• Handling Breakups

A victim of domestic abuse asks why her friend cut off their relationship

Published: June 1, 2014 | By | 32 Replies Continue Reading
Does it mean that she didn’t care? Can a friend inadvertently prevent a victim of domestic abuse from seeking help?



I am 31 and I have (had?) a friend who is almost 50. She was my very first professor in college when I was 18, so we have been friends for roughly 13 years.

I reached out to her, because I loved riding horses and she had several. Through my college years, she started inviting me out to ride at her house every so often. We went on to a first-name basis after two years and we had lunch/dinner together often, saw movies together, and did other social things.

After I graduated, I moved away from our college town but I emailed her probably every couple months to tell her my newest news, find out how she was doing, and let her know when I was coming through town so we could go on a horse ride together or meet for breakfast/coffee, etc. She would email me on occasion as well, but it was generally me emailing her. She has no children but she is married. She was there when I got married and was there through the births of my three children.

It was pretty much drama-free until last August. I was supposed to be meeting her for breakfast but was unable to travel at the last minute because my husband and I had gotten in a huge argument, an argument that turned physical. I emailed her and said I would not be able to make it and gave her a brief outline of what had happened.

She wrote back and said I should leave immediately with the kids. I should not take him back, and that he had abused me. I went into a depression over the next several months, and whenever a day went by that I didn’t email her, she would email me asking me if I was alright because she was worried my husband had killed me. So I made it a point to email her regularly.

She talked me into going to counseling, which I did for several months and which really helped me – and told me I could always email her whenever I needed to talk, that she thought it was therapeutic for me to write out my feelings.

Fast forward to the last month or so. My husband did a couple of physical things to me again, which I told her about and she immediately wanted me to go back into counseling. I have been having a hard time making a decision on whether to leave my husband or not because of the kids, financial reasons, and my lack of self-confidence, and have continued to stay with him.

We don’t have a lot of money right now and really can’t afford counseling again. My husband reiterated that to me—that we can’t afford counseling so I couldn’t go, which I told my friend.

About two weeks ago, she contacted my parents without my knowledge and told them she was extremely worried about me, that she thought my depression had gotten very serious and was afraid I might be considering suicide and that my husband was forbidding me to get counseling.

Naturally my parents became very worried and contacted me. I told them I was fine and not to worry. I also got upset at my friend and told her she shouldn’t have gone behind my back to tell my parents. I told her I can’t afford counseling, that I’m too close to my parents to be able to vent to them, and that I didn’t want to burden her anymore.

Her response a few days after was this:

“I have decided I simply can’t help you anymore. And I don’t think you want my, or anyone else’s help, either. So this is goodbye. I wish you well in your life but please don’t contact me anymore.”

I was so completely shocked. I wasn’t expecting her to just end it, after having almost daily contact for nine months, and years before that.
I felt like she had reached out to me, encouraged me to email her when I was having problems, and so I did that. I have been full of regrets for how I responded to her when she contacted my parents. I did send a very sincere apology via email but she never responded and I have no way of knowing if she even read it or deleted it or what.

This has hit me so hard. I’ve cried nonstop for days, and have barely eaten or done anything productive. I’m grieving worse after losing her than I was when I have lost previous partners! I just don’t know how to take it or get over her. She was there for me constantly and now she’s just gone. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Obviously, I know, she knows, my parents know – everybody knows, that I’m in a bad situation. And I want to change that and I want to get better. But my questions are, should I assume she is gone forever? Or could I try to go back to her in a year, or however long it takes me to better my situation and try to rekindle things? Is it possible she would want to know that I’m doing better and have changed in the future (assuming I do)? Does her saying she no longer wants contact mean never again, no matter what? And why would she have ended contact with me with no warning to me to stop going to her with my problems, etc.? Does she most likely still care about me?

I am heartbroken. Literally. I had no idea it was possible to feel so strongly about losing a friend.

Signed, Donna


Hi Donna,

I’m not sure you’re going to like my response to your letter. I think you friend was being the best friend she knew how to be by contacting your parents. You seem to be minimizing the effect of your husband’s physical aggression on both yourself and your children.

I do believe that some abusers can change, but not without a lot of effort and professional therapy to help identify the roots of the behaviors and help them develop appropriate alternative responses to anger and frustration.

