4 Stages In The Cycle Of Abuse And How To Heal

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Does any of this sound familiar? You’re at home, hiding in the bathroom, crying. You aren’t sure how things got so bad between you and your partner, but it feels like you’re always doing something wrong, or they’re angry.

You have no idea how to make them happy anymore, and it’s gotten so bad that you have to hide your pain from them.

If this is happening to you, you might be in the middle of a cycle of abuse.

However, because this type of abuse can be difficult to identify, you might not be sure about what’s actually going on between you and your partner.

Right now, you might be going through a series of emotions that make everything a blur, such as confusion, guilt, and sadness.

In this article, we’ll review how the cycle of abuse works, how you can identify different types of abuse, and how to break the cycle of abuse.

Finally, you can figure out your situation so that you find a way out of this painful experience. Read on to learn more.

Physical and Emotional Abuse in the Cycle of Abuse

There are two types of abuse that occur during the cycle of abuse, which can also both occur at the same time. The first, which is easier to identify, is physical abuse. If your partner beats you or takes out their emotions on you physically, this is physical abuse.

Of course, there are situations when physical abuse seems so minor that you may not consider it to be. But it still is.

Emotional abuse, on the other hand, is more difficult to identify, even though it can be quite damaging psychologically.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Generally speaking, emotional abuse is something an abuser does so that they can control their partner. Usually, they blame, shame, embarrass, criticize, or use other emotional tactics to manipulate their partner.

When someone does this regularly to their partner, using the cycle of abuse, their bullying behavior and abusive words eventually undermine the victim’s mental health and wear down their self-esteem, often causing feelings of relationship insecurity.

Even though emotional abuse is usually known to occur in romantic relationships, it can occur in any type of relationship, among co-workers, roommates, family members, and friends.

It is also important to note that not only women suffer from abuse.

The Cycle of Abuse

cycle of abuse

Part of why so many victims choose to stay with their abusers is that there is a cycle of abuse. Because of how it works, it’s easy to think that these recurring events will eventually stop. The cycle of abuse is made up of four stages.

These stages include the building of tension, the abuse incident, the reconciliation, and a period of calm.

The Building of Tension

Usually, abusers harm their victims because they are in a stressful situation. These stressors can make the situation feel tenser. Potential stressors include fatigue, physical illness, trouble at work, or family issues.

The abuser will start exhibiting signs of paranoia, anger, injustice, and powerlessness in response to these stressors.

As you notice this, you find that you’re hyperalert to their needs and feeling guarded and anxious. You’re afraid that abuse is about to happen, whether it’s emotional or physical.

The Abuse Incident

The next step of the cycle of abuse is the abuse incident itself. This can vary, including emotional manipulation, sexual or physical violence, attempts to control the behavior of the victim, threats of property destruction or harm, or name-calling or insults.

This is the point at which you’re most likely to think that you’re having relationship issues.

Reconciliation

After the abuse has occurred, you and your partner will enter the reconciliation phase. Usually, you enter a honeymoon period, brought on by your abuser giving you loving gestures, gifts, and kindness to move past the abuse.

Because your brain usually releases oxytocin and dopamine when this happens, you’re likely to want to stay. You’ll feel more bonded and like your relationship is going to work out after all.

Calm

In order to move forward after the abuse, both people involved need to have an explanation that justifies why it happened. The abusive partner is likely to apologize in such a way that it minimizes your perception of their responsibility for what occurred.

Some of the ways they might establish this period of calm are by:

  • Using outside factors as a reason for their behavior
  • Apologizing but blaming others at the same time
  • Denying or minimizing the abuse itself
  • Saying it’s your fault because you provoked them

Once this period of calm begins, it’s easy to pretend that the abuse was an exception. Sometimes, you might not even think it happened, especially if you’re being emotionally manipulated to think it didn’t.

You might even have been manipulated to think it’s your fault, in which case you can’t blame the abuser for it.

Unfortunately, in abusive situations, this calm doesn’t last forever. Once more external stressors come in, they can set off your partner again.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is the cycle of abuse?”, we’ll get into the specific types of emotional abuse and what they might look like. Because it can be hard to identify emotional abuse, it’s important to know what these signs are.

Pennsylvania Online Therapy

In fact, a large part of emotional abuse is controlling your perceptions. This is called gaslighting. The abuser, in this case, makes it nearly impossible for the victim to see what’s happening, which is why it’s essential to review this list.

Invalidation

One of the tactics emotional abusers use is invalidation. If they don’t accept your feelings and tell you instead how to feel about something, they’re invalidating your feelings. It feels like your side of things doesn’t count. Other examples include:

  • Distorting, dismissing, or undermining your reality or perceptions
  • Making you give explanations of your feelings over and over
  • Telling you you’re “crazy,” “too emotional,” or “too sensitive”

They might also accuse you of being too materialistic, needy, or materialistic when you express what you need. They’re also likely to say you’re blowing something out of proportion or don’t see your ideas or opinions as valid.

Having Unrealistic Expectations

Often, emotional abusers have unrealistic expectations. They might want you to spend all your time with them, be dissatisfied with all your efforts to make them happy, or want you to put everything in your life aside for them.

Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is another tactic emotional abusers use. They might humiliate you in private or in public, use your compassion, fears, or values to control you in a situation, or punish you by giving you the silent treatment or withholding affection.

Creating Chaos

Emotional abusers also create chaos. This interrupts your sense of stability. They might have sudden emotional outbursts or drastic mood changes, start arguments for no reason, or make statements that are contradictory or confusing.

Isolating and Controlling You

When you’re being emotionally abused, your abuser will try to isolate and control you. For example, they might control how often you see your family and friends. They might even forbid you from seeing a specific person. Other signs of this type of control include:

  • Being jealous of other relationships
  • Accusing you of wanting to cheat or having cheated
  • Monitoring your email, social media, and text messages
  • Making fun of or criticizing those close to you
  • Demanding to always know where you are

Additional isolation and control tactics include controlling your finances, using envy and jealousy as signs of love, treating you like property or a possession, and hiding or taking your car keys.

Acting Superior

If you often feel quite small around your abuser, then they are probably using the tactic of acting superior. When your abuser does this, they might blame you for their shortcomings or mistakes, treat you like you’re an inferior, or act condescending.

How to Deal with Emotional and Physical Abuse

If you find that you’re trapped in the cycle of abuse, you might be feeling a bit scared about your well-being. You might also feel a bit heartbroken, knowing that there are some pretty intense issues going on within your relationship.

Despite the difficult position you find yourself in now, this is actually a good thing. Why?

The first step in getting out of the cycle of abuse is knowing that it’s going on. Now that you know your situation, you can start to improve it. You deserve better. You deserve to be happy. You can be. Here’s how.

Prioritize Yourself

First of all, you want to prioritize yourself. Instead of thinking about your partner’s needs, think about your own. What do you need to be physically healthy? Eat well, exercise, and get the sleep you need.

As for emotional health, affirm yourself and think positively. Finally, you can start healing.

Establish Your Boundaries

Now that you’ve identified the abuse, you can establish your boundaries. Tell your partner that they’re no longer allowed to be rude to you, insult you, or yell at you. Have consequences that occur if they don’t respect your boundaries.

For example, you could go out for a walk if they start yelling at you or being unkind.

