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Why do Women Return to Abusive Relationships?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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From an outsider’s point of view, it is nearly impossible to fathom why a woman might return to an abusive relationship. While it seems logical that a woman would maintain her independence after going through the trouble of leaving, there are many things that might also compel her to return. Fear is one of the primary reasons that people go back to their abusers.

Often, abusive men step up their threatening and manipulative behavior right after their victims choose to leave. As a result, many women come to fear more severe abuse if they refuse to return. The situation becomes even more complicated when there are children involved, as many women go back in the belief that doing so is the only way to protect their children. Many women try to act as human shields, sacrificing themselves to stop abusive mates from harming their children.

Sometimes, the abuser may play on the woman’s love for her children, convincing her that she cannot support them alone. The abuser may also play on the woman’s desire for her children to have a father, convincing her to return to him. Even when a woman maintains her commitment to leaving an abusive relationship, the legal system sometimes fails her by failing to grant a restraining order or by giving the batterer custody of the children.

Sometimes, as a result of abuse, a woman’s self-esteem is so damaged that she lacks the confidence to maintain independence from her abuser. Often, women who leave abusive relationships have trouble earning an adequate income or finding safe and affordable housing. Women may feel compelled to return to the relationship because they lack resources and support.

Sometimes, an abused woman's own family members and friends place the blame on her, perhaps because they assume that she somehow caused the abuse. In some cases, the woman's family and friends may act as if the abuse is bearable or deny its existence altogether. If the abused woman is married, friends and family may try to talk her out of divorce, often citing religious reasons.

In some cases, women go back to their abusers because they feel sorry for them. A common tactic batterers use to control their mates is threatening to commit suicide. This may lead the victim to feel both guilty and worried, and she may return to the relationship to save the abuser. Just as often, batterers are able to convince their victims that they love them and are committed to changing. Some women very much want to believe the batterer and hope for real change.

According to statistics, the average abused woman leaves her abuser seven to eight times before she leaves permanently. Victims of abuse often live in a state of fear, confusion, and overwhelming sadness. To make a successful and permanent separation from an abuser, a woman needs support and easy access to organizations dedicated to aiding victims. With this support and the understanding that the abuse will continue if they return, many abused women are able to leave abusive relationships permanently.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By anon1002485 — On Dec 03, 2019

I refused to put up with abuse. When he decided to hit, I didn't stick around for a second time. My daughter and I lived in a cheap room while I got myself together. I lucked into a job as a bartender while awaiting a better job. I ended up with a career at a communications company. I never went back, no matter what threats he made to me or himself.

I later became reunited with and engaged to a guy I'd known in school. As soon as that engagement ring was on my finger, he became possessive and questioned me constantly about everything. When I told him I had nothing to hide and would tell him what I wanted him to know, he remarked that he could tie the apron strings after the wedding. I immediately took the ring off, handed it to him and told him there wasn't going to be a wedding.

For the past 55 years I have been single, happy and enjoying my peace of mind.

By anon997178 — On Nov 25, 2016

I have been married 32 years. For 29 years my husband never abused me and then shortly after his father died he became depressed, said he wanted a divorce and wasn't happy. We decided to give it another try and he became abusive. He started accusing me of having affairs during our marriage and then started verbally and emotionally abusing me.

I am now separated from him for the second time but still find it very difficult not to see him or contact him. Luckily I have a great set of friends and family who are helping me through this difficult time. My children are beside themselves trying to figure out why their dad has changed so drastically. I'm hoping with counseling he can return to his old self, but am doubting he wants that.

By anon983824 — On Jan 03, 2015

I left my third abusive relationship in May 2014. In October 2013, this soon-to-be retired serviceman persuaded me and told me that he bought a house and gutted it out, and he was looking for a wife. I was reluctant to start a relationship with him, but since I had known him for years and he helped me during the time I was divorcing my husband (who was also a serviceman) I decided to give love another chance. Big mistake!

Prior to visiting me for my birthday weekend, my mother told me that she had a feeling that the relationship will change as soon as he found out that I owned a house, had my own car, etc. My mother believed that he wanted to rescue my son and me and provide for us financially because he still thought we lived with my parents. My mother was right. Soon after he visited, he began to say that prior to moving, I would have to have a garage sale for all of my things. He convinced me that I shopped too much and that I didn't need to buy anything more for the house, or clothes and shoes for myself, let alone continue to cut my hair. He also began to tell me that since he was an army veteran he did not have to pay taxes on the house and once I moved "We can rent the house and we can bank the money." Shortly after, I found out that he did not own a house, that his parents bought the house and they paid for all of the construction work.

Ladies, there is so much more to tell, but I was a fool believing he was going to change after five months, but it only got worse! He blamed me for everything, called me melodramatic, said it was my fault that he acted that way, that I don't know when to talk to him, I called him on his phone too early (I was a high school teacher -- had to be at work at 7:15 a.m.) and that he was going to block me from calling him that time.

His own pastor and the pastor's wife came to my house and told me that the guy I was dating "wasn't about nothing", told me that he treats me so mean and told me not to let him drag me down. During and after dating him, my life was chaotic! Financially, I was almost in a state of ruin. I had to refinance my house, was late on bills, late on student loans, etc. But, I left him! Yes, I was remorseful, fearful, blaming myself and believing what he told me: I am a poor excuse and that he didn't want me anymore. I believed that he was going to post my sexy pictures that I sent to him on FB so that all the church members can see. I am slowly but surely getting my life back on track, and I couldn't be any happier!

By anon946044 — On Apr 16, 2014

As I read the other posts, I understand my own situation. I have been in about four abusive relationships and yes, I blamed myself for being the ones to make them act that way, but I know now that everyone has their own way of thinking and men are strong on the outside but are very soft in the inside. Every guy I pursued a relationship with, I noticed they all had something in common, which was they either lost a mother or father at an young age to death or to drugs. I’m not saying this is everyone’s problem, but it was a common factor in my many, many unhealthy relationships.

They all start out nice and caring, acting like they want to be around you and telling you how amazing you are and everything. Then they couldn’t stand for me to dress up or get made up or keep my hair done. I do my own hair so I didn’t need to go to the salon to get it done. Then, to get an argument started, they say stupid things like, “I saw you,” and I’d say, “You saw what?” and they’ll say, “You know what” and then when I ignored it and tried to brush it off, they would come back with, “so you don’t hear me” then start calling me names and downgrading me. All because of their own insecurity about themselves.

I just got out of an abusive relationship. He blame everything he did on his drinking and what his exes did in past relationships. I have not cheated or even attempted to cheat on him, yet he accused me of doing it all the time. He always said, “I feel you want more than me. How can you love me? I’m nothing.” I did indeed love him and I didn’t care because I just wanted him.

He couldn’t see that until the day after Valentine’s when he woke up on some other stuff and there was no alcohol in the mix of things. This is when I realized that it all was a lie. He didn’t react the way he does because he was drinking; it’s what he wanted to do at that time. He has been in jail for three months for attacking me in front of my kids and breaking my nose -- not because he was upset at me, but because he was upset at someone else and I was the closest to him.

I’m just sharing a little of my life and saying thanks for helping me realize I am the victim and even though I love him and it does hurt to know he is behind bars, I realize a person has to be punished for what they have done to others. He broke my nose and gave me a black eye and the times I didn’t call the police, he busted my chin and the first time he left me with a black eye, a bruised jaw and he busted my lip. I’m keeping my head up and just keeping God close and waiting on the next court date. Pray for me.

By anon927418 — On Jan 24, 2014

Women don't leave abusive relationships because they don't have anywhere to go.

I've been in one for 25 years. I had two children -- one autistic -- to raise,and no family to help me. I had no job because I had to care for my son at home.

I dreamed of the day that my kids were grown and I could finally leave.

Now they are. My daughter started college in August. I am 60. Now, I'm too old to get a job that would sustain me. I have nowhere to go. I haven't even got money to retain a lawyer.

The abuse continues, but now my hopes of getting away from it are dead. Soon, I will be too.

By anon356984 — On Nov 30, 2013

There are so many women with a history of abusive relationships that if you want to have a relationship with a woman, you would do better to be abusive than not. Without that spark of potential abuse, you are a dull boring guy, and she does not choose to give you a chapter in her history. Women stay in abusive relationships by not leaving, and have abusive histories by not choosing nice men.

By anon355015 — On Nov 13, 2013

I made it through the abuse and the trauma in even fewer attempts than others to get to safety because I paid attention to what I have seen my friends go through.

I did a legal separation and even filed and obtained a divorce and his family members helped him find me. How can I finally be free? I dropped him off the emotional grid over 2.5 years ago and he still has a vendetta against me which I can clearly prove is unfounded. There are no kids involved and no theft on my part.

I let things go just to get the divorce and my patience is wearing too thin about him letting me go and move on as well he did during the marriage and rapidly after. I was happy he did and truly hoped it would provide happiness for him.

When will this nightmare end? I have been true to my word the entire time and the justice system is worthless. I have complained two times just in the last month to them about the "fake" ideology that says they support domestic violence survivors.

It doesn't help that my ex's dad is so well connected and wants me to continue to "deal" with what he doesn't want to. Wrong answer. I repeatedly forgive, and move on just for me and dammit! Jerks! Quit hunting me down!

By amypollick — On Nov 01, 2013

@anon353651: If the hotlines have not helped you, then you're going to have to make a plan yourself, and it will include dropping off the grid. If you don't have children, it will be easier.

While he's at work, get in touch with your family and ask them if they can get you a bus ticket somewhere out of state and enough money to get a new start. If this means walking to a store to make a phone call, do it. If they can, have them keep the money themselves until you can come and get it.

When the money is available, pack whatever will fit into a small tote and walk out. Get someone to take you to the bus station and leave that day. Don't wait another night. Leave the day you can get the money. Pay cash wherever you can and get a burner cell phone that doesn't need a contract.

His threats to kill your family are mainly to keep you in line. He *might* try to hurt them, but chances are, he will probably confine his efforts to harassing them over the phone, and driving by the house to see if you're there. I would suggest they change their phone number before you go.

You have to make a clean break and not go back to him. Right now, you're thinking you would never go back to him, but that's not true. Once you're gone and if things get hard, you might be tempted. Don't do it. If you do, you are, to be frank, signing your own death warrant because he will kill you, sooner or later.

Once you've gotten out, do *not* get a Facebook or other social media page, and if you have an email address, put it in another name and only give it to your mom or someone you absolutely trust not to give it out to anyone else.

I have known women who left everything behind. You can, too. But you have to be willing to go through with it. When you get to the place where you're going, immediately find the nearest shelter for abused women and hole up there. They can help you keep this creep out of your life, and you will need the support system.

Good luck. My prayers go with you.

By anon353651 — On Nov 01, 2013

I have been in a very toxic, abusive relationship for 3 1/2 years now. I was 18 and he was 33. I am not allowed to work or have friends or see my family. I am very isolated from the world. I do not even have a cell phone most of the time. I am not allowed to do my hair I have to wear sweats all the time or I am a slut.

He is very controlling. He has put a gun to my face and punches, slaps, kicks me everywhere I do not protect. I am more than scared of this man. He has threatened me many times, but I am more scared when he tells me he is going to kill my family. I do not want to risk anyone's life if I leave him. I have called hotlines and they are not much help. Someone please help me in what to do. Please.

By anon351413 — On Oct 13, 2013

I have witnessed many, many women who have been in abusive relationships, from my aunt, who later died of her injuries, to one woman downstairs. She told me, after I gave evidence on her behalf in court, that if she took him back I wouldn't give evidence again. She took him back through fear, despite having an order against him to stay away from her and the house.

Needless to say, we have had the police here about 15-20 times in five months, and yes this guy had a string of convictions, and has been telling me to stay away from her. The last I saw was a police car outside the door after she had apparently complained he pulled a knife on her. Police and social services offered to move her to a battered wives hostel some months back, but she refused.

There's only so much help a person can give, and I point blank refused to give evidence in this event since she keeps taking him back, Sometimes walking away seems the best option and letting people work it out themselves.

By anon350962 — On Oct 09, 2013

I don't know how old these posts are, but I wish I could talk to someone about the situation I'm in at the moment - especially to someone who has or is going through the same thing as me. I am in an abusive relationship and I had just got out of another one before I was in this. I don't know what to do with myself. I have no friends here (because I moved) and I also don't want to talk to any friends or family because I'm so unhappy and because I have nothing positive to say anymore.

By amypollick — On Aug 27, 2013

@anon346330: Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, either online or on the phone. I have posts in this discussion with the phone number. It's toll free, or they have a website. Contact them. They can help you.

By anon346330 — On Aug 27, 2013

I need help from anyone. I am a 22 year old woman and am in my first abusive relationship. My grandmother kicked me out when I lost my job and he took me in at his mother's house. I was pregnant at the time. He started off degrading me and then the choking started. I have asthma also.

We've only been together for six months and I have lost friends and family. Just today, he punched me in the face in front of his 80 year old grandfather. Every time I try to leave he beats me up and says he will kill me and if he can't find me he will torture my family. I'm desperately crying out for help.

By anon344321 — On Aug 08, 2013

I understand women get abused, and it can be severe, but it isn't hard to separate the crap from the truth.

Why must some women "pad" the details? The way the justice system works you don't even have to be abused to put your ex away. My soon to be ex moved out, and a week later she calls me up and tells me she's coming over to get anything she wants. By anything, she meant everything. I told her no way in hell. She laughed and hung up.