Sometimes when friends serve as counselors, they inadvertently prevent their troubled friends from seeking the professional help they really need. It sounds like your friend felt like she had become a crutch in your relationship, and that talking to you wasn’t helping you make the changes she believed you needed to make. Stepping away from you was probably a difficult decision, and one that was meant to push you toward seeking the professional therapy you really need, not to punish you. I admire her a lot for telling your parents. Abuse happens in secrecy and silence.

There are many options for free or low cost counseling through social services, local government, religious organizations, and universities. Additionally, many private therapists offer sliding scale fee arrangements. If you are invested in seeking counseling, you will be able to find therapy. Battered women’s shelters often have free therapy for victims, their children and abusers.

If I were you, I run, not walk to the phone and find a therapist. Work on strengthening yourself, making sure you and your children are safe, and becoming stronger. Make sure that your children are also evaluated for their need for counseling. Growing up in domestic violence and/or spousal controlling homes affects children’s psyches and can determine whether or not they become abusers or victims in their teen and adult relationships.

Once you’re in an emotionally healthy and safe place, try contacting your friend again. Thank her for pushing you to get help and I have a feeling she will be open to revisiting the relationship. I wouldn’t contact her until you’re in that better place.

You can become a stronger, healthier woman, whether that is with or without your marriage. It will take hard work, confronting your fears, honesty with yourself and others, and not making excuses about why you can’t.

Good luck! I have seen many women in your situation break away from control and abuse and I am confident you can too.

Signed, *Amy Feld

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment or legal advice. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, How to get over a breakup

Comments (32)

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  1. Jackie says:

    I know this post is older, and I am not very good with words, but this post really hit me hard. I apologize if this is too long or detailed (I tried to sum it up the best I could). I can personally speak from the friends perspective. I met my best friend in 9th grade, we were inseparable pretty much all the way to our early 20’s, I even lived with her family when I was having issues with my mom’s alchoholism. I moved in with my dad and she went to school, we ended up seeing each other less and she got a boyfriend. I finally got to meet him and was very disappointed, not only not very attractive, he just gave me a bad vibe. She often told me about how he didn’t really have a job, didn’t have a license, had a criminal background, would steal her things from the drug store, the list could probably go on. One of the only few times I hung out with them together he told me she said that we hung out too much, and when I confronted her about it she said he told her we hung out too much, it made me feel very insecure in our friendship and I didn’t know what to believe. One day we were meeting up to hang out and she texted me in all caps saying her boyfriend had just choked her, I waited at the spot hoping she would show up and I called and texted her repeatedly, she never answered. I called her sister and drove 30 minutes out of the way, plus another 30+ driving out to where her boyfriend and her lived (she never invited me over there, I’m not sure if she was embarrassed because it was in the hood). We pounded on the door and were yelling, her boyfriend came and let us in, we went upstairs to find her petting a cat and acting like nothing was wrong. She didn’t even bother to mention we had plans, all she did was tell me I looked cute and that she liked my shirt. I was so confused and upset. Her sister and I left after she verified everything was okay. I hung out with her a time or two after, she would tell me about how he was talking to other girls on Facebook, and I would try to tell her she deserved way better and that she didn’t need him. I even told her about how my sister was a victim of domestic violence and that it was really hard for me to sit back and watch her suffer (I saw my sister bruised and bloody in the hospital which was just one of the many times she was abused by her ex). She would say she was going to leave him, but never did. I eventually stopped contacting her after a few times of cancelled plans, she went on to have a kid with him. A few years later she messaged me saying something like “I know you probably hate me, but I promise I have changed”. She told me about how she had a daughter and I wondered how she changed if he was still in her life. I didn’t take it seriously, and didn’t trust that I wouldn’t be let down again. We talked about hanging out, and told each other that we would always love each other and always thought about each other, but never made plans to see each other. A few years later a friend sent me a photo of a missing poster with her face on it (I avoid social media), my stomach sank and I instantly knew she wasn’t “missing”. I knew that what I was always afraid of became a sickening reality. He confessed to dismembering her body, but claimed she committed suicide. He is now in jail for drug charges and improperly disposing of a body. Thankfully her daughter is still here, but he is fighting for custody. There is not a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about her. The pain and guilt I have inside eats me away. I can’t help but wonder if I would have been there, would I have been able to help her? It hurts me to know that when she needed someone the most, I left, but it is torture watching someone you love accept being abused and not seeing their self worth. She had graduated college, and was becoming a nurse, she was one of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of knowing, inside and out. I think seeing her success and possibly getting the strength she finally needed, made him feel weak and probably scared that she would leave him, so he didn’t let her leave on her own terms. At the vigil her parents said she was scared and moved back in with them. I will never know or understand what lead her to see him for that one last time, but I know I can now never get my best friend back. Not only did he take her away from me, he took her away from her own family and the others that loved her. It has been two years and they still haven’t found her body, I am still waiting to get closure in this situation.

