcuffs; a lot of other innocent people have gone through the same thing. You hit him, that is true, but you were so frustrated by his verbal and psychological abuse that I believe you were goaded into it. Never hit him again. You can’t control him, so don’t try. Just control yourself and be a good mom to your kids. The relationship with him is over-he’s a control freak in my opinion; he doesn’t treat you with respect; he shames you. You fear going home. He’s put you into frightened child mode. Take a deep breath. Things are going to start changing. You can’t change the cycle of abuse but you can change how you react to him. You can start taking back your dignity so you can regain your composure. Think, “I am calm”. Deep breaths will help you to calm yourself. When he does the silent bit, don’t panic. Think, “whatever, what else is new”. If he sits on the couch all day; good, that means he’s not cornering you or taunting you. When it comes to intimacy, I don’t know how you can stand him touching you. Right now, he likes it because he’s in the driver’s seat. He doesn’t share power and that’s his problem. You have to regain your confidence and composure and make a plan to leave. Take some courses. I knew a woman who had no skills and she went back to school to get training so she could support herself and she did it. It took time. She had to put up with a major creep but she protected the kids, was good to them, and kept her eyes on her goals. Just my opinions.

  6. I was overwhelmed with all the things I have to do every single day so I made the mistake of venting my frustration to my husband yesterday afternoon. 24 hours later I’m still suffering the consequences. I’ve been put down, criticized, yelled at, and brushed off like I’m not even in the room. This is what the next few days have in store for me and the kids. He will be angry, defensive, sarcastic and passive aggressive. He will over react to everything around him. When you ask him what’s wrong he will respond with, “oh I don’t know, let’s see….maybe it’s because nobody does what they’re told or maybe I’m …..” whatever he says it’s all tied together in a package of how he’s been so wronged. The anxiety will get so bad I will beg him, cry, sometimes yell, just to get it to stop. Then I will be made out to be the crazy one. He will call my kids into the room and say take a look at your Mom a picture of sanity throwing a tantrum like a four year old.
    Living with him is miserable and then perfect. When it’s bad there’s always something or someone for him to blame. The worst part is the confusion of it all the self doubt that maybe I’m the problem. I inadvertently have started to withdraw or busy myself so I don’t have to deal with it. He doesn’t get up from the couch all evening but then he will put one of the three kids to bed and turn it into a way to say I’m crazy for saying he doesn’t do anything.
    God…I’m tired. It’s a roller coaster ride that I have wanted off of for so many years but whenever I have tried he’s made me look like a nut bag.
    I can tell you leaving feels worse than staying because he says he will take the kids. One time after days of intense verbal and emotional abuse I ran into a closet to get away from him but then he barricaded me in and I couldn’t get past him. For the next 30 minutes he taunted me, laughed at me, held his phone over me recording me while I was sobbing on the floor in the corner all while chanting how he was going to post it to Facebook so everyone would know he was the real victim. I pushed him and he wouldn’t move. I hit him and he turned around and called the police on me. I was arrested and he immediately filed a restraining order against me. I went 2 months without seeing or speaking to my children as I fought my way through a maze of legal battles. Yes, in the end the judicial system sided with me, charges were dismissed, but I was essentially homeless by this point and he had me cornered. I wanted my kids back so I did what he asked and I agreed to come home. That was 18 months ago. Whenever he wants he reminds me of his power to take away my kids and believing he would is based in fact not fear. On the surface he’s the model citizen in an upper middle class community and still to this day my neighbors have this judgemental look whenever they see me, as I’m sure the memory of me handcuffed and escorted to the cop car isn’t easy to forget.
    My abuse went far beyond the confines of the walls of our home. He was able to publicly humiliate me into submission and instead of being seen as the abuser he really is he masterfully crafted himself as the long suffering husband.
    14 years of my life have come and gone. I have stayed even when every fiber in my mind, body, and soul shouted out in agony RUN! I get within two blocks of my house and become physically ill that his car will be parked in the driveway. Living in a constant state of fear because you can never gauge what will happen from one hour to the next isn’t something I enjoy, it’s pure hell.

  7. My life has been full of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse from partners who have chosen me. As of yesturday have left my partner by getting him escorted out by police, I was totally honest about what has been happening to me and my counsellor said she is not sugar coating anything and said she cant let me leave thinking everything will be ok, my counsellor asked if i can do this on my own and i said no ive tried and he hooks me back in with manipulation. My sons are amazing because i never seen the signs because of my love for my partner, my oldest said its the way he talks to you Mom i dont like it and the energy he is giving off than my youngest said since he moved in our cat has been physically going through alot (our cat has been abused to our understanding 3x), i made excuses and focused on our positives. My partner started video taping us having sex without my consent than show me later, he changed the way he talked to me and started being nicer, he began to go to church, he lied to me as i asked him if he watched porn and he said no than after looked on his phone it showed porn and sites as do cats remember their abuser? Do cats have good memories? How can you regain cats trust? My partner usually made me feel good but when he escalated it was either on the cat or in our sex life where he would perform what he learnt off porn sites in a violent way (i ended up partaking in this because i thought this pleased him), my partner really made himself shiny in front of everyone and behind our bedroom door was totally different, he gave me his money to pay bills, if i never responded to his messages he always thought something was wrong (fearing i told his behaviors or that im leaving?). This relationship unlike some of them i got out quick by being honest and getting the support i needed because i couldnt do it on my own. Im not thinking i couldve wouldve or shouldve alls im glad is my son, our cat, and myself are safe! I pray for the safety of all women/men or any gender being abused as well as the perpatrator because i feel everyone needs support otherwise we will always be stuck in abusive cycles. All the comfort, prayers and love to everyone.

