The Vagenda

My Husband Emotionally Abused Me


Three weeks ago I came to the realisation that I have been emotionally abused by my husband.  It wasn’t such a smack-in-the-face realisation – I guess I have known something pretty fucked-up was going on all along, if I’m completely honest.

At my lowest point, a few weeks ago, having been told to “go fuck yourself you moron” for ‘deliberately slamming’ a door, I turned to my favourite companion in times of distress – good old t’internet.  I was amazed and comforted to find so many websites and forums with plenty of women (and some men) describing exactly what I was going through, and the term that was applied was ‘Emotional Abuse’.  Being able to put a name to what I had been experiencing was a huge relief.  I wanted to run through the streets shouting “See!  I wasn’t crazy!  I was being abused!”

You see, I had actually been questioning my own thoughts, reactions and even sanity because he made me feel as if his behaviours were completely justified and that my reactions were always exaggerated.  He had royally shat on my self-esteem.

So I wanted to share some of behaviours I experienced, partly as a form of catharsis and also to flag up some of the features of Emotional Abuse – perhaps they will ring true with some readers who will now be able to put a name to what they are experiencing.

Constant criticism

This usually revolved around a) my clothes – I don’t like to have loads of useless shit in my wardrobe I never wear and I don’t see the point of spending half my salary on clothes.  Yet he made me feel as if I had no self-respect because I didn’t like to go out and buy ‘decent’ clothes on a regular basis.  Yet even when I started buying clothes in shops he approved of, he would find fault.  Then there was b.) my contribution to housework – even though I was the one getting up at five thirty every morning to go to work while he was not working, and I would come home to do the shopping and cooking every evening, it was simply never enough.  He complained that I never opened the curtains in the morning… “Yes, darling, because it was still dark outside when I left for work and you were fucking SLEEPING!” And c.) my dangerous ice-cream desires – yes, he had a thing about ice-cream.  Sometimes I fancy an ice-cream. More than sometimes in the height of summer.  I’m only human for fuck’s sake.  Yet he would usually be disapproving and complain about how ‘fattening’ ice-cream is and then I would feel like a greedy cow for wanting it so much, by which time it was too late.

Unfair accusations of cheating

One evening he told me that a friend had shown him irrefutable evidence that I had been cheating on him.  Tonight was my last chance to confess, he said.  I denied everything but the pressure he put on me about this ‘evidence’ made me question my own sanity.  Had one of his friends seen me kiss someone goodbye and assumed I was cheating?  Perhaps I had actually kissed somebody and blanked it from my memory??  In the end, when he refused to show me the ‘evidence’ I started to suspect he was making the whole thing up.  I finally discovered that he had read my diary and found an excerpt in which I described a dream I had about cheating.  Even though the heading on the page clearly said ‘dreams’ and other dreams were described, he had been convinced of my unfaithfulness.  I actually left him for three days following that episode.  I was in shock at his behaviour and how easily I’d been manipulated.  When we spoke he found ways of justifying his behaviour and turned everything around by saying I had abandoned him and my reaction was exaggerated.  When I look back at this episode I feel like a first-class fool for going back to him.


This one is particularly fucked-up.  The name of this type of manipulation comes from the film ‘Gas Light’ (1944) in which a husband attempts to manipulate his wife’s sense of reality in order to convince her that she’s insane.  The most blatant example of this happened a few weeks ago.  My husband said “Get me a coffee.”  There was no ‘could you’ or ‘please’ and the tone of voice was aggressive so I told him to get it himself.  He then became furious, insisting that he had asked me very politely and that I had over-reacted, as usual, and that my feminist ideas were making me crazy.

Not letting me react

Whenever he was hostile to me and I tried to defend myself or give an explanation, he would suddenly shout “Don’t raise your voice at me!” and turn everything around to focus on my ‘over-reaction’ to the situation rather than what had actually happened.

I could go into so much more – the jealousy, possessiveness, becoming frightening when angry, disapproving of friends, refusing to see a marriage counsellor (because I’m the only one with a problem) – but I reckon you get the picture already.

I am totes against victim-blaming but I do feel like I am responsible for allowing this to happen.  I Iet him control and emotionally abuse me.  I narrowed down my social engagements and hobbies.  I changed my style and started buying clothes in shops I knew he approved of.  I started to seek approval for even the smallest things.  I realise I wasn’t able to do or buy anything without checking that he liked it first.  I chose to ignore the voice inside that knew he was a controlling sonofabitch.

And so I ask myself: how did I, a Vagenda-reading feminist, allow him to treat me like a piece of shit?  Why didn’t I leave him after the crazy-diary-cheating episode?  Why didn’t I just buy the bloody Ben & Jerry’s?  First of all, I was (am?) so co-dependent that I simply couldn’t imagine living without him.  Whenever we had arguments and I felt like I was going to ‘lose him’ my anxiety and depression reached suicidal levels.  And I never told him (or anyone else for that matter) that I was feeling suicidal because I didn’t want to look like an attention-seeker.  So I just sucked it up and felt so relieved when we ‘made up’ that I just overlooked his awful behaviour.  Second of all, my self-esteem was so low that I believed that being with someone so strong and direct would ‘improve’ me somehow.  And thirdly, babies. I feel like I need to have a baby yesterday, but it just doesn’t make sense… I mean, I work with pre-school kids and I wouldn’t want to take any of them home with me!

What tipped the balance?   “Go fuck yourself you moron.”  Something inside snapped when he said that to me.  When he came to bed that night I pretended to be asleep but was trembling inside.  I could feel so much hatred emanating from him that I really thought he was capable of assaulting or even killing me.  I didn’t sleep at all out of fear.  The next day we met in a café and I told him I wanted him to move out of the flat (I’m paying for) he exploded in a barrage of insults, listing my faults and inadequacies including my favourite line of all: “You’re not fit to work with kids because you’ve had depression and a sexually-transmitted infection!”  Really?  Did I really marry this piece of work?

But he did move out and, despite playing the victim now, has not been causing any trouble so far.  More importantly, I feel FREE!  I cried a lot in the first week and developed a nasty bout of stress-related eczema but now I am healing inside and out.  I feel like I am rediscovering who I am and what I like and want.  And I realise how ‘lost’ I had become in the relationship.

It hasn’t even been a month since we separated and perhaps it is a bit odd writing all this in the past tense when it is still ‘happening’.  I do feel like an idiot for allowing the Emotional Abuse to continue but also proud and grateful that I was able to remove myself from the worsening situation.  I know I have a lot to work on and the future both scares and excites me.


95 thoughts on “My Husband Emotionally Abused Me

  1. It takes a lot of strength to leave someone who has emotionally abused and manipulated you. The undermining behaviours you describe have a massive impact on self esteem. Please don’t blame yourself in any way. You are stronger than you realise.

    • I am in a similar (or I should say, identical) situation, the only difference is the abusers are my parents and an elder sister. I asked my friends for help (women who are successful in their careers and marriages). I said explicitly “emotional abusive family”, with details of what they have done to me; Ironically they did NOT believed in what I’ve said! To add insult to injuries, they have connected with my abusive family. What’s most brutal is what kind of “help” that they offered: “They are your family after all, don’t treat them as your enemies. It’s fine to move out now, after everyone calms down, go back to them, they love you!”. And from a cousin when I said I am scared and shivering because my dad has booked a flight to see me. He responded with “As I said, you do not have to suffer from such consequences, only if you took my advice to communicate with your family.” I am so lonely because I am fighting a (losing) battle on my on, it’s chaotic. Friends thinks I am immature and insane. Organizations do support women in domestic violence, sexual and physical assaults, but NONE OF THEM CARED ABOUT EMOTIONAL ABUSE!

    • I feel dead inside. Only married a year. Husband has raging temper, finding imperfections in me everywhere, I try to improve, then the goal post changes. I don’t see everything the same way as him. He behaves badly I must ‘make up with him’. He can swear at me, shout and intimidate, nothing he does is wrong apparently. I suggest marriage counselling. He goes mad: apparently I am the root cause of all
      Our problems. Today he says I have been a waste of three years and I said what do you want. A divorce he says. Why do I feel so low? He has been treating me so poorly for so long. Yet my heart cracks as all I want is for things to get better. I accept I can improve. I just wanted him to recognise he can hurt me too. Yet he says I deserve it. Any help. Thank you.