    I appreciate this post and reading the comments will hopefully help myself with the grieving process. Please, if anyone is reading this and is a victim, get help before it is too late!

  2. Louise says:

    I have read and read this article so many times and even though it is years on … I feel the need to share my story from the ‘friend’ perspective.

    My best friend has been in an abusive relationship for years and I have always tried to help and support her – but there comes a point when it actually starts to destroy you as a person … not the supporting … but the sitting by during the ‘honeymoon’ phase where she bubbles with happiness and tells me how ‘nice he is being’ … the stage where he will buy her expensive gifts and their sex life is fabulous.

    I know I should be happy for her … but when you spend weeks hearing stories about how he isolates her; refuses to allow her out (and if she dares have a lunch date he sulks for days). He calls her names; degrades her in front of others; he reads her messages; goes through her mail. He dictates who she can see. If he sees her on her phone he will make comments about her poor choice in friends. He has physically hurt her pets in the past. He makes sexual comments about her in front of their two young boys and destroys every close relationship she has ever had. He flirts openly in front of her and she has already caught him with photos of other women on his phone… along with the flirty texts which he justifies as banter.
    He tells her that he is the best thing that ever happened to her and makes remarks about her drug abuse (which she has been 20 years free of).
    Quite frankly – he is an ass … but because he is not physically violent, she does not see it as ‘real’ abuse.

    She enjoys the finer things in life and he provides this for her – so she puts up with it.

    The frustration of being the friend she turns to in the times when he locks her out of the house and tells her she is to blame for his behaviour because she drinks a little too much every now and then. She tells me that she needs to see if he will change if she remains sober …. but let me justify that … yes … there are nights she drinks about 4 glasses of wine … and she gets a little merry .. there are parties/events where she has drunk too much … but she has NEVER arrived at a school function drunk. And I truly believe that she has started drinking in order to cope with the abuse she is suffering from daily.

    Her boys, especially the youngest are being affected by the never ending cycle of abuse. They speak to her in a disrespectful manner and her 8 year old has behaviour issues at school. (Her husband blames this on her and will tell her openly that it’s because the boy has her genes).

    I have tried to help her so many times, but I know this is not my fight. But I can’t watch him destroying her for a moment longer. I can’t watch her loving him when he is nice – because I despise the manner in which he behaves. I have been labelled the friend that makes her see him as the enemy… when times are good between them – I become null and void and she will want me to laugh and joke with her. It’s tiring … exhausting and I find myself waiting for the next blow out where I will once again have to pick up the pieces and watch her hurting all over again.

    Will I always be here to support her????? Absolutely. If she leaves him OR he gets help … but I won’t sit by and watch her being hurt over and over again – this she sees as bribery and emotional blackmail – but it’s just too hard.

    So sometimes letting go is the only choice we as the friends have… she tells me a true friend would stay … but can a true friend watch you being destroyed? And if we can’t change it and we can’t accept it – what choice is left?

    • Pat says:

      Thank you Louise,
      I have been trying to find some kind of perspective from someone else about what to do being in the friend’s shoes. I was with a friend after police split her and a boyfriend up and she had some serious gains before she called to ask if I wanted to come out with the two of them. She even wanted me to help them start a business together. After all the hardship she went through with him, I said I couldn’t help her with this and it was like I never was there for her. I have been in a bit of a state until I read your reply here. We can’t make like we are the victims here but we can only take so much. Thank you and big hugs to everyone.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to find something from the friends point of view. I just recently had a falling out with a friend of 7 years because she’s going back with an emotionally abusive ex. I’ve tried my hardest to explain to her why I couldn’t support it anymore and that I still love her and will be there to support her when she leaves him but I just can’t take watching her do this to herself again. She now thinks I’m the worst human being in the world for not supporting her and not being happy that she’s “happy” (for as long as that last). Kudos to anyone who can stay right by a friend going through abuse. I personally can’t go through the emotions again. It kills me that I can’t but it’s starting to affect me in a negative way, emotionally and mentally.

  3. Gundu Reddy says:

    Your friend was being a good friend contacting your parents. There is a domestic abuse situation and children are involved.