Don’t Blame Yourself

When you experience emotional abuse, you lose a lot of your self-worth. Additionally, your partner might put the blame on you for many things. As a result, you might be in the habit of blaming yourself. Now that you know about the cycle of abuse, you might be thinking:

“I can’t believe this is happening to me. How I could be so stupid to get into this situation? How haven’t I recognized any of the signs?”

Just remember that this isn’t your fault. This is your abuser’s fault, and no one else’s.

Create a Support Network

Because it’s so easy to feel isolated when you’ve been emotionally abused, you might feel completely alone in this situation. But this isn’t the case at all. There are many people who love you, and it’s just a matter of reaching out.

If any of your friends or family are upset about your distance recently, you can explain a bit about how you were isolated and controlled.

You’d be surprised, however, by how many people will welcome you back with open arms without any explanation at all.

Create an Exit Plan

If your partner continues their behavior even after you’ve established your boundaries and spoken to them about the abuse, you need to get out of this relationship. It isn’t healthy for you to stay in it—or for your partner.

It can be complicated to get out of a relationship. To prepare, speak with a therapist, a trusted friend, or someone in your family. Keep in mind that your exit plan could end up backfiring.

If you think you might end up in a dangerous situation if you try to get out, you should speak with a therapist first about the signs that your partner could be violent toward you if you want to leave.

This way, you can find a way to safely leave your abuser so that you can start to live your own, happy life again.

Need Help?

Now that you’ve learned about the cycle of abuse, the different types of abuse, and how to heal, you might need help. Maybe you want to learn about more strategies you can use to identify abuse or to get past it.

Or maybe you’re looking for a therapist to help you get through this difficult time.

If you are ready to end the cycle of abuse and move toward healing, get started with Pennsylvania online therapy. We serve the Greater Pittsburgh, PA area, the Philidelphia, PA region, and the entire state of Pennsylvania. To learn more about how we can help you, start your healing journey now.

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness Research Team.

This Post Has 100 Comments

  1. Kristine

    Very helpful advice. Thank you.

    1. Sara Makin

      I am so glad we could help! Abuse is a very serious topic and we are here if you need to further explore this.

      1. Rs

        I keep seeing these sad stories about innocent women and children being kiicked out in the cold or onto the streets. But why cant i get my emotionally abusive ex out of my home? He wont leave. And hes called the police on me several times trying to get me kicked out of my own house. He succeeded once and got me baker acted for three days because his emotional abuse got to me so badly. HE IS NOT ON THE LEASE BUT I CANT GET HIM OUT.

        PLEASE HELP.

        I have no money for a lawyer so i dont expect any help. Just grasping at straws here

        1. Dana

          I am not an expert here, but I would suggest writting him an email that you want him to move out and until when ( that you have written proof that you had asked him to move out). If he doesn’t move out go with the email to the police and ask them to help. If they refuse then talk to the landlord about ending your lease,get a new appartment to live and move your things when he is out at work.

          1. Hannah

            Great idea. I am in the same boat as RS. I will write an email to my husband. I cannot talk to him about it or he will get violent. I have my escape plan in place, but nowhere to go.

        2. Lucy

          Speak to your landlord about your situation , ask them to evict only him.

        3. Katherine

          Hi , your story touched me because this is extremely unsafe and most be exhausting for you. You must get him to leave. Be firm. When he’s gone change the locks and make sure all his things are gone, then call the cops and say he won’t leave you alone. Get a restraining order of need be. It’s okay to do these things for you to move on because I promise you will move on to be stronger and do better! The Devil is a lie!

        4. Kiesha boyd

          the same thing I’m going through I feel like I’m at war in my own home and he’s not on my least

        5. Amabda

          All you need to do is go through the courts with a normal eviction process and get a restraining or protective order.

        6. Elizabeth

          Hello there. There’s something called the VAWA – the violence against womens act that you need to research. It protects you in your housing. Get a restraining order asap and he will be forced to leave and will not legally be able to be around you.

        7. Diane

          Send him on a trip a one-way trip. It’s his gift that is from you to him. Then he feels like you are blinded by his abuse
          While he is gone grab your “premade” to do list. List is what needs to be done in order to ensure he cannot come back into your life. It be great if you had some records like emails texted messages ECT. If not then you start from scratch. This is where your premade list comes in.
          First you got little time.
          Second you need to get into a new place asap. If you preplanned then you will have your foot in a new place before even sending him and his special getaway.
          Third you need to be sure to not leave any clues like voice mail by your helpers or any clues as to where you are. So you keep all premade lists any interactings and other information in a single notebook that notebook needs to be placed in a safety deposit box or at a person who you can fully trust to keep it safe.
          Forth let go of the need for closure you won’t get any I know this one is the hardest part
          Fifth you slowly start building a positive attitude
          So on and so forth.
          It’s possible but if you can just go no contact is the best thing to do absolutely no contact whatsoever

      2. Betsy

        Please help me he even took my money I’m getting sicker every day
        I honestly cannot take it I’m so afraid of him yet he and his mother used me up I can hardly move to move I was straight out of a coma and he would not leave me alone and hits me and says the cruelest things but he took all my money re house he kept in his mom a name. I battled for 20 years to just get used by a tag sim mother team please help me he even took my last name !! I never married him !! He’s mean doe’s drugs hurts me won’t let me move and I’m geriiung sicker daily from his yelling and evil hate speech.

        1. Makinwellness

          We are sorry you are struggling with this situation. To get on a path to move toward healing, please reach out and schedule an introductory call with one of our team members. We’re here to help.

      3. Emily

        I am in the cycle currently being emotionally and physically abused. I need help getting out.

        1. Makinwellness

          Hi Emily. We are sorry that you are struggling with an abusive relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing.

          1. Winnie

            Thank you. This article is very illuminating, validating, and reassuring.

            My ex sent me to the hospital with a large hematoma on my forehead, a laceration on the top of my head that required 3 surgical staples to close and a concussion.

            The neighbors called the police. I was in shock bleeding all over the place saying “What did he hit me with? What did he hit me with?” The blow to the top of my head knocked me unconscious briefly.

            Without realizing it was an office that I was speaking to (and not a paramedic), I said to the officer, “He hit me with something.” When the officer questioned me further I said that I didn’t know what happened.

            (which is true, I didn’t understand at the time what set him off, to attack me so badly).

            I do not want him to go to prison.

            He was not arrested because he left before the police arrived.

            If he goes to prison for attacking me, he will come out a much more dangerous man. And he threatens to kill me, my friends and family if he gets in trouble with the law. To have me kidnapped and tortured. That he will spend every day in prison plotting his revenge against me.

            I think my therapist had to file a report because I told her the truth about him hitting me.

            How likely is it that he will be convicted of anything if I refuse to talk to the police and the only other evidence is reports from nurses at the ER and from my therapist?

            The law will not help this situation. It will make things worse.

            I’m executing an exit safety plan and I really think it will work, that I will be free of him soon. I need reassurance that he will not be convicted of anything or have anything damaging on his record.

            He will damage me further if there is.

          2. Makinwellness

            Hey Winnie. We are sorry that you are struggling with this abusive situation. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members if you need someone to talk to more about this.