  8. That is exactly what happened to me and I found it difficult to leave for all sorts of reasons but it sounds like you should leave now. About 4 months into our relationship it got worse, the hurtful accusations got worse, he’d start to grab me or grab my throat during arguments, he’d smash things. He’d become homeless and a couple of nights at mine became his permanent residence despite my protests. I still loved him but I was terrified of him. 7 months in he threw me to.the floor by my throat, climbed on top of me and strangled me. Just leave. I stayed with my partner and I have really bad ptsd. I only stayed because he kept his promise of trying to get help and he’s had counselling. I still love him but I resent him for everything he put me through. My mental health is at an all time low. I regret not getting out before it got to that point xx

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for being so brave! Your courage is obvious, and your willingness to talk about the cycle of abuse is so helpful to other women who are experiencing the same thing. You are not alone.

    I will keep you in my prayers. May you find the strength to do what you know is best for you, to walk away, to stand tall, and to have faith that there is something better waiting for you.

    Rebuild your life. Find your passion. Reconnect with friends and family who help you be who you are. Believe that God is watching over you with love, and that He will guide you to peace and safety.

    What is your next step?

  10. I’m getting out of a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. We’ve only been together 3 months and he treats be so horrible. First it started with every 6 days e would have an issue. Everything was fine and great until I started to miss my friends or has things I had needed to take care of at home. It wasn’t until we would be out in public that I realized something was seriously wrong. H started calling me stupid in front of my friends. Wouldn’t let me order my own food or drinks if me had a male waiter… I wasn’t even allowed to look or touch my cell phone without an issue. But if I was out with a friend and didn’t respond within q minutes it was the end of this world. He would scream at me all night long. Wake up out of a dead sleep and scream, call me rapist and a pervert, accuse me of sneaking out of this house. He would even hit me, elbow me and choke me in his sleep. I’m not allowed to hang out with my friends. If I do it’s always him coming along and being rude so no one wants us to go with them anymore. My final straw which there is a lot more going on than all that I’ve written, he wouldn’t want me to work since it wasn’t safe… But would take pills and drink and drive with me in the car. I’m finally walking away and it’s so hard to stay gone. I keep reminding myself of all the interrogations he has with me and accusing me and the name calling. He called me th C word and yells me I didn’t hear what he said. It’s making me think I’m crazy. On top of him compulsively lying to me about everything. And fabricating stories to make me insecure .

  11. The cycle of abuse is exactly what is happening in my relationship, he was quit the charmer. He constantly complimented me, bought me clothes, took me out to a lot of expensive dinners. He has his own business and make really good money, when he met me I was working a $12.00 her job. Looking back I now see he knew his money would win me over, it was part of the charm, but early on I could feel something was off about him. Unfortunately I ignored my intuition, and the red flags. About 3 months into our relationship he decided, he was not interested in having sex with me, and told me that maybe we should just have we on the weekends, my first thought was he was seeing someone else and therefore was making excuses. Then it apoccured to me what kind of man says something so strange to a thin attractive women that he is supposedly in love with?

    Well fast forward to the present moment I am now living with him, because I wanted to believe we would work, but we are not. I now know 2years later a lot of things about him, and have been in many arguments with him, where he has name called and blamed. He talked me into quitting my full time job, and now refuses to let me go back to work, and all this time he has the money, which equals (control) over me, the saddest part of this story is he pretends with everyone else, they do not know who he really is behind clouded doors. We no longer have sex at all, he stopped ubruptelty having it with me last October (2014), he gives me all sorts of reasons why it my fault we are not having it, including using health ailments to get out of being with me.

    He does not know I have over heard him bragging to his male friend that he tells me is back hurts, to get out of having sex with me. I suspect he has been having sex with someone, I have found sites he visited as well, at least he is not trying to be with me, so I am safe physically, but emotionally it really hurts. He is not meeting my physical needs and on top of it he is a workacholic, so he is not there for me emotionally either. I have been talking to friends, and one is going to get my resume done for me. I need to leave, but I am afraid, I don’t have anywhere to go right now.