Meanwhile, my brother takes pity on me and the two of us jet to Vegas, but the ex didn't know I was out of town when she called the police to report domestic violence. Three days later I get home, and about six hours after that the police come and pick me up. I got to spend the weekend in jail telling everyone who would listen why I was innocent. Suffice it to say, nobody believed me. I wonder why?

The good news is I cleaned out the bank account for Vegas, so she only got to clean out the house. In other words, most women are liars, and know how to work the system.

By anon320296 — On Feb 16, 2013

I am truly dating the devil. I am emotionally devastated in this relationship. He has no remorse for anything he says no matter how cruel. I just can't find the strength inside myself to leave and stay away. The man I fell in love with does not exist. Help please

By anon303423 — On Nov 14, 2012

Many of these women need help very badly themselves if they continue to stay with these types of men.

By anon299402 — On Oct 24, 2012

I guess this would certainly be a very good reason why we good guys who know how to treat a woman today will have such a very hard time finding one, with so many low life men out there that are making it worse for us innocent guys. Very sad.

By anon287336 — On Aug 24, 2012

I left an abusive relationship not long ago. I was married for 12 years and had children with my abuser.

I remember it started out small. I'd get pushed or he'd just demean me a little. Then it got a little worse. He threw me to the ground and pulled me out of bed. He'd break down doors and such. But I always thought, he's not really abusing me. He's not hitting me.

The problem with that thought is that he was abusing me. He told me I was lower than the pets and I was worthless every day. He told me I couldn't take care of the kids or that I was a bad mother. He said I'd never be able to do it without him. I believed him for a long time. Then I decided it was done. I called a local shelter and they helped me with a place to live and helped hide me. They gave me hope that things could be different.

He looked for me for days. The cops couldn't get him served with a restraining order for that long. I found out he had checked all the hotels in our town and even drove two hours to my friend's house, looking for me. I found out through the police that he tried to have me arrested for kidnapping, car theft and abuse of the children. He even had the lawyer call to check on the welfare of the children – anything to rattle me.

I stayed away. I knew if I went back, he'd kill me. I still have nightmares that he's going to break my door down and kill me.

We are doing okay now, but the abuse has moved to the children. He tells them horrible things he's going to do to himself because they don't want to live with him. The latest is suicide. My 12 year old has nightmares that he's doing it and sometimes has outbursts. She was worse when we were with my abuser, though.

The court still awards him visitation. I have to comply or risk losing my kids to him. He's trying for custody, which everyone says he won't get. I hope he doesn't or the abuse I left will be the kids' new hell.

I can tell anyone who is in this kind of place that it's not easy. It's one of the hardest things you will ever do and the effects last a long time, but you can do it. You can stay safe and have a life of your own. I know the feeling of always looking for him in a car or at the store -- thinking you see him around every corner. But you can have some kind of normal.

Until society sees abusers for what they are, victims will always be judged. It's the way we react. I was guilty of it too.

By anon273876 — On Jun 08, 2012

I'm a male 38 years old, and I've been hurt throughout my life from a broken home, alcoholic mother, grandfather and have found myself on the end of being abusive to several woman in my life.

When my father died in my hands, I stayed drunk for a year and a half and was abusive. We split and had kids involved. We're OK now, but the damage was done.

I'm in trouble with the law for drinking and I don't have a problem with it until I'm under pressure or I feel threatened. Then I drink and blackout and hurt the ones I love. I'm with a 58 year old woman who is my soulmate and I never wanted anything like this for her ever, but we fought and I never hit her but I have put my hands on her and I feel so damn angry because I broke my promise to her.

I can't drink around her because my love for her comes out in the wrong way. I have problems talking about my feelings but she knows she's everything to me and I screwed up from drinking and I want help. I'm not an alcoholic because I don't need it, but one time we're fine and the next just a word or something she says turns a switch on inside of me and even though I'm not a hitter, I do rough her up and say mean stuff and that's not me.

I don't want this for her or me. I have opened my eyes to wanting help. I just hope she stands beside me knowing I want help with my problem. Part of me screams for help and the other wants to run to her and ask for forgiveness. She has put her hands on me and called me from bars saying she's with someone else but she really wasn't. I love her so much and I am so very depressed being alone a lot of the times. My mother was murdered last year by her so called husband. She was terminally ill and he wasn't living without her. Some of the things I have seen and done in my life have a big influence in the anger and loneliness in my life and the hands on thing is not what I want in my life.

I am looking for a way out of that way of life because its not who I am. I love the ground this lady walks on and did not ever mean to be like this to her.

By anon263306 — On Apr 23, 2012

I'm not an abuser or a victim. I was, however, in a relationship with an abused woman for six months. We were very happy together. I fell in love with her. She said she wanted to be with me and hadn't been this happy in a long long time.

She was separated from her husband for a year and has two kids by him. She went back to him and went back on all her words. She is moving to be with him at the end of the week. He has made her change her number and block me in every way possible. She still tries to contact me and talk to me. I'm here for her no matter what, but I've been miserable since she's decided to give him a 20th or so chance. He threatened her with the kids, is a liar, cheats, and is physically abusive. He keeps promising he will change. She has low self esteem and protects him, and says he deserves another chance.

She still has feelings for me though, and I can't let go. She said if she didn't have kids she would stay with me. I know it's not going to work out between them, but I feel like I'm never going to be with her again. She said she would be scared to come back to me because she feels like I would hate her. Nothing I say will make her stay.

By amypollick — On Mar 19, 2012

@anon255798: I've posted here before. There is help available. Please, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

They have experience with every possible domestic violence situation and can help you get yourself and your children out safely.

Please call them and good luck.

By anon255800 — On Mar 19, 2012

My husband is physically and emotionally abusive. He denies the physical and says I am just a "cry baby" on the emotional. He has abused me in front of my kids. He threatens to kill me if I leave. What do I do?

By anon255798 — On Mar 19, 2012

I have been with my husband since I was 14 years old. We have four kids together. Recently I had to go out of state to care for my sick mother. Once I got there, my sister came to visit and my husband started threatening to kill me and my family. He hates my family. Why? I don't know. Maybe because they haven't always had a lot of respect for him?

Anyway, he threatened to file for custody of our children if I didn't come back right then. I had to leave my dad alone to care for my mother. He wouldn't let me speak to my children at all. My oldest son would sneak me texts to let me know they were OK. I went back to him. We both agreed to move to the state where my mom was, but once we got there, he refused to work. He watches my every move, he stands at the door while I am in the bathroom. He accuses me of cheating. One night my brother invited us over and everything hit the fan. He broke my brothers carport and snatched my son down a hill by his arm. He screamed at me. I got the kids and got in the car and he started punching me in my head and ribs. He snatched me over the console by my hair and slammed me into the door, while screaming, "I am going to kill you!"

He pulled a gun out and turned around to go to my brother's house to "shoot them." I begged him not to. My children are screaming and crying in the back seat. I begged him to take me to the hospital. He refused, because he didn't want to go to jail. He threw my phone out the car window so I couldn't call the cops. I was so scared that he was going to end up hurting my family I ended up moving back to the state we moved from. I have no one here. No one believed me. I am not allowed to talk to my family, not even my own mother without him making me put it on speaker.

The other night, he got drunk and started telling his family what happened while we were there. He said, “When I think about it, it makes me want to choke her.” His family is worried about me and the kids now. They tell me to leave but they want me to leave the kids with him. They say it will be safer in the long run. He has never abused the kids, but I don't put it past him.

He belittles me every chance he gets. He says I'm worthless, I don't love my kids, I am heartless. All because I threatened to take him to court after he refused to let me talk to my kids. He says if I ever leave, I will never see my kids or family again. He will kill my family and make me look unfit.

I don't have pictures of the abuse, but I have witnesses to him hitting me. My brother heard the punches through the screaming and everything. What do I do? I want a divorce. The only reason I am here now is I am afraid he will do something stupid. Oh by the way, it's not the first time he's hit me. The other time I had black eyes and ears.

By anon255595 — On Mar 18, 2012

@nutrients101: Your argument with your wife that left you, it was for the best, because you can only remember the negative things that happened. The fights from before she was pregnant, the times when you and her fought during her pregnancy and after. You two are alike and don't compliment each other.

It looks to me she was not into you as much as she could have been.

She did not like you enough to really be nice to you. It's not you're fault. It's not her fault either. You two just didn't match well with each other

By anon254900 — On Mar 15, 2012

To the woman who asked how they can be there for someone going through an abusive relationship: let them know that you are there for them, that you will not judge them or shut them out. If you are religious, let them know you are praying for them, but most of all, that you love them. And if you can, let them know that you will help them materially/financially/in every way if they decide to leave.

I am 3,000 miles away from my abuser but I'm struggling with having long-distance contact with him. I had no dad growing up and a mentally ill mother. I never felt close to a boyfriend the way I felt to this man. Reading these stories is so, so helpful

By anon253551 — On Mar 09, 2012

Women don't leave because the California courts (for a fee) don't allow you to leave!

If you successfully leave, like in the OJ Simpson case, for love of money, the CA courts allow the abuser to continue stalking, etc.

By anon252637 — On Mar 06, 2012

Why do women return to abusive relationships? My daughter is still trying to figure that one out. She is currently serving 51 months for manslaughter for finally protecting herself against the boyfriend who couldn’t stop beating her on a regular basis. Why did she keep going back? She loved him. Isn’t that the oldest reason?

He’d apologize, she’d forgive, he’d beat her, she’d forgive, and around and around they went in this circle, a circle finally broken. Everyone was surprised he was the one who ended up dead. I was prepared to bury her many, many times. We did all we could to keep her from him: restraining orders, court, sending our daughter several states away, but back she went. Forgive, forgive, forgive; that’s all she did.

When the night came when she killed him, he was strangling her. She urinated on herself, pulled handfuls of hair out of her head, he beat her from head to toe, she grabbed what she could, nicked him in the leg with a knife, and that was it. The main vein got it -- a quarter of an inch deep wound on his left leg, another very small one on his left side. She called 911 immediately, even though he told her not to, but she was still protecting him from prison. She said he had an accident. He was worried about going back to prison for beating her up again, so she protected him. And of course, it backfired.

The good news is that when she gets out of prison, he will still be dead. There will be no more worries, no more forgiving, no more being a punching bag. She is receiving counseling while in prison, as a survivor. Why do women go back? I don’t know. If we all had crystal balls to see into the future, we would know that it could never work out, and someone will always lose, possibly even their life.

By themth — On Mar 06, 2012

For all of you women (or men, it does happen) out there reading this article, it is very accurate. I know after reading many of these that this happens far too often.

My partner and I both have attitude problems, they conflict with one another during arguments and both of us can get physical. As long as I have a level head during one of these heated arguments the most I do is yell, try not to get hurt(physically), and name call; otherwise I can be unpredictable. These don't honestly happen often, but I sincerely wish they didn't happen at all.

The form of abuse that I am guilty of is emotional/verbal abuse. It's a terrible thing and I truly feel terrible, as I should. I belittle her quite often.

I am a manic depressive person, who had an emotional/verbally abusive father. He never beat the crap out of my mother, but it's all the same. He did his best to support our family but many times he treated us like crap. My mother and father have been officially divorced for three years and I am currently 23 years old. I don't drink alcohol, nor do I do any drugs. My partner and I have been together for four years and our son is going to be two here soon.

I don't want my own or my sons future to follow that of my fathers. A path of emotional destruction. I want to change. I don't want him to grow up learning to belittle my partner as I and my father have. No person no matter who or what they do should be put down.

At our last good talk the other night after a big fight, I suggested she leave me. I pointed out to her that I do her wrong far too much, however she is confident that I can change. I have a domestic assault charge against me via the state from a nervous breakdown I had shortly after our son was born. I stayed in a mental hospital for two weeks.

While typing this out, she interrupted me and asked me what was wrong. I explained to her how I cannot stand treating her like I do. Women are a truly complicated species. I am truly blessed to have such a strong and caring woman that puts up with my garbage. She deserves better than the current me. I love her and I'll try my best to change for her.

This is probably not the best place to put this confession. I wish you all the best of luck and I hope you can do the same for me. Thank you for reading my story, I've never posted anything about this matter, and you can take what you want from it. I hope this is a step in the right direction. Thank you. - the abuser seeking help.

By anon252360 — On Mar 05, 2012

@nutrients101: You said you wanted someone's advice. You can take this for what it's worth.

I think, personally, that both you and your wife have anger management issues. Maybe yours have never before escalated into a physical confrontation, but regardless of the reason, or how provoked you were, they did. Even if once or twice you were defending yourself, you should have gotten out of the situation before it escalated to that point.

You say you argue a lot. It takes two to argue. I'm not saying she's blameless, by any means, but you're the one asking for advice. You always have the option to stop arguing. It is affecting your children, and your physical altercations have injured one of them. I know you feel terrible about it, but stop and think: how could you have acted to avoid that situation? What she did is irrelevant. You can't control her behavior, but you are wholly responsible for *your* behavior, and blaming someone else for your actions is exactly what you say she's doing.

Are you an abuser? I don't think you're a serial abuser, but clearly, you and this woman bring out the absolute worst in each other.

For the sake of your children, I recommend you get anger management counseling before you try to reconcile with her. If she won't go, that's on her, but I strongly feel you need to go and find out why you just can't walk away from an argument. If you want your children to grow up in a healthy, stable environment, you need to do this.

By nutrients101 — On Mar 05, 2012

Am I an abuser? My wife calls me one. I will give you all the examples out of the three and a half years we were together. First was when she was pregnant. We had gotten into an argument at which point I grabbed my keys to leave so I could cool off. She then tried taking them from me and I would not let her. I turned my back to her and bumped her with my butt and she fell down. Then she proceeded to call the cops and told them I hit her.