      • Wow, this sounds a lot like my situation, but I have been married since 2001 and I have a 12 year old son, who hears his dad call me moron, and every other name he can think off. My husband has everyone thinking I’m a bad mother, that I’m abusing him (because I fight back) and that I’m
        “mentally ill”, evil, lazy ( because I now have social anxiety disorder, depression and PTSD, and I can hardly leave my home. I have no money now, the bank account is and always has been his name , he told me its “his money”, and he is an alcoholic when he drinks which is usually every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. He has the car all the time, but tells me to “get a job like a normal wife”! He tells everyone he knows that I’m horrible and he blames me because his son is afraid of him! (His son saw him hit me once!) and he hears the mean things he calls me and the sarcasm and nasty attitude.
        He had an affair that turned my life upside down, he told me to “get over it) and he got arrested for drinking and driving .
        He does pay all the bills now that I’m so messed up, and I have no where to go, no job, car or money. And his son loves him but he’s a nervous wreck. He says things about me to my son and under his breath, but my son can hear them. He says things to get me upset, then tapes me! I will never get better living with him, and my son is such a great kid and should not have to deal with this. I’m stuck ! Completely stuck!

      • Hi there,
        I am in exactly the same situation so totally understand. My husband and I have been married s year and together 3 he says he is going to try and get the marriage annulled and in the last argument if he stayed it would only be out of pity. I’ve let him stay I didn’t/don’t want him to go.
        I have decided to strengthen my social circles, make new friends as I don’t have any, get a new job so I’m earning enough to look after myself. I’ve started yoga which I find helpful. My husband has used and emotionally abused me for Sao long and system the perfect husband in public. He is supposed to be adopting my 13 year old son on 11th December is the final hearing. I don’t want to let my son down, but if I allow the adoption to go ahead he’ll be let down and the abuse will continue. I need to put the heating off until after Christmas.
        Please plan and do as much as you can so you have support when you get rid of this manipulative man. We have been used and manipulated . So use a couple of months so you know you’ll have things to do and people around you and the strength you need to never go back. If you’re strong enough leave now.

    • I too am a victim of emotional abuse.. I’m suffering daily from severe depression and anxiety and nervousness.. I am literally a different person during the day, or anywhere away from him…
      We he comes home I just feel the stress and tension in my whole body..
      He makes me cry almost every day and our daughter 14, sees me crying and is embarrassed if her friends are over, then he YELLS at me more to stop crying!! He blames everything on me!!!
      I cannot take it anymore, I don’t want to live.. I don’t work so therefore I have no where to go.. And he knows this and definately uses it to his advantage to control and emotionally destroy me..

      • This story sounds so too familiar, I’ve been a victim of emotional along with physical abuse for 17 years. I’m looking to finally get out of this horrible but it’s very very difficult. We have children, we have shared bills along with a history together. I feel bad for
        My children , they suffered the most over the years. Being exposed to any type of abuse takes it’s toll on you mentally and physically. I pray that my family along with everyone here on this site will be ok, be strong !!! xoxo

      • Hi
        I get the same kind of thing at home. Everything is my fault. When I try to talk he says im shouting and yet he shouts at me to shut up when I do talk. He threatens me saying if you say another word I will cancel this that and that other. And today has not given me the car key as says anyone who shouts at me will not get the key….yet I tried to talk to him. I asked for the car key so I could get home but he wouldn’t so now I will walk the 40 mins home after work in the dark because of this. I am tired and all I ask him for is intimacy but tells me he doesn’t want to give it to me because I moan at him and am mean and that if I want anything then I Need to learn to be nice. Even though it was me who raised that I’m feeling there is lack of intimacy and tried to talk to him about it but it all came down on me about why I don’t deserve it. I’m dying inside. Are you still with him?

      • Leslie,
        Empower yourself. Start looking for work, you can do it! … Start now, could be a part Tim job, a job in a school. Start to gain some independence. If you can’t get out of this now, start empowering yourself so you can in the future. As for your teenage daughter…. That’s teally upsetting to hear that her friends see this too. You very clearly need more support. Can you talk to a doctor? Attend groups in your area. I’m so sorry, I don’t usually respond to these threads but yours struck a cord in me. Start building a life you want to have, small steps, a hobby, a job. I think it’s probably a good idea to have a discussion with your daughter in private where you acknowledge that this also affects her and you are working on it. She surely must see what’s happening. It would be good to reinforce that being treated in such a poor manner is not normal and shouldn’t be accepted. You can get strength from knowing that the example starts with you. Empower yourself. Baby steps first. Alternatively, do you have family that could help, I’ve, stay with them and get back on your feet. Our deserve a happy life, maybe this guy is not the one that can give it to you. It’s just a case of how long it’s going to take you to come to your decision.

    • Wow, this sounds a lot like my situation, but I have been married since 2001 and I have a 12 year old son, who hears his dad call me moron, and every other name he can think off. My husband has everyone thinking I’m a bad mother, that I’m abusing him (because I fight back) and that I’m
      “mentally ill”, evil, lazy ( because I now have social anxiety disorder, depression and PTSD, and I can hardly leave my home. I have no money now, the bank account is and always has been his name , he told me its “his money”, and he is an alcoholic when he drinks which is usually every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. He has the car all the time, but tells me to “get a job like a normal wife”! He tells everyone he knows that I’m horrible and he blames me because his son is afraid of him! (His son saw him hit me once!) and he hears the mean things he calls me and the sarcasm and nasty attitude.
      He had an affair that turned my life upside down, he told me to “get over it) and he got arrested for drinking and driving .
      He does pay all the bills now that I’m so messed up, and I have no where to go, no job, car or money. And his son loves him but he’s a nervous wreck. He says things about me to my son and under his breath, but my son can hear them. He says things to get me upset, then tapes me! I will never get better living with him, and my son is such a great kid and should not have to deal with this. I’m stuck ! Completely stuck!

  2. This is a brave and wonderfully written account, thank you for writing this. I am going to share this widely. The way it’s written will appeal to many survivors of emotional (and other) abuse. I haven’t been abused by a spouse, but had a friend treat me in this way, causing me to doubt my mental health, myself, and those around me. I too feel stupid that I allowed it to happen, that I, as a woman who reads feminist websites daily, would let myself be abused by a female friend. But it happened, and the abuser is to blame, not you.

    This piece is direct, brutally honest and will help many. Thank you.

  3. You are not responsible for your own abuse. He manipulated you and made you feel unsafe specifically so he could control you and prevent you from leaving. He learned how to trigger your insecurities and used that to take advantage of you. You are not responsible.

    • I’m overwhelmed right now and believe I’ve been emotionally abused on and off for the better part of 8 years. I wasted my time. I was told nasty things because I felt my ex was too intoxicated to drive and i left because I wasn’t taking the chance. He even went as far as saying some chick was all.over his shit but instead he’s wasting time on me. Seriously, I don’t talk to him like that. But then when I’m talked to like that, I say equally hurtful things back because I’m in so much pain. The problem is I’m suicidal right now because of this. I haven’t slept. What do I do? :(

  4. Wow. You just described my life, but I haven’t snapped yet. :(( if you can do it, maybe I can get the brass bosoms to go as well.,

    • I feel stuck he’s says I’m controlling its my fault he won’t listen to my side he never goes out says he doesn’t cause I would say something which I never have I cant get my point across at all all I seem to be doing is crying he gets cruel when I cry I don’t know what to do……..

  5. Thanks Nora. I experienced something very similar, though I wasn’t married to him. I didn’t think I was in an abusive relationship because he didn’t hit me. Emotional scars run deeper though. I’ve been free for a while, but it took a good year to remember who I was. But it’s good to have ‘me’ back. Thanks for sharing.

    If anyone reads your article and recognises the behaviour but is too scared to leave, please leave, it’s scary, but being free is amazing. You deserve better. No one should be scared.

    Sending you love, Nora.