    Unfortunately it is a common reaction that friends and family try to help once or twice but cut you off if you do not pull yourself together and fix the problem right away.

    Alternatives to concealing is your local church, family support groups, and groups for victims of domestic violence.

    Your husband may not understand the effect his behavior is having on you if he is not causing real bodily harm. Possibly ask your pastor to reach out to him. Divorce may not be the only option but it sounds like you are too depressed to fix the situation so some time apart is necessary. Consider spending time with your parents.

    It may be that he is depressed too and needs help.

  4. Lena says:

    My friend who is in an abusive relationship has just ended it with me after a year of me trying to help her. She was horrific to me and has made things up to other people so they don’t talk to me as she’s afraid the truth of her abusive situation will be known by them if they talk to me. I have literally done all I can even offering to call the police but she says if I do she’ll deny it. Even though she’s been so awful to me and hurt me beyond words I know she is unwell and told her if she finds herself needing me she can still come to me. However, the friendship is truly over. I feel so sad, but there’s nothing I can do. He has gotten into her head.

    • Amy says:

      I, am in the same situation with a now ex friend, for 6 yrs she would tell me awful things her boyfriend now husband has done to her, so disrespectful and degrading a lot of emotional abuse.. I got so frustrated that I threatened to let all those text go public, so she had all her family and friends block me from fb, she doesn’t want any of them to see these text because they all believe they have the perfect marriage , but those text paint yrs of abusive situations..

  5. Sabrinna says:

    *********WARNING *********



    Moderator PLEASE REMOVE

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    • Irene says:


      Thanks so much for flagging that for me! We catch most of them and I depend on readers like you to help catch the rest!

      My best, Irene

  6. L LoP says:

    I am the child (now 62) who survived my dad’s insanity and spousal abuse. He died at 87 and had changed little. He refused mental help and it could not be forced upon him legally. But he forced his will and abuse on my mom who was too weak and sick to leave him. All efforts by the adult children to separate them were in vain. Finally, my brother forced the issue and there was a family rift, as one parent turned one sibling against the other.

    I think your friend did a great thing to tell your parents now, before it is too late and you reach old age with this horrible situation. People cannot believe that something like this can go on for decades, but it happened to our family. She deserves your thanks and friendship for being strong for you.

  7. Donna says:

    Update: Last week my husband tried to strangle me after an argument. When he finally let go I ran outside and dialed 911. He was arrested and taken to jail. He is being charged with spousal battery. Since that time I’ve been staying with different family members and friends, trying to decide what my long term plans are. I am leaving him, now. I don’t want him to kill me. I also set up counseling for me and my children through the local women’s shelter. I’m trying to do everything right, this time.

    A bittersweet surprise came from this. In a state of extreme emotion and sadness, I wrote to my friend to tell her what happened and to apologize again for being angry at her. She responded. She said she was sorry it had come to this, that she was very glad I wasn’t seriously hurt, that she has always liked me, and that she was praying for me. I found out later that week that she had once again contacted my parents to make sure they knew what was going on. I thanked her for that and she said everyone loves me and cares about me and that she had been praying I would get another chance with my life, and that now I had.

    I am not bombarding her with details or using her as my go-to person, but I have significant hope now that she and I will be good friends again once I’ve gotten myself in a better place and am healthier emotionally.

    • Lauren says:

      I am so glad for you that you got away from him and his abuse. You and your children will be fine. I admire you and your bravery, Donna.
      All the best to you and to your children. In time, you and your old friend will reconnect, and the friendship will be stronger than ever.
      Best wishes, Lauren

  8. Maddie says:

    To keep innocent children in this situation is criminal and wrong. Your friend did not want to be a party to it. Children don’t have the choice to leave.

    • Donna says:

      I disagree that it is “criminal”. The one situation they witnessed I took them out of. They have not witnessed or experienced any other abuse, to me or themselves, since then. I did see a therapist for several months after our big incident, and one of the things I was very worried about was whether I was emotionally abusing my children. I spoke extensively about it to my therapist. He told me that the one time incident was not reportable and that a bigger concern would be if they continued to witness incidents like that on a regular basis. So far, they have not. I am going back to counseling now and trying to determine my next steps. It’s something I need to work through. It’s a lot of change with a lot of big decisions to make.

