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OT - abusive partner

Aniki's picture

Who here has escaped an abuser? Mental, physical, or both?

I am a survivor of abuse. My exh mentally abused me for a very long time. He was water on a rock and his long game was GOOD. He seeped in and wore me down so gradually, that I didn't realize what was going on. 

  • He isolated me. His friends were my friends - when I was "allowed" to hang out with them. After all, I didn't need friends. HE was my BEST friend! We were PARTNERS! I didn't need anyone but him!
  • He gradually isolated me from my family, as well. My sister (best friend) was over 2000 miles away. He insisted we move to a town an hour away from my parents. And he made sure I never visited them without him. After all, he LOVED my parents and, having grown up without a father, he especially loved my Dad. So, cue the fireworks if I wanted to go alone.
  • He gaslighted me. I've never forgotten the day he brought me a hot fudge sundae with nuts (which I loathe). He was so insistent that it was what I asked, I believed him and wondered what was wrong with ME. 
    (Yes, I know that's a poor example of gaslighting, but I've never forgotten.)
  • He was so HELPFUL to me. He controlled my wardrobe. After all, I didn't want to look too old or too young or too fat or slutty. The day I stood in front of the closet and ended up on the floor in a panic attack was a Win for him. I never made another clothing choice - not even a pair of socks - until I escaped.


And what precipitated my escape? He effed up. He lost control of himself because he lost control of me. 

I somehow realized that things weren't "right". My parents were visiting Mom's side of the family - hundreds of miles away. I asked Dad if I could stay "come home" for awhile while psycho and I tried to work things out. When psycho got home, I told him that I was going to stay at my parents' house.


He grabbed me by the throat, slammed me up against the wall and proceeded to tell me WHY I wasn't leaving. Because he loved me. Because he needed me. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

And when I tried to speak? He started punching me. And throwing me around like a rag doll. And kicking me. And spitting on me. Because he loved me. Because he needed me...

  • Two black eyes
  • Split lip (stitches inside my lip where my teeth cut through)
  • neck laceration from the heavy gold necklace he RIPPED off my neck (steri-strips, no stitches)
  • Back lacerations from him throwing me into the kitchen and I broke the back off of a chair. The jagged wood cut into my shirt and skin.
  • Severely bruised larynx. The second time he grabbed me by the throat, he lifted me off the floor and choked me until I lost conciousness. It was 6 months before I could speak normally.

After I lost concciousness?

  • He dragged me across the kitchen floor, through broken glass. Multiple lacerations that required steri-strips and pieces of glass embedded in both arms.
  • Broken ribs from him kicking me.
  • Grade 3 concussion from him kicking me.


THIS is why I will always tell someone to leave an abuser. ALWAYS. A "man" who does this does not love you. He is obsessed by you. He needs to control you. He needs you to worship/idolize him.

THIS IS NOT LOVE. These people are incapable of love. They want to suck the life out of you emotionally. And when they're done with you? When they've sucked the life out of you? They will move on to their next victim. BECAUSE THEY NEED TO FEED.


ESMOD's picture

Aniki,  that's horrible.. I'm so glad you got out.

My EXH was emotionally abusive in the gaslighting form... nothing was ever his fault.  It was even my fault if he felt bad because I was right.. (I had to be right.. it was my fault.. the fact that I WAS right?  no nevermind).

I ended up with a BF after that that ended up physically abusive.  He had very poor self control.  Initially I thought he was nothing like my EXH..but in the end.. I think they had the same insecurities and abuse was the way that they got control and felt better about themselves.  My EXBF ended up breaking a bone in my eyesocket when he got mad because a guy at a party noticed that he (my BF) was acting very aggressive and abusive to me.. and he asked me if I was ok.  That ended up getting beat in the car the whole way home.  split lip.. broken eye.. that bruise didn't fade for months.

After that, it was eggshells.. I wanted him gone.. but was afraid to set him off.

Finally he moved on from me.. and I was able to kick him out.  he finally got the message I was serious when I called the police on him and THEY threatened him that if they ever came back and so much as a hair on my head was out of place.. HE would be in jail.

Of course I found later he ended up in jail for putting another GF after me in the hospital.


Aniki's picture

a guy at a party noticed

This is a perfect example of why they isolate us. They don't want others to witness their abusive behavior and call them out on it. After all, if we finally realize what is going on, we will leave and they will have to find a new target!

My exh was previously arrested for beating up his then-gf, but she was afraid to press charges, so he was released. He is currently in jail for attempted murder. Of me. If everything goes well, he will spend another 25 years in prison and be 82 years old when he is finally released. Unless he is released early. In a coffin...

Kes's picture

I am so sorry you experienced this - your descriptions of the violence you suffered were particularly horrific.  But in some ways the emotional abuse is just as bad.  This is what I suffered at the hands of my ExH - quite severe emotional abuse.  I was brought up in a home where I was severely neglected, so I was used to being treated as if I was a piece of invisible shit, and it took me many years to break away from it. The important thing is that I - and you - did so in the end. 

Aniki's picture

Kes, I'm so sorry you grew up like that. No child should live neglected or abused. {{{hugs}}}

It took me YEARS to get over the emotional abuse. 

StepUltimate's picture

I have serious levels of respect for you, Mrs. Aniki "Bad *ss" Awesome-Woman! Fortunately I have no personal DV experience, but I appreciate how you use your horrific experience to warn and encourage others on this site who ARE going through the abuse. You are a tremendous Encourager and I so admire your awesome attitude and outlook on life.