  6. *APPLAUSE* your bravery and self-awareness in getting out of this while in the thick of it is immense. On a lower level than this, I have experienced the same abuse and the deep-seated self-doubt (and in my case obsession with my weight) implanted by the relationship lasted for several years afterwards, but I did get over it. It’s so easy to believe, but don’t blame yourself. You’re a bloody hero. You are fit for ANYTHING.

  7. Sending love! It is so good to hear that you realized and named his behaviour and that you took steps to end the relationship and free yourself from the abuse. The type of abuse you describe is unfortunately all too common and many women are just trained to accept it as normal. You have made the right decision and your fellow feminists support you. Wishing you all the best on your journey to healing.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story <3 That's an awful thing to realise but at the same time now you've got him out of the house and as you said can start your healing process. It might take a long time and sometimes you might feel like you're going backwards but if you're ever in doubt, reread your own blog and remind yourself how strong you are for getting out of that situation. All the best xxxx

  9. Don’t feel silly writing this at all, be proud of what you’ve written. I admire your courage, whilst I’m not going through anything like you have, I am going through a tough time at the moment – health wise. It makes me remember that others are suffering too, in very different ways sometimes and it’s nice for me to find strength through yours in this post. You got away from the abuse! well done i’ts a very hard thing for some people to do, you are a brilliant example out there for all the men and women suffering from all kinds of abuse. I just hope there are others out there like yourself who read this and think.. well why can’t I do that and get away ? He sounds like an awful person, and you sound amazing! I am a new reader and will be reading more from now on :)

    once again. Congrats and and enjoy finding yourself :)
    Jamie xox

  10. I can totally empathise with everything you have spoken about here. I was in a relationship like this and justified it with ‘well at least he doesn’t REALLY Hit me’. Sex with him was horrific and rarely wanted and is an area in which i still have issues 7 years later.
    Up until I sought counselling I thought this was a ‘normal’ relationship as it was all I’d ever witnessed, both friends and family. It can be a long and torturous journey at times once you have made the break but filled with beautiful moments of realisation and freedom which I for one will forever cherish now. I wish you great happiness on this journey, you wholeheartedly deserve it xxx

  11. I wish you so much luck with your future. I had a similar relationship where I pretty much gave up my life to appease his paranoia – never saw friends, didn’t get to visit family unless he was there, as he always thought I was cheating. We stopped going out to eat because he would think I was looking at other men (even when I was looking for my food coming out of the kitchen, I love food and get very impatient when I have to wait for it!). It was even a struggle to watch TV because if an advert or programme came on with an attractive man, he would nastily accuse me of looking – erm yeah, I’m watching TV so I am looking!

    It took physical abuse for me to eventually kick him out (did I mention he’d pretty much moved himself into my house because he didn’t trust me?). I wish I’d done it sooner, of course, but I don’t blame myself for it. I was trying to help him, but all the love in the world often isn’t enough to heal someone.

    Your future will be scary and exciting, but hopefully much more of the latter. I really appreciate you sharing your story, and wish you lots of happy times. With ice cream and the clothes you want to wear! x

  12. Thank you so much for writing this. For years I had been convincing myself I was just a terrible girlfriend to an ex and thats why his behaviour was so abusive towards me. The hatred of me seeing my friends to the point of ultimatums guaranteed to see me home with him instead, or the vitriol he would spew if I decided to have a bottle of wine in the evening, the stupid rules that only benefited him and would cause outbursts if broken, nothing I did was ever good enough… I thought as someone who had been in a physically abusive relationship before I would recognise the signs and get out of there, but because this type of mental torture is much more subtle than a punch in the face I was convinced I was a terrible person who was undeserving of his love.. I am so happy that you found the strength to leave him & can acknowledge that he abused you. Its easy to be consumed by guilt & feeling it was your fault- thats natural considering how much your own thoughts were manipulated against you- take control of your thoughts again and make them positive. Let yourself heal and come back to yourself.
    And again, thank you for giving me something back I hadn’t realised I’d lost.

  13. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you’ve escaped. I had a similar experience too (scary how many of us have, isn’t it) but luckily I didn’t marry him. Enjoy being yourself again, eat all the ice cream you want, and good luck x

  14. You are not responsible for his treatment of you. Please don’t think yourself an idiot. You didn’t say “hey, I give you permission to control and abuse me”. It is not your fault.

    Well done for telling him to move out. Be extra kind and gentle to yourself as you start to heal and move on with your life.

  15. I could not be more proud of you.
    Several members of my family, and more recently a very good friend, have all endured this sort of ‘relationship’. I too, though it took me a while to realise it, was in this sort of ‘relationship’ too once upon a time. I thought, because I had seen it I would be able to recognise it and walk away if it happened to me – I did eventually. And even though I felt awful at first I learner that these things don’t happen because we are weak, but because they are. The partners that do this are the ones in the wrong and blaming yourself, though inevitable, isn’t right.
    I am so proud of you for ending things with him, just like I am proud of my mum, my best friend and myself.
    I know from experience that things will get so much better, and you will be so much happier! Good luck with everything, and thank you for writing so beautifully.

  16. You’re not a fool. The way abusers manipulate people is to isolate them by finding fault with everyone around, so that there is no reality check to contradict anything they say. After that, when you hear a barrage of criticism which is consistent day after day, there’s nothing to counter it. Even if you are a Mensa-level scholar (which I was at the time, and it still happened to me), you will start to doubt your version of reality. The worst part is how the abuser will beat down your self-concept to rubble, then say something like “no one else would love you” (verbatim, in my case). I ended up having screaming matches with him on a regular basis and telling him to leave if he disliked everything about me so much, after which he would threaten suicide because I didn’t love him. He did this until I followed him to England from Canada. Then he was in control because I lived with his family and his mother could see no wrong in him. He ended up hitting me and trying to strangle me. It took a year for the abuse to get physical but eventually it did. Even after that, I didn’t leave right away. It took a few months. I was in shock. He had bombarded me with attention and isolated me from my family and friends, taken me to another country and then tried to control everything from the clothes I wore to the way I spoke. Even knowing he was abusive and the relationship was wrong, after I finally left, it felt like I had a huge aching hole inside for several months.

  17. Congratulations on leaving such an awful person. I agree, sometimes we can get into thinking that feminist women, women who are very aware and against abuse in relationships cannot fall victim. But being a victim of an abusive partner is not related to beleifs, intelligence, class, politics, religion, anything like that. Women and men from all walks of life can be victims and all matter. Stay strong. I am sure he’ll have his mates and whoever believe you are the bad one and he is the victim. Maybe he is so lacking in insight that he partly believes it himself. But it doesn’t make it true. He doesn’t define what the truth is. Best wishes, thanks for sharing.

    • The problem with emotional abuse is that it makes you feel so inferior that you think you’re just messing with yourself when you feel like something’s wrong..

  18. Well done for having the strength to get him out. I went through a very similar thing with my ex-boyfriend and it took me years to remember that I’m not a fat, crazy, over-reacting idiot who can’t function without his manly presence. I can’t say getting out of that relationship triggered a ‘eureka’ moment where life went back to being brilliant, but I am now singing along to my ipod again – having realised I spent those three years with no music in my life at all.
    Love and support to all those going through the same thing – we’re worth so much better.