      4. Mikko

        Thank you Sara, i couldn’t talk to my family. I couldn’t talk to anyone because we are on the same workplace and it’s driving me crazy. I’m a victim of emotional, physical and financial abuseThank you for this article, i hope i will recover from this one.. I’m really tired

      5. Nikola Hoenisch

        This is a very well-written summary of the cycle of abuse. It‘s taken me years to see it so clearly, even though I left the relationship 2 years ago.
        What do you do if you share a child with the abuser? The abuse just continues, and I also have to watch my child suffer and change because of it. There is no way to prove this in court, even worse, if moms start arguing in court that their exes are damaging and toxic, we lose custody because we won‘t „allow“ a relationship between the poor father and his child.
        It‘s difficult to have to deal with retraumatization as well as have to allow our child to be abused.

        1. Makinwellness

          Hi Nicola. We are sorry that you are struggling with this cycle of abuse. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members if you need someone to talk to more about this.

  2. Chase

    Very helpful! This has helped me determine that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. One further question…. In your work have you seen emotional abusers change? My husband says he realizes he didn’t treat me like I should have been treated and that he is willing to go to counseling. Some small red flags for me are that he tries to minimize how often the outbursts happened and there severity…basically he says he knows this happened but that I have exaggerated it in my mind. Another is that he always says he knows this happened between us but that I need to look at how I contributed to it and I need to work on that. I know in my heart I was trying everything NOT to start a fight.
    I have been separated from him for 7 months and he says he gets it and we can go to counseling and a couples retreat and he wants me to move back in immediately. I’m not comfortable with that so I am not going to do that but I am just so scared to give him a second chance. I feel like I have him so many chances to no avail.:/

    1. Sara Makin

      Unfortunately, many times emotional abusers don’t change. It sounds like he is gaslighting you and we don’t think it would be safe for you to move back in with him at this point in time. For further guidance, one of our therapists are able to help you individually to help process your feelings. Tori, Pam or Tanja would be a great fit for a therapist 💙

      1. Rosana Fernandes

        Please I need help!

        1. Makin Wellness

          Hi Rosana, Thank you for reaching out. If you are in immediate danger please call 911. You can reach out to our counselors anytime at 833-274-4325 for mental and emotional support, but your safety is invaluable. We wish you the best and hope to hear from you soon.

        2. Brenda

          Are you safe now? I actually had to search for how to help dealing with my own abuse, but I’m out a free!

          If you aren’t safe leave me a heart ♥️) I will try to help, I’m sick of people getting away with this abuse as if the victim asked for it,

          1. Marcella McNeill

            ❤️

          2. Ems

            I have gone through this abuse cycle few times and I feel that nothing seems to change. I wanna walk out of my marriage but wondered if I’m doing the right thing?

    2. Cindy 2

      Wow your story happened to me only he followed me after I moved on our cameras and tails on me told me he got professional help and was better and to take him back and the second I took him back (which he gave me an ultimatum) he was back to abusing me. The pattern has been the same since day one and he has used my mistakes to shield it all.

      1. Makin Wellness

        Hi Cindy. Unfortunately, these cycles of abuse tend to repeat themselves until broken through therapy or separation. What’s most important is safety. Based on what you’re saying, it doesn’t sound like you are in a safe environment. Give us a call at 833-274-HEAL. We are here for you and can help you create a safety plan that you are comfortable with.

        1. Emil Gordon

          I’m in this odd situation where I think I’m being verbally Abused by my wife . And I deflect often because I believe them to do the same things I do but only make it a big deal when I do it. It’s so draining cause I usually do the reflection and comeback and apologize for my behavior. And we go through the cycle that you pointed out in this article. This article and all the research I’ve done makes think we abuse each other. Verbally and emotionally. Which also makes me think I’m deflecting more cause I don’t want to Face the blame myself. Someone please advise me in what to do.

          I’m currently in therapy and also was diagnosed with adhd at 27years old. Yes I take meds

          1. Makinwellness

            Hi Emil. We are sorry that you are struggling with this situation. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing.

    3. Katherine

      Your woman intuition is your best friend. Call it your angel from god , if you have left for 7 months your doing so great! It’s hard but time heals all ! Get some friends, support group or therapist and keep going! Eventually if you can stop all contact ASAP. Sending your prayers

    4. K

      No second chances! He will not change. He will never change! I am the only person on the lease, it is now on a mth to mth basis. I have no where to go. but I do have a job. He doesn’t. He never leaves the house. And he is a messy person. I am not. He makes dirt, when he just sits. Piles of cigarette butts. Filth. He expects me to clean up after him AND hold down a job. Because he doesn’t do anything but grow weed (legally). I have given nothing but second, third, fourth,…. how many more chances? You don’t owe him anything! He knew what he was doing and he is abusive.

  3. Eve

    What if my husband will not go to counseling or any kind of therapy. How do I get him to see that it’s necessary? I have not entirely confronted him on his abuse. Out of fear, and knowing it will be pushed back onto me as my problem, I’ve even suggested that the therapy would be for me and all of “my craziness.” Still, he has said no. Any suggestions or advice?

    1. Sara Makin

      If he is completely against going to therapy, our best advice is for you to get in therapy yourself. Being in a relationship with an abuser is something that we’d advise you to process. It Is typically very challenging to get an abuser into therapy because they usually know deep down that the therapist would eventually address it. We are happy to help you further at 833-274-HEAL

      1. Lindsey

        Thank you for this article. I heard everything I needed to hear once reading this piece. This is a life changing moment, everything is clear now, I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship there is no more questioning it. This has to change, change right now

        1. Makinwellness

          Hey Lindsey. We are so glad you connected with this article. It can feel so hard to go through emotional abuse. If you need any support please reach out to a Makin Wellness therapist. We would be happy to help you!

      2. Kiesha

        So glad I stumbled on this article now I know I’m not crazy and there’s nothing wrong with me WOW

  4. Lisa

    Hello our daughter has been in an abusive relationship for the last 5+ years. If had esculated with his drug us over the last several years.
    He husband checks off everything above for physical and mental. The police have been to the house they live in that we own that they know it if you mentioned it say oh that house.
    November 2020 a week and a half before Thanksgiving we and the eventually the police ended up at the house. This time she finally filed a complaint after 4+ years of this.
    Unfortunately she back off and ask the charges be dropped he eventually plead guilty to menancing and got time served 3 days and one year probation with no counseling.
    Since this there has been multiple emotional outburst our 11 year old granddaughter us to house for. Our granddaughter has been with us since late May 2021 because she doesn’t want to be there anymore. The 7 year old grandson only stays because he is allowed to play video games most of the time and he loves his mommy. He ask me to get him a phone to hide in case he needed to call me over since sissy isn’t there with her phone. There is a 2 year old granddaughter who doesn’t realize the whole situation yet.
    We are searching for guidance, counceling and legal help unfortunately due to supporting a d being taken advantage of (financially) we don’t have funds to seek legal advice.

    1. Sara Makin

      Hi Lisa, Thank you for reaching out to us. We understand how complicated relationships like this can become. My best recommendation for you right now, considering your situation, is to talk to some one who can help you cope with all of the different levels of strife this is causing your family. We are always available to talk to you one on one, but if you feel like that won’t work for you right now, we do offer Q & A sessions with a live counselor on Facebook Live. Our next session will be on August 27th @ 9:30am. You can join anonymously and have your questions answered in a more personable way. We wish you well and hope to hear from you soon.