Thanks Aniki!!! Biggrin

bananaseedo's picture

I'm so sorry Aniki! 

My exh was abusive in every way.  A narcissist and a host of other mental issues.  Also an extreme misogynist...should tell you something that he never remarried and we've been divorced over 15 years.  If you hear him talk, he's date a few times but they are 'all crazy' lol (sure thing).

There was sexual abuse, mental and verbal was his strongest though and physical and financial abuse.  

The time I decided I was done was when he started choking me while I held my 2 month old baby-in FRONT OF HIS MOTHER.  It took 2 more years before I could get him out of the house.  This time he slapped our 4yrd old son.  I have so many horrible stories about him and that time of my life...but to be honest I try to not to relive it anymore these days...I've moved on, I've healed and I rarely like to go 'back' there.

Aniki's picture

In front of his mother?! Was she abused, too??? I'm so sorry, bananaseedo!

This is something I don't talk about much, but my exh raped me at gunpoint. One more item on the list for his jail time. 

Unfortunately, I have had to go to court multiple times to "relive" everything - including his subsequent stalking and attempts to kill me. I am currently gearing up to give a repeat performance in court in the hopes it will keep him imprisoned for the maximum amount of time with NO time off for "good" behavior.

bananaseedo's picture

I remember you sharing that...just horrible.  At least this will keep him behind bars permanently I hope!

No, his mother was not abused, SHE was the abuser of her kids/husband. Is it a wonder he grew up hating women?  As he got older he turned her abuse right back at her, physical even at times, definately a lot of cussing, disrespect.  I had severe trauma bonding....

Aniki's picture

Fingers crossed for another 25 years!

Wow. My MIL abused my DH - physically and mentally. He has scars on his legs from it. She stopped when he got bigger (about 12yo), but the mental abuse continued. To this day, she still tries to control him. 

He severely restricts contact with her and is why, in almost a decade, I have only seen her half a dozen times. It would not surprise me in the least if he secretly spits on her grave when she dies. Hell, he can do it openly as far as I'm concerned. 

steppingback's picture

Aniki the sundae example is a perfect description of gaslighting. Slowly making you doubt your mental capacity. Have you seen the Ingrid Bergman movies it is based on? Good stuff.  

Cover1W's picture

Ex-husband.  Mental abuse.  Alienated me from family, friends, started with my work too.  I think he would have progressed to physcial abuse if I hadn't left.

WalkOnBy's picture

perfectly describes my abuser, the man I dated after Asshat and before I met my husband.  Very manipulative, highly intelligent (as am I) and so it was done in such a subtle way, I never saw it.  Alienated me and isolated me from my friends, my family, it was gaslight city.

It took me almost a year to plan my escape with the help of my therapist.  When I finally left him, I never looked back.  He stalked me for a wee bit until my Sheriff friend confronted him one night outside my house.  We still live in the same town, but thankfully, I don't run into him.  His son is friends with my daughter and son-in-law, so that can be a bit awkward, but all in all, I don't have to see or deal with my abuser anymore.  

Cover1W's picture

Yes - I somehow didn't leave after he damaged my bicycle in a rage.  I didn't know it was damaged until I was riding it the next day - the previous evening he was in a drunken (and high?) rage swinging a metal pole around the backyard (later I found out my neighbor was ready to call the cops).  There was banging around in the garage, but no way was I going to check to see what was going on.  Anyway, my front chain ring was bent to hell.  NO WAY that would have happened on its own  -  I was riding it the day before no problem. But somehow my questioning of the night before, my damaged bike and bike repair shop's opinion, were "crazy" there's no way I was saying he sabotaged my bike, right?  I was the crazy one.

Then close to where I ended it, our last argument - or should I say last argument he started for no reason - ended with him punching a solid wood door right next to my head.  I was ready for the punch to land in my face.  And I was going to go straight to the phone for the police (looking back, if I could have).  I left a week or so later.

He was a gooood gaslighter.  I had to have dinner ready for him when he got home, but who knows if he was coming home, and would it be in the fridge or the oven warming for him (if it was one then it was wrong)?  What I said was always wrong, what my feelings were was "crazy" or "stupid" or "No, you said X not Y, are you dumb?"  Etc. etc.  The door punch, him moving his computer to the bedroom from the office and freaking totally out if I even touched his phone made it easy to find emails from the "other woman."  Whom he, of course, denied denied denied ever having an affair with.  Uh-huh.

Aniki's picture

I had to have dinner ready for him when he got home, but who knows if he was coming home

Ah, yes. Along with, "I TOLD you I would be late! You never listen...."

CompletelyPuzzled's picture

My exH never hit me in a way that I could prove was done on purpose.  He had two major disadvantages.  One was that he was diabled and didn't have good balance so I could get away.  The second was he knew my dad would beat him into a pulp if I ever told him that he hit me.

  But, he was extremely emotionally and financially abusive. Any time I tried to work outside the house, he would sabotage it.  He would refuse to watch our son or pay for daycare.  He would call me at work and threaten to leave our 3 year old home alone if I didn't come home.  He would stop paying my bills of I upset him or take away access to the bank accounts.  He would purposely take our son's carseat to work to keep me in the house.  The funny thing is that he wouldn't let me work outside the house, but then he was mad that he was the only one working and would call me lazy.