    • LaTrice says:

      First off Maddie, I disagree with what you’re saying, because you’re sounding like as if Donna’s children deserve to be raised in a hostile environment-which to me, is unacceptable! No one should have to live in fear of not knowing when their spouse is about to snap. I’m NOT thrilled of having the
      children raised in an hostile environment-especially when their safety is being compromised.

      I feel that you don’t understand what Donna is going through right now, so there’s no need for her to explain herself to you. If you were to be in an abusive relationship or marriage, what would you do?

      You need to seriously think about it before you judge someone else!!

  9. Sel says:


    I too have dated a person who was abusive and I lost friends.

    If he’s not willing to get help then leave him, neither you or your kids need or deserve to live like that.

    As for your friend, she tried to be a friend at the time but she also walked away for her own reasons which may or may not be good and she had the right to walk away but please don’t be desperate enough to chase her up again, you deserve better from a friend too.

    I hope you’re able to move on from all of it and I wish you the best of luck xx

  10. ayla says:

    That degree of violence is shocking. I fear for the children.

  11. Lidial says:

    I can offer my own experience with abuse. It always seems like you can’t afford to get out from under it, but then think that you can’t afford to have him kill you or your children. And a death could happen even inadvertently if this person has no control of his range. Just a fist could kill a child, it happens all the time. The human body is weak.

    I suffered from abuse from a batter dad until I was 23 when I got out. My mom really died from the stress of his abuse and like you she refused to leave for years. Always another excuse. But it was all in her head, everyone wanted to help her financially or otherwise.

    I helped a friend years later, a professional woman who was making more money than her husband but also could not leave for reasons no one understood. I think she said that sex was good, but he was crazy otherwise. Always an excuse until he finally pulled a gun on her. She learned something that I can pass on to you. In desperation, she reached out to her coworkers, boss and friends, and guess what, they took her in, and hid her until she could get the police on this. Amazing what people will do for you when you finally want to free yourself.

    But if you just complain and complain and don’t want to make a move, they just get frustrated. Put yourself in their place if this was your friend. With me, it was easier to see the problems my friends were having but lived in denial of my own and complained no end to friends who simply gave up too.

    I know what you are saying now, because it is exactly what I said with dad. He is not that bad, it was just one fight, one fist, one black eye, one push. It is always one and it is always the last time.

    To share further, years later, (I am now past 60), dad was basically discarded by my brother who finally took her away from abusive dad. Dad landed in my home. I could not abandon an old man of 83. I said, it was all in the past and he had changed, until one day he pulled a knife on me and I realize he was unbalanced and I could not control him.

    It took real effort to find him other accommodations. I had to pull free from him again and my brother finally got him an apartment and help.

    This is yoru husband, not your dad. You can move on. Don’t let his ailment ruin your life. He will eventually get help, but at this point you need to help yourself and do what your good friend is recommending.

  12. kim says:

    I don’t doubt that your friend truly cares for you. However, she knows that she can’t help someone who refuses to get it. I’m sure it hurts her to leave you, but she probably can’t take any more pain seeing you hurt yourself even more.

  13. Christina says:

    I was in your shoes about 13 years ago. Except it was my 2nd husband doing this to my kids and I. The first marriage I stayed in too long and I had no friends in that marriage because he was beating me. The second marriage I had friends but lost them all once I left him. He bad mouthed me to get back at me.After all the horrid physical and emotional abuse against my kids and I, he still didn’t want me to have support when I left. But they weren’t true friends if they were so quick to believe him and the lies he told. I realize that now.

    So your friend sounds like a true friend and after you get the help you need and make a better life, try to contact her. And she did the right thing by contacting your parents. Your situation could be deadly if he is threatening you like that. And trust me, my oldest son has suffered the most from witnessing abuse against his mother (me) and then himself when the step father abused him. My son, turned abusive towards me, his sisters and eventually became addicted to drugs to ease his pain. No amount of love changed this. My son has PTSD pretty bad now. Now he is off drugs but he still suffers from anxiety.

    Please for your kids sake, leave him fast! Do not wait for another traumatizing event to happen. You don’t deserve being hit or threatened no matter how often he does this to you. 2-3 times a year is too much. Even doing it once in your marriage is too much! Your kids deserve to see you respected and loved.

    I have a feeling though, once you get out and make your life better she might be willing to revisit the friendship.

    Good luck to you.

  14. Allie says:


    My heart breaks for your situation. I too was a victim of domestic violence. I completely agree with the post that Alberta left. It’s a cycle. He hurts you then is deeply remorseful. There is a short “honeymoon” phase and the cycle starts all over again.