  5. Susie Kaploozie

    I live a life with a man who constantly belittles, shames, is unemotional, controlling, never happy, loves money. He is a master at gaslighting. We put on a good “front” for everyone. I have been very sick for the entirety of the marriage … almost four years. I have an education, yet unable to work. He knows it. Constantly throws up that I “live off him.”
    Anytime I bring up a business idea… to bring in income, he poo poo’s the idea. Punishes with the silent treatment. Days. Never apologizes. I need to get out.

    1. Sara Makin

      Suzie, Thank you for sharing. Your situation sounds like it is definitely at a breaking point. You do not deserve that. I highly recommend speaking to a therapist to help you cope with the hurt and fears you are dealing with. Being able to sort through your thoughts and emotions in a safe environment with a licensed professional will help you move on. We would love to speak with you and help you find your true potential. Please contact us at 833-274-4325 Monday-Friday 7am-7pm. We are here for you Suzie!

  6. Lisa W

    Great article. My situation is now to point that I have broken ties with abusive adult daughter. It’s been brewing steadily over 2 yrs, but very recently, after trying every reasonable method, there was an irrefutable breach. A cycle of emotional abuse, gaslighting, and much more. She’s 44 and I am 66. Fortunately, we live 800 miles from each other. I have cut off any way for her to communicate with me. She’s got so many of her own issues in life, and she’s not coping well at all. By removing myself from the situation, I can move forward and she can no longer use me as excuse to avoid her own life. Honestly, this is so long overdue. I did this 2 weeks ago and feel a million times better.

    1. Sara Makin

      Hi Alyssa, Thank you for sharing and congratulations. It is incredibly difficult to cut ties with a child, even in adulthood, but putting your mental health first is the right thing to do in such a situation! Give yourself time to heal and try to practice daily self care! If you need some one to help you work through your thoughts or emotions, we are here for you. Everyday is another opportunity to be better to yourself!

    2. Robert Ginsberg

      I love this article. My wife has been abusive to me for years. Kept me away from family and friends. Always made me look bad, Ruthless name calling. Blamed me for everything. Controlling. Put a GPS tracker on my truck,,,etc. You can feel the tension building. then boom. Over the last 4 years I left 3 times only to have gone back. This is the last time. Once you see or notice the pattern you become aware. To see it confirmed in print blew me away. I am upset with myself for going back all those times. I would have been much further a long. In my heart I needed to make sure that “I” had done all I could. To no avail. I am sad. Broken hearted. But not going back. Even at 55 years old. I will move on. I will read this every time that I feel as though I miss her. Thanks. Robert

      1. Makinwellness

        Hey Robert. Thank you for sharing your story. It can be so hard moving on from an abusive relationship. If you ever need someone to talk to feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members! We’re always here to help!

  7. Mayra

    Thank you for your article. I have a question in regarding boundaries. I know he is abusing me mentally by yelling at me and constantly reminding me not to eat much all the time cause he doesn’t want me fat when he isn’t the best of shape and expects more food on my plate than mine….also he blames me on things that are out of my control or he did.

    So one is: what are example of boundaries we can create and two what example of consequences that occur if they don’t respect your boundaries? I’ve said it’s best we go apart but he hates and gets upset I say this and says I’m quitting and giving up on us. What can be said? Thank you.

    1. Sara Makin

      Hi Mayra, Thank you so much for reaching out. After discussing your situation, our counselors highly recommend that you start individual counseling as soon as possible so you can develop a safety plan and explore what your options could be. Mayra, our team is here for you. Please call 1-833-274-4325. If you are not from Pennsylvania, we can help guide you in the right direction. Stay safe and we hope to connect with you soon.

  8. Lebo

    I have been in a emotionally abusive relationship till i decided to end it then my partner asked for a place to stay while sorting out his things,i allowed him to stay in my house until he raped me and now he says he did that because I’ve been toying with his emotions.i don’t remember doing that i was just civil with him since we are sharing the same space and he started telling me he’ll buy prostitutes i told him to do anything he wants with whoever he wants instead he raped me…I’m not comfortable around him and he doesn’t want to leave.

    1. Sara Makin

      Thank you for reaching out. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this. Your home should feel like a safe space and you shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If you’re feeling like you’re in immediate danger, please call 911. I would also suggest reaching out to our office. We would love to help guide you through this stressful time. Our number is 1-833-274-4325. We’re here for you!

      1. A. Gray

        I’ve been married for 6 years. My husband is law enforcement & I’m in public safety as well. He has never been physically abusive. However, he lacks empathy, compassion, & accountability. It’s like he wears a mask at work. He’s been an officer for 21 years and is very well respected in the department. He always looks for things my son has done wrong. They have never gotten along. My son was 10 when we started dating and he definitely did stuff to pick at my husband such as, sneaking in our room taking his stuff, climbing on cabinets to take my husband’s snacks, talking back, etc. But I feel like my husband holds grudges and can’t move past any of that. During disagreements, my husband will say very hurtful things. He’s acknowledged he does this out of anger yet refuses to stop or seek help. We did do pre-marital counseling and a couple of sessions here & there but now, he refuses to get help. He questions everything I do from the clothes I wear to the lotion I buy. He says he does it jokingly but it doesn’t feel that way. Even my stepson (same age as mine) told him recently all he does is focus on the bad with my son so he feels forgotten about. He accused me of trying to turn his son against him. My husband says he is moving out when he doesn’t get his way and I don’t conform but has never done it. This go round he gave a date he is moving. We didn’t speak for a week then he started being playful and said there are some things we need to make this marriage work. When I said I only have 2 requests, counseling & working on his relationship with my son, that mask dropped & he began the same stuff again saying he is moving out. I’ve went to therapy (through the police dept) and even had to speak with their domestic violence detectives over an incident that was only verbal. It seems no one wants to hold him accountable and his dept just sweeps it under the rug. It’s easy to say well just leave. That is much easier said than done, financially, emotionally, mentally. It almost doesn’t seem worth the fallout of ending things. Obviously, I want things to work out but I feel a bit hopeless.

        1. Makinwellness

          Hey A. Gray, We understand how difficult it is to deal with conflicts in marriage. We are sorry that you are struggling with connection and communication together. We are always here to help so, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our team members to help you move toward healing!

  9. Max Jones

    Thanks for the info about spousal abuse. A friend of mine has been dealing with a difficult marriage. I’ll tell my friend to get legal help for the spousal abuse she has been dealing with.

    1. Makin Wellness

      Thanks for your response Max. Your friend is very lucky to have you.

  10. Stephanie

    I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 2 years now and it was great at first but after 6 months I noticed when I tried to bring up any issue calmly he yells at me and saids really nasty things things to me. For instance, I’m a bad mom, I’m unreliable with the kids, I’m lazy, he does everything around the house. I’m a mom working towards getting my bachelors degree and working. I feel so small around him and very stupid, he makes me feel incompetent. I can’t never bring up an issue because he saids I love to fight. I don’t ever yell at him or disrespect him. Everything in the relationship feels like a transaction I work, school, kids, and chores. If I mention my goal is to go in a trip when I graduate I’m being materialistic. He speaks to me like a child and tells me I’m immature. I’m just so confused and hurt. I’m hurt from the last two arguments when he gave me the silent treatment and when I wanted to talk to him to arrange house chores. All he saids is to get it done. He sounds like a tyrant. He is great with my kid but with me it’s like I’m on his clock and if he’s done talking about an issue everyone else is done.