  19. I was in a relationship like that too. It wasn’t as bad as this story, but he definitely made me feel like I was below him. It all started great. I had someone to look up to, and he was really sweet and romantic. But when I moved to the town he lived in, and we started seeing each other more often, the trouble started. I was over at his place all the time, and since he had a job, I did find it reasonable to cook and clean for us. But when he lost that job, and I went to school, he didn’t do the same for me. I still cooked for us, but he started telling me more and more that I should cook like his mom does. I can cook quite well and I find my own cooking a lot more tasty than his mom’s, but whenever I carefully brought that up he would act as if I had just insulted everything he was. He was always emotionally tripping me like that, acting as if I was hurting him. Before I met him, I was still friends with my ex, but he didn’t like it if I even talked to him. He did allow it, but he used the emotionally tripping thing again. He would spend a lot of time with his friends, which is cool with me, but he would almost never let me go with him when he was visiting his friends. When I asked him to give a little bit more attention to me, and told him that I was feeling ignored, he said I was too controlling and obsessive over him. All that went on for a while. At some point he wanted to join the army as a technician, and he didn’t give a shit about what I thought about that. I told him he would probably feel the same way if I would have to go away for 4 months and he couldn’t join me, but he denied that. Shortly after that, one of his friends was being an asshole towards me, and he didn’t even slightly defend me. He said he didn’t want to come between whatever fight was between me and that friend. Shortly after that, I was finally fed up with his shit and broke up. About a month later, I found the most amazing guy who does appreciate me. 8 months later, we’re still together :3

  20. Nora, thank you for writing this! My most recent serious boyfriend (who I amazingly managed to stay with for two years!) was exactly like this. Thankfully that ended early last year, but even so, it still seems far too recent. He wouldn’t even let me call me his girlfriend outside of the room that we shared (and which he secretly made me pay more than my half for…). Like you, I take responsibility, but have no doubt that he knew exactly how I was feeling and continued to feel each time he had episodes. And they were always my fault. I stupidly decided to move to a big city, and in with him, after knowing him for about two weeks. He made me cry within four days. My ‘favourite’ episode of The Most Tumultuous Relationship I’ll Ever Allow Myself To Be In, being when i bought him a green hoodie. I bought it out of kindness, not for any reason – something I do for a lot of people, but which he most often saw as me trying to “buy his love”, which I shouldn’t ever have been on receiving. Something he openly told me as his live-in girlfriend – “don’t get attached”. Anyway, he told me he didn’t like that it was a marled material and I went and bought a more expensive plain one the next day. As it was nearing the end of the relationship, I suppose I must have been cockier than usual, and when he didn’t really like the second one either (despite it meeting all his required criteria), I said ‘fine’ and that I would keep it, which made him mental, and this time, made him assault me. When I passed out, I woke up on his (our) bed with my ‘half’ of the rent thrown over me, and him telling me to leave and get a hostel and stop looking for reasons for him to feel sorry for me – him hitting me. How dare I take a gift that he didn’t want, need, pay for or appreciate back! Insane. Needless to say, he is currently the owner of that hoodie, and I kick myself every time I see anyone pass me in a green hoodie.

    Emotional abuse is so borderline. I knew he would tip eventually and the end of our relationship definitely saw the tipping point. At one point, I lost my voice for three months straight. Sometimes when I tried to talk to him he told me to “shut the fuck up” (which was often anyway) but this time it was because it was irritating having to try and work out what I was saying. Including when I was telling him I loved him. I’m an idiot.

    I’m never putting myself through that again. Worst two years of my life.

  21. Thanks for writing this. You have been really brave to leave this abusive man. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 4 years when I was young and for years afterwards I questioned how I had got into that situation. My advice would be not to dwell on it and just to be proud that you escaped. I ended up marrying a wonderful man and we have a completely respectful, loving, equal, healthy relationship. There is no reason why you can’t have the same now that you have got shot of this loser and once you’ve got to know yourself again. You deserve the best.

  22. I could have written much of this myself five years ago. I genuinely didn’t realise until after I had left my ex just how abusive our relationship had been. The in the first few months without him, despite suddenly being a single parent with a new baby, I was euphoric.

    Emotional abuse is the gift that keeps on giving though. I met (and have recently gotten engaged to) a wonderful man who is everything I could possibly want in a partner – I spent the first year or so of our relationship waiting for the other shoe to drop, and wondering when he’d realise that I’m actually a terrible girlfriend who ruins people’s lives.

    It’s an ongoing thing . I still apologise more than I need to. I struggle to express my feelings; I still bottle things up and pretend everything is fine even when it’s not. My partner reminds me sometimes that I don’t need to thank him for absolutely everything he does, because the sort of normal, considerate things that people do for their partners seems like incredible kindness to me.

    Well done for leaving. It takes immense strength to leave someone after they’ve eroded your self-esteem.

  23. “Shut the fuck up!” was the line that did it for me, that made me realize just how bad the marriage was, and long had been. I stayed after that, though, until the morning that he logged onto my computer and downloaded emails and chat logs and then confronted me about why I was talking about our problems with strangers on the Internet, though by then they weren’t strangers at all, at least not to me. Never mind the invasion of my privacy, he announced that he wanted a divorce, expecting that I would beg him to stay. Instead, I replied by shouting, “Hallelujah, so do I!” From that point on, he was incapable of manipulating me and abusing me emotionally. That was 18+ years ago. I celebrate the divorce date with great gusto, with the wonderful man — now my husband — I met a few short weeks after the divorce was final.

  24. I went through something very similar. You could almost be describing my own thoughts. Thankfully, I wasn’t married to the piece of shit and managed to escape years ago. It has had a lasting effect of my self-confidence. I too felt absolutely and gloriously free when he was gone but I definitely recommend counselling to work through all the negativity you’ve had projected onto you. It’s more toxic than you realise.
    Thank you for sharing your story Nora. I wish you every happiness now that you’re free.

  25. Thank you for writing this. I’ve never had this with a partner, but my mother was exceedingly emotionally abusive all the way through my childhood and adolescence, driving me to depression and bulimia (the eating disorder developing out of a desperate attempt to please her by being thinner. As you describe, I was desperate for approval despite everything.) She made me believe that the things she did and said were trivial and that I was over-reacting, and that she couldn’t possibly be abusing me because she was hardly ever physical and all my material needs were met or exceeded, since my family are pretty well-off.

    It wasn’t until I moved away to university and saw my friends’ (and later the welfare staff’s) horrified reactions to the things I told them, and when they instantly saw right through her facade when she visited, that I realised I wasn’t spoilt, crazy or manipulative, as she’d made me believe, but that I’d been right all along. I literally cried with relief.

    It’s easy to think that “emotional abuse” is just a trendy buzz phrase for attention seekers or the politically correct if you have no experience of it, but it is very, very real. I’m fortunate enough not to be able to compare it to other forms of abuse myself, so I can’t say if it’s as bad as physical abuse etc, but it is a huge problem, and a much harder one to prove and intervene in.

  26. You’ve made absolutely the best decision for yourself. But don’t be surprised if you keep dealing with the fallout of his garbage for a while. I was in an emotionally unhealthy marriage for nearly ten years, and I still struggle with behaviors I taught myself in order to preserve the peace, even in a new and much more functional relationship. Have patience and compassion for yourself as you recover and rediscover who you truly are. You are a brave woman and an inspiration and light to a lot of others.

  27. wow, Nora, well done!
    although I haven’t ever been married, I have experienced emotional abuse, never feeling good enough, being manipulated and told what to wear and how to do my hair and makeup, feeling lucky to have that monster in my life, I didn’t realise it was emotional abuse until after I had left him, I really lost “me” when I did and now she’s back and sassier than ever. :)
    girls, if you recognise even one of these things, leave your partner, he/she really isn’t worth it, you should always feel okay to be the truest you that you can be!
    Nora this is a stunning piece of writing and it really shows how brave you are, truly inspiring!

  28. Nora – thank you for writing this article and sharing your story, it’s so important for emotional abuse to be recognised, it’s present in violent abusive relationships and often can be the pre-curser to violence.

    You didn’t mention if you are getting any support, and I would encourage you and anyone else going through this to contact a local domestic abuse organisation. Women’s Aid can help you find your local service:

  29. bravo. It took me years to shake loose of an emotional abuser; it’s insidious, and suddenly you are drowning in a sea of shit that only started as a few gentle drops. Thank the gods for the internet, and also books from Lundy Bancroft and Patricia Evans. One of them (I think) noted that, for controlling people, EVERYthing in the world is a win-lose situation. EVERYthing. Like whether you decide to eat ice cream or not. It’s kind of hard to grasp if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have to win. But once you realise these are win-hungry aliens, it’s best to leave and find your on species!

  30. GREAT article. An eloquent, accurate, enlightening account of emotional abuse that will help many others stuck in the same situation. What happened to you is not your fault. You are not an idiot for staying, you are a hero for breaking free after such a systematic attack on your self esteem.
    Well done for getting free.

  31. Like you said, tell the truth even if your voice shakes (paraphrase). I was in a relationship like this many years ago and the scars are still there. The faster you get out, the fewer the scars so you did the right thing getting out.