He also knew how to say things to make me feel insecure.  He would say things in a way that sounded insulting, but not directly enough for me to call him out on it.  I have a small birth defect. It impacts the way I smile.  He knew how self-conscious I was about it.  He would make little jokes or comments to make me feel awful.  He constantly poked fun at my body, but would sabotage any weight loss plans or working out.

He would also find accidentally hurt me physically.  One time, he slammed a door while I was walking through it and it hit me.  Another time, we were playing around and he accidentally threw me off the bed where I hit my head on the nightstand, then he laughed while I was crying on the floor.  There was also a time when he locked me in our bathroom.  He knew I was terrified of enclosed spaces.  When I came rushing out, he tripped me and I smacked into a wall.  When I finally decided to leave him, he found the lease I was signing and ripped up all the paperwork.  He also pulled the battery out of my car, hoping I would lose my job.  My dad had to come in from 1000 miles away and stay with us to make sure I was able to leave.  I am pretty sure my dad threatened him because he finally left me alone.

He never hit our kids.  I have tried to get past it so I can co-parent with him.  But, I still carry the scars.  My current DH is so kind and loving.  Sometimes, I still find myself apologizing for everything.  I will never let myself be treated like that again.  The crazy thing is he goes on sites like reddit and talks about how he was abused.

Aniki's picture

BTDT. Slams the door... "Oh, I didn't see you there." Mmhmm...

Oh, yes, the sabotage. Mine had me on a very strict diet. I cooked, but he controlled what. If I wanted to try something new, I didn't love him, you know! I also had to train for triathlons with him. Not that I would have been allowed to participate OR be there when he did.

Thank God he never touched the kids.

Willow2010's picture

Oh Aniki...Im so sorry for all of that.  How awful.  

Thankfully I have never been in an abusive relationship but I do feel for all of you that have.  

Aniki's picture

Willow, I'm glad for you! I believe that made me into what I am today. And I finally LIKE myself! 

Siemprematahari's picture

I'm sorry this all happened to you ladies and know that you are so strong and brave for leaving.

My sons father was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. I left him once our son turned one and he only ramped things up. It became so bad that I had to get a restraining order out on him. I felt like I was living that movie "Sleeping with the Enemy". I was so young at that time that I didn't see the red flags at first. He was a charming guy, nice and changed so much once we had our son. He'd threaten to get rid of me and that my son would never know who his mother was. He'd stalk me and stayed the right amount of feet from my home so not to violate the restraining order.

What finally made him stop.....a good friend of mine paid him a visit and lets just say it was enough to have him leave me alone. After me the next woman he was with (they have a daughter together) he placed in the hospital and she was unconscious. She eventually left him after a few years. Now he's a miserable man living by himself and both his kids have NOTHING to do with him.

So for those ladies out there suffering in silence please know you are loved and worthy of a good life. Please get out of that abusive cycle and save yourselves. Wishing you all much love, peace, strength to know you deserve better.

Aniki's picture

Amiga, I'm thankful that RO worked for you! Mine violated it time after time. I would come out to flowers on my car or love notes in my mailbox. My ex found me after I moved. He stalked my parents' house on Father's Day and followed me to my new place. It was terrifying. 

What's especially sad about abuse is that so many people believe they DESERVE it. They buy into that horsepuckey they're being fed that they're not good enough, that they're f*ck-ups, that they should be able to do/be better. If their abusers are like mine, they are very subtle and chip away self-esteem and confidence gradually. 

If anyone reading this is uncertain if they are in this situation...

  • You can't ever seem to do things right and are frequently criticized. You DISAPPOINT.
  • You cannot have friendships with people your partner doesn't know - and friendships you do have slowly die off because you're never allowed to actually retain the friendship and/or they are actually your partner's friends - not yours.
  • If you don't immediately answer a call/text - RUH-ROH! He blows up your phone, He will even come to your work or call your boss. After all, you might be telling someone about what's happening and planning your escape!

This is a very short list of stuff. We almost need an Abusive relationship section, discussing the traits of abusers and narcs.

advice.only2's picture

So sad to read this Aniki, you really are amazing to have gotten away!

I left my ex when I was 8 months pregnant and it took me years to really truly grasp that he was abusive and that the little things would eventually ramp up to big things.

Aniki's picture

Advice, it's a little sad that it takes hindsight for us to see this, isn't it? Glad you escaped!

nengooseus's picture

Because Facebook reminded me of the abuse I went through with my DD's dad just yesterday with one of the memories.  I knew it was coming, but I didn't remember the date.

X moved me from the west coast to the east coast to isolate me.  He was AD military and deployed literally 2 weeks after we moved and then remained deployable and frequently away from home until his unit was transferred back to the west coast,  but to an area far away from "home" and without military authorization to move his family.  A year after that, he took orders at a base about 400 miles away from me and DD.  

I was responsible for everything, the house, the cars, the finances, DD, etc--and I worked full time, too.  I was expected to be there when he called and to never make a demand on him.  I didn't even know how to reach him most of the time.  If I didn't meet one of these obligations, I was belittled and insulted.  On the rare occasion he was home, he was in his own world.  He came and went as he pleased.  Essentially, I was married with two children making demands on me.