  12. My childs father was physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally abusive, i left him after 4 years, during that 4 years i went to hospitals and transition homes, he went to jail on remand over a dozen times for our domestics, i finally left him and thought i was stronger for it, yet another 10+ years after that he still came right into my workplace and beat me up again. During that 10 year span i had 2 long term healthy relationships that just werent the ones. After the last time he beat me i actually went to court and told the truth feeling totally liberated-finally….but yet about a month b4 the court date i started dating another man-who 3 years later never laid a hand on me but was still very abusive emotionally/mentally. I left him and months later i meet who i think is the one, i feel strong for leaving the last one but a little dumb for getting into another form of abusive relationship after all these years.
    Now 5 months in to the newest one, the honeymoon is surely over, he is not that kind, compassionate man i fell in love with, IM IN ANOTHER ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP!!! How do i keep doing this to myself? They make me feel so incredibly loved and filled with hope for true love and romance then comes eggshells and the lump in my throat I never want to voice for its easier to keep quiet…

  13. Natalie – look at other aspects. They’ll be very subtle and seem normal until you look closely.

    1) Was there anything early in the relationship that made you just a litttle angry and seemed odd and made you think you were overreacting? If so, right there is the evidence that this is an abuser, not a person getting help. You can have mental illness, and be an abuser. It’s little things like turning on the stove then blaming you for forgetting to turn it off. Or grabbing to keep you in the room during an argument.

    2) Does he expression compassion after an argument. Not apologize, but expression genuine understanding of your perspective, and then incorporate your needs into the future, as well as his own? Does he do that with almost every argument? If he messes up once, okay, but otherwise, it’s an abuser.

    3) Does he blame you? He did big time here and it’s a huge clue. If you can find any times he does that even subtly, you’ve got an abuser. Any blame that seems a little out of sorts with the problem, such as you forgetting to buy enough soap instead of writing it off as “everyone makes mistakes.”

    4) Will you every feel safe and relaxed? If you won’t, it doesn’t matter if he’s an abuser. The relationship is broken, and he needs to do whatever it takes to make you feel safe beyond “promises” and chances are the answer is that there isn’t enough in the world to make that happen. Safe and relaxed is the only way a relationship can be healthy and last.

    Those are my thoughts on where I’d look to assess this. Not trying to figure out if he fits a pattern. The problems alreayd there and present, so it’s a matter of assessing what you already feel, and have.

  14. Interesting eye opener. I’ve been with my bf for over 2 years. I’ve gone through the cycle too often. My experience is that the honeymoon phase is as you described. The tension building involves impatience and anger…i.e., no matter what I do it’s wrong and it’s my fault he’s angry. This stage also involves him thinking I can read his mind…I definitely walk on eggshells thinking that I’m doing something wrong to anger him. The last stage is the silent treatment. He’s never been physically or sexually abusive, ironically I always say I wouldn’t stand for that kind of abuse, though I seem to be accepting the psychological warfare from him. He’s always sorry, always needing me, always my soulmate after he’s hurt me, confused me, made me cry, made me question myself and destroyed my self-esteem. Am I pathetic and desperate? It’s weird because I KNOW I can be with pretty much any guy I set my sights on. That’s not arrogance, but it’s truth based on my past dating experience…so why do I cling to this one? It messes up my mind thinking of all this stuff.

  15. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Natalie,

    That’s a great question…and I suppose there is no way to know for sure if your partner’s outburst of abuse was a one-time thing or the beginning of the cycle of abuse.

    Is he getting help for his “mental illness”? You’re right that you can’t just turn it off. Are you living under a cloud of fear and anxiety that he might attack you again?

    Are you happy in this relationship?

    The cycle of abuse can happen over a year or more. Some men break out in abuse and anger every few months – and that’s why women sometimes stay in abusive relationships. The cycle of abuse is so long, it’s not even recognizable.

    How do you feel about your relationship, and what do you want to see happen? If you haven’t created a safety plan, I encourage you to start learning about it today.


  16. He started accusing me of cheating all the time. Moved in after 2 months, kept threatening to leave. Woke me up all the time to shout at me. It escalated into me trying to kick him out. He grabbed me by the throat, threw me to the floor and strangled me and said “you made me do this “. Then everything stopped. He’s been fine for 3 months. I don’t know why it stopped. He said he was mentally ill but you can’t just turn that off. I’m so scared it will happen again but how do I know it’s a honeymoon period if he’s only attacked me once?

  17. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Fawn,

    Good for you! You recognized the cycle of abuse in your relationship, and you found the strength and courage to leave. That is amazing and awesome, and I’m very proud of you. Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. It sounds like your boyfriend is two different people – one man with you, and a totally different man with other people. Jekyll and Hyde, with abusive and devastating consequences for you.

    I pray that you find the courage and strength not to go back to this man – even when you feel weak and tempted to just fall back into this relationship. May you find supportive people to confide in, and may you feel confident enough to talk to people about what you left and why. I pray that you don’t keep this a secret, that you talk about your experience with the cycle of abuse. I also pray that you find many surprising sources of support and love, and that you feel God’s love and peace through the people you meet. May you regain yourself, emotionally and spiritually, and may you grow into the woman God intended you to be. And may you find love in a healthy, fresh new relationship. Amen.