Second was after she came home from the hospital and she had stitches from a C-section and I must have grazed her stomach when moving to try and help her while were arguing over something. She then hit me with a bottle of liquid formula and said I hit her and made a stitch come out. I thought to myself, how did I make a stitch come out? Maybe when she hit me with a bottle?

Third, when I kicked a box and it hit her in the leg. Fourth was when she was texting another man in front of me. Now this was after I caught her on many questionable things like speaking to another man on Facebook and seeing the messages, which I will not go into. When I saw her texting right in front of me, I pushed her in the back (not hard) but pushed her and she said I hit her and called the cops.

The fifth and the last one was a week before she left me. We had gotten into an argument over my choice of music when I was taking the children to a water park. I stopped and turned to go back home because I saw she was not going to make our time fun. We got back home and got into a huge argument over it. And she began to hit me in my back, punching me. I had developed a habit of turning my back to her because I knew what was coming (punches). I had enough and I grabbed her and told her to stop. She wrestled with me and she punched me in the groin and she said she did that because I choked her. I was just trying to defend myself from her because she was punching me and I do not remember if that happened. But I will take blame that it did. This last time we were fighting I will never forget because our children were there and she bumped into our 2 1/2 old son and made him hit his head on the TV. He really started to cry from the hit on his head. It makes me sad to even remember that. This girl has bitten me in the stomach when arguing, has bitten me in the arm and scared me and hit me I don’t know how many times. And the times I have mentioned that she accuses me for I don’t know what. She blames me for everything and calls me every name.

Here’s an example of what she does: I had dressed up nice to go some place and she told me I look wired. Anytime I catch her in the wrong and show her, she has an excuse or blames someone else. I feel I am fault for everything because she tells me that all the time. I just want someone’s advice. Am I an abuser who hits women? I never have before in a relationship. I still love this woman and still am fighting for our marriage even after she left me. She is so sure I am the cause for everything for she never takes any fault but just blames me.

By anon251224 — On Feb 29, 2012

I went to court today and saw my husband for the first time since his last arrest. He had his bail revoked and has been in jail 30 days. I felt like I finally got out and went to counseling from the damage done by him.

I don't know why I feel like I have done something wrong after seeing him today in court. He was returned back to jail. Why do I feel so sleazy? It is really bothering me. What is wrong with me? Any clue?

By amypollick — On Feb 28, 2012

@anon251013: There are resources available to help you get away from this creep.

If you're in the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

If you're in the UK, contact Women's Aid at 0808 2000 247.

Help is available. Please call someone to assist you in safely getting out of this situation.

By anon251013 — On Feb 28, 2012

I personally am in an abusive, controlling relationship and I can't get out of it. He lives right across the street from me and watches my every move. I can't even go to school at times because he takes everything from me, such as my money, metro card and my phone. I can't chill with my friends. I can't do anything. I tried to leave him yesterday and today is just the same way. This morning I couldn't even get to school on time because he was mad that I didn't want to take him back. Honestly, I can't be with him and I can't take this anymore. I'm getting tired of being battered. It takes up all my time and energy.

I pray that no one goes through what I'm going through. Abuse goes both ways, but males make it seem as if females need to keep their mouths shut because they have more power. If you are in an abusive relationship, try to find a way to leave and seek help before it gets wors.

By anon249071 — On Feb 19, 2012

For those of you who are complaining about the focus being on abused women, please go find your own article on why men return to abused women. It just makes no sense to click a link, read the article then try to take away from the issue that is clearly stated in the title!

By anon247550 — On Feb 14, 2012

When I read this article, it brought tears to my eyes. I lived every element but one. I left when my son got into kindergarten, so I didn't do the revolving door of leaving. I made up my mind, I knew what was right, and I put my child first and only. Now he is 15 and a very well rounded young man. I have no contact with the abuser.

However, the price I've paid is that I cannot trust men. So I have never remarried and do not date. Small price to pay for life. We live in peace now, and my son is happy, healthy, and very well adjusted. Our life is complete.

By anon245793 — On Feb 06, 2012

Like some other people have mentioned here, I don't see why this article needs to emphasize women being the center of abusive relationships. I don't think you need to look far to find men who are in similar abusive relationships with women or other men.

Ignoring this will only serve to make men less likely to go for help when they are in such a relationship, and I find that a very troubling thought indeed.

By anon243136 — On Jan 26, 2012

Abuse can go both ways. My wife left me just recently and I said I was verbally abusive. I do love her and our son. I have a drug problem and I have tried to get help. While I have been dealing with going back and forth in the relationship for five years, the problems really never started until we got married. She threw a glass at me one time and a picture frame. She was as mentally unstable as I am, it turns out.

I thought it would get better over time, but every time we would argue, she would either ridicule me with names or I would walk off mumbling. I never would think of laying a hand on her and I never talked negatively to her except when we got into a fight. I called her a stupid bleep once, when she was snooping through my facebook and asked me why I don’t know what I want in the grand scheme of things. She just doesn’t trust me, mainly because of my drug problems with marijuana. She thought her prescription pills were better.

I tried everything to make it work because I love her, but she would run to her parents and since she doesn’t have a career yet and she was on her way to her RN, she ended up running off with an older man with a career, telling me she couldn’t grow with me.

It hurts. I tried my hardest not to call, but when I heard this guy was driving around drunk with my son in the car, I didn’t know what to think. I don’t think she cheated. If she did, I guess I will never know. We’re not even divorced yet and she’s moved on, and labeled herself as a victim, even though I never have laid a single finger on her and have taken the verbal abuse back myself.

I don’t know what to do. I’m so depressed and just want my family back. I can’t even focus on myself at this point, I’m so fixated on the relationship. It hurts so much that she would treat me like this and I never meant to hurt her with my drug problems. You have to want to change and that person can’t go on expecting you to change. You have to be there already. So its been 18 days since I last hugged her and I’m scared we’re never going to be together again.

Everyone tells me she is bipolar and I’m an addict so it was a big mess to begin with. I would like to clean up my life and take care of my son. I raised her son since he was 6 months old and adopted him. I thought that meant the world to her but she never cared. Now I sit back reflecting and feel used and hurt because I caused a lot of the problems. And I’m confused be cause she says she is the victim. It’s a lost cause.

I have never wanted to be the bad guy in this and would do anything to clean and shape up my life, but I can’t compete with career boy. He’s 10 years older than I am and worships the ground she walks on. I know she is just using him to get through this and to get back at me for whatever reason. I just don’t get it. Everything I thought was right and made sense is gone and now I’m all alone, looking for comfort in drugs now more then ever. I honestly wish I would just not wake up and the burden I am on everyone would be gone.

By anon241362 — On Jan 18, 2012

I have just left abusing relationship, and my boyfriend tried suicide just as the article said.

I have suffered both physically and mentally, but eventually I feel I'd had enough of it.

He had tried very hard to make me come back, but I know after I got out of that place that I wouldn't ever go back again! I hope more women realize there is a bigger world out there.

By anon238794 — On Jan 05, 2012

I have been getting abused by my husband since I got married to him. His family is also abusive towards me. They have not only tortured me but also tortured my family members mentally. A few days after, my hubby went overseas, and I am still now staying apart from him. He has stopped my education and has shattered my future into darkness. I believe only God can help me.

By sadly — On Dec 21, 2011

In my case it was, and my problem still is, at the age of almost 48 I’ve never had a support system, I mean at all, not a family, but normal family crap. I mean no family at all. I have biological family, yes, but they’ve never been in my life. I’ve been on my own since the age of 16 struggling just to eat. I’m now going on 48. I finally married at 30 to someone on workers comp with a past history of drug abuse, drug dealing and a criminal record. He lived with his entire family, I lived alone, he treated me well and was about two years younger than me. I’ve never been on drugs or experienced a kid life, so he and his lifestyle were very appealing to me.

Now I not only had a husband, but a family through his family, and they were all supportive of each other. All had drug problems, but support is support and comfort. Being alone without family is lonely and miserable, no matter how straight you are, and especially when you’s struggled just to keep a roof over your head and eat since age 16.

I had to be on assistance from age 21, because with no schooling, and since I was alone so young, how would I survive? My husband had me stay on assistance. When my two daughters were 4 and 5, his father bought a house for his two children and their families (me, him, my kids, his sibling and family and the father) to live in. I didn’t think it was a good idea because we already were having problems, but I did it. It was a house, a pool, a porch -- things I never had -- and an extended family. Even if they were doing illegal things, they had a better life than I ever did. But things went bad, and my family, although they don’t do illegal things, don’t give a care about me, no matter what. I could die here in this apartment and they’d never know or care.

Finally, I went to a shelter with the kids, but he talked me into going back (to make a very long story short). So I went back and called off the divorce, but it didn’t work out and his family wanted me out. I was on assistance and rent was being paid on my and the kids’ behalf, but the cops weren’t helping me. Rather, they were arresting me and telling me to get out of there. They asked where was my family, that we were living in his dad’s house and I should go to my family, but I don’t have a family to take me, or help me and my kids, or even me. So, safe horizons got me into another domestic violence shelter. The kids refused to go this time and now he has had them four years, and as of the beginning of December, I have not seen or spoken to my babies. Now they say they don’t want me, not even to see me, and I have no family intervention. So could this be a reason why woman go back? Yet I don’t know anyone like me, who is all alone with no support system. Does anyone?

I’m now living in a small apartment with nothing. I am alone. I have some hand-me-down furniture, am on ssi and paying him child support. I have no one and no one has custody, but they are living there and I’m still going to court by public transportation to another part of NYC where the case is.

I have people telling me they are sorry, that my family could have been more supportive, should have been supportive, should be supportive, but they're not, so what do I do?

By anon233749 — On Dec 09, 2011

How come no one ever asks why men abuse women?

Or why no one ever really wants to help women who are abused? We're not perfect enough victims for you, so we're on our own after the funding for the DV shelter runs out.

Oh, and when he comes after us for leaving, they always kill us for leaving. Then you blame the dumb women for not getting a protection order, even though we did and the police didn't enforce it. The Supreme Court says they don't have to. Victim blaming. I love it.

By anon232978 — On Dec 03, 2011

I grew up with domestic physical violence and suffered a series of unfortunate events as a pawn during these episodes between my biological parents including kidnapping.

When I grew up, any time a partner became in the least but verbally/psychologically or emotionally abusive he was done. A year ago I met my husband and married him a few months ago. From the time I married him until now there have been five severely abusive psychological episodes and I cannot understand my rationalizations for staying with him.

I want to share this since I am reading people wondering why others might stay in abusive situations: I think I stay with him because I don't want to believe I have ended up in an abusive situation. I think I stay because I want to have more faith that now that he is aware of the damage done he can change and things can get better. There is so much fear it will not and all signs show it could very well get worse. Is it sometimes worth it to have faith?

By amypollick — On Nov 26, 2011

@IrishFaerie: Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). They have experience in helping women in exactly your situation to get out of abusive relationships. Please call them.

By IrishFaerie — On Nov 26, 2011

My abuse has been going on for a long time on and off. At first I brushed it off because I wasn't sure if I could consider it abuse (since he never left any marks on me-however he did push and shove me). He emotionally abuses me regularly, but recently, the cops were called twice in one day because he lost it.

He pinned me down on the bed, shook me, and choked me out. He started physically abusing me fairly regularly about a month or so ago but I wouldn't do anything about it until he choked me out. There were no marks so the cops did nothing for me, but today there are marks all over my arms from him holding me down.

I want and have wanted to leave him so badly for the past year, but I have no where else to live and a job where I barely make enough money to survive. I also have a child with him. He's a great dad and I would never doubt his ability to take care of her, but we are volatile together. I want to be free to move on with my life, but as long as I have nowhere to live and obviously I couldn't bring my baby with me if I have nowhere to live, I am stuck. I wish someone would tell me what to do or help me, because I'm just completely trapped.

By anon230932 — On Nov 21, 2011

I've been with a guy for a couple of years now. I gave up everything to move to a foreign country to be with him. I spent so much time and money to stay with him in America while he had to be there for six months, and now I've given up my job, family, friends and home to move to another different country.

He has hurt me several times. He pushes me, holds me down, shoves me so hard I fall and often bang my head. He is a pathological liar and turns everything around on me, makes me feel like crap and as if I am mentally disturbed. I am by no means perfect, but everything is my fault and he never apologizes.

His mother abused him as a child and destroyed his self esteem. He is very insecure and takes it out on me. He acts tough and like nothing bothers him, but once I mentioned something about his past and he lost it. He held me down so hard both my wrists were swollen and purple for a fortnight.

I feel trapped here because I am far from home and have no job and no money. I finally ended it today and he doesn't seem to care at all, but I am still stuck here and don't know what to do. I'm afraid because I just know we'll make up later and I don't want to give him any more chances, he'll just lie again and continue to hurt me like always.

By anon228251 — On Nov 07, 2011

My abuse started six years ago and for some reason I'm still here. I actually married him this year thinking I could not live without him being we have three kids together. And he refuses to admit that what he has done to me can never be compared to anything I have done.

I was knocked unconscious a few times I have even sent him to jail but I feel so in love with him that I bailed him out and protected him from authorities and now that we are going through some difficult times I feel that now is my time to get out of the situation being that it has gotten a lot worse even after he promised it wouldn't happen again.