I told him in October that I was done and wanted a divorce.  He came to see "us" for the weekend.  I was hoping for an amicable split.  I tried to make it easy on him.  He didn't speak to me or DD for a month, but he showed up in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning and found me not at home, with my car parked at my neighbor's house, where DD and I slept that night (because I had broken my toe preparing for Thanksgiving).

He brok into my car and took my laptop.  He searched through my e-mail to find e-mails with a close friend and with my lawyer about the divorce.  I woke to text messages accusing me of kidnapping DD and demanding that I come home immediately.  I walked in and he started screaming at me.  Viscious, scary screaming, which DD heard every bit of.  There were threats of violence, threats to disappear with DD.  I was called every name in the book.  I've blocked out most of it, but I remember how it made me feel.  I left the house and stayed at a hotel that night and for several nights after.  I was at the house during the day, but at the hotel in the evening.  

On 12/4, I returned to the house from the hotel to find that he had destroyed our bed overnight, and the pieces were in the driveway.  I had the privilege of putting them into the trash bin.  He told me that DD didn't hear anything, he did it in the night.  I didn't believe him, but DD (barely 7 at the time) didn't disagree.  But she was off and I knew it.  Turns out that she had heard it all and it scared the crap out of her--as it had me.  The picture of the trashbin is what popped up yesterday.

Shortly thereafter, he returned to his base and we were once again safe.  He started with harassing phonecalls and text messages and cut off my access to financial accounts shortly thereafter, but I did have my ducks in a row, so I was OK.  But it was so frightening.  I didn't know what he would do, and he could've done anything to me or DD.

He terrorized DD during visits, screaming and throwing things.  She wouldn't tell me--or her therapist--what was happening, but she wasn't right.  He moved back to our area after the divorce, telling me that he wanted to see DD more, but without a fixed schedule.  Then he started asking to see her at the last minute, and if I said no (maybe happened 2-3 times over 2 years), I would get scathing messages about how I was withholding DD from him, etc. 

And then he disappeared.  He stopped responding to e-mail, he stopped sending CS, and he didn't contact DD.  Not a word for more than a year.  He resurfaced when I filed with the court for CS arrears and to get DD a passport.  He objected and actually showed up to court, but lost.  Not a word from him since.  He hasn't seen or spoken to DD in 2 years.

It's a blessing that he's gone, in many ways, but I feel awful for DD.  That's her dad and she's really only ever seen the worst of him, but she still loves and misses him.

Aniki's picture

Nengooseus, mine also controlled me from afar. He was ROTC and left for Officer's Training for several months. He would always manage to call right as I was getting home. Even when traffic was bad and I was late (likely called several times). Occasionally, I would get to the phone in time and actually speak to him. MOST of the time, I got a dial tone and anxiously awaited him calling back - which meant I sometimes sat there for HOURS. I suspect he often waited for me to answer, then hung up. 

I'm sorry for your DD. Will she talk to a counselor about it? I wonder if he's dead... 

Gimlet's picture

Aniki, you are amazing, you warrior Finn.  

I'm always shocked by the number of strong, intelligent, articulate women who have been in an abusive relationship.  It goes to show that it can happen to women we would never guess and I think it's important to share that.

My ex husband was an abusive ass, but I think the biggest factor for me was growing up with an abusive father.  I have a high ACE score and boy did it normalize all kinds of terrible treatment.  It's taken me years and years of therapy to be semi-normal and I firmly believe if I hadn't had my daughter when I did that I wouldn't be here.  

((Hugs)) to all of you brave, strong ladies. 

Aniki's picture

Gimmy, like you, it took years of therapy to be semi-normal. However, to this day, I cannot wear turtlenecks and barely tolerate collared shirts because of an imaginary choking sensation.

I just mentioned above that Abuse Awareness should be taught in school, like sex ed. We're not educated because no one thinks to educate until it's too late. No one thinks they will be a statistic.

thinkthrice's picture

Thanks for that info.  I just took the test.  I have 5 for ACE and 6 for resiliency.

futurobrillante99's picture

I'm so glad we all got away. Those were terrifying times in my life and I won't rehash because most of you know my story due to it being recent.

Reading all your stories again gave me chills and brought back awful memories of constant anxiety, doubting myself and my sanity.

((hugs)) and love to all of you. <3

thinkthrice's picture

who ended up on social services and drank himself to death grabbed me by the hair and literally dragged me across a clothing store because I said "these pants are expensive" on our honeymoon.  He had a gun and would often hold it to my head.  He would black out from drinking, lose all perception of time and when I would come home from shopping he'd think I had been out for days.  I still have hearing problems in my left ear due to him smacking me upside the head all the time.   He cheated MANY times on me but would always project and accuse ME of cheating on him.

When I would drop off Awesomeson for visitation, he would tell Awesomeson to go into the elevator to get to his apt then drag me out of the car and start punching me right out in the parking lot.  Of course the neighbourhood he was in thought it was quite entertaining and, although there weren't smartphones back then, had their been several of the residents would have probably cammed the whole thing.

I had moved out and then back in several times before I finally moved out for good (bought my first house)  Each time I moved back in he would get worse.  Of course my DD saw all of this and it most likely did some damage.  He would also try to punish my DD excessively which was the final straw.