  18. I have just left an abusive relationship but am terrified I am going to go back. The guilt I feel about leaving him is overwhelming.
    Initially he was charming,generous,showering me with gifts,present and wonderful to be with. He insisted we moved in together not so far into the relationship, I was hesitant as have always been a free spirit but went ahead in the end.
    Almost from day one he completely changed. The negativity became overwhelming, he was always sick and I was always doing something wrong. He would blow up out of the blue. One second we could be content and the next he would be ranting for 48 hours about my ex boyfriend from years ago and how disgusted he was with me that I should make the choices I did.
    I stopped seeing my friends for fear of the endless questions, he was super articulate and I often felt like I was being interrogated in court. When I would start to cry he would be even angrier and say I was a brilliant actress. Then eventually he would apologize., I would think we moved on but it would happen again. Sometimes over small things, little digs about something i had done wrong or big blow ups. It happened at least every other day and once he pushed me very hard and then made a joke about it afterwards.
    He was never affectionate to me and seemed irritated when I was to him. I was always trying to figure out a way of making him happy.
    Its like he’s the perfect boyfriend but then he has this hidden side. All his friends, wives of his friends adore him. Girls have even said that I’m so lucky to be with him. He’s like two different people, with them he’s an award winning actor and with me I get the darkness.
    He was abused as a child so i know thats where its coming from.
    The final fight was conjured out of nothing..about my very easy little dog, How much he hated her, how he had no relationship with her, how mad at me he was for taking her to the bathroom and then fury at me for making dinner. I was only ‘doing it to be a good girlfriend I didn’t do it out of love’.
    Im confused because he financially supported me and insisted on paying for EVERYTHING and gave me presents and was happy to nurse me if i was sick etc.. I feel terrible leaving him. I was so frightened to get into another fight I packed up my stuff and left when he was at work. I was shaking so much when I was packing I nearly fainted.
    Im worried my guilt will overcome me and i’ll go back. I feel so sorry for him..even though I know its crazy :(

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for being here, and having the courage to share what you’re experiencing. It takes strength, faith, and hope to even admit that you’re in an abusive relationship! The more you talk about it, the stronger you’ll get.

    My prayer for all women trapped in the cycle of an abuse is that you find the right resources, people, counselors, books, websites, and helplines. May you connect with people and things that will support you as you learn about the cycle of an abusive relationship. May you find strength, hope, and faith. I pray that you see how valuable and powerful you are!

    May you see that help is out there. May you see that leaving this abusive relationship will be hard, but you CAN break free and start over. Can you see that your abuser is isolating you, and keeping you away from other people. Can you see that if you connect with people and resources, you can get out of the cycle of abuse?

    May you find healing, strength, courage, and peace. May you find God, and may His power overcome your life and relationship. May He bring you to the places you need to be, and may He walk beside you as you keep taking one step at a time towards freedom and joy. Amen.


  20. Hello I have been married 2 years in a relationship for 2and a half years I have to say I was blindsided by this guy he was so sweet in the beginning he had never had a relationship before and he’s 40 I should have seen it as a sign he was caring liked my son loving I tho I met the man of my dreams when I was 8 months pregnant out of the blue one day he exploded at me I was in shock he yelled at me throwing things and said he was leaving me he left the house only to call me later and say he was committing suicide I drove all over looking for him worried I would loose him he gave me the silent treatment the whole day a year later it’s the same thing super loving then drastic mood changes he throws things breaks things says he’s leav me blames me for everything dosent pay any more attention to my son he has gotten physical with me also throwing me across the living room I walk on egg shells everyday I want to leave him but Iam so afraid to be alone forever I feel trapped and lonely

  21. I don’t know how to quite put this, but here it goes.
    I was with a man for 2yrs (just a little over), and out of the blue he doesn’t contact me for 5 days, after telling me to call him on 7Oct. Days later, he emails me without an apology, then lays into me saying he can’t trust me, says that i have lied to him throughout our whole relationship which ain’t true, and then when i ask him if he has cheated – he sparks off on the defensive!

    I asked him what i had lied to him about, and his view of me lying was that when wanted to in his words ‘pull words out of me’ like i was ‘in an interrogation room’, I wouldn’t answer. So he thought I was automatically hiding something, when i wasn’t.
    I experienced verbal abuse from him just after his birthday when i went to see him in Texas (I am from the UK), and he took a shower at around 2/3am (not that it bothered me) but we had been drinking that night (he drunk drove and got pulled over, but luckily got let off somehow). Anywho, I got up coz i wanted to go to the toilet (bathroom), so i knocked on the door and asked if i could use the loo. He said couldn’t i hold it, i said no, i was bursting and needed to go before i wet myself. Then, I said to him, bearing in mind I ain’t questioning him, i said to him ‘Oh you’re takin a shower now?’ that’s all i said, and he flew into this barage of obscenities!
    He called me a F**** and you’re a Mother F****, you’re not my F*** mother, who do you think you are.. well, it explains itself.
    I was shocked and surprised, a little scared to be honest.
    He prided himself on ‘never swearing’ yet he stood the same man, that i at that time didn’t recognize.
    I told him to stop swearing at me, and let me speak. When he did, he still continued to talk over me. I said to him, no matter what I said he wouldn’t listen to me or believe what i said.
    I started to ask myself why i was there? Why did i go? I never went to be verbally abused by him. It made me sick. No-one has done that to me before? Not like that anyway.
    I felt hurt, really hurt. I started to think, is this how you treat someone you say you love?
    I apologised to him for being such a horrible person. When I knew deep down I wasn’t!