    In my situation help came during one of our knock down drag out physically abusive arguments when the neighboor below us called the police. I never thought I would ever be so happy to see them! My husband was arrested and taken to jail. He was charged with domestic battery.A representive from a DV shelter that works with the PD came and talked with me after my husband was taken away. She told me that I could go to the women’s shelter with the kids that night if I wanted to. She told me they offer counseling for the entire family as well as individual. She gave me info about getting a protection order. Knowing that my husband would be in jail for the next 18 hrs I decided to remain at home. He would not be permitted any contact with me for 72hrs. I filed a protection order first thing Monday morning. This got the point across to him that I was done putting up with the abuse and that big changes needed to take place if he wanted to continue to be married and have a relationship with our kids.

    For my husband this was the come to Jesus meeting that needed to happen for him. He realized that he was about to lose his family and he didn’t want that to happen.

    For us, we were able to work through it, but it was a lot of hard work on both our part and my husband had to be willing to do whatever it took to address his anger and other mental health issues. To my surprise, he was willing to get the help he needed.

    We were able to save our marriage. Nine years have passed since that fateful night.We have been married 14 yrs.

    I know what happened with my marriage is more of an exception than the rule. Unless he is willing to change and get the help he needs.He deserves to be without you and the kids. I know that financial concerns are keeping you from leaving, but you and your kids need to be safe. Like Alberta commented, there are many resources that you can contact for help. Your family needed to know what was going on. I know you are quite remorseful over how you reacted to your friend and her decision to notify your family regarding your situation and her sudden decision to shut you out of her life. My heart hurts for you over losing your beloved friend. She is likely hurting too. Hopefully, once you are in a better position with your life I hope that your friendship can be reconciled.

    Take Care,


    • Irene says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Allie.
      Best, Irene

    • Donna says:

      Yes thank you for your story. It’s amazing when I hear stories of people who are able to make the necessary changes and stay together! It seems like most of the time that is not the case. It does give me a little hope. Although I honestly don’t believe my husband and I will make it forever, I don’t think his personality would ever let him admit to there being a problem that he needs to help fix, too. I do hope I’m wrong though. I will find out soon.

      I know my friend did the right thing by going to my parents. I know it in my heart without a doubt. I wish I could go back and change my reaction to her and to my parents. I’ve thought that she must be hurting over this too. She really seemed to care (and told me she cared many times), so I know this affected her too.

      • LPetal says:

        Not sure if anyone is still following this post, or if anyone has said this up to now – – but the only thing I see that could have been different is if your older friend had simply told you, point blank, “if you don’t stop endangering yourself, I am going to your mum and dad in order to bring this bad life choice to light.” or something like that.

  15. Alberta says:

    Because she is older, it sounds like your friend may have seen the cycle of abuse before. I think she didn’t dump you as a friend more than she didn’t want to go through the cycle of abuse that you are in.

    This is what you are in – a cycle of abuse. There will be a bad night, where you feel like hell. Then he says some ‘nice’ words or calls you a ‘nice’ name instead of the usual *&^%%, you begin to fall back in ‘love’ (this cycle of abuse, by the way is not love but you are made to think it is) then you have another ‘hell’ night. Each of these hell nights destroys a part of you.

    You don’t want your children to grow up thinking this is a ‘normal’ way to live life because they will choose partners who will treat them the same way – or treat their partners poorly because ‘dad’ did and mom didn’t do anything so this is an acceptable way to live, be treated, and to treat your family.

    This abuse becomes Familyiar – and what they and you think ‘Love’ is. You went for counselling – it helped you – your husband REiterated to you that you cannot go. This shows you are his marionette. You don’t want to live for decades like this – after awhile there will be nothing of You left, and he STILL won’t be happy. In these type of relationships you will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be doing something ‘wrong’ no matter how hard you try, and how perfect you are.

    Since you are not ‘allowed’ to recieve counselling to work on your problems (so YOU will always be the ‘problem’ to be ‘fixed’ in your relationship here are some reading materials – best to read at the library with your kids and not let him see them because these types can freak even over the ‘wrong’ reading materials.

    Books that may be of use to you in your situation – likely there are copies of at your local library or they could order them in.