    1. Makin Wellness

      Thank you for reaching out Stephanie. If you see that you both show a willingness to improve your relationship and you are both open to the idea of seeking help from a professional through counseling, then you might still be able to work things out.

      However, based on what you said, he doesn’t seem to show any interest at all in working things out with you nor acknowledging that he has some issues to be fixed. Reach out to him for the last time, try to present your ideas and resolution in a calm manner. If he agrees, that’s good! But if he doesn’t, just remember that there is no relationship that is worth that kind of trauma. You are amazing and you deserve better. Know your worth. Your mental health is more important than trying to fix someone’s behavior who is not even willing to change. If you would like to speak with some one concerning this we are here to help. Please call us at 833-274-4325 or you can join our next live Facebook Q&A with one of our amazing counselors on October 15th at 12pm est. We hope to speak with you and wish you the best on this journey.

  11. Elle

    Hi I’m in the UK. Just resisting the barrage of texts saying sorry for disgusting behaviour. Twice last month I left as it went beyond normal – accusing me of going off with his friend for 4 days. And when I confronted the friend about it was told he is not in the firing line at all – as apparently I have a history! Then the story from my partner/ex changed to he never meant it – he was saying it to hurt me. I left for 3 weeks solid no contact. Then he turned up at my home crying saying his six year old missed me – and all the promises. I returned and he was well behaved for 2 days – then the Sunday night after his child had left to go back to their mum, my partner/ex randomly asked for a full detailed account (again!) of when i was badly sexually assaulted aged 19. I’m 45 years old now. He got me talking… he then changed the subject back to my apparent wandering recently (that he admits he totally made up) then went beserk in the bed screaming Get Out , Get Out for an hour…. I did not feel safe leaving at 3am. Until i burst into tears. I stepped out the bed crying, managed to get one sock on – and he SCREAMED Get Back IN The Bed. He chased me round the bed in a way that made me scream. I managed to get downstairs half dressed. He first blocked my way tot het door saying i had to stay. Then when switched to holding the door open and screaming at me to get out. He has already injured me knocking me down those steps onto concrete yard before. I waited it out. And legged it when he went up to get cigarettes from upstairs. I have threatened him with the police. He left me alone all week, Now calling my landline begging to see me. I’m right to tell him to leave me alone? His son died aged 20 last year and he is offering to go to counselling. But his bad behaviour precedes that. he called me a Spunk Bag – even though I have been with him and only him for 6 years.

    1. Makin Wellness

      Hi Elle. Thank you for reaching out all the way from the UK! I’m so sorry that you have been managing an abusive relationship on your own. It sounds like an intervention needs to be made in order to ensure your safety and happiness. Unfortunately, since you are in another country, we aren’t able to offer counseling, but I encourage you to find a mental health professional near by to assist and find the right path that works for you. We do offer live Q&A sessions on Facebook if you have any questions. We wish you the best of luck and hope to hear an update on your journey soon.

  12. Court

    Hello,
    I have two daughters and I’m 26 years old I’ve been with my kids dad for 10 years the one thing that scares me the most is leaving and him fighting me in court for my daughters he is very wealthy millions… I have no money saved but I do have a job and a place to live with my girls separate from him. He is verbally abusive towards me and my daughters at times he belittles me every day With calling me names and telling me how unworthy I am and that I need to change and get help for my insecurities. He had been physically abusive to me in the past by slapping me in the face while I was driving with me and him and the kids in the car he has choked me before and many more things like breaking my TVs and phones. I called the police but was scared to actually admit to him I was the one who called so I told him it was our lady next door who called he then paid for a lawyer to get the charges from the state dropped I left him after that and he convinced me he would be better and that things would be better he was trying to convince me to move back in with him but now he is to a point where he blames the fact that I won’t move in right away is now his excuse on why he treats me the way he does and calls me names. At this point I’m just scared to make steps towards leaving him again I know the best thing would be for us to never look back but how does this work when there are kids involved I know as soon as I leave he will pay any amount of money to try to take my daughters cause he knows how much it’ll hurt me

    1. Makin Wellness

      Hi, thank you for reaching out Courtney. Abusive relationships have a way of making you feel trapped with no escape. It sounds like the fear of losing your girls is what’s holding you back from finding safety. We understand that abusive relationships can be hard to get out of. We can help guide you towards feeling confident about making changes that are necessary for you and your kids overall well-being. Please give us a call at 833-274-HEAL. We are here for you.

  13. Ryan

    Hi thank you for your help. Im a teenager suffering from my dad who emotional abusing me and trys to intermediate and act superior. All is inconsiderate about my feelings and puts alot on blame on me all the time. I cant even share my part of the agument and after we have these fights he expects me to be happy and forgot about it. I need help here and i dont know what else i should do cause im young about 17

    1. Hi Ryan, The best thing you can do is to seek support from a safe, trusted adult. Perhaps another family member, or if you have a school counselor, talk to them as soon as possible. They are trained to help students deal with these issues and can offer daily support. Express your concerns, and possibly this can open up an opportunity for your parent to hear you out. It takes a lot of courage to talk about this kind of situation. Telling a safe person is the bravest thing you can do. It can feel good to take steps to stay safe and stop abuse from happening. Please keep us posted. You can also join us on Facebook for Live Q&A’s with our counselors.

  14. B

    Hi
    I’m in a middle of divorce I have 3 lovely kids and been physically and emotionally abused and controlled by my husband for 9 years … he’s in a bad shape now , I left the house after he burned me with boiling water for getting a lawyer consultation which he knew by spying and taking my phone like it’s his and I can’t refuse because I’ll eventually get hurt , he even pulled his- work licensed – gun 3 times to scare me and threaten me during our marriage. And the day he burned me I decided to leave .. we had beautiful days travels and memories together and we have the worst also .. he’s in the hospital right now his sister tells me to not divorce him because she has seen that he can’t live without me ( and I’ve seen him try to commit suicide before in the ugliest ways) ..I filed for divorce and I’m not going back but all I can think of is why he couldn’t love me enough to respect me ? How can he be sometimes an angel how could he harm me ? Did he loved me at all ? How “ the same person who I shared with my first intimate moments “ tried to kill me so many times ? “ what’s wrong with me please help

    1. Makin Wellness

      Hi, thank for your response B. First off, there is certainly nothing wrong with you. It sounds like you have done the right thing finding safety for you and your three children. Abusive relationships, especially long-term relationships, are very difficult to get out of. Our minds are easily able to go back to the good times and/or question the relationship as a whole. Most times, the best way to stop this thought cycle is to get some guidance from a mental health professional. We’d be happy to help. Give us a call at 1-833-274-HEAL. We wish you the best and sincerely hope to hear from you soon.

  15. Gabrielle

    Hello my BF and I have argued the last two days. This morning g he put his hand around my neck and squeezed and hit my head against the wall several times. It was not really hard but enough to be uncomfortable. This afternoon he asked me to repeat something that I said and then he punched me on my buttocks after I repeated it. The punch hurt and he did it two more times. He insists he would never hit me. I’m not sure if it’s really abuse or if I’m over reacting.