    Hope you can remember be good to yourself as you recover – it can be difficult. It will probably have diminished your confidence (but hasn’t stopped your eloquence). A virtual hug (if that’s not intrusive).

    Weirdly, they can suck you back in though: I ended up so confused that I went back after first making the break. If you do feel that after a few months, I hope you have good friends around you to strengthen you. It depends how disorientated you got. Wishing you all the luck and goodwill in the world.

  32. Brilliant article. This is why I love Vagenda so much! I admire your honesty, guts and determination to end a cycle of emotional abuse. I also admire that you admit shock at working out what was going on. Relationships are tricky, and it’s always easy think you’d theoretically be stronger if you were faced with the same situation. I felt the same, until it gradually dawned on me that a previous boyfriend was treating me almost word for word like you describe, with the added bonus of constantly implying my “class” i.e. working class, made me less than him. It’s hard to imagine the mind games that are employed but you succinctly smashed through them all. I wish I’d had your article three years ago, one again…Brilliant!

  33. Well done Nora. I left an emotionally abusive relationship earlier this year. I am still recovering but every day I feel relief and gratitude that I am finally out of it and free to be myself. That feeling of emptiness when you leave such a relationship is very common. I did some research on trauma bonding and that really helped me to understand why I felt the way I did, and to keep going. Congratulations to anyone who has managed to leave this type of relationship – it can feel like the most difficult thing in the world. Your story will inspire many people in this situation.

  34. I would really recommend the book ‘Codependency for Dummies’ by Darlene Lancer. Has information and helps you work towards better self esteem. I’ve found it REALLY helpful.

  35. Good for you. It took me years to realise I was in an unhealthy relationship, and didn’t even equate it to emotional abuse until this year, seven years after I left him.

  36. Dear Nora,
    you should be proud of yourself! don’t ever question the reasons you stayed. people make mistakes all the time, it’s only human.
    i wish you stay strong! never compromise the respect you deserve because you deserve the world and more.
    you should see yourself as the liberator, the queen who set herself free.
    go on and walk proudly on earth :)

  37. I recognise a lot of this behaviour and afterwards wondering what the hell I was thinking putting up with it. I’m guessing your partner was also very charming (at least at the start), or disclosed so muchabout himself (or at least so it seemed) that a sense of very close intimacy was created early in the relationship. I think the reason we don’t speak up and step away sooner is because these people deliberately target very nice, compassionate caring people who want to help and see the best in others. Women are particularly at risk as we are raised not to kick up a fuss, to be nurturing etc. Well done for walking away, but there is no blame attached to you or anyone else who goes through this.

  38. Don’t blame yourself. The thing with emotional abuse is it’s often mainly an unreasonable number of fairly reasonable requests, if that makes sense? Asking your partner to stay home and hang out one evening instead of meeting their friends? Pretty normal, or at least not worrying. That moment when you realise you haven’t seen your friends for 3 months? Horrifying. Being happy that your partner said you looked good in something and wearing similar things more often because who doesn’t like a compliment? Normal and harmless. Realising he’s given detailed reviews of everything you own and “compliment-instructing” you to wear things? Scary. But it takes a very aware person to realise it’s happening, because each incident on it’s own seems like no big deal. The only thing you did wrong was trust him to act like a normal human being.

  39. I can really relate to Nora.
    My husband by all intent and purposes is the ‘happy, fun, chappy’ outside to everyone but indoors he is a miserable, self-absorbed pig. We are in debt up to our eyeballs because of his stupid hobby which he has spent thousands of pounds on.
    The whole household walks about on eggshells-I work 2 jobs literally to pay my bills. Things are so bad that I have begged him not to spend any money I have had to use money I saved for Christmas to bail my account out and then borrow £400 from my daughter just so that I could pay my mortgage. This is a regular occurrence and yet he thinks nothing of buying himself a £14.00 breakfast.
    I will be honest at 46 I have not got a pot to piss in. I have huge debts because I had to pay household insurances and bills and shopping on credit cards where he drained our account because of his hobby. I have mental health issues of depression and anxiety and now my blood pressure is dangerously high.
    Coming from divorced parents I tried to stay with him for my daughter’s sake now she is 19 now she is older finished her education I need to get out! She wants me to as well-he is a bastard to her too. We have to walk around on eggshells-I actually feel physically sick when he is due to come home from work. He does not wash regularly and speaks to me and her like crap. I just wish I had left him years ago when my daughter was younger and I could have got help. I mean I am not going to get any support from the authorities am I as my daughter is older and I am 46. I cannot even afford to rent as I do not earn much and I have to pay all these debts. I feel so helpless my mum cannot believe how browbeaten I am and it upsets her. Please has anyone got any ideas of where I can go for help I honestly feel I would be better off dead and honestly believe that he won’t be happy until he has put me in a mental institution. I feel bad complaining as many suffering from physical abuse would wonder what my problem is but please I am not devaluing domestic abuse but sometimes I wish he would just hit me and get it over with instead of making our lives a living hell for days on end. Thank you it helped a bit by writing this x

  40. Hi Mandy,
    Perhaps you can arrange a meeting at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau – they may be able to offer free advice on your financial and legal situation with your husband.
    You do not deserve to be treated this way. Even though you feel hopeless now please remember that you CAN break free!
    Sending you love

  41. God bless you for realizing and being strong. I have tried to leave so many times. I’ve moved from Florida to Massachusetts within a 3 months twice and still came back to him in the end I’m So weak. I break down but hate him so bad in my heart I have a 1 year old daughter and he’s so good with her but she sees the pain he causes. I hope one day I get the strength its just soooooo hard it hurts everyday. He’s about to come home I’m shaking not knowing what’s gonna happen any day any time. God bless all the strong women out there I look up too.

  42. Hi Sara,
    Thank you for your kind words and advice. And Kelsey, we can do it I am now determined it won’t be tomorrow I know that but it will happen.I have read the blogs of others and I am taking courage from them-life is too short!
    Much love everyone and wishing you a better and happier 2015.

  43. I am so glad I found this article when I did. I thought my husband and mine’s fights were completely normal and played his name calling off as, “Oh, he was just mad. He didn’t mean it.”
    I left him last night with our two girls and he is wanting to meet this weekend to talk it out. He agreed to go to counseling “for the girls sake”. How about for OUR sake?
    I can’t help but just feel done with this toxic relationship. I can only take so many empty apologies.

  44. I’m unsure what am living with and wonder where am goin wrong. I have two children to a previous partner and one baby to him. Am a slag for having kids before I met him and he says this quite easily off his tongue am fat and he doesn’t like the look of me since having my 6 month old as my trousers are slightly bigger. He’s gutted am his kids mum cos in his eyes am a fat mess and a slag. He does nothing round the house and occasionally works as he’s at college. Am do in a degree that’s just a bout to end and u guessed it am far to thick. He constantly calls me names and today am allowed no bill money or food money. He slates my family I respond by sayin stuff back but he shouts above me or walks our and won’t listen he always had me in tears and slammed the door on my knee laughing when u had a few tears sayin my knees in there. Appently am lazy I do all the house chores and look after three kids I also have a full time job that at the mo am on maternity leave for. Am I being abused or is this normal and am just not coping in a relationship.

    • Hello
      It does sound as though your partner is abusive. We are so sorry to hear that you are going through this. We hope that you feel able to confide in a friend or to call women’s aid on 0808 2000 247 (lines open 24 hours). All the best of luck and love from the Vagenda x

  45. Gosh how much better I felt reading this. I too have been looking up online for help. I know my partner needs help this is twice now that I’ve been in Emotional abusive relationships without knowing it. My question is WHY me? I feel powerless I feel alone I feel like I’m about to fall and no one is going to be there to hold me up when I fall. I feel physically and emotionally drained and I have nothing left! I was with my ex husband for 13 years an alcoholic I finally left him and he couldn’t handle it so decided to stab my partner I was with at the time and got himself locked up. We had 6 kids together. My current partner has drained the hell out of me. We have 2 kids together and is forever blaming me for things can’t admit he has done wrong and when angry punches walls or himself continually swears in front of my kids where they start crying. Threatens to take my kids away from me and self harms himself. I feel like I can’t talk to him can’t even cry coz all he would do is get angry and start punching things.
    I’m tired and I just want me back. So lost right now. Love everyone’s stories they make me feel like I’m not alone.
    Thank you xx

  46. So this week he’s had two outbursts at me the first one consisted of him punching my bedroom door and threatening to punch my face in, called me fat slag and whatever else he could and then threw something soft at me towards my head but i ducked and missed it.the next outburst seemed a bit worse he punched doors kicked my furniture threw shoes screamed and shouted abuse at me and then repeatedly spat on my bedroom carpet. Then afterwards stood and watched me scrub it. What am I living with will he continue or will he think he’s done enough and stop.