    Why does he do that – Lundy Bancroft
    The Verbally abusive relationship – Patricia Evans
    The Gift of Fear – Gavin DeBecker
    Emotional Blackmail – Susan Forward

    • Alberta says:

      The second sentence should read your friend maybe didn’t want to witness the cycle of abuse that you are in and the cycle of abuse is not appearing to be getting better to improve.

  16. Sabrinna says:

    I was brought up in domestic violence. Please get out! Councelling won’t fix anything because he doesn’t care enough to choose it; to choose love over control. The effects on me have been enormous and so far, lifelong. The man was my step-father and I cut him out of my life when I left home at age 15. My mother I cut out of my life for 7 years from age 15 to 22. It wasn’t to punish her. It was because I couldn’t understand why she refused to protect me and value a violent person more. I’m just going to repeat this, Please Leave! You’ve had the strength to survive. You have the strength to leave.

  17. Donna says:

    Thank you so much for your response to me… It has definitely calmed me down. The loss of my friend feels more like a dull ache now rather than my heart being ripped out… Much more manageable. I am hopeful that someday she will be willing to talk and be my friend again. I am hoping she did this to push me to get help rather than just because she doesn’t want me in her life. She sure acted and talked like she cared about me for so long, I did not see this coming. So it does not make sense in my mind that she would never care to hear how I am doing again.

    Unfortunately my husband has refused over and over again to get any sort of counseling or anger management. He has a bad temper and does not deal with his emotions. He always says if I just didn’t do x, y, and z then he wouldn’t do the things he does. I try not to upset him but sometimes I just make a mistake and he’s not very forgiving. He becomes aggressive towards me approximately 2-3 times a year… So it’s not every day, it’s mostly in times of stress.

    The incident which caused the big uproar his year, resulted in my husband pushing me against the wall, grabbing and crushing my face and nose (I thought he broke my nose), and him threatening to crush my face in all the way if I ever said that (whatever it was) to him again. He then threw me outside the house and locked the door. I couldn’t get back in and my 3 kids were inside with him(ages 5, 3, & 17 mos) and I heard him throwing stuff around. About 5 minutes later he threw out about $1000 worth of my stuff – mostly collectors items that I’ve been collecting for years, which he had completely broken and destroyed. That broke my heart into a million pieces (and my face & nose were in a lot of pain). While my husband was out in the garage throwing things around, my oldest son got a chair and was able to unlock the top chain lock to let me in, I grabbed all 3 of the kids, the keys to the car, and ran back out and drove off. 5 minutes later I got a text from him saying if I didn’t bring the car back he’d break more of my things. I dropped the kids off at my mother-in-laws and came back, and he’d locked himself in the bathroom with razor blades saying he was going to kill himself. That was a whole other drawn out ordeal.

    I still don’t know how or why I stayed with him after that. He has an anger problem and I don’t see how he doesn’t see it, want to admit it, and get help.

    My husband actually just got a new job and we are supposed to be moving to a new town. We’ve been doing a lot of packing and I’ve been taking a few important items to my parents house here and there. My plan is to move in with my parents for a while with the kids and tell him I’m not moving to a new city where I have no support unless he will go to counseling as well. I can’t be the only one getting help if we are to survive. I don’t know what else I can do at this point.

    • Martha says:

      Dear Donna —

      I just ended a 30 year friendship with a woman who’s been in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship for the past 20 years. It has caused her physical illness and a great deal of emotional pain. She’s now in a wheel-chair with unknown (not for lack of trying) physical problems. She cannot walk. I’m no doctor but I have known her long enough to recognize the pattern; when things are bad with her SO, she is physically weakened. She gets the care and attention she craves from her SO by going to doctors. Her illness is a way to retreat from her SO and, at the same time, to manipulate him into caring for her. It’s horrendously ugly and he’s a &%$#.

      In our last (final) phone conversation she related many events to me that showed the sadism of her SO. She then justified his behavior by blaming herself. I’ve been in abusive relationships (two of them) and the pattern was crystal clear to me. I asked her if she loved XX. She said she loved him very much. I soon got off the phone knowing that I was not ever going to talk to her again. Having heard the same story for 20 years, I realized there was nothing I could do and “being there” for her was only providing catharsis that made it possible for her to continue with this horrible relationship. She says XX is her “carer.”