  16. Tania

    I’ve been married for 26 years. 3 awesome kids. My youngest is 16 now. We’ve been walking on eggshells around my husband for so many years. He has punched walls and yells at times. Not too often but enough for me to be vigilant around him. I’ve brought this problem up to him many times throughout the years and he explains it away or apologizes. Recently I told him I e had enough and I need help to deal with him. We both started therapy. He says he will do anything to make it work. But I’m so over it. At home he is being so nice and normal and chatty. He usually is very annoying. Although he’s being so overly nice it just makes me more mad that he couldn’t do this sooner. Is there any hope for me to like him again?

    1. Mark

      I am in a similar place as you Tania but I am the husband. Married 26 years, 3 awesome daughters, oldest is 17. Walk on eggshells around my wife for years and years, afraid of her getting angry and saying cutting things. Literally never occurred to me that I am in an abusive relationship – it’s rare for people to use “abuse” and “men” in the same sentence except to say it’s the man who is doing the abuse. We also started therapy a few months ago but aren’t getting anywhere – she doesn’t think what she is doing is wrong, and that I am over reacting, and I am the problem. I am so confused and disoriented right now. Hard to even imagine a life different than this – very overwhelming really.

  17. Faith

    My fiancé and I have been together a little over two years. The first few months, I thought, were great but now looking back, keeping me away from my friends, ALWAYS wanting to be together like every free second seem like red flags. Then we moved in together into his house from mine and things I feel went south. He started going through my phone before we moved and then even went back in my Facebook searches like a year and a half, questioning each and every person. He also questioned about each and every guy I’ve ever had a conversation with and even asked if I had ever been sexual with a female, and when told the answer to every question reacted as if he didn’t believe what I had to say. I can say I haven’t always been perfect, but from what he use to tell me, he was only ever hateful with me when he was drinking essentially because I didn’t tell him every single detail of my life prior to him, all 21 years of it.
    At first I tried to be understanding, due to him telling me how unfaithful his ex was to him, but I now realize that’s no fault of mine. Every time he gets drunk, his words and reactions get worse. He went from just yelling to later punching the window of my car, the steering wheel of his truck, throwing glass bottles at the wall and telling me to leave. However, every time he wakes up and realizes that he’s screwed up, it’s the same old “I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again, I love you, I’d never REALLY hurt you” story.
    I believed him the first few times but I told him the day after thanksgiving, after it happened once again, that if it ever happened again, I’d be gone. Then about a week ago, low and behold it happened once more. I did leave for a few hours until I knew he was asleep, but I came back 🤦🏻‍♀️ The next day same old story, I tell him it’s a revolving door relationship. I do love him, but it’s gotten to the point where I just don’t feel like I need to be here anymore. It’s just more less a convenience thing I guess for me. I mean, I do have a great job, so the financial aspect doesn’t worry me, I’m not quite sure why I do keep ending up back in this pattern. And I feel as if now that things are “good” (for the moment) it’d almost be selfish or wrong for me to leave NOW, even though I don’t feel the love I once felt from him. But I do feel like I do need to get out. We’re scheduled to get married in April and truthfully I don’t want to be in this same revolving door relationship for life.
    Again right now things are good but in my heart I know they won’t always be like this. He got upset when I told him I didn’t believe that he would change, because why would i? I just feel as if I’m stuck.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Faith. Thank you for sharing your story! We understand how hard these situations can feel to navigate. Having someone to talk to can go a long way in moving toward change and healing. If you feel like online counseling could be helpful for you don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a member of our Makin Wellness team today as we’d love to help you in any way we can.

  18. Amy

    Thank you for this article it’s kind of surprisingly enlightening. And also deflating and also heartbreaking. We will be celebrating our 20th anniversary in a few months and we have acknowledged the emotional abuse we have just gotten over the stage of calmness and now we’re right back to square 1. It is a vicious cycle.. It sucks I cry hes sad he realizes he loves and here we are again. Withdrawn. Made to feel like something’s always wrong. Always wrong. Like I’ve done something wrong. On. He has a lot of out of body ailments which attributes to his moodiness but it’s been going on for almost 2 years.. I hate it for him but it’s not my fault. I don’t know how to make him get maybe a second or 3rd opinion Because it just wrecks our house.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Amy. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how you feel. These feelings can be so hard to navigate in a relationship. If you ever need someone to talk to don’t hesitate to reach out to a Makin Wellness counselor.

  19. Amy

    Thank you for this. I have (or so I thought) left an emotionally abusive marriage of 10 years. We have been separated for 18 months now but he insists on spending time together and has managed to weasel his way back into my life. At a friend capacity, but always indicating he wants to get back together and loves me and always telling me how he’s changed and isn’t the same man. We’re not together but live only 2 minutes apart and have two kids. I have been clear with my boundaries but he always tries to push them and keeps finding reasons as to why it’s my fault he’s in such a bad place mentally. I have had enough and I have stopped contact with him except for childcare arrangements. I know I am on the right path and I have finally fully admitted to myself what happened to me was real and it was not my fault. Articles like this always reassure me I am not crazy and I am not exaggerating the events. I hope this helps many more people.

    1. Makinwellness

      Amy, thanks for sharing your story! We understand how you feel, these feeling can be so hard in relationships. If you ever need someone to talk to we are here!

  20. Jilli

    I’m so confused at this point whether I am the one being gaslighted or if I’m the abuser. He had a fit of rage and wouldn’t stop until I called the cops. Now he is saying I am “abusive and manipulative.” I was in flight mode but he makes me sound like I was in fight mode. Is it possible for both parties to be emotionally abusive at the same time?

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Jilli. Emotionally abusive relationship can be a difficult thing to deal with. If you need help sorting through these thoughts and feelings then please schedule an introductory call with one of our team members. We’re here to help!

  21. Linda

    I left my physically and mentally abusive husband of 50+yrs. Its been over a yr, he cries to my daughters telling them he still loves me.
    I’m embarrassed to say after all I’ve been through it bothers me to think of him with someone else.
    What is wrong with me?! I know I can not ever take him back.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hey Linda. We are sorry that you are walking through this situation. We would love to connect with you if you need someone to talk to. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members anytime.

  22. Becky

    What if you were to reach to loved ones but they don’t believe you. They think you are lying to turn others against abuser because they only see a nice and charming person.

  23. Jane

    What are you supposed to do when your abuser is a grown sibling? Yesterday I went absolutely ballistic on her. I have had years of gaslighting, her acting superior, dismissing me and my feelings, never taking responsibility for her actions or the hurt they cause. I have reached my limit. I told her I never want anything to do with her anymore and that I can’t stand the sight of her. Basically, this is all true. Sad, but true. I pointed out all the things she’s done over the years to hurt me, stolen from me, etc. She, in turn, said I need help and I like to play the victim. NO acceptance of her part. I think I’m going crazy. And her family believes her–that it’s me. I’ve gone to three therapists to ask if it’s me and they all said, no, I’m REACTING, not the cause of this/abuser. I feel like I’m losing my mind. It’s scary to think I will be alone–she’s turned my nieces and nephews against me, too. But, I also realize I’ve only really been alone all along. I’ve never had any emotional support, never had her “in my corner,” always held at arm’s length. She’s got a chip on her shoulder against the world. Unfortunately, I’m the caregiver for my elderly mother. I HAVE to deal with her, like it or not. I’ve been civil till now, even though she makes demands which are unreasonable (she is NOT vaccinated and visited my mother unmasked during the surge, which I quickly put a stop to). I set up reasonable dates and times she can visit her (any Saturday, evenings M-Th, lunch hours when she’s working from home.) Not good enough for her. Guess what, I have a life, too. There were many appointments she made before I did this and never showed up. I work full-time as well and have limited time for my own needs. HELP!

