Trapped in an Abusive Relationship?

March 23, 2012 Kellie Jo Holly

People trapped in an abusive relationship hear, "You're so much better than this! Why are you staying?" I knew I was better than my experience. I knew I didn't deserve to be treated that way. Yet, when someone pointed that out to me, I wanted to dig in my heels and fight to stay.

I knew I was better than how he treated me, but I thought my abuser was also a better man than how he behaved. I saw us as equally hurting. I thought we both were trapped in an abusive relationship.

I Thought We Were Both Trapped In The Abusive Relationship

I thought he must be in extraordinary pain to be able to hurt me in those ways - to say those things to me, to pretend to mean what he said, to use his hands to back up his words. I thought he and I were both in pain.

I deserved better treatment, but he and I were the same. He deserved a chance to find happiness. He deserved love, kindness, respect, ... true love. He deserved my love (despite giving me disrespect and hate) because we were the same.

When someone told me I was better than him, I recoiled like a striking snake. The logic made no sense. How could I be better than my equal? They, the ones who encouraged me to leave my abuser, became my enemy.

As I began recounting the great things about my abuser to my new enemy, the better memories from our honeymoon periods took precedence. I reinforced to myself why I stayed as I tried to convince my enemy of the same thing. My logic was not the same as my enemy's. What I did made perfect sense to me. Giving up on him meant giving up on me.

I Was A Good Person Trapped In An Abusive Relationship

I was loyal, loving, willing to be strong through the tough spots. I could see past the bad to the goodness in my abuser. I would not only survive, but pull him up out of his internal sea of hate. I owed him that because I promised him that I would never leave him. I promised to love, honor, and cherish; not use, turn-tail, and ridicule.

My sense of loyalty and the belief that he and I were equals (both effects of brainwashing) kept me trapped in our abusive relationship. I stayed because I felt that to leave indicated a betrayal of who I was. My abuser already betrayed me in many ways. I didn't want to betray myself, so I remained loyal to him. Ensnared by who I am as much as what he did to me, I remained trapped in an abusive relationship for almost two decades.

I Didn't Hear Right When Trapped In My Abusive Relationship

It seems as if, in my married days, I spoke a different language from my family and friends. When they told me I deserved better and offered a way out, I didn't hear what they wanted me to hear. I heard "I don't recognize you anymore. You're a mess. You need help. You're doing it wrong. There's something wrong with YOU."

I guarantee that's not what they meant. Yet I picture myself saying those same well-meaning words to domestic abuse victims today. I want them to see what I see in them. But I'm not speaking their language. I am their enemy.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2012, March 23). Trapped in an Abusive Relationship?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

March, 23 2012 at 6:52 am

I am so tremendously glad I found your blog. I have lived with a verbal abuser for almost 25 years. I live at least 600 miles from any relatives, so simply leaving is not the answer. I have to formulate a plan. Its going to be hard, but I have to do it. I have to get out for my sanity. I am going to start counseling next week. it may take me a year, but I just have to make a solid goal and stick to it.

March, 23 2012 at 5:42 pm

im glad i found this site too, ive only been married 4 yrs, and have a son, but the verbal abuse, its just....exhausting, i hear the stories and help everyone offers, but its just too difficult, i have family nearby, but i have no money, and trying to get myself, my son and our belongings out is hard, plus i feel bad for my husband, that somehow its my fault, but he says everything is my fault, so whats 1 more thing, i know i need help, i just cant get it, and i cant wait to leave.

Blame Film
March, 23 2012 at 11:08 pm

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May, 27 2014 at 7:59 pm

I have been with this guy for over a year.....he has been ask for children since we met, well final after a year he got me pregnant t what worries me is that no respect exist is the relationship.....he treats me as like if he was my dad....I can't be myself anymore.....I always feel sad but on the other side I can't be without that I'm pregnant I feel so confused I think about it like this.....if he didn't treat right and we had no kids what makes me think he is gonna change now that we are expecting a child ....he has always had a bad temper......I think I'm in a abusive relationship and I just don't want to see it...and this is killing me

December, 8 2014 at 7:47 am

Through Facebook I came across a old friend of mine. I discovered she's been living with an abusive man for 7-8 years. He has sold her car, and because of serious auto injuries and health issues, financial struggles she's unable io leave. I am frightened for her well being. He watches every move she makes and has a very bad temper. I have offered her to stay with me, but she seems to not want to leave. What can I say or do to help her get free, before it escalates to dangerous? She expresses she wants out often, but can't because of money, and no where to go......