1st husband would have temper tantrums, make threats and tore the phone off the wall because I told him to turn down his multitudinous bearcat scanners which would blast away all night while I was nine months preggers and trying to sleep to go to work the next day.  The cop literally said "do you obey your husband like you should?"  That was back in 1981

Aniki's picture

Thrice, that parking lot biz makes me think of Kitty Genovese.

Evil Aniki is pleased that effer drank himself to death. *diablo*
Apologies to Awesomeson.

agitated's picture

I am so sorry Aniki.

I need to preface this by saying that YES I lived with my father and stepmother when I got pregnant. It was a surprise, however, I was having unprotected sex and knew the consequences. 

My exH, the father of my twins, was abusive. He did not start the abuse until I was 7.5 months pregnant. We got into an argument about him not being able to hold down a job (I was on bedrest) and that he was drinking too much. He cut my car key in half with snippers, broke my cell phone (flip phone) in half, threw me down ON MY STOMACH on the back of a hard couch and LEFT FOR THE NIGHT! This was still not enough for me. See, I felt like I had no place to go. My "family", who begged me to stay near (and not move back home - 1500 miles away - where I had more friends and family to help) because they are so much better than my mom at home....however this "family" told me at 6 months pregnant that I had to move out and they had no intentions on helping with daycare and whatnot either. I had nobody to turn to; so I stayed. 

After my boys were born, the abuse continued. Not only was he verbally abusive, but he liked to wake me up by hitting me because he was mad I was sleeping. BTW, I was back to work by this time. He also headbutted me in the face so hard once it left a bruise. I lied to my "family" and said one of the boys stood up real quick while sitting on lap and hit my jaw with his head. I still kept his all to myself. 

He also, like Aniki, distanced me from all family and friends unless he was present. I had already moved away from most people I knew so he had an easy task. He went through my phone one night and deleted all of my friends' numbers from my hometown. He would come into to my work and just sit and watch me to make sure I wasn't being hit on or cheating. However, he was the one who had a side piece. 

After some time I wised up and called the cops on him. He went to jail 2 different times, but I still stayed. I was stupid. I eventually started to fight back and the last time the cops were called I left him. I called my father and explained everything while hysterically crying and he let me come live with him while I got myself together. 

There is A LOT more to my story, but these are the highlights. I was the first in his mess of abuse. He has been married 2 more times since me and has 1 other child. He has abused both of those women too. He spent 7 months in jail for felony domestic abuse and has only been out for about 10 months. I have heard from his mom that he also abused a girlfried in the middle and the most recent one kicked him out for attempting to abuse her. He is now homeless in Michigan. 

I will NEVER let another man lay his finger on me. I will put him the F*** down. I will never let myself go though something like that again.


Aniki's picture

Agitated, I'm very happy you got out. 

Like you, I said I would never let another man lay a finger on me. I got righteous. I got mean. I studied martial arts and got dangerous. I have had men TRY to hurt me and have left a bloody trail behind me protecting myself. I am not ashamed. 

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

My exhusband (BS's father) was abusive. Not so much physically, though there was a little of that. But mentally. He'd call me names, make fun of my looks, compare me to other women all the time, including on our honeymoon, you name it. I always thought it wasn't abuse, or "wasn't so bad" because it was most mental and emotional. I was wrong, and it took me a long time and lots of chats with my therapist to realize that. Fortunately, I only put up with it for 7 years (though that's still 7 years too long) before I was done. I was with another guy for a few years who was a raging alcoholic. I had no support system for quite a few years of my life, and boy, did I ever need one!

When I look back, part of my wants to just shake my old self and scream into her face, "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING??" I'm hardly the same person I was way back when, thank the Lord. But another part of me wants to hug my oldd self and tell her everything will be OK. We all know what we know when we know it, and we all learn throughout life where our boundaries are, what we're willing to tolerate and what we're not, and most importantly, what we're worth.

All you wonderful ladies, we've come a long way! We're all queens who deserve only the best. I'm glad we know this, and let's support our fellow sisters who aren't quite there yet. Give rose

Aniki's picture

What were you thinking? You said it: it "wasn't so bad".

I have always maintained that mental abuse is more difficult to overcome than physical. Physcial heals over time. Mental is brainwashing and reprogramming. 

I get hit, that bruise heals.
I get told that I'm stupid and ugly and useless so many times, I start to believe it. I've now been reprogrammed and fixing that takes time.

SteppedOff's picture

I am so sorry you had to endure living like that. You seem like such a bright light there is no understanding or reasoning why someone would choose to do anything to extinguish it Smile

You are better than I, myself, I would have probably spent time polishing my little 38 after that.

Live and love well deserve it!

Aniki's picture

Thank you, SteppedOff. I believe that living through that has forged me into what I am today. 

People see those bright lights, but they cannot simply appreciate it. I don't believe they intend to extinguish it, rather that they have to OWN it and CONTROL it and make it theirs in every way possible. 

Afterwards? I'll repeat what I wrote above... I got mean. I studied martial arts and got dangerous. I have had men TRY to hurt me and have left a bloody trail behind me protecting myself. I am not ashamed. 

Letti.R's picture

I am so glad  you got away from that arsehole Aniki!
And every time you share  your story, as painful as it is, you give courage to other people in a similar situation.
Abuse escalate...

I have never had an abusive partner, but I lived next door to a couple who had horrible fights.
I moved in (my first townhouse on my own!)  and within the first few days  there were screaming matches, things thrown, cops called...
I remember thinking once: he is going to kill her...
(And they had a small child, under a year old.)