    1. Makinwellness

      Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how hard this situation can feel. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing. We’re here to help!

  24. John Sanders

    Thanks for sharing

  25. Sheila

    I have been married for 26 years and outward appearances everything looks great. My husband is a career military man and is well respected and I am a professional accountant. We keep our finances separate, he pays the mortgage and I pay the utilities, groceries, and all my own expenses such as car payment, car insurance, etc. I do not ask him for anything. We had a flood in our home and it flooded my master bathroom (with have his and hers). It also flooded the master bedroom so we have had our bed in the dining room. It has been since 2020 and the insurance company paid to have it repaired and it still has not been done. It almost like a power thing, he won’t let me hire someone so he likes he has the power for me to get ready in the morning in the guest room with all the items from our master closet and my bathroom all together and barely any space. If anything goes wrong in our home, he acts like it is my fault, he says “one more thing for me to fix”, like I broke it. I walk on eggshells everyday and it is an exercise in trying to make him not snap. He wants to spend time with our granddaughters and when we are with them he gets short with them because they are just being kids, playing and being loud to the point they don’t want to go with him anymore. When his 90 year mother comes to visit he yells at her and is very short with her about everything from her not hearing very well to the way she cooks, etc. it is very unsettling. In a nutshell, everyone that is around him walks on eggshells and I know he is arrogant at work, he is very smart but he condescending and just and jerk to put it bluntly. I just lost two sisters, one to cancer in September and one to drug addiction three months later and he was supportive for about a few days after each. He lacks empathy towards me and I believe the withholding of getting things done at home is a power thing. I am not sure what to do. He acts like I am the problem, I am emotionally exhausted from losing my sisters and he has no sympathy. I spent the day with my two granddaughters yesterday and thank god because I was so depressed, I was in a very dark place. We had a great day without him with us, we shopped, went to lunch. No tension! I We have two sons and he is estranged from our older son because of the verbal abuse and our younger son has a strained relationship with him but does try to see him sometimes and loves him very much as he is the baby of the family.
    I don’t ask him how he spends his money, what he does, where he goes, nag him about anything including things around the house, ever! I feel like I could never do any of these things, I don’t have the right to.

    Is this abuse?

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Sheila. We are so sorry you are having these conflicts in your marriage. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members we would love to talk to you more about your situation.

  26. Penelope

    Hi –
    I confronted my boyfriend of two years who is verbally and emotionally abusive (yelling, calling me names, fat and has a history of being physically abusive to his ex – which i confronted as well) at times. I told him I am ready to move out next weekend. He has acknowledged the abuse, apologized and wants to work it out which I have said not without therapy for him and perhaps couples. I also said that he needs to acknowledge that he is the problem, not me and that he has to admit he is wrong with the fight he caused my sister and subsequent negative comments he has made since. He did both of these. In addition to therapy, he needs to eventually apologize to my family. If he agrees to therapy – can things change?

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Penelope. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how you feel and would love to talk to you and help you move toward healing in your relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with a Makin Wellness counselor, We’re here to help.

  27. Dragonflyx6

    Hi, I am dealing with this now. He always wants until I have a bipolar episode, anxiety through the roof and no money because he convinced me to quit my job, had an anxiety attack and could not go back to my second day at a new job. He says it’s OK to work part time then makes me close our joint house account and leaves me with no money and litteraly NO WHERE TO GO and says he’s done.
    He has some very deep trust issues and I guess people are finally pointing out to me how abusive he is.
    We had a major breakthrough after he threw I’m mean literally all my things in the driveway…dressers and all. I thought we were good then he mentally started all over again…we really had a breakthru after that like pour our heart and souls out to each other. Made promises etc. Goes out of town for the wknd with his brother to visit the other brother 7hr away…I send him a bath tub pic and all of a sudden I’m video chatting other men. What the actual f? We were in such a good place, I felt closer to him in a long time.
    Staying the night at my daughter’s with my 17yr son and not sure then next move. Do I get to go home when he gets back or will my things be out when I return

    1. Makinwellness

      Hey, we are sorry that you are struggling with the cycle of abuse in your relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing.

  28. Joshua Colson

    I figured it’d be useful for someone anyway has my situation seems difficult and unusual I still don’t get it. I am a 37-year-old male and apparently a domestic violence victim. I don’t know what other situations are like really and my particular situation seems difficult to make sense of for me anyway. I am bipolar one and I have always been easy to set off with certain things. I know when I feel like people are judging me being condescending or just in general show disrespect I don’t tolerate it. I know I at times can be really abusive. I’ll try to be fair with people but I just don’t pull up bullshit or cruelty, just people being shitty in general. I’ve always been treated like I’m irrational or an asshole and I’ve nearly always been abused but I just don’t care for things we can all agree to be wrong.

    My wife was the epitome of good and decent human being and our lives together were always difficult but when she started going blind she completely fell apart and that person was gone.

    The mean abuses that I experienced were constant monitoring, gasoline, undermining, stonewalling, taking all the blame and the list goes on but I’ll go over the most traumatic ones.

    She made secret videos of me being ‘crazy’. She wrote down and archived all my mistakes. She went thru texts and navigation apps while I slept and said she saw them as they’d popped up, except navigation apps don’t randomly pop up on the phone wasn’t being used and display locations you’ve been to. Constant interrogation everyday after work in such a way that seems harmless but always had to know and she will conveniently parts of her day out and I would find out about them months later. And the cameras around the house begin after I was getting ready for work in the bathroom and naked and on the toilet and I received a text and my wife was apparently watching me at which point I looked up and I saw one of our baby monitors cameras. Everyday after work I’d come home and locate the 3 cameras and at least one of them was pointed where I spent my time before bed sitting in my chair in front of the TV playing video games or whatever. She claimed it was there for the kids but it couldn’t see anything they would do throughout the day and only saw where I sat my chair. As long as I knew where they were and that they were there I just let it go I don’t recognize abuse. Those cameras were setup for 6 to 9 months and then stopped i think anyway. And my wife orchestrated a domestic violence incident when I got home from work when I didn’t have a clue we were supposed to be fighting because we werent and lied in the incident report and fled with my children. A few months later we had been working on our relationship and she was staying in a domestic violence shelter with the kids and she hadn’t been able to get into her email connected to her phone for months. So I saw an old one sitting around one day and I offered to try to get it to work and see if I could find her passwords or change them from her old phone. After however many hours it took but I found them and texted them to her and she confirmed they worked. So I was home alone and she had all of her pictures back of the kids from the time they were born you know and I opened up her photo app to get some family photos and I really wanted a couple good ones of her that I knew she’d like so I could draw them for her like a love letter but in pictures. So I was selecting some to email to my phone and eventually going down the line there and I found hundreds if not thousands of stuff pictures of things on my phone and screenshots she sent through my phone and deleted so I didn’t know and anything that could have been on there she was archiving. I knew she went through my phone years before but I thought that was over after our talk. She had archived all the information that could possibly be on my phone it had pretty much seemed. I have noticed a lot of things since she left with the kids and I noticed a lot of things that were subtle but extremely damaging forms of abuse. She denied that any of it was intentional. Every time she was anything remotely upset she would engaged horrible abuse tactics. The last few months of our relationship I found evidence of eyes totally basis for no particular reason that she would not have upset me with the truth. That’s what our last fight was about and that’s when she cut me off from our children while denying it at the same time. These were just the main things that will bother me and I could go on for pages with little things she would do but I just don’t want to jam into this comment section LOL