August, 1 2015 at 9:06 pm

i hate my life o hate that I have gotten myself so deep in this abusive relationship I can't get out and be happy. Waiting to die there is no help tired of fighting it

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 16 2019 at 6:28 pm

Hi I was reading your post it say 2015 idk if ur in it still I just wanted to see how you are

September, 21 2015 at 9:47 am

I've been with him for 11 years. We have had kids together. I am so afraid he will make me out to be the bad person and lose the kids. I dont think ive always made the right choices. He can even bend the smallest things out be something horrible. That's why I don't want to leave him. My girls are 7 and twins 4. I am worried that girls will end up thinking that what he is doing is normal. His mother is also verbally abusive. She is 10 times worse and goes and talks to people behind my back. I hate all of this. I wish I could leave. My family supports him :/

December, 8 2015 at 9:56 pm

Hi, Everyone,
I both amazed & suprised there are so many of us. I feel for all of you & your sircumstances. The only advise i have.... & am in a tight situation myself so discount much of what I say. But In a relationship with these troubles. Ask for change, more opinion, respect, appreciation & change with the person. If they refuse, never try, dont acknowledge they lack of effort & continue in their ways. get the F out. Logistics, finances & feasablity can all be figure out & needs met in north american society at least if you choose to. Dont put up, but dont deny your faults if you do have then. If so, over come them, master & own them. Then you have grown & taken your personal power back. Its not about a fight & winning. Its about being you & the responcible, capable, unique, diverse, adaptable, best mother F'ing parent you could possible be. Im not a big fan of cutting other parents out of childrens lives as they are needed, unless they are needed out. some do for sure. but thats case per case. God speed & hold true to your beliefs & morals. We all knew better, but refused to accept the reality of our situations. hang in there until change is futile & your growth is ripe & ready. Much love fellow earthlings!

September, 9 2016 at 8:58 pm

Hi. I have been mentally spiritually verbally abused from my parents in my teens and to now. I was drugged and rapped at a nite club I woke up on my apartment cement. I was in a all signs of abusive relationship when I was 19. I came home and my mom verbally abused I took a whole bottle of percocept and went to work catatonic like they found me passed out in a bathroom. I'm now in another verbally spiritually emotionally abusive marriage. I have no family or help I'm very sick for 16 months in pain.also when I was 19 I was kidnapped and forced to make sexual videos and raped if I left he said he would kill me. My last husband was abusive all ways and divorced him in 3 years with a cpo. Also I have been in tons of abusive relationships. My parents won't help they kicked me out for no reason I'm their only daughter. I need help I live in Tennesse is their ways to get help? God bless you. If u are in a marriage witg a non beleiver the Bible says if your in good company stay married if your in bad company leave. I am a firm believer if u are being abused and they won't change leave, the bible says so. I cry I have had panic attacks for 5 months since I have been here. He threatens to kick me out when he doesn't get what he wants. We got in a bad fight and he was going to call the cops I did nothing wrong I got in my car and fled and then he said he was going to kill himself. He shot the gun I was terrified . Went outside he didn't do it. His family sides with him . I'm alone sick no money no family. He is 46 he yells at his mom, who gives him lunch money washes his clothes lays them out, and gives him his meds. Likes is food perfect. And the icing on the cake his mom cut his steak for him for his lunch! I'm so sick I need help with showers and driving. He has problems, hes going to counseling to satisfy me. No go for yourself. I am a devout Godly woman, if I did not have Jesus, I will loose it. For the last 5 months I told him to stop or I will be in the hospital. I started cutting at 15 on lists, then my First husband I took a box cutter and cut my arms and legs. I tried to commit suicide 10 times. This man I married on FaceTime he seemed layed back and kind and loved Jesus, he's not even saved he lied. We stay with his family. He was married and lived next door for 6 years she left in the nite why? And one year on his own so he has lived away from parents for 7 years he's 46. I had to work and have an apt, my parents helped some but never their when you need them. We started to go to church I found one he was jelous cause I praised Jesus and sacrificed a praise , he says why don't u sacrifice for me. I'm Gods child annoited through my praise 5 people gave a testimony how I blesses them and how to get out of religiosity. I was humbled it was Jesus, the glory goes to God. God bless and thank u. If anyone knows of help or how I could obtain money. God bless

January, 16 2019 at 6:30 pm

Hi I'm in 951 area and would love to attend a meeting I'm quite so just wanted to addend a group...

September, 7 2019 at 1:18 am

Hi my name is keniada and I would like to leave an abusive relationship

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