    He threw things like Chlamydia back in my face (after discovering it when i went for a Smear test/pap smear) but it cleared up after taking antibiotics.
    I don’t know if he had it or it may have been in my system from an ex, i don’t know, you never know with that thing!
    I never lied to him about it, I told him i could’ve kept it from him, as i thought too, but I knew I wanted to tell him the truth!
    But, had i known he was gonna throw back at me, I shouldn’t have.
    He said to me that I had not really forgiven him for all the things he did and said to me and that I hadn’t forgotten. Well, I am not going to forget am i? I left it, as that’s my way of forgiving, but i don’t forget?
    Last year he had twisted my arm behind my back, as we had a spat over yet again something petty! And he took up a knife and told me to stay away from him or he would stab himself!
    I then tried to take the knife and said, well I will kill myself then, and he got the knife from me(though i couldn’t do it) and he twisted my arm so far behind, I thought he was going to make it snap.
    That was the first and last physical abuse i got from him.
    When we were coming back from Paris (France) we missed the train, as I thought my alarm would go off and it didn’t, but Eurostar put us onto another train back to London. He said to me, if he had to buy new tickets to come back I would never have heard or seen him again.
    He argued with me over riding a bike and saying that I lied to him about it…but I RODE the bike! I told him the truth about it, but in his head I lied?

    He became agressive when he drank and became agressive without it.
    He wasn’t the man i thought he was.

    I was to blame, and so was everyone else. He was incapable of lying, though i caught him out and so did my mum with possibly cheating.
    I found on his android tablet, zoosk dating site, and an email had popped up on the bottom right hand corner.
    When I saw that, I froze. I went totally quiet. My heart was in my throat. An ex had done this to me before, and now he was doing it!
    He denied it of course, and said that his cousins had looked at the site. But then when I said about the email, he said it must have piggy backed on the back of somthing else, but I know that ain’t true.
    I felt sick. And I started to mistrust him and doubt his loyalty to me.
    We had a long distance relationship for 2yrs and 2yrs I was faithful and loyal, and gave him my heart.
    He took from me.
    He told me he had no money this time round to come to London, but he bought himself a new PS3, Xbox 360 and a tablet which would total over USD1000. he could get a plane ticket to London for less than that.

    All in all, I am really hurt and in pain as i still love him.
    Reading all these posts has now made me realise that he wasn’t who i thought and that he was manipulative and controlling.
    My mum said she felt something wasn’t right with him, and I should’ve listened to her.

    He has made me lose faith in relationships now, and I cry and feel sick at the thought of him.

    I love him, but I don’t want to lose my family or friends over him.
    He told me in the beginning not to make my friends more important than him, and he wanted to marry me and we had all these plans.
    But they were not real. and I feel sick to have let him use me like that.

  22. Dear readers . I am very ashamed to be writing this but maybe it might help me and others . It all started Christmas 2010 , I had 9 months before getting. Married to my best friend father of my son and partner of 11 yrs . I was so excited every thing was arranged I was so happy until one silly night . It was the staff Christmas party , there was the man there I had fanced for the last 5 yrs but I was happy so I never thought I would ever do anything . I got very drunk and we ended up sleeping together big mistake . We didnt speak for a while after at work and I didn’t tell my partner . 4 weeks later I found out I was pregnant I told my partner but not that I thought it was someone else’s . I had no choice but to have a termination as the other guy was married with children , I was so upset as was my partner and mother . I then carried on planning the wedding thinking it would be fine and we could try for a baby after the wedding . A couple of months pasted and my one night stand contacted me and we started seeing eachother , I thought if I got to know him and he was nott nice I knew I made the right decision but he was lovely , charming this was even more upsetting. The morning we had to go to church to have our.bands read out I had to tell my partner the truth , I was seeing someone else but I didn’t need to explain about the baby that would be to hurtful . We broke up and it was very upsetting my family was devastated . I carryed on seeing my one night stand and he was lovely I felt like I was on air , I told him about the baby he was upset and promise we could have one , he wanted to move in and be a family . Then things changed after 6months , his ex wife contacted me to tell me he went out with him ex , I confronted him , he said he wasn’t getting what he needed from me ie moving in , dinner every night ready , I was shocked . I keped in contact with his ex wife who went on to tell me what he’s like and I couldn’t believe it I didn’t want to but the signs were there and the cracks were showing . It’s now been a yr of him dumpingme and getting back together saying I’m not giving him what he needs then saying sorry I’m so in love with you , its great when we get back together then 2 weeks later he starts being nasty . Worse of all he makes out his son is great while putting my son down constantly its horrible , I got no friends he made sure of that , I gave up all my hobbies as he wanted all my time I feel and I work with him , I feel so trapped but he doesn’t live with me I made sure of that . My ex father of my child has been so supportive and helpfuland he would love to get back together so would I but I need to sort my life out . I think my problem is I wanted so hard to make it work with this other man as I gave up so much to be with him but he doesn’t see that everything is my fault , I also feel sorry for him and I do care . How do I get out of this situation and get my life on track . I sometimes thing I deserve this because of the termination and breaking my exs hart . I don’t know what to do I use to be a strong person. My love and thought to all of you that are going thought an abusive relationship and I hope we all find the strengh inside xxxxx Claire