By anon226231 — On Oct 30, 2011

My boyfriend abused his ex fiancee, and I only found out after I got too deeply involved with him. I was unable to leave him because I thought I couldn't live without him. I got so overwhelmed that he use to threaten to end our relationship when I argued with his way of life.

He used to get drunk and call me shouting at me. I dumped him once and he ended up coming to my home, telling me he's sorry and he loves me. I cried and I opened the door and he choked me and battered me.

I kept going back after that. I just couldn't leave him. I was so deeply in love that I became suicidal and overdosed. This past friday I dumped him again, but this time he knew what would kill me the most -- he went back to his ex and told me to go off. I'm desperate to be with him, and I'm dying on the inside but Ive literally set myself to erase him. Get out fast ladies, before you end up with a child and then it's hell to get out.

His plan to get me pregnant was unsuccessful due to his cocaine use (another thing he kept secret from me).

By anon223557 — On Oct 19, 2011

I'm just happy the police saw what I couldn't see. They took me to a shelter, and they explained to me and now I understand all the abuse I was going through. I still miss him, but I'm not going back. I got my protection order and he has his probation.

I'm still scared but every day, I remind myself that if he gets close to me, it will get ugly for him.

By anon221205 — On Oct 11, 2011

My boyfriend slapped me in the face, twice, and he won't admit to it. Not ever. He took away my hockey career, turned my family against me, and made me dependent on him. He always tells me I've done nothing with my life, and I'm useless. To hear a compliment, or an "I love you" never happens. But for some reason, I'm still here. Why?

By anon214599 — On Sep 15, 2011

My husband has been abusing me for the past 18 years. I have two boys and I live overseas. After the last incident in which my oldest son intervened and told me that he would physically confront his dad the next time ( I always protect the kids when he gets angry), I reported him to the police but since he has friends in high places, he was released even though he did not deny the charges.

He tells his friends that I am crazy and just want to take the kids from him and it is not true. Now I realize that he never loved me from the beginning. He portrays himself as the perfect family man to the outside world and the hardworking man who does anything for his family, but it is not true. But when he has a hard day at work, he takes out his frustrations on me and on the kids. I want to leave but I cannot. I have no money, no job and I am already in my forties. How can I empower myself in a foreign country and how do I let go of a person whom I have lived with for the past 20 years?

Even my kids tell me they do not believe that I have yet to accept all the damage he has done to me in the past years and all the abuse I have had to put up with. I have almost no friends and my family is far away. Will I survive?

Currently, he does not talk to me and is just waiting to see what I am planning to do. He does not accept the fact that he has been abusive to me, and the worst thing is when his friends call him and he tells them that everything is back to the old ways, meaning that I am back to my old self. He has portrayed me as a dysfunctional woman. Can someone advise me?

By anon213095 — On Sep 09, 2011

I left my abuser. It took me three times but I did it. I do not get why his previous wives (one who was abused - asked for an RO in her divorce to him and refused to help me when I was divorcing him) why would she go back to him? It has been over 25 years since she left?

By amypollick — On Aug 17, 2011

@anon206548: Please see my post, no. 62, and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It's toll-free and they can help you get out. Please call them.

By anon206548 — On Aug 16, 2011

I'm sick of acting like nothing is wrong and lying to the ones I love the most in my life. I'm a confused young girl with two children with a monster who I thought loved and cared for me. I guess I was naive.

He just threw me on our dining room table in front of our five year old daughter who was crying. I'm a stay at home mother, I don't have any resources and I'm afraid to call the police in fear that my children will be taken from me. My timing belt just went in my damn car. Otherwise I'd leave. Right now, I'm not sure what to do? I need to start taking action before things get any worse.

By anon204752 — On Aug 10, 2011

@anon120761: I don't know if you will come back to read this ever. I just wanted you to say that my mother left at nearly 60. My dad was not as bad as some, but emotionally abusive and crazy addicted. I went through my own troubles with abusive partners, partially because I didn't know better. Now I'm happier to be alone and have become a person who would just rather have no one around. I don't know if that is good or bad, but I'm content in my life with it. I had given up on my mom, but watching her leave made me proud of her.

Maybe one of your kids will see it that way. Don't give up on yourself. It will be hard. My mom ended up moving in with me. She's had medical problems, and it was expensive to get away.

But I want you to know that women who have lived their whole life one way can still change and grow, so it's not over for you unless you decide to let it be over.

By Unshown — On Jun 19, 2011

I’ve read a good number of these and never realized how bad it was for women. I'm not an abuser, but I have messed up by playing the guilt cards and stuff myself. I'm not old. I'm young --19 to be exact – but I've seen two divorces and I’ve talked to two girls who were going through divorce. Though it's always the same story, so my fear seems more real as I read through each line.

I currently am talking to someone at the start of the divorce trail since she has been separated from him for a couple months. She got married and has only been with him a year, roughly. But he is in Texas and she is in NC, as am I. She told me she was separated but she still picks up the phone when he yells, cusses and just talks plain crap to her and makes her cry. When I'm not around I can see it.

She seems happy when she talks to me, but I've learned something from the other girl. Because she was going through a divorce start to her husband deployed and was overseas and cheated on her and she cheated on him, they never established separation – just cheated. Now this woman talked to me every day for months and basically was going to come be with me at one point but things changed when I went to the field for four days. At the end of the four days she had deleted me off facebook, blocked me and didn’t talk to me on the phone anymore. I finally got in contact with her and she said this, “I got back with my husband. He is coming back from deployment and we're going to make it work.” She's 18 and he's 23.

The girl i talk to now is 19 and her husband is 24, I think. Today the girl i talk to now tells me she was going to go to Texas with him when he comes up so she can show his family the kid that she had with him (they both have kids). I know if this happens I will never speak to her again since I know he is going to trick her into staying. Why do women get with a actual good guy (i'm not perfect but i'm damn better then these people) and just ditch them to go back to their stupid husbands who treat them like crap for months, verbally or physically, just because he says, “I'm sorry. I will change,” and some dramatic fake crying or whatever. One mystery I will never know.

Thing is, what should I do? I fell for both these girls. The first one tore me apart but it wasn’t as bad since she never really got to hang and be with me. But this new girl hangs with me every day and it's going to hurt like hell if she leaves and I know it. So what should I do? I'm already damaged no matter what happens.

By anon186061 — On Jun 14, 2011

Women are dumb. Logic does not apply to them. If you're being hurt and cheated on you shouldn't even talk to them.

I am a guy and I met this girl i always liked, and she finally got out of her relationship. She told me that she was being pushed around, cursed out, called ugly and stupid, while in reality she was beautiful and very smart. I told her that I will never do such things to her like her ex did. I made her feel special, treated her very well. We were semi-together and she was happy, and so was I, until her ex called her and said that he loves her and he was always serious about her and that he wants her back.

A few days later she said sorry to me and left to go back to him. Where is the logic in this? Maybe this teaches us guys to be jerks and abusers. That way we can maintain a relationship for a long time.

By anon178173 — On May 20, 2011

I was married for eighteen years to my soon to be ex. He charmed me from the start and told me it’s me and you against the rest of the world. Right from the start, he was jealous of my relationship with my mother and siblings. I always tried to keep him happy. We got engaged after one week. During the first years, I was afraid to be on the phone with my mother. When he walked into the house, I would always quickly hang up, or make an excuse.

Then the cursing started. At first I was horrified and then he apologized and said never again. Then one day he pulled my hair, one day he choked me and held me like that for a while. Then one day, he threw me down on the bed in a rage and sat on top of me. He’s a big man and I am smaller. He just yelled and spit and got raging red in the face. I kept quiet because I didn’t want to upset him more. He then said, “You could have stopped me and you didn’t.” He blamed me for every time he got angry, always said I pushed him.

He once tried to push my head in the toilet. I left him three times and always came back because he said he would change. He never did. He only said I was never bleeping leaving this house again. When he was good there was no one better, but I always felt like he didn’t really love me. I felt like I was a piece of meat to him.

He drove me to work once, and got out of the car and yelled, “this is my bleep of a wife!” and then drove off. I have gotten out of the car at red lights so I wouldn’t have to sit in the car with him any longer. He would scream and yell and curse and I would put my fingers in my ears and he would pull my hand off my ears so I would have to listen to his ranting and cursing.

I am finally getting out. I asked for a divorce and although he is not cooperating, I am never going back. He manipulated the children, but they’re not stupid. My biggest weakness is he knows me so well and when he is quiet I feel guilty that maybe I am not doing the right thing. I wait for the abuse because I always knew it was there. What’s wrong with me? I can't wait to sleep without someone being nasty to me, and come home to a peaceful home. I will never understand why I always feel so guilty. I wish I knew how to get angry at him.

By anon169028 — On Apr 19, 2011

Most of the time, these days with all the budget cuts and the like, most states restrict any domestic violence help in terms of shelters and safehouses, to women with children.

In some states, if you don't have children, the police will not be able to find a single place that will take you. Period. I tried that. Twice. I'm sure everyone reading this knows if she's in one of those states. That, though, is why women stay with the batterer or return to him. The children. Those children they had in the first place in order to get the state to support them.

If you're single, childless, higher educated with a bachelor's degree or higher, mentally sound, and otherwise "have it together" except that because of the economy no one will hire you with "only" a bachelor's degree so you wind up financially dependent on family members who are themselves abusive, you're stuck the minute you decide you're not going to take it anymore after all these years and by God you're not going to die at their hands and without a police report.

I know all about what "kind" of men abuse. Angry men. Angry for whatever reason at life. Also those with macho, sexist attitudes towards women. Add those together and you might as well be with Mike Tyson. I don't date because that's the only kind I attract for some reason. I internalize a lot and focus on me because it must be something about me and what I attract and the only thing I can change is me and not the whole world, but this is also one of the many things I've been told all my life by the abusers.

What can I do about me so that I attract only the kind of people I deserve and not the ones who will wind up smacking me around as soon as they get to know me? It must be my fault because it happens everywhere I go to get away from it. Everywhere I attract the same kind of guy, the same kind of abuser. There is like no solution to this.

By anon168790 — On Apr 18, 2011

It amazes me as I read all these stories that, aside from the particulars of the abuse, they're all basically the same.

My husband cheated on me when he went to work out of town. I never knew at the time, but seemingly overnight he started yelling, cussing and telling me he wanted me out of his life. We had been married seven hours at time and together for 8.5 years. I always thought it was him moving that "changed" him and I strongly suspected he had been unfaithful. Finally, three years later, he tells me he had a one night stand the night before he started treating me badly.

He's treated me like trash every time he gets mad for almost four years. Each time he acts out, I believe it's the last. Last night we got into an argument and he hit a door and called me an obscene name -- first time for both.

I may never understand why his one time sex completely changed him into an evil, sadistic jerk, but it did. He spent years threatening to divorce me until he no longer got a reaction. We never had children together until 2009, when I became pregnant after many years without birth control. Go figure!

It's hard to respect any man who treats and talks to his wife like she's nothing, and it seems to be impossible if the man is your husband! He says he felt so bad about cheating that he started to treat me badly.

Two weeks after screwing her he "felt so bad" that he had to cuss me worse than I've ever been talked to for my birthday.

My family too, like many of the ones I've read about on here, they think he's a wonderful man. I'd tell my parents how badly he was treating me and they didn't believe me because he had always been a nice, easy going man. It stinks when you're being emotionally abused and your patents don't even believe you.

His abuse literally started overnight and shocked me to my core. I spent days and days crying, not understanding why he was treating me so badly.

Anyway, the almost four year anniversary of his infidelity and the start of treating me like trash is approaching. I always wanted to believe he'd change back to the person he was but it hasn't happened and his behavior is getting worse instead of better.

I know it's time to leave but making it happen is the hard part. We live nine hours from my parents (I'm an only child) and I didn't get a job once we moved where we're at now so money is an issue with the move.

I recently told my mother that he was emotionally abusive to me even though she didn't believe me before. She asked me if I had bruises on me, which I don't. Then she tells me I need to decide if I "want some other woman living in my half a million dollar house". Really? My own mother said that! It's like if I don't have a black eye or broken arm, she's blind to anything I tell her about.

I'm a nurse and can get a decent job but she tells me she doesn't want to see me struggle with money as I raise our baby. She must not realize me being with him is a struggle with my sanity. I believe he's narcissistic because how else could he change overnight? Sorry so long. Just venting about this crazy situation called my life.

By anon168405 — On Apr 17, 2011

Having been through an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for many years, I can tell you that leaving an abuser and recovering from the relationship is not the same as a 'normal' breakup.

For one thing, good or bad, you are constantly the object of someone's attention - your partner's. If you lack self image or self esteem, this becomes your addiction. The relationship ends and the withdrawal of your 'addiction' starts to kick in. It is at this point that you are most vulnerable to his "I'm sorry", "It's just I love you so much that I can't control myself", "I'll change".

Work through your own demons and get past that stage because you will see the light. Lundy Bancroft's book says: "You do not love someone you abuse and you cannot abuse someone you love." Love them all you like but know that they do not love you in the way that you are searching for.

By anon167145 — On Apr 11, 2011

I don't understand, maybe because I am a very strong woman. I would never let any man abuse me. I do not play that crap at all.

I am not the one, but then again, my self esteem is higher than the price of fuel. I am not desperate to have somebody. I would never bear children. I would never let somebody knock me up.I would never let someone knock me around and tell me what to do. I am not gay, so that has nothing to do with it. I just do not play that crap and would never tolerate an abusive relationship. I do not even know abused women. They are too weak for me to be around. I do not like that kind of energy.