      The abused person in a relationship loses her identity so completely that she believes what the abuser tells her about who she is. The abused person forgets she has a self, a will and dreams of her own, that it’s possible to live without the SO. You seem to be in that trap, and it’s probably why your friend backed off from you. Possibly, like I, she is waiting to see if you break free. If my friend did, I’d fly to where she lives to be with her, but not as things are now. When I attempted to explain in an email to her why I wasn’t taking her calls, she ignored what I said and apologized for “pushing my buttons.” She doesn’t get it. She didn’t “push my buttons;” I’m worried about her well-being and I’ve said all I have to say.

      A person who stays in an abusive relationship is like an addict; you will have to hit bottom (and god-willing it doesn’t kill you) before you’ll be able to rescue yourself. At a certain point, no one can help an addict without being dragged down, too. I think your friend reached that point.

      What should you do? Seriously? You can’t control what your husband does, whether he gets counseling or not. Counseling isn’t a cure-all, anyway. Kids’ who grow up in a household where abuse occurs frequently grow up to abuse their kids and spouses. You have a job to do; now do it. Get out.

    • Marji says:

      I’m the “friend” in a nearly identical situation right now..She has been my best friend for nearly 20 years. ..this is her 3rd marriage and her 2nd physically abusive husband. I’m seriously considering walking away;it breaks my heart, but I can not stand by and watch her let him abuse and degrade her and make excuses. The worry and concern is terrible and weighs heavily on me..but she will make no changes…I’m feeling like i have no choice…

  18. Lauren says:

    Hi Donna,
    I am very sorry that this is happening in your life. My heart goes out to you.

    I see that your husband is controlling, and I believe that her was physically violent to you on the day that you were meeting your old friend for breakfast. I think this is because he wants to control you, and he doesn’t want you meeting this old, and very wise friend. So he stops you by picking a fight, and becoming physically violent to you. Then later he repeats his violence to you.

    This is not healthy for you or for your children, who will learn certain patterns from this cycle of abuse.

    He is controlling you and making you feel lower in self esteem. But now you must be strong, leave him and his abuse. It will not stop, but it will escalate, and in time maybe he will be violent to your children. Take help from your parents, or from a sanctuary for women and children. Even ask that friend to help you get out safely. If he strikes you again in the meantime, call the police and report his violence. Get out of the conspiracy of silence. Don’t be afraid to seek out help in order to get out safely, when he is at work or something. Get away from the violence. You were not born to be a victim of violence. You are strong.
    Kindest wishes,

  19. Tanja says:

    Hi, I am sorry you are going through this. It is very difficult to balance family life and friendships, it is even harder if the family life is abusive and you are unhappy. I agree that your friend was trying to help you and showed a great deal of concern. However, I also know that with her not having children it may be more difficult for her to understand where you are coming from. After having children myself, I have lost a lot of friends that do not have children because people without small children cannot possible understand. It sounds like a put down to people without kids, but it is not, it is just the way it is.

    From experience on your friends perspective, if she is hearing all this negative stuff and she really cares about you and knows that you are being “abused” in her mind. She is trying to help you and give you the best advice she knows how, but understand from her side, if you do not take the advice, it is difficult for her to just sit around and watch this happening. Keep in mind, that in her mind the situation she pictures may be a hundred times worse than it actually is in your mind.

    I speak through experience. My husband would break things when he was angry, he has pushed me against the walls, in the beginning. When I told my friends, it was always worse in their minds than it was in mine. I did not exactly take my friends advice to get counselling for myself, but I went a step further to get counselling for my husband and marriage counselling as well. I was lucky, my husband agreed to it. He took anger management course and 6 yrs later, it is no where near the abuse it was in the beginning. I have learned and he has learned, but some of my friends think you can’t change and thought it was worse than I was letting on and could not be friends with me. I have learned since then to be very careful with what you tell friends because only a few will stick with you. But, most of the time friends want to hear positive and happy things and be uplifted. That is just human nature. Only a small few will be there in times of trouble, but that trouble also has to mixed in with humour and happiness in spite of everything else. Otherwise, the friendship is one sided and can be frustrating for one person to always be your rock.

    I do feel that you can get counselling for a cheap cost and perhaps suggest counselling to your husband, he may know that he has a problem. You may also learn the warning signs and when to walk away and give him a cooling period before it escalates, like I had to learn and he needs to do the same, when he starts to feel his head getting hot. The problem with marriage is that after a while your partners know what buttons to press and you have to learn how to avoid that when it can become so tempting, especially when your mad.

    But, maybe he gets it through his work, or you can find out in your community where it is free and where you can get help if not for him for you and your children.

    I wish you luck. Again, my heart really goes out to you!!!

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