  23. Hi, My name is Kati: I met a guy last yr and he treated me like a gem, the honeymoon phase, was wonderful for 6 mos,loving, caring, all of a sudden he starts yelling and screaming at me. because I wanted to watch a Tv show. he threw a remote control at me, well I threw it back. I told him do not ever throw anything at me, he got up and went into bed. ( we were living together then). Next day, he apologized.Then the toilet bowl overflowed and he started screaming and throwing the toliet tank around and almost hit me. He left all the broken pieces on the floor, and went to bed, I had and to clean up all the water. we fought for 2 mos on and off. then he told me to leave.I had to go to my sisters house, because I had nowhere to go, after a week he called apologized, we got back together,only to fight again, this man never had sex before, he was married but his sex life, he had to beg for,so he said I opened up his heart. We continued to fight because he was mean. then he told me I had 30 days to get out, so I got myself an apartment and moved, we didnt see each other for 1 mo, then he called me and said he loved and would like to start over, so I did, we got along for 1 month, then he started to tell me he might want to see his x girlfriend,I said if he sees her, Im done,so he said he needed his space, I gave his space, after a month, he called again to beg me to come back, so we did it again.Then we went away, had fun, and he ended up again throwing me out of his house, I went home and was so hurt,so to make a long story short, he keeps asking me to come back, and then telling me he needs space, the last thing he just did to me, was to tell me that his x is the better one for him, she makes me more money than I do,so I said go back to your x, and thats it. Im so mad at myself, I dont know what I was thinking, I just remember the honeymoon phase.But now he is a devil. he is a recovering alcoholic for 25 yrs, he goes to alot of meetings, but Im done,I started counseling.So please read my story and dont fall into the abusive cycle. these men dont change they get worse!!

  24. My boyfriend makes promises and then blames me for not living up to what he says. We have been together almost 10 years and he is still separated from his wife, and has 3 grown children. He has promised to give me a share in the insurance policy with his children. He has promises this on many occasions. Recently, he broke up with me for the 40th time, and blames me for not living up to his promise. He always blames me when he starts the fights. After he breaks up with me he wants me back. Unfortunately, I go back and 2 months later it the same thing. He’s nice for a short time and then becomes abusive again. I know I should never take him back. Now that he has broken his promises again, I feel stronger about never taking him back. I cannot trust what he says. He is always blaming something or someone for his nasty behavior. I feel stronger after reading about this cycle. I know that I am the only one who can break it. Thank you for enlightening me.

  25. Yea its just hard because i dnt have much family support they all live far i dnt want to get help then my children get taken off me because of the situation i feel he is all i have as its not the first man that has put his hands on me my ex hit me but not as bad as this person ive never exsperiend this kind of hurt he just see me forgive him but it stays inside everything that he has done to me, i know ur right hes gonna keep abusing me i have 10 weeks till im due and i dnt feel at all happy because im hurt and i feel i cant look after 2kids while im heavily pregnant as he says im a unfit mother wich i dont think i am i feed bath them every day take them away from him when i feel his negetivity only wen he doesnt stop me ive gotton good at hiding my hurt from him and the world feel so alone if my family knew they would beat him up most probably and i dont want that because he will most probably hurt someone else i love and i wanna try to prevant that this is so pethetic i think im just over trying to fi d a decent guy since i always find the agressive ones whats wrong with me auweh i hate it

  26. Dear Tammy,

    I’m sorry to hear that your husband is treating you this way. You deserve better than this – and so do your children.

    You say you’re miserable with him and you’ll be miserable without him…but which misery will last longer? The misery of staying with him. You’re right that you’ll be miserable without him, but you will heal and move on with your life. You’ll find joy and happiness in your life.

    The cycle of abuse is a dynamic that can only stop if you leave. It won’t get better by itself. He won’t stop abusing you. You have to take action, even though you feel overwhelmed and sad.

    Please call a local womens help line or domestic violence hotline. I can’t give you the help you need. Please call someone in your area for help, so you can start making plans.

    You CAN have a better life for both you and your children! But, you have to reach out and get help in person.

    Make that call today, and let me know how it goes.