By anon165671 — On Apr 05, 2011

Definitely a hard situation, but like most issues, not the business of the abusee to fix. Not all abusers are bad people. More often than not, they are individuals who had a very tumultuous childhood and still carry that baggage. One common thread that runs through all abusers is that they are angry people. Most of the anger stems from witnessing abuse in the home growing up, growing up with an alcoholic, or being abused as a child.

Many abusers are alcoholics or substance users as they become dependent on a substance to escape their pain. They control people in an attempt to gain a perceived greater sense of control over their life. Usually in this case removing the booze and getting in a 12 step program fixes the issue, but it takes dedication.

By anon164635 — On Apr 01, 2011

Our local DV support system needs improvement and so does the legal system. The safe house is ran with a jailhouse mentality, complete with bullies and their b-words. If you don't already have a job/resources or are eligible to get social services, they rush you to a homeless shelter, which is not a hand up; it's a put down.

They refer to you as "homeless" as soon as you fail to generate your own proof of resources. Any church you go to for help directs you to the same old resources. It was hinted that coming to the safe house would open doors, and now I'm shelterless in less than a week.

By rosebon — On Apr 01, 2011

My daughter has been in the county jail since November for first degree murder. She had stabbed her abuser two times to get him off of her. He was choking the life out of her to the point where she blacked out and also urinated on herself. The cuts were not deep at all, just enough on the inner thigh to get the artery. The other stab was on the side of his chest, on the rib cage which she didn’t even touch. His blood alcohol was twice the legal limit, which may have attributed to his bleeding so profusely as we know that the blood flows more freely when someone has been drinking alcohol. Plus, he was on crack from earlier in the day.

My daughter called 911, they gave her instructions on trying to revive him, but it didn’t work. The EMT and police showed up. Now here is the compassion. Here is my daughter, with her hair falling out of her head (her ponytail actually came out in her hand, they have this in evidence), she had cuts on her face, bruises on her hand, scratches down her back, black and blue legs, and the EMT tells her to “shut the bleep up” The officer also told her to “shut the bleep up or he would put her in the police car.” No one at any time asked her if she was okay or needed medical attention. They were going to let her go, but then decided to charge her, because she did not have the classic petichiael hemorrhaging (in her eyes).

Now this guy has beaten her since week one of them going together. He burned all her clothing after one week. I asked him why, and he said because he loved her. I told my daughter this guy is dangerous. Little by little, the beatings got more and more severe, and when she tried to leave him, he started on my home and my family, robbing our mailbox twice, burning all my daughter’s furniture and whatever clothing she had left, calling my home over and over night and day, calling 911 saying there was trouble here at my home, cops showing up at 2 in the morning to search my home for “trouble.” They finally caught on that he was filing false reports. He was put in jail twice, both times for the charges on us when he violated the restraining orders, etc., and for assault on my daughter.

So she goes back to him when he gets out, and not even a week goes by he is at it again. This goes on until he beats her so severely, a nurse called me at 3 in the morning to tell me my daughter was brought in, unconscious with contusions, etc. He was arrested by the police, let out the same day, no bail, nothing, because they spelled his name wrong and had no background on him (For this I contacted a local congressman with pictures of my daughters battered face). The beatings, the forgiving, the revolving door with her and him went on and on, until he was finally convicted again for a felony with a gun, two counts of assault on a female, etc. He did his year and a half, and a week after he got out of prison, he was back in her life again. She was still getting beaten regularly, breaking and re-breaking bones, and still she kept going back to him, forgiving him.

We had sent her out of state to “start over” away from him, but he kept calling her, and finally sending her money to fly home for “a little while.” Within a week he was beating her so badly, his family had to tell him to stop. That night, he came home, and when my daughter opened the door he pushed her to the ground. My daughter told me that in all the times he beat the hell out of her, she was never as afraid as she was that night. He was punching the hell out of her as he told her he was sending her to Satan. The rest is the sad moment.

I have visited her weekly for the 15 minute visits, and our family and friends write her. It’s a shame that one can’t defend his or her life. She would not have been arrested if he killed her. Yes, she should have stayed away from him. She knew this from the hundreds of beatings. But she was afraid, she believed that he truly loved her, and believed the promises. It is so hard not to have people to share this with. It is like a nightmare that I would welcome awakening from. Thank you for letting me air my thoughts.

By amypollick — On Mar 19, 2011

@daz1234: Have you tried contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline? This is not part of social services, and they know how to help women in your situation get out. Please try giving them a call. The number is: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

By daz1234 — On Mar 19, 2011

I wanted to add something to anon152877. Yeah, there are social networks for abused women. I have contacted all of them. When I call they are full, when I walk in I was told I was young and beautiful you can get a job and get out, we are full. There was no help for me.

I tried for many years but even welfare in California at $330 dollars does not pay for anything. Apartments are at an all time high and 25 years ago they were $800 a month for a dump which I would of live in a garbage can, but I had a little baby not real. There were no agencies there to help me. I tried them all.

By daz1234 — On Mar 19, 2011

I am reading all these posts and they are all the same: my life. But I was never married to my abuser. Why? Because that would give me power: the power to divorce and money to move on. Most of these men know who and what they are.

I have been in this for 30 years. I met a man after I left a marriage to my school sweetheart who joined the Air Force and changed to an abuser. I met this man three years after, and he was wonderful. The kicker is, after a year, I found out he was married with a nine year old son. He told me she was awful and they were separated, soon to divorce. So, stupid me took him back and moved in with him. He controlled my friends, my job, where I went dragged me out of my job. Any new job I got he would call and harass me so I got fired. I left him and he came over and raped me. I got pregnant, and I have to add he said it was someone else's, just to put the kicker of abuse in when he knew it was his. He followed me around everywhere so he knew where I was at all times. He talked me into moving back in with him and we would marry. I don't know where this came from, but the apartment manager said “Honey, get married before you move out.” She knew something I did not. I found out later she had seen him stalking the apartment and hanging around, asking people where I was. So with him still married, I moved back with him.

So I turned into a nag and he called me every name in the book every time I brought up him divorcing. Six months after my daughter was born, I moved out again. But of course he wanted to see her, so I wound up taking care of two households. He raped me again and I got pregnant again. I could not bring another child into this abuse and I was barely getting by so that was my first abortion. I lost my job so I had to move back with him. I was sort of tired of cleaning two homes and his so-called support was always late, if he gave me anything at all.

Two years later, no divorce and more abuse. He beat me, threw me out of cars, hid my car, locked me out of the house and hid my child, so I moved out again. I was still taking care of two households, and he would just walk in my condo promising to change, so no dating. I could not go anywhere or have friends or family anyway, so I was trapped. He was still throwing me out of cars, bounced my head against a car window, cracked all my molars, and I had blood in my eye for six months. My jaw would not open for three weeks. All the while, he was stating he was the best thing that happened to me and I didn't deserve him.

He finally divorced, and talked me into moving in and it was more of the same. So it is 30 years later, I'm still not married, have had two more abortions, and he never gives me money for anything. He calls me every other name you can think of. If I have 5 cents in the bank he will not buy food for the house. My daughter is fine. She graduated from Berkeley and is the one and only reason I stayed. I could not make enough money to get away from him and I knew he would never marry me. So here I sit looking on the web to find out an easy way to commit suicide. I found this site and I know I must be the only person on earth who endured 30 years of this. My mother was killed by my father because she left him for the third time. She was getting married to a very nice man. He killed her and crippled this man for life. Four children's lives forever ruined.

I know this is one of the reasons I put up with this man. I know I cannot get out. He has threatened to kill me so many times, beat me, but oh denies it. I am the crazy abuser. I cannot get a job other than real estate and we all know where that went. If I have any money. it all goes towards food, my daughter and my dog and of course I need things. But of course, I don't pay for anything. I am just a leech. He pays the mortgage for my ugly self to live in, and by the way, my name is not on title of the home. There were signs, oh boy, were there signs. Following you around, controlling your friends, where you work, where you are, your family and friends cannot come over, one because you are so embarrassed at the way he talks to you, but they are a bunch of losers anyway according to him, who he thinks he is god.

It is not OK for a man to call you names. It is not OK to tell you who you can see, talk to or visit. It is not OK to hit. Get out. The abuse does not stop and it is not your fault. You will never change him. Remember, he know what he was before you came into his life. Think about it. He changed, right? No, he was always this way and he knew it; you just didn't know it, but you knew it in your gut. Listen to your gut. It is screaming something is so wrong. Get out before you're 54 years old, still beautiful, still smart, still gentle and wonderful, just beaten up with nowhere to turn. He won't have to kill you. You will want to kill yourself because there is no other way out. Get out now.

By anon155468 — On Feb 23, 2011

I am currently going through a divorce. My husband just got served last month. My situation with him involved verbal and emotional abuse. I didn’t realize how damaging it was until I gave birth to our daughter five months ago. That’s when he decided to show more of his true colors even against my mother and family.

Unfortunately, I love him. I wish the logical side of me would take over and my emotions could feel numb towards him. I hope and wish that eventually this will be the case. I also hope and wish that I will be strong enough to go through with this divorce, especially for the sake of my daughter. I have left him once before and we tried counseling. I thought it was working because there were months where there was no verbal or emotional type incidents but then I became pregnant. That’s when it all started up again, not blatant, but very subtle and then in increments to where it became worse.

He even called me names and cussed me out over something so insignificant in front of our baby. So sad. I feel sorry for him. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I pray I have the strength to rebuild the person I was: optimistic, positive, energetic. Now I feel sad, depressed, unsure, guilty and even question if I am making the right decision. A lot of this stems from him telling me he’s in counseling and wants to change this time, that last time he didn’t really want to, that he knows I’m serious now because I filed for divorce and he will never not take me seriously again.

He tells me he loves me now more than he ever did while we were together. It’s all the things I always wanted to hear but never did. It’s all the things I wanted him to do (assuming he’s really in counseling), but he never did. We only went to a few sessions of counseling and when I mentioned this to him a few months ago and how we had gone, what had happened that he had gone back to his old ways. I asked if he was acting the whole time and he replied, “It got me in and out of there didn’t it?” Another thing he used to say is that words are just words, they don’t mean anything, I should get over the things that he said to me (remember verbally and emotionally abusive) and I wasn’t hurt or bleeding. These are a couple of mild examples. There are other examples I won’t get into.

I hope that I can move on with my life without him complicating it because we have a baby together. The women who have gone on and become happier, I look up to greatly. I wish all of you out there the very best.

By anon152995 — On Feb 15, 2011

I have been married to my husband for six years. We have two children together. They have witnessed a lot of verbal abuse, and not any physical abuse. There has been some physical abuse, but the verbal abuse it the most serious problem in the marriage. He is a very angry person. Extremely hard to please.

I work myself to the bone to try to make things perfect for him, but he always has some complaining to do. I don't know what to do. He always apologizes, he always feels bad. He says he is going to change, but I have really strong doubts about that happening. He tries to control his drinking, and he will be good for a week and then once the weekend hits he cannot control himself.

He likes to start fights when he drinks, and he seems to love to get me worked up and crying and upset. He will criticize my family all the time and even call them names in front of my children.

It is exhausting and draining. I am an easy going, laid back person. I am very easy to live with, yet he likes to add stress to everyone's lives. He seems to like to be angry, and make everyone else upset. It doesn't take much to set him off on a rampage.

I know that I don't deserve to be treated this way. I have two more years until I am done with school, so part of me wants to stick it out with him at least until I will have an education and career opportunities. There have been many nights, though, that I have had to leave the house just so I can study, due to his outbursts.

I don't know what to do. I know that we are not setting a good example for our children, and I know that our children see me cry and scream and it really upsets them. I know that they love their father, and I don't know if I leave him if that will make their lives easier or harder.

I guess when I even have to ask myself that specific question, that should give me my answer. If things were good, I wouldn't even have to ask myself that question. I think mothers and wives are good at being so selfless! Maybe that's the problem! After all, isn't it worse to be a wife but an angry, depressed and a sad Mom--than to be a single Mom but be a happier Mom to your kids?

By anon152877 — On Feb 15, 2011

It's troubling how the majority of women seem to have child after child with men whose goal in life seems to be attempted murder on a weekly basis.

And what's so pathetic and nauseating is how a lot of them are posting here trying to justify keeping the children in harm's way with the men, because 'they were afraid to leave'. You decided to have the kids and then made them live through hell.

Your excuses are endless, and no matter what people say to your face, they're all thinking what miserable mothers you are. Especially the very warped ones, who after escaping, returned themselves and the kids back to the men for rounds two, three or four.

If there were any justice in the world, all these 'mothers' would have their children automatically removed if they chose to go back to their abusers.

Choose the man *or* your children -- simple as that. There are thousands of programs to help women, and there's no excuse except cowardice to stay.

And for those who think I just don't understand: you can't help yourself, you 'love' your abuser. Don't you 'love' your children? --A Strong Woman

By katikus — On Feb 12, 2011

I was slapped and yanked but being bit takes on a whole new meaning of beast and really wondering who you are dealing with. Immense anger, rage, frustration.

By anon151895 — On Feb 11, 2011

I'm so glad to find this, especially about the woman who was bit. I too was bit while holding my seven month old in my arms, as he screamed at me to "put the baby down"

He was a very highly recognized special forces soldier, one of the most elite trained in the U.S. military. He still, to this day, remains the same rank and carries all of the same medals on his chest. He lives almost 4,000 miles away now and he still managed to keep me flat on the ground through the guilt of taking his two children from him – or so he words it.