I went home to my parents one weekend.
Went to work on Friday morning, went to stay with my folks out of town, got home Sunday night. 
There was a note taped to my front door: cops wanted to speak to me.
Turns out, he did kill her...

Aniki's picture

OMG, Letti. That poor woman! 

A friend of mine is also a survivor of abuse. Their son was 4yo and she was 8 months pregnant with their second son. She and her H were in the kitchen and he was hitting her. Their 4yo ran in and screamed "STOP HITTING MY MOMMY" and tried pushing him away. That bastard hit that baby so hard, he flew several feet, hit the wall, and was knocked out. He turned around in time for my friend to stab him with a butcher knife. He was dead within minutes.

HIS parents testified on her behalf. They knew he was beating her, but too afraid of him to do anything. She changed her hame and relocated and has never remarried. Her boys are both adults and she has a brand new granddaughter. 

I thank God that POS is dead.

thinkthrice's picture

If your male co-workers say your BF/SO/DH is a jerk and recommend you dump him, he probably is and you probably should.

Oh yeah and I can completely sympathize with someone who went through this sort of thing and ends up poisoning her spouse because of it.   Not that you should actually do that but I can sympathize as some feel totally TRAPPED and feel they cannot escape.

Aniki's picture

I can sympathize with that, too. I look at it this way: the abuser is slowly killing the victim. Poisoning to escape is fair, IMO. But only if it's agonizing... 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I've always been hesitant to call my XH abusive. Toxic? Absolutely. But since I felt like I contributed to it, I've always had a hard time calling it abuse. It just never seemed that bad, even though I *know* it was.


- Passively controlled my food intake. Would make comments about how much I had eaten, would say no to getting dessert because I had "eaten enough", etc.

- Made comments about my weight. Would tell me to stand up straighter so my stomach didn't protrude as much. Told me I was too fat to have sex with. FYI, I'm 5'8" and was a size 12/14 when we were together. Not skinny, but not fat, either.

- Would pick fights with me before we would visit my family so that I seemed like a lunatic when I was pissy at him in front of them.

- Told me he was never attracted to me, but didn't want to lose me.

- Borderline physically abusive. Grabbed me by the neck and bent me over a bench once when he got mad at me. Threw his cell phone into the wall when he was mad at me. I'd lock myself in our room and baracade the door when he'd get mad, and he tried like hell to beat the door down.

- Thought my fear of knives was funny. A few times he'd unload the dishwasher and point a knife at me, laughing, and keep inching closer. I'd literally curl into a ball on the floor and cry as he did it.

- Told me I was too psychotic to be a good mother.

- Didn't isolate me from my friends and family, but isolated me from his. Problem with that was that he'd go out and I'd have no idea when he would be home, or know who he was with. And it meant when he invited his friends over that I'd have to disappear. I'm all for spouses having their own friends, but this was like him trying to pretend I didn't exist.

- He was financially irresponsible but would get mad at me about it. He wore me down to the point that I didn't care if he spent money so long as he wouldn't be mad at me.

When I left him, he was running hot and cold. Told me not to tell anyone in his family that we split, but went to my parents crying that he was upset it was over. Would call me and cuss me out, but then bring me flowers and beg me back. Wanted to go out so we could talk but then shushed me when he thought I got too loud. It was *daily* communication with me for nearly 6 months, and I almost went back.

It sucks being stuck in an emotional vacuum that you can't escape. I felt crazy. I WAS crazy. He pushed and prodded and poked and pulled. I honestly don't remember much from when we were married. Snippets here and there, but that's about it. I still sometimes have nightmares of him ignoring me while his friends yell at me and call me names (he did a great job of getting people to believe I was psychotic - people I never met) and I'd be BEGGING him to get them to stop.

I'm not proud of this, but I cheated on him to get the courage to leave. I had to do *something* to stop getting sucked back in, and I knew cheating would just put a bullet in it. It wasn't the right or healthy move, but I'm not sure that I would have been able to end it amicably. I WANTED it to end and didn't have the strength to do it the right way. Shame on me.

Gimlet's picture

No, lieutenant, no shame.  None.  You did what you had to do to survive.

He wasn't just toxic.  He was abusive, hands down.  He was grinding your self worth down every day.  You did not deserve any of that.  Please don't minimize your experience and the strength it took to not only leave him, but to become the kick ass woman you are today. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Thanks Gimmy. I was young and dumb with him. I didn't handle it well. I still don't handle thinking about it well. I loved him for SO LONG after we split up. I cried when our wedding anniversary rolled around nearly a year after he and I initially split. I had thrown myself into being a wife to him, and to lose that identity left me trying to piece myself back together. I didn't realize how much of me I had wrapped up in him.


Aniki's picture

He bloody well WAS abusive! Good lord, Lt. Dad. {{{hugs}}}

Shame on me.

HORSESHIT. You know I don't advocate cheating. In a NORMAL relationship.
THIS WAS NOT NORMAL. I'm very grateful you did what you did to leave. xoxoxo


lieutenant_dad's picture

I know he was. I tell myself he was. I just have a hard time accepting it. It's like this Ghost of Marriage Pasts that is gaslighting me to this day. Because that's what abuse does - it convinces you that it's not abuse so you don't just off yourself.

Aniki's picture

I still have days where I struggle and fall back into believing some of the garbage psycho exh programmed. Reprogramming ain't easy.