  47. I am really glad I came across this article. I have been married for almost 8 years, and only recently did I think it was a possibility that I was being abused mentally. I told myself I would never be in a relationship where a guy would physically abuse me and he never has, but nothing prepared me for this. It was actually a few friends that really brought it to my attention, and at first I thought they were crazy but the more I researched and thought about it, I realized they were right. I still think I am a little crazy because I only just came to accept it last evening and I am trying to sort it out because we do have a child and I don’t want her to grow up around that. He is constantly putting me down and making me feel like I am not important. Its always superficial stuff as well, at no time in our 8 years of marriage did he ever tell me I was beautiful, and if I did receive a compliment it was followed by something else that i needed to work on. I never was heavy but having a baby changes your body and so I started making some changes and dropped some weight, he didn’t even notice or comment. I feel really good about my accomplishment, then there is another issue. He likes to watch porn and he keeps hundreds of pictures on his phone, I think he has a problem but when I bring it up it turns into an argument. I think that’s where a lot of this plays into, he wants someone who looks like that, and compares me to them. So now his latest thing is he wants me to get breast implants. I have always been a B cup and was okay with what the good Lord gave me, but now he says he doesn’t want to have sex until I decide to get bigger breasts. That was my turning point last night and started to wonder why did he marry me in the first place? I have always been just how I am, and pretty happy with myself. I worked hard in life to get to where I am and want someone who is going to appreciate that. At this point I am unsure what to do, I have a lot of family who can help me but at the same time I want to work it out. He plays a lot of video games and spends pretty much all his time glued to the TV. He is nicer to the complete strangers he plays with than to me. He says we have nothing in common since I wont sit down and play for hours with him on the game. I am not sure where to go from here because I have yet to really confront him about it. Again thanks for posting this in the first place, it really helped me make sense out of what’s going on and to realize its not me, its him.

  48. So tonight I did it I threw him out my door without a chance to grab anything I don’t know where my strength came from but I physically moved him. Tonight he started on my 12 yr old daughter for no real reason he’s her step dad so feels the need to be the power over her. My daughter walked away in which he followed her into the kitchen I immediately followed so he left her alone after a few hurtful comments from him to me he backed my daughter up in the corner and squared up to her then pushed her across the kitchen she’s 12 and was sobbing my baby was asleep upstairs and my 10 yr old was beside himself with worry and upset. I physically dragged him out of my house through the door and then threw his shoes after him. I have rung the police but feel guilty in do in so is this normal? I’ve been months with abusive comments to name calling to spitting on my carpets. I feel upset he’s gone as I can’t help but think I love him why do I? I feel trapped I love my children there my main concern and my first priority to keep safe but I so want the old partner back I met he made me feel loved special and wanted. Do you think he’s ever loved me!

  49. Wow! Nora, so proud of you. You sound like an amazing woman, who deserves to be happy. I myself have been in a similar relationship. We have broken up, but we’re still living together. He tells me to shut the fuck up, that he doesn’t give a fuck…when I start conversations that don’t interest him. Such as talking about my job. Almost like I have to ask him to approve a subject before speaking with him. It’s extremely painful. Or I will be talking to him about something for a couple minutes & he will say, you realize I’m not even listening to you. It is killing my self esteem. I feel bad about myself everyday. He calls me fat, grabs my fat. He is constantly correcting me & criticizing me. He is always right!! Yet, somehow I’m the one that is always wrong. I walk on eggshells around him…it’s so unfair. He blames me for everything & brings up stuff I did years ago! We are totally over. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized he has been emotionally abusing me. I know it’s gonna take some time to build myself back up. I’ve even considered suicide. But, I honestly would never. Please pray for me & women like us. That we find the strength to leave & find the love we deserve. Best of luck ladies!!! XOXO Ashley

  50. please can someone help me ive read your thread and you could be talking about my husband
    he is verbally/mentally/emotionally abusive to me for the last 8 years
    im very much an introvert and easily upset i dont like confrontaion and dont stand up for myself
    he is very controlling manipaltive and childish and he always has to have his way or he sulks
    he is currently sulking now giving me the silent treatment all because i said we cant go out as were broke
    he swears yells screams at me and blames me for eveything
    im sick with lupus and im sure the stress of him is making it worse
    i want to leave but ive no money or job
    im scared of him hes a bully
    he s been upstairs ignoring me all day claims he wants some pieve from me and doesnt want to be in the same room as me
    we havent had sex in years he doesnt want to always says he s ill
    all excuses
    im so low i cant see an escape and feel like ending it all
    if i go outsise he follows me
    please help me

  51. I found myself in a similar situation but for nearly 17 years…after I finally couldn’t stand it anymore, I blew up and told him I was leaving because I couldn’t handle it anymore. Then EVERYTHING changed. His behavior towards me and his activity level in the house has done a 180. For the last 7 months he’s a completely different and amazing person. The problem is this – I feel nothing about him. No emotion, no love, no joy, barely any laughter. I’m still dead inside. But he’s trying so hard. Do I stay or go? That’s what I’ve been dealing with. We were high school sweethearts, and we’ve never been married or have kids. Because honestly, I didn’t want either with him. And now, I’ve hit an age where I want both…and I still don’t feel like I want it with him. ./sigh

  52. I am 55. I immigrated to Israel in 1989. Married my husband in 1993 and have two girls aged 16 and 20. My husband became physically abusive early on. When my eldest was in 2nd grade she became very violent. Broke everything. I had to have her taken to a mental hospital. In those days, they kept people in hospitals. Now they put them into hospitals like the rest of the world. My husband refused to have her taken and preferred tto let my daughter to continue biting him…He told me until recently that I was a horrible mother(she was take after the hospital visit of nearly two years, to a boarding home) The psychiatrists and psychologists told me she had to be on Risperdal and to get CBT for her Tourette’s and OCD. Every night when I had to give my daughter med., My husband would try to keep me from giving it to her. He told her that “I” needed it. Every night I had to try to give her the medicine while hearing this. At age 17, my daughter had already been taking less and less of the med and she became more and more agressive until a year and a half ago he convinced her to stop completely. Then, after 8 months of horriffic OCD and aggressiveness and turning revengeful at me she became very violent again. I finally left the home but live close so that my 16 year old, who lives with me, can visit her father easily. During all these years my husband has been violent…mostly emotionally and verbally. Just YESTERDAY he admitted only thathe understands that I had to get out because of my daughter. I have been obessed with and have been trying to get my husband to seek help. I’m in pain. I do not understand this pain. I hadn’t been in touch with him. Only a couple times in these last 6 months since I left we saw each other at a couple of meetings to try to help figure out how to deal with my older daugher who is demolishing the 4 story duplex where she and her fathr, my husband are living. My husband is suffering but we haven’t found a way to help her because she won’t cooperate.

    My Father passed away in 2011. We burried him on my bday. I had to get to Eugene Oregon when he was dying and to come back home alone. I returned and was met at the airport in Tel Aviv with, why didn’t you bring me back the Swiss Knife your father used?”(he loved my father) I couldn’t get close to my husband after that…

  53. Sorry you went through all this. Maybe my book, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship can be of help to you:

  54. Sorry you went through all this. Maybe the book, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship can be of help to you. What you describe is not just emotional abuse–it’s coercive control.