The guy who changed my tire after the ex sliced my tire in a rental car I used to go see him one last time "to see if it would work out.” As I stayed in a hotel because the visit "didn't work out so good" the guy said wow, isn't he supposed to protect our country but can't protect his own family and children? Yup.

This guy lied to me from the beginning. I became pregnant by him then found out he had been lying to me. He was married. Then he chose to stay with his wife and make me look like the bad one. But dumb me, after three years, he divorced and I took him back only to get pregnant one more time. Then, too late. I found more lies, broke into emails and found silly evidence but instead of coming clean, he called me "psycho." So then, I knew I was in trouble by the way he handled it. My gut told me from early on, after our second round of togetherness that something just was not right. In fact, it told me that things were very wrong.

I pushed the worries away and when I tried to sincerely explain to him my concerns, my lack of trust, my worries, he'd go into this emotional extreme meltdown and some how make me feel bad for my concern. He put me and our oldest girl in danger so many times in the vehicle, it makes me sick thinking about it. He's taken my four year old by the hand and yanked her into his car at 11 at night just because he was pissed at me and wanted to prove a point that he was the daddy. He didn't meet her until she was 2 1/2. So they weren't that "close." She loved me and he hated our bond. He tore me and my child apart, abused me in front of the new baby and let her cry for a solid hour in his arms when she would reach for me. I nursed her so that was her comfort to calm her down. she lived in turmoil as an infant.

I have both my girls now and it's been hell. I left over a year ago, life has gotten a little better but he's mentally played me like I've never seen before. He tells me it's my fault, that I abused him, I didn't love him enough, I didn't give him a chance. He says he blacked out when he bit me and didn't remember. He totally denies another incident when he lied to the cops, he's lied to counselors in front of me. And I can't imagine what he's telling the people where he lives now.

He says my girls will hate me because he loves them and I'm just being vindictive and keeping them from him. I fought back with words, and tore him up. But now I can't silence my brain. I've screamed so much at him and told him so many times how much I've hated him, and wish his car would flip over while he was driving. And the sad thing is that I sort of do wish that. But when i remember the good times, I blame myself and almost believe I'm just hateful and that's why we "didn't make it". that I'm too aggressive and independent and fought back.

Well, I tried to go to school for a certain job that I was trained in while I was in the military but now since this lives in me day in and out and no one understands me now, I am going to school for counseling to work with the domestic violence and PTSD members of the military. I'm going to spend my life putting light on it. I also grew up seeing abuse (by my moms boyfriend) and was told by a counselor that "my memory allowed me to stay" although I stayed less than a year from the first time I was slapped in the face.

I believe in the cycle. His dad was abusive for many years. and its dark, ugly, the devil, and the only way to freedom, is reaching out to your higher power. Mine is to God, and reading the bible has helped me feel so close to God and realize He is with me and will protect me and if I pray to him, he hears my cries. Change doesn't happen today, it happens over time.

So to all, hang in there! Get loans, grants, WIC, assistance, whatever you can to get on your feet, go to school, use neighbors, reduced day cares. Educate your mind and spirit and fight back. My girls and I will win in the end. With true peace and happiness.

By anon151097 — On Feb 09, 2011

My ex-husband beat his first wife. She had him taken to jail and moved out, took everything and filed for divorce before he got out. Strong woman! I used to think that she was stupid, it was her fault anyway right?

He was my best friend, my partner in crime and I so loved him. After a few years of "hanging out," I got him to settle down and we wanted to get married. I should have known when he broke my nose with his forehead how he really was, but he begged me not to say anything to the cops, and promised he would never touch me again. I was young and stronger so I kicked him out. Then I found out I was pregnant with my son, and my family, being very religious, said to marry him. I loved him and we wanted a baby, so I married him. Things were good, for a while. Then, everything became my fault – everything but I still stayed. I put on the Suzy Homemaker face and kept a nice home, did PTA, had two dogs, and even another baby.

Gradually, I lost friends and didn't talk to family as much. He took all my energy and time. Eventually 10 years went by – 10 years – and i had put myself and my children through more than anyone should ever endure. I even started fighting back. I couldn't take it anymore. The last time, he tried to kill me when my children were in the other room. The only thing that stopped him from squeezing the air out of my body was my son pounding on the bathroom door, but not before he bashed my face into the counter. He yelled at the kids, "Look at your Mother! Look at her!" I was crawling out of the bathroom when he stepped on me and then kicked me goodbye with both my children watching. I kicked him out.

He took all the money and left me with all the responsibility, but I was angry. He even went as far to call my parents and tell them that I had "gone crazy" and "needed help mentally" after he beat me. He is so good, my family almost believed him.

I got custody of my children, moved 1500 miles away, had tons of support, good friends, started school and I had a plan. Then I started talking to him again. Our divorce was almost final when I packed up my children and went back to him. Two days after I got there, I knew I needed to leave. He called the police as I was leaving and said I hit him and then hit himself in the face. I got taken away by the police and was put in holding for four hours.

Meanwhile, my ex took the children and hid them from me while his girlfriend threw all my belongings out in the middle of the street. He towed my car, stole everything I had that was worth over $20 and it took me almost seven days to get my children back. I hate myself for going back, for believing he was "better." I still apologize to my children.

I finalized the divorce and my life has gotten a little better while his has gotten pathetically worse. His girlfriend was married to a man who beat her and she left him. Wonder how long it will take before she leaves my ex-husband? She thinks that he was the one who left me and believes he never touched me. It's a sickness and we women need to be treated for it just like the men do. Leaving is hard, going back is so much worse. Our lives are better every day because he is not in it.

By anon136853 — On Dec 24, 2010

I just left an abusive relationship of 21 years and I am truly at a loss. I am married to one of the boys in blue who swore to protect and serve.

Well, he did protect other women from their abusers but no one protected me and my children. I almost went back but I couldn't and won't live that way again. He controlled everything from the type of panties I bought to the bra. If he felt anything was too sexy he cut it up. He took shoes that he thought was too sexy and broke up things when he got angry.

He threatened to kill my older son (who is not his) and my granddaughter. I have had his department issued weapon pointed at me twice because I wanted to leave. He is using the children against me by not having anything to do with them because I won't tell him where I live. He can pick them up from school but chooses not to.

Everything is about if he doesn't know where I live then he's not doing anything. I admit that I worry about him and I still love him and I am so angry that I have been a faithful wife and mother for 21 years and now I have to start all over. He says it's my fault that he hit me and is now telling everyone that I left him for a man because there was no reason for me to go.

So how do you stop loving someone who has treated you crap, and even though you are gone you still feel like crap? There were so many times I wanted to take my own life because I felt that was my only way out, but by the grace of God, I didn't.

So to anyone who has advice, please tell me what wrong with me that I still worry about my abuser and why is it so hard for an abuser to admit that they have abused?

--Lost and Confused

By anon136572 — On Dec 23, 2010

I am a survivor of abuse. My christian partner of nine years emotionally abused me. It got so bad that I questioned my own beliefs. I had no friends, my family looked up to him, I lost my self-esteem, ate to get fat and wanted to die and felt useless mentally and I even started to stutter.

I was passive and left him many times but went back, not for dependence, but because I was told I made my bed and to live it, that he was a good man, I'm sinning if I leave him, it's my fault my relationship is so bad.

After nine years of taking it, I ran away with my two children in the hope he would leave. He didn't and I had to get a restraining order. He left and then came the threats to kill me and our children. He attempted suicide but survived. His parents blamed me for this. They were in denial of his intentions to kill himself for he was raised a Christian. So I ended up helping him into rehab for anger for which the doctor diagnosed him as schizophrenic.

His family took him out of rehab and said he was not mental and that it was my fault. Well, a few months later he called me again to say he was killing himself and wanted to kill me too. I called everyone that day to help him and no one did. I did not call the police because my ex threatened to kill me if I embarrassed him. I blamed myself for his death and so did all his family. Had I not put myself first and unpacked all that I endured I would not be the best mother I can be for my children. It is hard to leave someone especially when you have been told your unworthy or your beliefs crushed.

I am not christian but I do believe in God (love) and with my beliefs I can now live my life for me and my children. There are days when I struggle to keep my balance and you will have this too, but it's such a breath of fresh air to not have the black cloud he kept over me.

You can do it. You can get out. He won't change and you cannot change him, no matter how much he promises you he will, no matter how many times he prays. Love is knowing self, justice, equality (treating you as an equal). If he isn't giving you this, then he doesn't love you. You're not alone and you can survive.

By anon135795 — On Dec 20, 2010

My ex returned to her emotionally abusive ex because he threatened to kill himself. The guy is a raging alcoholic who got two DUI's in the last year, and the most recent one is what got him in big trouble.

She said "he is so depressed and needed to put our relationship on hold" and I guess it doesn't help that his mother has multiple kids with multiple men and doesn't care about him.

I can't believe I let myself get involved with that damaged woman. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have to worry about that guy being in the picture. Good riddance!

By anon133256 — On Dec 09, 2010

My abuser married his lawyer and now continues to abuse me legally. He has manipulated the courts to the fullest extent and even in light of a letter from the county mental health psychiatrist, stating he failed his mental health exam, that he specifically has anger control issues equivalent to death row specifically aimed at me, and that the judge needed to end his ability to drag me to court repeatedly and insist he go to anger management with the state. Yet, the judge still allows this man to drag me to court. This judge did nothing to protect me and my pocketbook and in fact, encourages my ex’s war of legal abuse. Until he finally kills me, it won’t end.

By PaulT — On Dec 06, 2010

Thank you for this article and the posts in this thread.

By PaulT — On Dec 06, 2010

I just found this site during a web search after having viewed the new Eminem music video “I love The Way You Lie”. I was raised in a family with an abusive father. He destroyed everything.

I’ve never been an abuser myself but I’ve watched as women choose abusive men over men who would be healthier for them. I thought that the music video was somehow revealing a great secret that women didn’t want the world to know: that they choose their abusers because of some deep primal need to be overwhelmed and overpowered. There is apparently a scientific study to support this.

But after seeing the personal testimonies of the women on this thread, I’ve changed my mind. Some of the related experiences here are unimaginable, sounding almost like holocaust victims in some cases. It’s just not as simple as “the Cave women deep inside of every women like the abuse.” I wish there were more women in science so we could get away from this ridiculousness.

Looking back, my mother was terrified of my father and that’s why she turned the other way when he was abusing my sisters. He should have gone prison but got away.

It doesn’t matter anymore because everyone’s gone now; all dead, though my sisters survive. We’ve never been able to be a family – connecting with one another just brings back memories of the pain and abuse I was fortunate enough to escape, making me the family red herring. But in reality I didn’t escape.

Now with the economic downturn, women’s shelters are losing financial support in my area.

I’m not sure if I can have a normal, healthy relationship with someone at this point because I’m pushing 50. When you reach mid age you sort of disappear off the radar.

But something in me now cares a lot less about that than about the suffering experienced by the women in this thread. I think I’d like to see how I can help somehow so that the shelters in my area don’t close. It would be devastating if sufferers of abuse would have nowhere to turn.

By anon125448 — On Nov 09, 2010

I left an abusive relationship two months ago and everyday I ask myself why I stayed. Why did I let myself and children live through that. I don't know. My loyalty to him severed me from my family. I chose him over everyone else. I didn't want my children to lose a father and I was afraid to be alone.

I always knew if I walked away and turned my back on him he would disappear from the kids' lives and he has. I knew that because my children having a father in their life was so important to me and he would do that as punishment to me. I thought my children would hate me for it, but they don't because they too, lived in fear of the next time he was mad. They too, have walked on the egg shells that I walked. They too, held their breath and crossed their fingers when he walked through the door each day.

We all tried to be on our best behavior in an effort to not rock the boat. Although I don't know why I stayed, I know why I finally left. Over and over he said he wanted to change. It never happened and I had to break the cycle. My biggest fear became our girls falling in love with a man just like there daddy.

The fear of receiving a call one day that one of my daughters were assaulted because their fear of their husband became greater then the fear of leaving and being alone. Although my girls are only three and eight I knew I was setting the wrong example for them. For their sake, leaving was my only option and so we left.

By amypollick — On Oct 22, 2010

@Anon120761: Please, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800−799−7233. It is toll free and they help people of all ages and backgrounds. They can help you get out. Please contact them.

I'm so sorry about your children's feelings, but I care about you. Please call this number and let these people help you. They know what they're doing. Make the call, then let us know how you're doing.

By anon120761 — On Oct 21, 2010

Sounds like most of you got out in just a few years. I'm 67 years old and have taken the abuse since first married. Raped and badly abused on "honeymoon" ending in pregnancy -- couldn't get an annulment.

Now my kids don't want me. Seems like they blame me after I have spent my life protecting them. I left many times but returned because of fear. Now my health is bad and he makes it worse.

I don't know where to turn. Somebody please help me. I need some assistance like driving to get groceries, because of his abuse since an auto accident. I think the biggest fear is where do you go?

By anon116570 — On Oct 07, 2010

I was more intelligent, better educated and a police woman and yet I still found it exceptionally difficult to leave my ex-husband.

Because we had a child, I was still stuck with him in my life until my son turned 15 and decided he no longer wanted his father in his life. I think it is hard to leave because they turn your minds to mush with their crazy, terrifying rages.

My ex-husband use to 'froth at the mouth' but when you tell people this they think you're exaggerating. Thank God for the Mel Gibson rant tapes because I can now tell people to listen to them and say this is what an abusive man's rages sound like and, yes, you can hear Mel panting and frothing.

Good luck to every woman out there trying to escape from an abusive relationship. Lundy Bancroft's book "Why Does He Do That. Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" is a very useful tool for understanding how they think.