  27. Im a mum i have 2girls who are the age of 4 and
    1 to another man not to my partner and im now carrying my third i have isolated myself from friends family and feel alone my man has been abusive since i got pregnant numerous times but i forgive so easily and i wanna stand up for my srlf everytime he raises his voice im scared really scared im 22years of age ive been with him for a year and a bit got pregnant to him early he told me get rid of it i did and he threw it in my face saying good who’d wanna baby to slut like you wich hurt my feelings bad we got pregnant agen decided to keep it wich im not gonna lie i regret saying yes to keeping it knowing all this was gonna happen i hate myself for not letting my self get to know him properly first as my ex was a speed user and hit me when he couldnt get his shot and was very paranoid obsesive etc ive been through alot the past 7months ive never been abuse scared this much before yet still weak to leave him

    I dont think this is love but i keep telling myself itll grt better

    Episode 1: i found him adding a girl on fb that he denied adding then i find iut hr added her coz she says she did he slamed me into walls back handed me in the face pulled my by my hair dragged me on my back even though im pregnant from night till 6am in the morning as hed hit me if i try to fall asleep then took me to shop and reckons you wait till we get home your gonna get it so i scream to the public for help but then stupid me firgives him coz im pregnant with my third

    Episode 2: i didnt like the way he was treating my girls taking his fustration out on them i send the firls to bed he comes at me i cut him with a knife coz i felt threatend he was gonna hit me again as it was only 2nights ago episode 1happend

    Episode 3:i told my 1year olds father he could come get his daughter my partner tries to tell me she only needs one man in her life thats me i didnt agree with that because no one deserves to have there childeren taking away he hits my the side of my face is the size of a chuppa cup lolli pop i forgive him

    Episode 4:he now has his licence i dont only a learners and a car he complains about taking me everywhere so i dnt ask him to take me anywhere but hes ok with taking off in my car whenever so i ask for my keys he raisez his voice because wants to go out i push him he gets me on the ground im tryna kik him away my kids are watching he punches me in the eye now i had a nother black swollen eye just for asking for the keys to my car

    Episode 5:he starts up throws a doll at my daughters face because she said no to him i got upset took them for a walk he take my phone keycard before i go,i tlk to him later that day he gives my phone back i see my credits all gone due to downloading we fight about that his answer is because i didnt want you to see what i dowloaded then he swears at me goes off at me sends my kids to bed hungry i make them something let them eat in bed they fall asleep he rips out of bed into the cold demanding for my car keys when its my car i had before i even met him a year ago i give him keys now hes telling me he cany wait to get his own car house etc i feel threatned by him he stands over me for my car keys to drive him to work and me and my kids catch public transport ive really had enough

    Im falling out of love with him i have alot of hatrid in my heart now as soon as i hear him raise his voice i shut down i just dont listen to him put my girls in the room and wait to get hit i dont even like my own family coming over he puts me down,says hes gonna go find a better women,calls me dum stupid slut all sorts of name yet i cant seem to find the answer to why im still with him how do you go about this situation ive never exsperienced such a abusive man i dont know why i forgive him so easily then act like it never happenf what advice can you give me i have no one else to talk to
    How do i stand up to it as i am 29 weeks pregnant

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Maddie and Shirley,

    You’re in a difficult and scary situation, and I wish I could whisk you out of there!

    I encourage you to spend as much time as you can with friends and family. Get outside as much as you can, because that’ll help you gain the strength, clarity, and wisdom to decide if you are ready to walk away from a man who says he loves you but abuses you.

    I also encourage you to read about the abuse dynamic or cycle of abuse, and talk to women who have experienced it. The more you learn about how abuse works, the stronger you’ll get.

    Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or google their website.

    Remember that the abuse isn’t your fault. You haven’t done anything to deserve it, and it’s not a reflection of you or who you are. He is abusing you because of his own problems, not because of what you say or do.

    Let me know how you’re doing. Please reach out for help in person. I can’t get you out of your relationship — only you can reach out to family, friends, and people who want to help you become happy and healthy again.

    You CAN live the life you want, but it requires strength and courage.

    I also encourage you to turn to God. He is the ultimate source of security and safety — but you have to actively seek Him! You’ve taken a brave and courageous first step….and now you have to keep going.


  29. ive been in abusive relationship for 10 years. it kills me inside.. im isolated fm family friends and i cant go out or talk to anyone. he says if i love him so much i wouldnt pick things over him. no one knows the pain i live, and i try to make things better for my 2 boys. my oldest watched me beaten and almost killed several times. he spit on my face, call me names, throws hot food to my face, been called every name in the book. i wish someone can understand the pain im in, when i try and leave he says hes gonna kill himself, or if i leave i will have to leave my boys. i dont want to leave my boys w him! and if i leave he says he will kill himself and his family hates me and blames me. he cheated on me numerous times. he accuses me of sleeping around. how can that be, when i cant go out or talk to anyone? he also denied his boys. he controls everything,esp money. i always feel scared or guilty. scared to disobey him and guilty if i do disobey him. i need help.

  30. I am a 19 soon to be 20 year old female. I had a son at age 14 after my first time having sex. I was adopted as a baby, and have had horrible relationships with my parents, who have both been married numerous times. I have been in a relationship with this guy since I was 15, (not my son’s father) and all through high school, I would sneak out of the house, skip school, leave in the middle of the night and be gone for 3 days with him etc. My mom and stepdad finally got fed up when I was 17 and kicked me out of the house. I had nowhere to go but to my boyfriends house, with his disrespectful mother who frequently refers to me as a stupid dramatic tramp, but always helps financially.