    I was having difficulty being able a narcissist when I care greatly about the feelings of others and I struggled being labeled abuser. I was also called control but I knew that was garbage because I gave her so many things that gave her back her freedom. So actually today I called into a domestic violence hotline to talk about it because I didn’t feel abusive even though I wasn’t always nice. I admitted to my faults and things I just could not gain control over. When I got to the end I could see cuz I was texting them that you’re preparing a response and I was waiting and becoming more and more angry knowing how it is all my fault and I need professional help and that’s when they told me I was a victim of domestic violence and abuse and spent the next 30 minute insisting such and telling me that it wasn’t my fault as I was so used to hearing I just accepted. There was so much more that I told them over a two and a half hour conversation and I’m not sure you’d even believe it all if I listed it here as if what I posted here isnt crazy sounding enough. I ended up calling the hotline again tonight and spoke with someone else who wanted to know what was up as well and I tried to tell them real quick and ask a few questions and the next thing I knew I was telling my life story again and it wrapped up the same way, and they assured me of the abuse I’ve been through and that it was real.

    It was years all this took place and I really never could have guessed until the end because I trusted her completely even when she began to try and succeeded at convincing me I had false memories and things never happened the way I remembered them and I just didn’t know what was real. And she’s still receiving so much support and assistance and resources and having her bills paid by a domestic violence shelter that she obviously excluded all these details from the story that was told.

    Things like this can happen to you for years and you just don’t see them for what they are. And women can abuse men just as easily and from my experience it was difficult to detect because my abuse was so obvious but a reaction to hers. Anybody can be used and manipulated and they are people all over the spectrum. Even men.

  29. Rachael

    I’m in a relationship that I’ve been “reprimanded” by him in front of his kids and mine. Hit and punched in the legs. Told I’m selfish for hanging out with my friends. And then he says he feels threatened b/c I’ve discussed divorce if he doesn’t get help and stop.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Rachael. We are sorry that you are struggling with this in your relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members we are here to help if you need someone to talk to about this.

  30. Shelly Marino

    I am in an emotionally abusive marriage. After a very extreme outburst directed toward my son, he and I left.
    It took a few days for my husband to admit he was wrong but it was still peppered with “this wouldn’t have happened if…” Then to being in tears because of realizing the damage he has done. I have lived in this cycle for 6 years. My son does not want to go back, not his real dad, nor do I. Now my husband, after years of my suggestion, wants to go to counseling together. Honestly, I don’t. I am tired and worn and I don’t think his change will be lasting. Every time we talk he brings up our marriage vows and comments about Christianity and it’s principles.
    Am I wrong to think he won’t change? His comments to me sound like he is still trying to guilt me into seeing things his way.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Shelly. Thanks for sharing your story. We are sorry that you are struggling with these issues in your marriage. We are here to help, if you’re ready just schedule an appointment with one of our counselors.

  31. Angela

    I am 6 weeks in to a new relationship. Up until the last week, everything was amazing. I realise now he was love bombing me. Claimed he’s so in love with me…wanted a future with me… falls more in love every time he looks in my eyes… I feel now he just prayed on my loneliness and desire for a relationship. When things are good… he’s so in love with me and he feels so loved. When things are bad… he tries to control my social media usage, he’s jealous and untrusting, accuses me of things that aren’t true, but when I deny them he calls me names and says I’m not listening to him and putting words in his mouth. He expects to be my number one priority at all times and when I fail to do that, I make him ‘feel unloved and unworthy’. (Example: text him first thing in the morning before I do anything else. Yesterday I received a fb messenger msg from a friend over night. I clicked on it to read it when I picked up my phone after waking. I then texted him after. But because I was only social media before texting him, he is clearly not a priority to me.) Says I don’t make him feel loved, that I don’t do anything to make him feel appreciated. Last night he said he wished he could slap me to shut me up. I feel so suckered in, I don’t know how to leave.

    This article confirms everything I was thinking. Thank you.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Angela. We are sorry that you are struggling with your new relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members if you need someone to talk to more about this.

  32. Jay

    I have never tolerated disrespect before this relationship. If someone tried to bring me down I would leave them. I always had 2 or so jobs, my own money, made sure my mental health was in tact. Everyone always said I was like a ray of sunshine. I’ve been in this relationship for 3 years and I have been manipulated into believing I wasn’t anything until I literally couldn’t do anything. I can’t work I can’t go out because of my anxiety I haven’t smiled in so long. Everything in this article describes what I’ve been going through. The cycle. I can tell when it’s going to start. I’ve tried everything. At this point I’m even just shutting up and telling him sorry but that doesn’t work because he gets mad at me for not telling him what’s wrong. I literally grip my nails into my arm to not cry. Because he hates it if I cry. I can’t talk to anyone about it. I don’t know what to do. My body won’t move to leave him. I now have crippling depression. When I get sad my body shuts down. I get headaches and I feel nauseous. I literally can’t do anything but sleep. I’ve never told anyone this but reading all of these stories makes it seem like a safe place. I hope this doesn’t backfire. But I feel better telling someone. Even if it’s just random people on a wellness site.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Jay. We are sorry that you are struggling with this. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing.

  33. Mia

    This is exactly what’s been happening to me my whole life, except it’s my mother that’s the abuser and I’m 16 so I can’t leave. She’s both emotionally and physically abusive, but I love her so much during the periods of calm. I have a therapist but I’m scared to tell her because I don’t want my mom to get in trouble or hurt me more if she knows I told someone. She always denies the abuse after it takes place or blames it on me, but I’ve been keeping a journal the past 6 months so I know that it definitely happened. If I tell my therapist will it completely ruin my relationship with my mom for good? Or will she get in serious trouble? I hate living like this but I feel trapped.

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Mia. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand hard this feels. If you want to talk more about this contact our Makin Wellness team today, we’d love to help!

  34. Jennifer bowen

    I recently got out of a relationship where I was engaged and to this day I find myself questioning if it was truly abusive or if everyone around me just said it was so we would split. I know there was times I felt like he didn’t love me and he often told me I was crazy and manipulative and a narcissist who needed to be committed. I know I probably need therapy but I can’t afford it. I’ve gone no contact on him and right after I went no contact he sent 5 emails. 3 sweet and loving and 2 cold and nasty ones about how awful I am. It’s all so confusing and idk if I’m doing the right thing.

    1. Makin Wellness

      Hi Jennifer. We are sorry that you are struggling with the loss of your relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members to help you move toward healing.

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