By anon114031 — On Sep 27, 2010

I can really relate to the poster who talked about loving the person you're in an abusive relationship with.

That is exactly how I would describe what I am going through right now. I left my emotionally and physically abusive husband four months ago, and have stayed away, but I still doubt myself terribly. I think it is just human -- thinking of the bad things when you decided to end the relationship, and then later remembering all of the good memories because you are lonely.

I miss having money to spend, I feel jealous of the way the kids favor him (they don't know the abuse was happening and they blame me for the split) and most of all I genuinely miss the "good" parts of my ex-husband. But I try every day to have faith in myself, the one who decided to pack up and move out with four kids -- an incredible feat that proves how strong I can be -- and know that everything takes time. And in time I will heal and be happy again.

By anon110340 — On Sep 11, 2010

I am also an educated 29 year old woman who has finally started the process of leaving my abuser. He was more charming than any man I have ever met; super gifted, and fun! Until Mr. Hyde came out, I would have never suspected that he was going to abuse me.

It started off as verbal abuse: yelling, screaming, chastising me for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. His face would turn bright red and he would literally froth at his mouth and often would spit on my face because he'd be yelling so close to my face. I wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise because I have a fairly quiet voice and his behavior would frighten me.

It progressed. After a couple rounds of him yelling at me like that (did I mention he's also an alcoholic in denial?), the next step was I would try to get away from him to safety. He would then escalate and that's when the physical violence started.

I've had my hair pulled, I've been thrown into the bathtub, I've been bitten all over my back, he especially took joy in licking all over my face and biting my ear and face and then cupping my ear and screaming at the top of his lungs at me. He would pin me down on the bed for hours and I would go into a shut down/panic attack.

One time when this happened, I passed out from asphyxiation and woke up in the shower with ice cold water on me. Somehow in the middle of his rage he realized that he seriously scared me. I suppose it scared him because he was crying and apologizing. I didn't speak for two days or so after that.

He put me in four headlocks and the last time has been the worst. I think that was my final blow. In the week after he acted like he had no remorse for his behavior, and said I didn't have a right to be angry at him, and he deserved human decency.

At this point, I realize he was sick. Perhaps not just neurotic, but sadistically psychotic.

I started talking to friends and family and confessing to what had been going on. We had tried counseling, but this abuser was so keen on twisting everything around to it being my fault, he even went so far as to say I'm abusive of him! Which is absolutely absurd.

He made me so terrified. I can't even begin to go through the number of times I escaped his hands to run half naked down the road in the middle of the night in total dread of him.

His history in a nutshell: Severe mental/physical/emotional/sexual trauma as a child that has not been worked out. his family disowned him about the time i came into his life for reasons unbeknownst to me, and he has a history of drug abuse, alcoholism and screwed up relationships.

By anon106214 — On Aug 24, 2010

is there a possibility that they change with therapy?

By anon103356 — On Aug 12, 2010

I think the majority of women that stay in abusive relationships are housewives and have young children and are financially dependent on their husbands/other.

When they finally realize and see patterns of experiences, their self-esteem has been destroyed and they are an emotional and psychological mess. Many of these women are so embarrassed that they put on an act in front of others, i.e. neighbours, teachers, or anyone else they see in public. Many are too embarrassed to admit the difficult home conditions they live under, or are afraid the husband will embarrass her and insult her in front of her family or friends and she becomes distant from family and friends or doesn't invite them over to visit or husband/other creates negativity about her family members and friends so the woman cuts them off. Too bad, as they are cutting off their support system that could help them out of this abusive relationship.

Many have become modern day slaves to their husbands and kids, and support service to the teachers, doctors and everyone else who needs them for free volunteer duties to make their own jobs easier and so time passes and they have little opportunity of regaining their rightful career place in society again. After all, why would anyone want to employ them when they are miserable, unhappy and lack years of experience and were replaced by younger versions of themselves?

Maybe their husbands threaten to take their children away, especially if their extended family support system is overseas. Emotional abuse is difficult to confirm. We in Canada make it very difficult for abusive women to leave their husbands. Yes, there are some shelters, but what then? Some of these women were successful career people who left their jobs to take care of their young kids, and had a comfortable lifestyle prior to their marriage and were taken in by their husband's comments, "yes honey you should stay home with the kids. It's better for the kids and aren't you selfish for wanting to work and let someone else (then a series of horror stories about babysitters abusing kids in their care) take care of them?" "Their mother is the best person to take care of them," etc. etc. "Don't worry about money. I will pay for it all and you can always return to your old job later." The women are so in love and naive they believe this fairytale. Big mistake. Later is too late to return to the job and financial freedom and many job promotions and advancement opportunities have been lost in the meantime.

Later, the husband starts his verbal esteem lowering methods and it is thrown in the woman's face of how much money he is spending on them and why did the woman stop working and how lucky she is to have him to support her and her kids so she can enjoy staying home and doing nothing, etc., etc.

What abused women need is permanent financial and emotional outside support, not temporary but permanent. Each case is individual and a lot of productivity is lost while these women are withering away and go unnoticed and abuse is passed onto the next generation.

As long as we have chauvinistic attitudes running our country (not citing any particular political party as they are mostly all the same when it comes to women's issues) that don't want to rock the comfort zone of their male compatriots, we will continue to have abusive women/mothers in our society.

Again, women/mothers are trapped because they don't have the financial support or career opportunities or social/family/friends support to leave their abusive relationship and don't think ahead. Girls should be educated that it is not their fault they are in an abusive relationship. This topic shouldn't be a Canadian "dirty, dark secret" but exposed and brought out into the open, that there is nothing to be embarrassed about if the man you once idolized and loved has turned into abuser and holding you hostage (it probably happened in his family) mostly it is not the woman's fault; it is the man's problem.

Girls and boys should have equal opportunities in careers. We seem to have gone backward here. Amen.

By anon92217 — On Jun 26, 2010

Heal and persevere,

You love your daughter, and she you,

She wants you to be happy and feel loved,

But it’s hard when you live in fear and made mistakes,

But that’s OK,

You’re still entitled to decency and a life without fear,

That might be hard to see from where you’re standing,

But it’s the truth, a fact worth saying,

To yourself, every morning.

Many abusive men prey on good women,

They see an easy target and lock-in,

He’s sick, and you can’t help him,

He’s gotta help himself,

You can’t stay with him, he’s poison,

Even if you love him, you can’t stay,

It’s bad for your health, at the end of the day,

If he truly loved you, he’d want you to leave,

To use your strength to move on, to a better life, to decency and peace.

Take heed,

Many women managed to succeed,

In worse situations than you,

Seek their support, they’re there for you,

Someone out there loves you and believes in you,

Even if it’s the hardest thing you ever do,

You’re worth it and you can do it,

It’s the truth.

By anon89862 — On Jun 13, 2010

Been free from the abusive relationship for two years now. Left my abusive ex in 2008. Now he is sending me messages.

At first I kind of missed the attention, but with two years' time of rebuilding my self esteem and strength, I know better now.

I do not want him anymore and really realized how pathetic he is as a man. He is a loser and if I go back to him I will be a loser too. My life is so much better without him.

Women go back to their abusive relationship for a lot of reasons but one of them is dependence on the man. Life is so beautiful if you just learn to be brave. So many good people and better men out there. These losers do not deserve our love, and they will not change. Once an abuser is always an abuser. It will take years of therapy and consultation from experts to help them realize what their problems are.

My advice? Do not go back. Never look back. Good luck to us and stay happy!

By anon86506 — On May 25, 2010

Make yourself pull away. It is his control of you that keeps you there.

Don't feel guilty. He is not the victim, you are.

Run, go far away. Believe there are better men. That abuse never stops, be it mental or physical. Believe that you deserve better, because you do. No matter how much they beg and plead, don't go back. The control is what they are there for. Every time you go back to somebody that has abused you, they have gained more control over you.

God is Love, not a closed fist or controlling action.

By anon86451 — On May 25, 2010

Why can't I pull away? Because he has control. You need to be the one in control of your life, not him.

Can the abuser really change? No, It just gets worse.

Why am I the one who feels sorry for him? Because you have allowed him to become the victim. It's not him that's the victim, it's you. He is the abuser that will only change long enough for you to feel comfortable, then he will do it again.

Don't be confused. Get out quickly and find some professional help, so you won't go back ever again.

By anon86380 — On May 24, 2010

Dear anon86218 or anyone else who has been in this situation.

From someone who has been there. I was in a relationship for over three years that was a lot like what you mentioned. I was always happy when no one else was around.

He was loving and sweet, but no one saw that side; they only saw the part where we argued in public, how i was sad all the time, and that I cried a lot, I was told how to think, feel or act.

I wasn't allowed to hang out with some friends because they posed as a threat. We would fight, over nothing important, and he would hit, hold me down, throw me around and make me feel worthless and then he would cry.

I wouldn't leave. I would feel sorry for him because all of a sudden he became the victim. I tried to leave so many times but it was never for long.

We began going to couples therapy, which would cause more fighting, then i started going alone because he was tired of being the problem in our relationship.

I found an amazing therapist who taught me that it wasn't him who needed to change. It was me. The power I had would always be stronger than what I thought he gave me or that I had with him.

I was able to see how important I am and how my voice was the most important thing to get what I want. Not being selfish but being honest with what really does matter for my life which is and always will be me.

Your friends and family have probably tried telling you or showing you and you have probably done what I did, which was make excuses for him and for your relationship.

You might think you have lost friends but you haven't and in time you will have to find these things out on your own and when you do, you will feel a lift of weight off your shoulders like you have never felt before.

And when you do and you finally get through what you need to grieve for this loss, then your life will be enriched beyond belief.

You have to put you first, you have to know and trust that you are worth fighting for, but you have to do it for you and no one else.

Change your mind. Change your life! -walk on the ocean-

By anon86376 — On May 24, 2010

the abuser does not change. get out while you can.

By anon86374 — On May 24, 2010

anon86218: do not waste your time with this guy. Trust me. I stayed in an abusive relationship for over ten years, gave up my family and friends, did anything to try and make it work out. Nothing, I repeat, nothing I did made him happy. It got violent with him throwing me into walls, stabbing the bed with knives and threatening to kill himself. I won't even go into the verbal abuse.

Every time I tried to leave, he'd tell me he would change, but he didn't, and yours won't either. Leave now before you get seriously hurt.

By anon86339 — On May 24, 2010

I would like to offer some advice to all you women who feel you can't be strong enough to walk away or feel guilty about walking away.

From my experience, it is one of the hardest things you will ever do and need to do. You feel you love them so much and that things will change and get better, but the sad reality is it only gets better for a short period of time and then goes back to the emotional and physical abuse as before and gradually gets worse.

I finally realized my child's life and my life were at risk and I did not want us to be a statistic.

Abusers think and some even believe that, with help they will change, but they never truly do. Some of them don't know any different than to be abusive since they probably grew up that way. Every woman and their children deserve to be treated with respect and love and not abuse in any form.

Please look in the mirror and tell yourself you deserve better, your children deserve better and you are not going to take it anymore and move on to a better chapter in your life. Again, this will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but it will also be the best thing you will do!

Stay strong and realize you are worth so much more and there are good men out there who will love and protect you the way life is supposed to be. Good luck!

By anon86324 — On May 24, 2010

I was married for 25 years and the last 10 years suffered through verbal abuse. I am now celebrating my one year anniversary of my new life free from this situation.

I know how hard it is to leave. You want to make it work; you pray that they will change. It does not happen. They thrive on the control!

You have to believe that you deserve a better life and you can have a better life. I do and the money he made didn't matter. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. If you have children, run don't walk. They know what is going on, even if you believe you are hiding it from them -- don't be fooled.

I no longer cry every day, or look over my shoulder in fear of what just might set him off. Life is a blessing to be enjoyed each and every day without fear. Love doesn't hurt.

By anon86218 — On May 24, 2010

After being physically and mentally abused on and off for the past two and a half years, I continue to go back. He has been in court appointed counseling and says he's back to being the person he was when we first met but yet, right after getting back together, he saw that someone I had dated when we were broken up called my cell, so he broke my phone.

He did buy me a new one but it doesn't change the fact that he still has issues. Why can't I pull away? Can the abuser really change? Why am I the one who feels sorry for him when I break up with him because of his abuse and he cries that he's sorry and that he misses and love me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

At one point, I was so strong. I told him that he had his chance to be with me and as soon as he found out I was dating someone else, he cried and begged and promised to be a great man. He even went as far as to email my Dad and apologize for how he hurt me and the effects it had on my family as well. I'm so confused.

By anon83631 — On May 11, 2010

I have been going eight months strong. I filed charges and had him arrested. he beat me in front of our five year old son. i couldn't subject my child to witness this anymore.

i still cry, and miss him not knowing why, but i stop myself and remember all the bad he has done. today my very best friend, as of this very, very moment, is back with her ex who was mentally abusive, depressed and an alcoholic -- because she wanted her family.

But what she doesn't realize is she is messing her kids up leaving and coming back. she doesn't have the strength to face the world. every time it gets hard she runs back to him. her son is so confused about where he lives because this is the fifth time she has moved in nine months. and she runs back to him every time.

as i watched her today, she made me realize i just can't do it! i refuse to go back. i get happier every day and will make it. i deserve the best, but it's hard to fight the sting of loneliness. but you have to fight it. i don't want to be beaten and scared every day of my life, and i won't! Not anymore!

By anon83276 — On May 10, 2010

I have been in a abusive relationship for six years too long. Just recently he left me, thank God! I am trying to repair my life just knowing I have the love of the Lord looking over me and my children.