    My boyfriend began becoming abusive about a year after we got together, and it hasnt stopped. He has also been cheating on me with dozens of girls throughout the course of our relationship. What angers him the most is when I purposely look for proof of him cheating when I already know I’m not going to leave him. My dad bought me a car for my 18th birthday, but my boyfriend pretty much took it and never let me drive it. he also wrecked it and didnt say anything until I happened to see the dent 3 days later. I get hit in front of his friends, who won’t say or do anything to help me, they just watch. and of course EVERYTHING is ALWAYS my fault. he complains to his family and friends about me, but never tells them what he did; only what I did. he has beat up my female cousin as well as my best friend because they tried to defend me.

    I was forced to move out of state with my dad when I was 17 since his mom only let me stay with them for 2 weeks. I was gone for 8 months, and it was 8 months of depression, and dependence on alcohol. I didnt progress at all, and ended up moving back to get an apartment with him. That was in may of 2010 and since I’ve been back it’s all gotten worse. the whole time I was gone he was contacting me saying how much he wanted me back, and the night i moved back i found out he had been living with another female that was 32, and he was 20 at the time. Now that we live together, I have become extremely dependent on him and he claims to hate this, yet everytime I have an opportunity to do better, he seems to purposely sabotage it. He tells me how much better his other girls are, and how they dont stress him like I do, and that they appreciate him, when I dont.

    I used to be a happy, outgoing, funny girl, and I thought I was the hottest thing since a jalepeno, but now I find myself dreading to wake up each day. I have absolutely NO self esteem, and I’ve become a real introvert, which isnt who I really am. I have (had) a strong personality but I was raised by someone who has the opposite. I have a huge strong fear of being alone, and letting go of the one person that ever showed any interest in me. He has expressed to me multiple times that although he loves me, he doesnt want a relationship, and he only stays because he knows I would be out on the street without him. And even though he treats me like complete crap, I find myself crying and begging like a dog everytime he tries to leave. I tried to commit suicide a long time ago by drinking liquid plumber, and seeing how much it scared him, I now use the threat of suicide whenever he tries to leave.
    I have become an emotional wreck. I am paranoid everywhere I go because I feel so ugly, although people tell me how beautiful I am. I cant even go to the grocery store without having big panic attacks. I barely leave the house, and the worst part is, I cant have my son. My mom kept him when I moved out, because she feels I’m too unstable to take care of him. He is 4 now, almost 5, and I havent lived with him in two years. I barely get to see him. I dont see hope anywhere in the future and I struggle with thoughts of killing myself on a daily basis. I am so overwhelmed im surprised I havent had a heart attack. I just want to enjoy my youth and I dont feel like I will ever get the chance for that. I feel that I’m miserable with him, and miserable without him, and I truly dont know what to do.

  31. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Dee,

    I’m glad you’re getting professional help, because the cycle or dynamic of abuse is so entangling…it’s difficult to break free!

    Why do you want to maintain contact with him? I think the answer to that question will help you get what you need from other sources in your life. If you can fulfill your needs, you’ll be better able to escape from the cycle of abuse.

    I think the worst form of emotional abuse is that subtle kind, that is easy to overlook. The bigger, more obvious ways to abuse a woman aren’t as easy to overlook, and may keep women trapped longer.

    Yes, I think couples can work things out and fix an abusive relationship, but not if the abuser is totally unaware of his abusive tendencies! In a healthy relationship, both partners are aware of their weaknesses.

    What does your counselor say about why women who are abused can’t walk away?


  32. hi , i was in denial of the emotional abuse i was experiencing with the man i’ve been seeing for the past year and a half ..who incidentally has been insistent that we were and are “just good friends” and that we weren’t in a relationship .

    He is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for four years and it has been mostly because he doesn’t partake in alcohol drinking that i was attracted to him in the first place and alllso because he is involved with AA that i decided to stay with him and improve on my own managing skills .

    He says he can’t commit to relationship and in a way i can see why he would think that and i can accept why he thinks that , however i don’t agree with that at all .

    I think he can commit to relationship rightly but has been so afraid of hurting me in the same way that he professed that he hurt his ex-wife emotionally for nineteen years that was his logic behind not wanting to commit .

    He repeatedly said he didn’t want to hurt or be hurt again and he won’t go there {commit to relationship} because of that logic .

    The emotional abuse with him has been very subtle and was easily overlooked for a time because of the subtleness but i had to face up to the facts of what was going on and see the abuse for what it was .

    Trouble is that i am having a very hard time letting go , i am in love with him and because of his continued sobriety i do hold out so much hope for him in terms of recovery .

    I have filled my life with new experiences and people and am focusing very much on my own self-care , self-esteem , and self-love and am seeing a great psychotherapist also and i am also keeping my options open by dating other men which i make no secret of where he is concerned and without going into too much detail i do let him know when i have or am dating .

    I do realise that i cannot change him at all and what i can do for now is change how i interact with him and get on with living life whist maintaining contact with him , for now at least .

    I don’t feel ready to leave him physically , even though mentally i have been prepared to leave on quite a few occasions , i haven’t taken action to do so .

    I do ask my self if there are examples of relationships where these things can be worked out by the couple involved and moved beyond , even when one of the couple doesn’t see that there is anything wrong or that he is even being emotionally abusive .

    Whatever feedback you can give me on this is greatly appreciated .

    Bless you