Siemprematahari's picture

No judgement here! You did what you needed to do at the time. Glad you are no longer in that abusive space.

Much healing to you!

Merry's picture

I swear, you are all my heroes. Strong, smart women who have been through hell.

I didn't realize I was in an abusive relationship until I was OUT of it. Seriously. I married a man with "anger issues" and didn't recognize it as abuse. We had HUGE fights because I did or said or wore the wrong thing, or my sister asked him to say grace at the family meal, or because I got a raise at work and he didn't. Oh, but if I didn't like something HE said or did, then he was just kidding and I couldn't take a joke.

He wouldn't take a business trip with me one year because it's too hot in Boston in the summer. (We lived in New York, so...) When I did travel, he expected me to have meals prepared for him before I left because that was more "fair" since he has to take care of his own child. And he told me every evening when I talked with him that the meal sucked. He yelled at me because caring for our daughter was too hard WHILE I WAS TAKING MY DYING FATHER TO THE HOSPITAL for the last time. Oh, and holding my hand at my Dad's funeral? Nah, that wasn't manly. 

And yet I stayed. Because I grew up in a househole where my parents fought constantly. It was normalized for me. A little age, a little experience, a little success and independence at my job, and I finally realized that I needed to get my daughter and me OUT of that hell. She, as an adult, has asked me why I stayed so long. She has a decent relationship with her Dad, but sees him in small time chunks for her own sanity.

When I finally left him, he begged, cried, sent gifts and flowers with empty promises to change. Well, buddy, you didn't change when I was the one crying, so, no.

Funny story now... I hadn't seen him for years (once DD turned 18, no need to communicate with him). When I did, he didn't even recognize me. He thought I was some chick trying to hit on him over the breakfast buffet. Current DH, who was witnessing the event, had coffee spurting out his nose it was so funny and I played it to the max. Damn, that was fun.

Aniki's picture

When I finally left him, he begged, cried, sent gifts and flowers with empty promises to change. 

Ye olde love-bombing and futile attempts to suck you back in. Very glad you were not!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Aniki, I'm forever thankful that that blue-eyed bast*rd didn't kill you. I am so sorry you had to live through that. Few things would bring me greater pleasure than putting a stiletto between his cervical vertebra...

Aniki's picture

Thank you, Lt Dad. Are we talking about a shoe or a knife? Regardless. I do believe I'd prefer to shove that stiletto right up his arse...

NjororsDaughter's picture

This life I lived. My ex he waits until we move far away from mine family. Always he hit me so the bruise do not show. Where the clothes covers or back and side of my head. He block contact from mine family. I had not friends nor job nor money nor place to go. Was car accident safe me. I go to hospital and lose mine baby. The nurse see bruises ask if I am safe. She fix to send me to shelter for womens. She safe mine life.

Aniki's picture

NjorjorsDaughter, how awful! I am so sorry you lived like that and thankful that the nurse helped you get out. {{{hugs}}}

Aniki's picture

A YUGE Thank You to all who shared their stories. I'm sure most of us never thought we'd be a statistic and that it's not always easy to talk about or admit. Please do not be ashamed for what you did to escape. You got out. You SURVIVED! 

For those who are not able to tell their stories, I understand. Maybe you're still healing. Maybe you don't want to talk about it. Maybe you can't. Take some comfort in knowing it's behind you now and you haved moved onward and upward. 

For those who continue to live like this? It is NOT okay for someone to treat you this way. To make you think you're crazy. To make you afraid to have dinner on the table late or wear/say the "wrong" thing. To hurt you physically OR mentally. 

I KNOW what it's like to be afraid. You don't have to be.
I KNOW what it's like to feel worthless. You are NOT.

You are a good person. You are lovable. You are special. You are valuable. Don't let anyone tell you differently. 

Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence


God bless you.

theoldredhen's picture

My ex, the psychopath, was the maestro of verbal abuse, disguised as humor. When I was 17 and heavily pregnant with my older daughter, he shouted at me, in a crowded supermarket, “It’s not my child and I’ll never marry you!” Of course, we were married and we both knew that the child was his. Some may laugh but it was 1961 and morality was much different then.

So, ha, ha, ha, insulting the redhen at any opportunity, particularly in public, was great sport for the schmuck.

I asked him once, “Do you think I’m pretty?” His response, “Well, you’re not ugly!” That’s probably the best compliment that I received from asshat during the entirety of our marriage. Upon hearing it, my DH (who is convinced that Venus Rising pales in comparison to moi) laughed while insisting that my past marriage was more like Beauty and the balding, psycho Beast. Thank you, karma.

Psycho, like most bullies, was a coward. The first time that he punched me, in front of our two small, screaming girls, I ran upstairs with them and comforted them until they fell asleep. I then loaded the rifle, proceeded downstairs and pointed it at him. Won that round.

The second time he attacked me, the girls were with MIL for the weekend. Ex beat me soundly enough to knock me down and stun me before pouring himself a beer and settling down in front of the TV like the Lord of the Manor. After he’d downed a third beer, I crept up behind him and beaned him with a 26-ounce bottle of Niagara Dry ginger ale. While he was briefly stunned, I ran outside, jumped into the car and began backing out the driveway. I will never forget the hilarity of watching thwarted psycho, clad in only his tighty whiteys, chasing me down the driveway, in the snow.