  55. Left my husband 4 months ago for emotional, verbal, physical and mental abuse, to the point of antidepressants and unable to work. Itwas gradually progressive over the years.Both special needs sons came with. me. He has since taken my elder son against my consent, who is higher special needs (more benefit money), before I went to court ex parte, so he has parental rights. Police will not get involved even though ss said he should be in my care. I bearly see my eldest son who is only 9, and has rarely spent a day away from me. Brother’s, both autistic and only 9 months apart being kept apart by father . He has been told to Skype, but says son doesn’t want to, cant when not switched On!!! Stil battling for my kids and my pre marital home. He wont move out, I darent move back in, whilst he is there.
    Ss so slow. Courts slow. Just a waiting game. Keep positive – he is not gona beat me this time – not after 9 years. I’m a tuff cookie!!

    • Omg please tell us how this goes!!! My child is special needs, the other not. I dont want to break her heart but I hate this marriage SO much!!!

  56. I have been with an emotionally unkind husband for the last 12years, things have gotten worse in the last 3 & half years after I had my daughter. We have been fighting like dogs EVERY FREAKING DAY. I want to leave him NOW but my daughter loves him dearly but we hate each other. I have no support. I m dying everyday. I absolutely hate my life right now. It doesn’t bother him in any way how much I m suffering, says I deserve to be unhappy and I m depressed for no reason. I don’t work right now so I m financially broken and can’t move out. I want to go back to work for that i will have to send the kid to daycare but he wouldn’t let my kid go to a daycare.i have no family here and don’t have the kind of friends that I feel comfortable staying with for the time being. I don’t want to burden anyone. So I am stuck I don’t know what to do.

  57. Thank-you for being brave enough to share your experiences. Sometimes we feel so alone in our experiences that we don’t believe there are others out there who are suffering and also surving through these experiences.

  58. The depths and lengths of a woman’s love is and always will be,gently put, different from men. Through my experience with choosing male companions, I’ve come to realize that taking ownership of me does not require my telling someone how to love me, they are who they are. My common law hubby spends approximately less than a thousand words a day speaking to me. When he doesn’t want me to sleep in the bed with him or he wants even more distance he will use those less than a thousand words in hostile and antagonistic ways. None the less it is his game he plays and his loss. As for me, well I enjoy giving love and receiving love, and have become patient and more relaxed about that feeling anchored in my chest that desires to compel me to react in the moment. Instead I go about being me, not doubting me, or my relationship with my children. I imagine he has tremendous doubts about me. Possibly for the lack of investing any personal energy and time into me, and for a man to be ignorant I imagine it makes him feel ill at ease. His accusations are just words slipped onto a breathe of his life that his mind and ears hear first. And that is a comfort. His subconscious must be racked with self doubt for all the harsh words he has spoken that don’t bring a response, or defense, and that oppose the words he said in love. I just am unable to apologize for not doubting myself, my needs. And yes there was a time when his words took me to corners sobbing and heaving pleading to God for relief. I stopped looking for ways to be loving to my common law hubby, instead I slowly began to release myself from his idea of me and began to romance myself again after 24 years of being common law married. I knew I was on the right track inside, and along the way there were small validations from him. Like the time I took the dogs for a walk and the dogs were so happy they jumped all over me and I was laughing and hugging them and just being playful and through a crack in the drapes I saw my common law hubby peeking with an angry face, I laughed so hard! Don’t give up hope!

  59. What’s crazy is loving the person after all, thinking about your vows through good and bad and yet realizing he doesn’t care about loosing you…

  60. Hello,

    Could you tell me how I can talk with Nora? I read her story and it sounds exactly identical to my situation. I have read a lot of things on the Internet and this is by far the closest story to what I’m experiencing. I don’t know how to leave the situation though because I’m scared and it would be helpful if I knew someone who had the courage to leave him like she did. Is there a way I can get in touch with Nora? She can email me if her contact info isn’t available. It would be so helpful to have some support. Thank you!


  61. I used to cry. Rarely do anymore. Now I just get sick to my stomach with rage, and pure hatred. We have children. Leaving is hard bc our case is sensitive (special needs). But I feel true hatred at times. The apathy to him alarms me. Its my live for my children that keeps a roof over his head.

  62. MY husband yells at me and compares me to other people’s wives. Saying that I cannot cook and despite cooking I try and make whenever i can good food. He tells me that I am not good for anything and emotionally abuses me. He has told me many verbal insults and has fought with me. We sometimes wrestle in play fighting but he tells me he is really upset that I cannot help him with his business and that if he was not married to me. He would have left me. He also tells me that I was different from before. I was cooking and helping around learning to make everything and now its been 9 months into the marriage.
    He was working before we got married but at the time of marriage quit his job to pursue his own business. He wanted me to help him in his business but I dont know much about it.
    He was so upset when I told him I may need his help. He called me a liar and said I may not have worked in any jobs before. He said with my work ethic I probably got fired a lot.
    He yells at me sometimes when he is hungry and expects a very good meal all the time. He told me to learn cooking from my mom and that either I can be good at cooking at home or going out and making money.
    One of the two and even if i work to do both business and food on the table. He says I cannot do anything right.
    He insults me so mjuch that I cannot take it and I tend to cry.
    I have become very introverted. I used to be a very social person and now I have become a house bound person. I dont know what to do.
    I want to talk to my friends and family about this.
    This is not good at all. I have to figure out what to do.

    He is not physically abusive but he is very mean and curses a lot.

  63. You are a very courageous woman! The world needs more people like you. The other day I was reading Oprah Winfrey’s book what I know for sure. She said that when she was 29 she was emotionally abused by a boyfriend who told her that she think she was special while she is not. She writes in the book that she in fact has forgotten that she was special and she was putting up with his constant emotional abuse. I wonder if she would be where she is now if she had stayed in that abusive relationship. I would say very unlikely
    I am also a survivor of emotional abuse in my marriage. My husband and I knew each other when I was a size 12, he proposed and married me when I was a size 12 last year. I am still a size 12. Ever since we got married, he has been hinting that he wanted me to lose weight for “my health” but I never realized until recently he found me so repulsive. Yesterday, he was “man enough” to call me that I was “ugly”, and it is time for him to have a “beautiful wife”. He threatened to divorce me about 3 times in the past year. As a person suffering from generalized anxiety and attachment issues, I used to beg him to stay with me and sometimes even cry that he would not leave me. He always looked me in disgust when I put food into my mouth or when he saw me naked. Although I know that I need to lose the weight for me, I find his threats and intimidation actually are taking me in the wrong direction. One time we are talking about starting a family, the next minute we are talking about divorce and separation. He told me yesterday that he has given me 3 years to change and I have not changed. Therefore, he told me that we are done! What amazes me the most is that, he is ready to move to the next size 0 woman and he has totally forgotten his marriage vows. He feels like divorce is something he can bring up whenever there is a conflict in the house. I am at a point that I will grant his wish. I am so tired of walking in egg shell and afraid what he will do next. I am tired of him trying to change me and I miss me. I cannot wear, dress of eat anything with out his approval. He has even started to censor what I say to people. One thing I can tell you is that life is too short to waste on idiots like these one. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life! By the way, I am an attorney and you would suppose that I would not put up with this shit. But I have!

  64. I have come across this and realising why I’ve been doubting my own sanity whrn I know how to cope until he puts a doubt on my mind. I have an attitude for standing up for whst I believe in and he’s took over from the kids because he thinks I’m crazy . I have pnd that never went away because he took all my coping stragedies and used it for himself one of us have to leave and as usual he won’t as he thinks there’s nothing wrong I’m working 30 hours a week and he doesn’t work

    • He’s even telling me how to go about things in order for me to leave I’m planning to do it the cheapest viable way by housesharing while I save up for a deposit on a nice home and get my kids back told I’m being lazy.