The city I live in has a waiting list for women who would like counseling for themselves to help them out of abusive relationships I think that really sucks so many women need who counseling. Only if our government would wake up an see that women and children need that counseling so we can have healthy families right here in United States. Thanks.

By anon81431 — On May 01, 2010

I have been in an abusive relationship for six years. I have five children which are his and have special needs. I have left several times and always end up going back. Why? He calls and says he will not help me financially unless I go back and than he tells me he was only with me for the sex, or that he has found someone better looking who appreciates him.

I am (and everyone says I am) attractive. He is 48 years old and I feel like a loser, like this is my fault alone, depressed, confused and need the strength to stop going back. Does anyone know why I go back? --Sexy1515

By anon75163 — On Apr 05, 2010

I am the child of an abusive relationship, where my mother decided to stay with my father all of my life.

I am telling anyone here right now that the damage you do to your child by giving them an abusive parent, rather than an absent parent, is far, far worse.

Please do not let your children live with an abusive parent.

By anon75153 — On Apr 05, 2010

Love flows freely. Trust is of the Divine. Until a man or woman love Jesus they do not know how to love or what love is. Sex is an act, love is a commitment. God is love he alone gives the increases via His Son Jesus. The peace is removed from the earth now. The restraint off the conscience, right from wrong on those unsaved. Revelation 6:6, 2 Thess. 2: 7. God will let until He, the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way.

One is either of God or Satan now. God would not send a believer in Jesus an unsaved man now. Must be equally yoked both going the same way with God in the center. Read the word. Pray for comfort.

God does not hold you to a relationship, marriage, if unequally yoked. God will see you through. Trust in Jesus, His Son. No man or woman is worth spending eternity in Hell. You are the company you keep. Walk away now. God Bless

By anon74731 — On Apr 03, 2010

To all involved in an abusive relationship: if you ever have the chance, please leave and never look or go back.

I too, was married to an abusive husband at the age of 18 years old and I stayed for five years. Thank God I didn't have children. I was pregnant two times but had abortions due to the fear of raising children by him.

I am a nurse now and doing well for myself. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and four children. I pray that God's angels are encamped about all of you in those type of relationships and that you are safe.

If someone loves you they will not hurt you. Remember that hurting people hurt people. Please get help and leave ASAP.

By anon74306 — On Apr 01, 2010

I live with a man who beats me up repeatedly, and is angry, agitated, and blames me for his bad temper. The irony is that both of us are highly educated professionals, we move in 'liberated, progressive' circles. Earlier, I thought it would end; that he was only temporarily frustrated... but it never ends. Yesterday he slapped me over some irritability I showed, and poured water over my face... and he considers that I have abused him equally... by my attitude, my stubbornness... i have tried leaving before, but I returned. My own history is that I was sexually abused as a child by my family members, and I am not close to them. Also, I am unable to have penetrative intercourse--this is a reason for more frustration. My husband is supportive of this part immensely; there are many layers of deep friendship between us, there is also this abuse.

I don't have any support structure as such. I am too tired to take any action now. I keep asking God to give me strength. My husband refuses to visit any doctor etc. In some ways, I am waiting for my life to end.

By anon74154 — On Mar 31, 2010

I am a male victim of domestic violence and I know it's hard to not to go back. My girlfriend had a number of problems including drug abuse and mental health. I had her arrested after the fourth attack (only reported the first and last) and I'm still waiting for the court to do something a year later.

Protective and restraining orders mean nothing when they are not enforced. What most women don't know is that 38% of victims are men; this number is supported all around the world. Many believe it is more like 50% but men are silenced by shame. I was after the first attack, Victim's Advocate made me out to blame: what does "advocate" mean anyway? The police laughed at me so I didn't call anymore.

Just to let you know I'm a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) person and can defend myself very well; this is why I only have scratches on my face and cut-up hands. I don't fight outside of a ring and will never hit a woman, ask my ex-wife. I've watched in court the bias judges have when dealing with men and women in these cases. I have a friend now and she keeps going back to a mentally abusive man. I fear he will go to the next level at some point. He is a MMA Pro fighter and she is also a black belt. It will not end well and I have told her so. All of her ex-boyfriends have been abusive and she keeps finding new ones. Why? I don't know, my ex-wife (who is my best friend) says it's because they think they deserve it. I don't understand that but I believe it and that's sad. I went back out of pity and love but that eventually wore off. Never again will I trust people like that, very sad.

By anon71399 — On Mar 18, 2010

I have just gotten out of an abusive relationship in the last week. This isn't the first time I have tried to leave him but I'm hoping I have the strength to let this be the last.

With all that he has done to me and all that he has put me through it should logically be easy to walk away, but it's not. It is the most difficult thing I have ever endured.

Women who have never been in an abusive relationship can never understand why you stay and I can admit that before him I told myself I would never let that happen to me. That all flies out the window when you love someone who loves to hurt you.

I've tried to justify the things he has done, I have covered up the things he has done, lost friends, and lost a lot of respect for myself. Abusive men really break women. I could go into stories about things he has done, but we all have those stories. The worst part of it all is how charming, sweet, and romantic someone abusive can be. It's amazing how persuasive they can be.

I know that I deserve better though, and I hope through time I will be able to move on and move forward with my life. And I can honestly say reading stories about other women going through what I am when I have the strong urge to run back to him has really been helping me.

My next step is to seek some counseling. Friends keep telling me I am doing so good and they are proud of me but right now I really don't feel like there is anything to be proud of.

By anon70899 — On Mar 16, 2010

I am a muslim woman breaking free from an abusive relationship of 15 years. He has destroyed me mentally, physically and financially. I will never be the same but I have grown immensely as a person and as an individual. I have a voice now.

I struggled every day and wound up getting into another abusive relationship. it started out the same way, but every time I tried to get out, he wouldn't let me.

I was trapped once again and started to believe i was all those bad things he said I was and did. In all of this I still sit here and worry about him and I don't understand why. I don't understand why I am like this. I am stronger now and finally put a stop to this and he is now behind bars yet I am reliving the ordeal every day. it is a nightmare.

By anon65469 — On Feb 13, 2010

I left six months ago and he's contacted me twice to get me to go back. Both times he was angry and blaming at first and then sad and desperate saying he was on medication, depressed, etc. and telling me he woke up crying because I wasn't there anymore.

People tell me to change my e-mail, etc. but they don't understand how responsible I feel and how much I still worry (when I'm not hating him that is).

I still feel so guilty for leaving but the truth is that I'm doing better than I was. I cry much less and my nerves are getting better, and I see my friends now. I've even taken up salsa and it's great fun. He would never have let me do that. I had to face the fact that he was not who I wanted him to be, and giving up my dream was the hardest part but now I'm getting a new dream and it's all my own.

By anon58369 — On Jan 01, 2010

My sister finally left her abusive controlling husband after 27 years, but after a year of living in woman's shelters and finally controlling anxiety attacks, she feels compelled to seek a relationship. In doing so she is chatting on-line with strangers in another country.

Recently she took off to the states (we are in Canada) and intends to meet several of these "men." We could not talk her out of it! We have no idea where she is now! Why would a woman with a past history of abuse want to seek a relationship with strangers she feels she know over the internet, placing herself in danger, and only a year after leaving her abusive, controlling husband?

Her adult boys are upset. We as her sisters are very upset and confused, after supporting and helping her all year to be rewarded with this? Help any thoughts to help us understand her?

By anon55607 — On Dec 08, 2009

thanks for posting this. this really helped me for my essay for college.

By anon55017 — On Dec 03, 2009

I too am going through a domestic abuse separation and it is extremely hard. You know what the right thing and logical thing is, but it's like you are being pulled back in.

I went wrong in my situation by opening the lines of communication up after I left. It is a continuing struggle that I am on a mission to win. I recommend support from family/friends as well as counseling.

By anon54799 — On Dec 02, 2009

My niece is currently in an abusive relationship, with three little girls.

We live in KY in a small town. She has tried to leave a few times but he is the nephew of the ex- sheriff in our town and he is supported by the small court system. I wonder is there a way to beat this.

She is a very timid woman. He has thrown cooking flour in her face slaps her and chokes her. He is so mean and there should be a way to help her, so she can get out before it's too late. I feel he will eventually try to steal her girls or kill her.

By anon53712 — On Nov 23, 2009

I'm currently in an abusive relationship,don't know what to do to get out. He threatens to kill me, and he says he can't live without me. but I want out even though i love him. but i know i'd rather be alone than always feeling miserable.

By anon53536 — On Nov 22, 2009

i have just left an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. and i am slowly rebuilding myself with support from friends and family. my life is much better without him and i don't worry anymore.

it has taken a lot from me inside but i have realized all the faults in his character, and i will never take him back. this type of relationship is very draining. The man i was with was very controlling over everything i did -- even my phone number. He took me for granted. i never listened to anyone and loved him too much to leave. i developed a strong emotional attachment to him.

i am a strong, educated women coming from a good background spiritually, financially etc. Domestics can happen to anyone once a relationship is established and there is genuine care involved.

i did not think this would happen to me but really, after the first signs i should have left and never returned. if i knew anyone else who was having this type of relationship i would tell them that: if it happens once it will give him the opportunity to do it again, and it will only get worse. god bless.

By anon51670 — On Nov 08, 2009

What people who haven't been in an abusive relationship don't get is that you love this man. So your logic takes over at some point and you leave for sanity and safety and the children.

You still love him- the way a wife loves a husband. These memories are pushed pretty far back after the outside wounds heal. You never wanted that to happen and so you get past it -- like childbirth pains. I have been separated for three years and go back and forth in my mind: could we make it work? Of course my family says no, and the thought that they would cut me off makes me think twice but it hurts that they can't understand how you could love someone after that.

I think the hardest part isn't leaving. It is moving on and not feeling responsible for his life falling apart, being cold to someone you love.

By anon48184 — On Oct 10, 2009

i don't have a comment but i do commend the women that made the effort to leave their partners. my question is how can you be there for someone that is going through physical abuse? i encouraged her to get out but she makes excuses why she should stay. This has been going for a number of years. the abuser stops for awhile but then he starts up again. in the last incident her life was threatened and she still chose to stay in this. right now i am upset with her because she listens to nothing i say or the family says. her only defense is defending him. everything that comes out of her mouth is protecting him. i love her to death and don't want to cut off my relationship with her. i really want to be a help to her without cutting family ties. we are family and if no one else is there family should be. oh and i failed to say that she wishes the family would stay out of her business. please help with advice or suggestions! thanks, dcg

By anon42666 — On Aug 23, 2009

These abusive men are so amazingly charming that you don't even see the manipulation happening! Then when you start to see it, you start to question is this really happening? This can't really be happening! Can it? I'm such a good person. Why would he do this to me? You start to question yourself and it becomes hard to separate reality from what you thought was the truth! I was trained by the YWCA to help domestic violence victims and yet I became one myself. I have lost most of my lifelong friends during these past 4 years! I have done everything I can to try and make the marriage work but it took me all of this time to finally get to the actual final divorce stage because he always gave me a reason to believe that our marriage would one day be happy! He took anger management, we went to couple's communication classes and he started counseling! My biggest advice to any woman in this situation is to follow your intuition! (it always knows the truth!) It is there to protect you! He had *huge* debt that he neglected to tell me about before our marriage and now I'm financially screwed! I've finally realized though that I'd rather be alone in financial hell but with peace within than financial hell and no peace at all! Love, Strenth and future smiles to all!

By anon39798 — On Aug 04, 2009

There is a national toll free hotline number that anyone who is in a domestic violent relationship can call and get help. 1-800-662-1220. i work in a DV counseling agency and we can help with custody, orders of protection, counseling, emotional support, and help direct people to the right places for assistance.

By cuntryjoy — On May 20, 2009

I am in an abusive marriage for 18 years now. I married at 17 without graduating and was never allowed to work. I want to start my life new at the age of 35 but do not know where to start. My mother will not help me by letting me and my daughter stay with her because I had gone back to my husband in the past. Living in a small town we do not have all the resources. Here any advice would be greatly appreciated.

By anon29090 — On Mar 26, 2009

There are also many cases in which men are the abuse *victims* and women are the abusers in the relationship, especially where the abuse is verbal, emotional, and manipulative (and sometimes physical too). Are there any organizations for men to turn to if *they* are the victim?

By mishycee — On Jan 01, 2009

This article is a very good representation of what happens to victims of an abusive relationship. I am finally at the end of my struggle of leaving my abusive relationship. It was 3 years of living with my ex and the physical move was easy, but I have struggled for 2 years to separate emotionally from him. It is extremely hard to see the control and manipulation while you are surrounded by it, and once you are able to see it, that is just the first step in the long journey. I could see and knew the way he treated me was wrong but would justify, and make excuses why I needed to remain in contact and continue to deal with the abuse. My best advice to anyone going through this is to let people help you, listen to yourself because if you think it is wrong or it is making you upset or sad then it is, and in order to be able to detach completely you will have to isolate yourself from him. By not engaging in contact you will be able to listen to yourself and figure out how you truly feel and analyze the reality of the situation. I stopped talking to him with confidence and truly believing that I deserve better.

By anon18586 — On Sep 25, 2008

This is very educating. I always wondered why women dealt with abuse emotionally and physically. I have been guilty of saying I would never...but I see that the abuser has broken them down and then knows what to say to build them back up to believing his lies and that there is actually love. I work with Domestic Violence as a Social Worker and this article has helped me a lot. Thanks.

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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