Like many women whose self-esteem is in the toilet, I stayed with psycho until I caught him, in flagrante delicto, in the front seat of my best friend’s car at 3.00 A.M. In our driveway. To add to the insult, I was babysitting best friend’s 2 daughters while she was committing adultery with my husband. How telling, is the fact that I regretted the loss of my best friend a helluva lot more than that of my ex!

Phew! Sometimes it’s so cathartic, to unburden oneself, yes? Thank heavens for anonymity.

Aniki's picture

I then loaded the rifle, proceeded downstairs and pointed it at him.

clad in only his tighty whiteys, chasing me down the driveway, in the snow.

Lord, woman, I adore you!!! *give_rose*

Evil3's picture

I don't even know where to start with my ex. We met at karate. We would "practice" sparring and he'd nail me full force across the boobs and constantly claim that they were "accidents." He said I was a baby and didn't have what it takes to make it in karate. One time in karate class, he "lost control" which is a huge no-no in martial arts, and he smoked me in the ribs dropping me to the floor. I was gasping for air and coughing and had to be checked for broken ribs. There's a thing that goes on in the karate world that when you have "that one" in the dojo, they get beat. The other guys beat the sh*t out of my ex. LOL

My ex would constantly have "accidents" and hurt me physically. He'd always walk behind me up the stairs and pretend to goose me but he'd shove his rigid thumb so hard that he'd bruise my perineum through my jeans. I was constantly bruised and sore there. Also, I was a virgin when I met him and he would just ram it in and hurt me. I was so turned off of sex that I hated it until I met DH. It's why I stayed single for so long. The thought of kissing a man made me sick. My ex would eat entire jars of pickeled onions and then get in the mood and when I winced at his odour, he'd ask what the f was wrong with me. He complained about my body, but he complained about all of my working out I did because I wasn't sitting and watching his unemployed ass work on his car all damn day. He also complained that I couldn't partake with wine and cheese every night because I was trying to get my body "good enough" for his tastes.

He gaslighted me at every turn, he used me for money, he never worked but expected me to carry on with my five jobs and school full time while working out for four hours a day to try to get slim enough for him. My dad was a narc and had us move in with him and the two of them would gang up on me and abuse me. My dad told me that my ex was all I could get because I'm just inferior as a female and that if I broke up with my ex, I'll stay single for the rest of my life because no one else would want me.

My ex didn't want to work but convinced me to work five jobs to pay the shot to atone for my infriority as a GF. My dad was also taking a lot of my money.

One day, my ex had me pinned face down on the couch with my arm cranked up behind my back. I could feel my arm giving way. I couldn't move. My dad had moved out by then, so it was just me and ex in the house, which was purportedly haunted. Not to change the subject to something paranomal, but something threw my ex off of me and he landed across the room and I was able to escape. It really spooked ex and he treated me like gold for a bit. That is until the day I claimed I was going to the store for a quart of milk and never went back. I left all of my material possessions behind. Instead of going to the store, I found an apartment and slept on the bare floor that night. The manager was an escapee from an abusive marriage, so she broke the rules, accepted my rental application without references and let me move in that minute. I slept on the bare floor and it was the best sleep of my life. I never went back that my ex. He ran up credit cards in my name and I had to declare personal bankruptcy, but at least I was rid of him.

He quit karate and I continued on to get my black belt. He basically got shunned and couldn't return to training because of how abusive and mean he was to not just me, but to others. He got in a fight one night and broke a guy's ankle using a karate kick, so he got busted for that. Of course, he got off Scott free when he went to court, because he's always gotten away with everything. When I first tried to get help, I got told it must be me, because he's so charming, so I must be a bitch. He was also drop-dead gorgeous and a model, so it was surprising how looks like that can fool people.

I could go on and on, but I won't. He's been married for 11 years now and has a young DD. He seems very happy. I really hope he's changed and that his DD has softened him. In my experience abusers don't normally change, but I hope he did for his little girl's sake. I've forgiven my ex. It's been over 30 years since I left him, so it's been a long time. I still run into him once in a while and he'll be the first person to give me hug and congratulate me on something he's heard that I accomplished. I choose to focus on that side of him and not what I went through. He once made a comment that if something happends to my DH, we'd get back together and I was in my head yelling "over my rotting f*cking corpse!!!!" Sure, I've forgiven him, but it doesn't mean forgetting and getting back with him if I end up single. I don't know what drug he's on to say that. Let's just stay pleasant and happy for one another.

Aniki's picture

Evil, SO glad you escaped that POS!  I cannot imagine allowing him to hug me. ISH. I'd likely end up breaking his fingers. 

If you ever see that dirtbag again and he makes that getting back together comment? Please laugh at him and tell him he has a sick sense of humor. {{hugs}}

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you left him. 

18 years ago I broke up with the boys father (he used to get drunk and pull my hair, nothing too bad but it was nothing I wanted to stick around for). 

The girls dad was a narcissist SOB. He had reached expert level gaslighting (it was like emotional torture). There is no reasoning with someone that twists stuff. So I put in divorce papers. 

If I have to spend the rest of my days on my own then so be it, I’m quite happy that way. 

Just stick on here, because I have been a step mum, and also been a step child myself. 

Aniki's picture

Glad you're out, too! Yes, that level of gaslighting IS emotional torture. Single is much better than that.