  65. I feel for everyone. I am pretty independent
    However, I fell for an abuser, who got me at a weak moment.
    My mom died, aunt died, best friend dropped dead from a heart attach, boyfriend was murdered, cat hit by car and had to put to sleep, dog got cancer, put to sleep, couple more aunts died, all in a year and a half.
    I was vulnerable. No family alive to guide me, I ate up his bullcrap about loving me. I had savings in the bank, so took time off to grieve, settle estates, clean out houses, blah blah. He was a friend of the family, told me he was so in love with me and I believed him.
    We got married in Las Vegas, I paid my half. Lol
    Soon after I moved into his house with his son, and bought house across the street for my children, (over 18 but still dependent)
    First month great…. Then he loans 5k to “a friend”. That was first clue he did not care about me first. I got mad that he did that without asking me about it,as we were married and wanted to buy a house together. He told me to trust him. A month later he asked me to give this “friend” 900 out of my savings. I knew then I was screwed, but hung in there out of embarrassment.
    The year we dated he was a fantastic guy. Then boom, major abuse.
    My company went under as I was so depressed I could not work.
    He would scream at me in public, his son stole from me constantly, my husband did nothing. I felt like I was living in hell.
    I finally left and filed for a divorce.
    He was super nice to me after I filed the divorce. So much so that I dismissed my complaint. That cost me money.
    I told him I could not divorce a man who loved me so much.
    He filed for divorce the next day. Bam.
    He told me it is because I am too fucked up.
    When I married him, I was top in my field, nationally.
    He killed my soul, making me question my sanity. Yes I went to therapy. I am fine. I am a victim, still trying to heal.
    And eating ramen for dinner while putting in applications for minimum wage jobs. Lol the hardest thing for me is to forgive myself for being so fucking stupid. But…I was smart enough to leave! Stay safe my friends. Monsters are not under your bed, as my brothers told me, they in your bed.

  66. I have a similar issue… I am 18 married to a 26 year old Russian guy and have been so for a year but we have been together for 4 years. At first he was sweet and wonderful but after he got out of the USMC he got emotionally abusive towards me. It gets worse; he once thought I cheated so he destroyed my phone and laptop and bruised my arms and throat because some guy in England messaged me: “hey beautiful ;).” I didn’t even know the guy! Another time my older sister’s ex tried to hit on me saying, “oh you know u want this big black d*ck,” to which I replied, “(name), you know I’m engaged to (Russian male) and u know I’m happy and I’m not interested. Please don’t bring this up again,” to which my spouse said to me, “u wanted it u f*cking b*tch. U f*cking c*nt!…” it went on. Then, one day I was throwing my snow boots in the boot pile by the couch and he caught it and threw it back, laughing playfully. I laughed and went to throw it back towards the pile and this went on 2 more times until I accidentally hit him in his collarbone to which he said I hit his jaw. He then proceeded to jump off the couch and attack me with the hard heel of my steel toe boot and I broke my pinky while blocking his blows. I am 5’11″ he is 6’2 1/2″ and stronger by far than I am. He wont let me work because he wants me to not have to be stressed by work and wants me to relax— which really meant he wants me to cook and clean and grocery shop and do as he asks. I am his personal servant. He gets mad when I ask for sex “too often” or I didn’t make dinner, like tonight, because we have been moving for the past week and I am tired because im doing it all by myself. Then he proceeded to call me out and make fun of me online in front of his friends and a few people he didnt know while we were playing videogames. They started in on the joking, which is fine by me, except he took it too far and encouraged them to as well. He began to get mad at me because I asked him to calm down on it and then I ended up telling him to stop several times. Im only emotionally affected when it comes from him. Then I got off and he got mad because I did so and created a server with a friend of mine to escape his abuse. He then made me so sad I got off altogether. Then I went into the kitchen and on my way back I heard him from the hallway talking about me. Lying and talking down about me and how I dont need apologies from the guys because they thought they’d upset me and how I am a stupid b*tch. It went far further and the guys ended up stoping all joking altogether and my Russian man tried to start it up again. The guys got all quiet and got serious and didnt jest for the rest of the time and my Russian man got bored of it so he got off. He then harassed me until I was balling even harder (which he had mentioned to his friends that I do cry when he makes fun of me and calls me out because I didnt cook therefore I am a worthless piece of s*it that he might end up leaving then divorcing. He made me sleep on the couch and then told me to sleep in our bed and he sleep on the couch, probably to watch porn (which I dont like him doing because he was/is an addict). He wont let me cry because it makes him feel bad so I am the bad guy. He wont let me tell my side of anything because it is always my fault. Because I am younger I dont know how to do anything right. He has spent all of my money ($15,480.14) in less than a week, mostly on bullsh*t. I got maybe $680 out of it, and spent all of my allotment of the money I saved up as a kid, working my a*s off, on vet bills, household cleaning supplies, a new coffeemaker (since ours broke), a $40 jacket for myself for winter, and the rest went towards the $1000+ dollar 4k tv he wanted. He also bought “me” a $17,000 used 2014 Toyota Camry but exchanged his Honda, that was broken, for it and paid some of my money for it. Funny thing is, he wont let me drive it. Only he gets to. And when we have roommates? Lets just say this: my apartment, the female of the couple bullied me and wouldn’t let me use my own stuff, bad mouthed and threatened me, and called me names, etc… and the man in the couple wouldn’t do anything because he feared her and happened to be an old friend of mine and didnt know what to do because he got her pregnant because she set it up without him knowing becayse she quit her birth control and told him she was still taking it. Because he was catholic, he married her before the baby bump even remotely began to show. My husband allowed her to bully me under my own roof and told me that because I dont have a job or pay bills I have no authority. He would then proceed to kiss up to and apologise to them “for my behavior” and continue to tell them how stupid I was and whatnot. When I found out they were going to leave without paying rent I told him and he ignored me. Well, they left and stole a bunch of my stuff and denied it after. He then got more aggressive towards me and told me to “shut the f*ck up, b*tch.” It has only gotten worse. I am co-dependant and have a terrifyingly gruesome backstory, which leads to my depression and constant anxiety and jumpiness and trust issues, which only makes the stress from him, worse. He know nearly every detail and doesn’t care. He says that him bringing home a ‘c’ in junior high was worse than my rape at 4 by my great grandfather. But even after all that, I can’t leave him because I love him too much and me being terrified of him also draws me in more, because it is what I grew up with and have been conditioned to be comfortable only with this feeling. I have invested everything in him and even gotten him to his currently successful place that he is now, with him constantly getting raises because of my input to his company and because I show up with him and only speak highly of him and the company, impressing his bosses and the presidents, vice presidents, and CEO’s of the company, to say the least. He is also always getting promoted because of this. I do the small jobs that make a huge impact but seem miniscule and are often overlooked. Yet I do “absolutely nothing,” and just “sit on my a*s all day” while he works 10 to 12 hours. Mind you he MADE ME QUIT ALL OF MY JOBS. I can’t leave him, or I will go suicidal and probably will end it all. I’m not seeking attention, but I do want advice. Counseling on my part isn’t helping. Also, because of that time he thought I was cheating with a guy from England, I have a simple assault charge even though I didnt lay a hand on him and had all of the bruises. I’ve invested too much in him, and he has taken away everything I have. I am a recluse and can only do and wear what he says and speak when he allows. He controls me and I can’t do a damn thing about it. I want out, but I lose my entire future if I do and if I try to end it, he will probably hurt me. He talks of divorce and I go into panic mode and beg him to stay. That I NEED him. I physically feel like I do or I will lose all will to live. He left, once, for a month, and during that month I got raped and pregnant and had an abortion because my mother threatened to chop me up and bury me in cement in her basement if I didnt. The police are of no help since my aunt is one and she believes my abusive mother over me and doesn’t like me. Also during that month I nearly starved and dehydrated myself to death because I couldn’t consume anything I was so distraught. He is also my first love but not my first boyfriend. He is also the first person I willingly had sex with. I get overly attached and ended up with this. When he came back to me because he missed me, he had no clue what had gone on as he hadn’t talked to me nor I him because it was what he wished and when I told him he nursed me back to health and drove 8 hours every weekend, 4 hours each day, 2 hours back and forth from his house to see me. This was when we had first started dating and had been 3 months in. He was nice. He ended it originally because of our age gap, but he then decided that he loved me too much for him to care what others thought. But when I reflect now on that time, those memories, where’d all that love…

    … GO?…

  67. my husband have no respect for me , professionally i am a physiotherapist, as there are no maid , i stopped working for my 2 kids.
    he is giving me mental torte nearly everyday, i am form Malaysia.
    pls help i cant take it no more, but i don’t know about the law, cos i love my kids so do they.they are in private school , i am looking for job, but no luck yet….

    pls help

  68. I really hope that things work out for you. No one is perfect we all get into questionable situations, it was good to read that you took that step to free yourself, I will be doing the same.

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