4 Stages In The Cycle Of Abuse And How To Heal

woman coping with abuse

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Table of Contents

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.

4 stages of abuse

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.

Whatever help you need, we can help you. At Makin Wellness, we offer therapy and counseling services. 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 58 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.

        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

  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. 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.

    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

  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.

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